The message was brought by Rev. James Childers.
John 13: 21 When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.22 Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake.23 Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.
Jesus loves everybody, the good and the bad. Whether we’re on the mountain or in the valley, he loves us. Not every disciple was as serious about following Jesus as John was.
The setting is the Last Supper. It would be the last time of fellowship over a meal with Jesus and his disciples before he died. The only one there who knew that Jesus was going to die was Jesus. The disciples were an unusual group of men. It’s amazing that God chose them. Among them was a tax collector. There was a fisherman named Peter who was up and down, in and out. One minute he said he’d always follow Jesus and the next he was denying him. Later on he preached one of the greatest sermons ever was. One of them was only interested in the money. Two of them were interested in which of them would sit on either side of Jesus on his throne. It was a motley crew. There were three inner disciples—Peter, James, and John—and you’d find them wherever you found Jesus. All 12 were at the tables that night. Jesus told them one of them would betray him. Peter and John began a discussion and Peter told John to ask Jesus who it was. Why didn’t Peter ask Jesus himself? Even he knew how serious John was about discipleship. John was even leaning on Jesus’ breast.
Jesus took off his outer garment, got some water and a towel and began washing their feet. He already knew what was going to take place. He knew Peter would deny him. He knew Judas would sell him out. He knew the others would run and hide for fear of their own lives, but he washed their feet anyway. Only the Lord would do that. If you knew somebody was going to sell you out, would you do something for them? That shows us the love of Jesus.
Get the picture of one leaning on Jesus’ breast. In doing so he was saying “Lord, I love you above all else.” John could feel the breath of Jesus on him. If there is anything we need, it’s the breath of God. He could hear the heartbeat of Jesus. His heart beats today for the sinner. No matter what a person has done, God cares. He has a heart for the saint. Behind the heartbeat we know unexplainable love. His heart beats for the sanctuary. The only thing Jesus built on this earth was the church. He didn’t have a home or own other real estate. He built a church where we can draw help and strength from each other and get ammunition to fight the world. If you think church is not important, you need to get right with God. Jesus gave himself for the church, and the least we can do is attend it. Not only could John feel the breath of Jesus and hear his heartbeats, he could hear the words he spoke. He was close enough to hear him if he talked low. Sometimes it seems God has to “knock us down” for us to hear him. He speaks to us today through his Word, the Bible. I have a big library with lots of Christian books but nothing takes the place of the Word of God.
In chapter 19 Jesus hung between heaven and earth dying for our sins. The disciples were not at the foot of Jesus. They were locked up in a room scared to death they’d be next. John was the only one standing at the foot of the cross. Verse 26 says when Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Earlier John had sat where no one else would; now he stood where no one else was willing to stand. The crowd was there to mock, but not John. It meant there was a possibility he would die after Jesus, but he loved him and took his stand there with him. It’s time we take a stand. Today a Politian said that the day of Christianity had come to an end. As long as Jesus doesn’t come back, people still have the chance to be saved. It won’t end until he comes. It’s time to take a stand for the Bible and the blood of Jesus Christ. He’s the hope of the world.
In John 21:20-21 the Bible says then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee? Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? Peter wanted to follow Jesus by himself and asked why John was following. Jesus’ answer was to the point. In effect he said “why don’t you mind your own business. John is minding his.” John had followed where no one else would. I ran from the Lord’s call into the ministry for three years. I was in line to be manager of a grocery store. That’s what I wanted to do. One morning on the way to work the Lord dealt with me so much I had to pull over. I got out on my knees and surrendered telling the Lord I’d do whatever he wanted me to do. I’ve tried my best to follow him. I’ve not always done it right, but I’ve learned that if God says to do something to do it.
In John 21:7 we find the fourth time John is spoken of as the disciple whom Jesus loved. The disciples had gone fishing. They fished all night and caught nothing. Jesus called to them. Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No. And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher’s coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea. Who recognized the voice of Jesus? John did. Why? He got to know his voice real well while leaning on his breast. He never forgot it. He heard and saw what others didn’t.
If you follow Jesus you’ll have what others won’t. You’ll see and hear what they don’t. I want to be a disciple whom Jesus loves. What about you?