One Thing 10/29/12
I often hear Christians, especially Christian leaders, as they get older, talk about finishing well. So many people in scripture, and folks that we all know personally don’t. I want to share with you an example of someone who did. When John the Apostle was around 30 he had an experience that deeply changed his life forever. In the Upper Room, during the celebration of the first Eucharist, John encountered the love of Christ in a life altering way. As the discussion among the Disciples was going on about who the betrayer might be that Jesus had referred to, John was laying his head on the breast of Christ. From that moment John always refers to himself in the Gospel as “The Disciple whom Jesus loved.” I believe in that Upper Room experience he didn’t just encounter the physical heartbeat of Christ, but he instead heard the internal heartbeat of Christ. He encountered the unveiled love of God in the person of Jesus. He met the heart of the Slaughtered Lamb that had been slain before the foundation of the world. I’m sure that is why he alone, among the Disciples stood at the Cross. The phrase, “The Disciple whom Jesus loved,” is actually “The Disciple whom Jesus was loving.” The idea is that Jesus was constantly loving him. John never refers to himself this way until this experience. I believe this moment established a new identity, and reality for John, that transformed him from an volatile Son of Thunder into the Apostle of Love. John wrote this Gospel when he was in his nineties, looking back over his life. In Revelation 1, as John is revealing the heart and purposes of Christ, he makes this statement in verse 5, “To Him who loves (is loving) us, and released from our sins by His blood.” Again, he refers to Christ as constantly loving. I’m convinced that the burning passion of Jesus, that he experienced on the breast of Christ, more than 6 decades earlier, still rung in his heart, and in his 90’s still controlled him. This is why he finished well; the love of Jesus had taken him away some 60 years earlier and he had never come back. In his 90’s he still living a Fascinated Life, Rockin for Jesus. I know I’ve spoken of these things before, but they so stir my heart. If you want to live, and finish well, find your Upper Room, lay your head on the breast of Jesus until you are personally, and permanently ruined by the Love of God.