Have you heard of the apocalypse? There is a book in the Bible that sometimes is referred to by that name: Revelation. Do you know what is happening in that book? An exile on a small rocky island has been watching; then he has been writing. John the Apostle is this watching Roman castaway.
As I was thinking through the particulars for a lesson on Revelation chapter 21, my mind went back to the book of John. That fourth biography of Jesus of Nazareth seems to have been authored by the watching disciple. Before the watching disciple began his writing, he followed another by the same name: John the Baptist. This desert baptizer was one day in the midst of his obedient life calling people to repentance when along came Jesus.
As Jesus arrived, John the Baptist spoke up, and John the Apostle recorded him as saying but five words: “Behold, the Lamb of God.” The narrative of the apostle said that two disciples heard the baptizer say these words. One of these two was John, the apostle. He followed, and this initial episode led to a life of following, of watching.
Where else can you think of John, the apostle, watching? The first episode that comes to my mind is the crucifixion. John was standing near the foot of the cross with Mary, the mother of Jesus.
Who raced to the throne? Peter and John. John got to the tomb first and stopped. What did he do after stopping? He looked in and observed the inside of that tomb.
Peter was the one who went in first, but John was the first to believe Jesus was no longer dead. He was alive, resurrected.
The last particular I will draw your mind to was on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. On that day, the resurrected Jesus was walking by the lapping water and beside him trudged Peter; Peter the disowner. After Jesus revealed to Peter how Peter would die Peter turned around and asked a question, “What about him?” Peter was talking about John. Jesus dismissed Peter’s inquiry, and just now we can as well. The point here is that John was walking behind Jesus and Peter. He was watching, listening. That is how John’s world worked.
How about your world? My world? We would do well to be watching all the things going on around us. Not only so, but also we should be ready to acknowledge God’s good plan in the painful and the good. It is a great way to think of life; it is the best outlook. Be a watcher of God. It worked for John, and it will work for us as well.