The Trinity of Disciples

Original URL   Wednesday, November 2, 2022


so tonight we're we're looking at what I called the the Trinity of disciples um and the reason is because I recently found out that the word Trinity is a completely valid word for any grouping of three so not just the Holy Trinity that we typically think of and I for whatever reason I find that kind of cool so it really is just a grouping of three so three disciples these three this Trinity of disciples um there's actually two different trilogies we're gonna look at tonight the first is that Trinity of disciples

um and the the second grouping of three is this grouping of three loves that I think we find in the Bible

um and we're going to how they relate together

um so like I said the question I want to think about is why did Jesus choose Peter James and John hey who were they what was their relationship to Christ and ultimately why is it that those three are so often grouped together as brother Jim kinda alluded you why wasn't Andrew kind of you know he's Peter's brother why was in the all four of the sets of Brothers together

um I wasn't Thomas or Judas or Matthew or Philip often included in these private intimate moments that these three are are so often invited to

um but before we jump into that question I like to kind of just uh give a few disclaimers so like I said this is this is a um a pet project of mine I've always kind of liked this topic

um we're gonna look at the life of Peter James and John very similarly to the way we looked at the Life of Christ um where we kind of do a high level overview we're not really going to into too much

um but one thing to note is that we have a lot less information on Peter James and John than we do about Christ um

so we're going to fill in the gaps quite a bit here um there's going to be a healthy dose of guesswork in this class to kind of fill in some some pieces

um and so I just want to start off by saying that I want you to take it just as that these are just guesses there's one idea in particular that we're going to spend some time looking at

um that's a pretty different take than what you'll get from most other sources um and it is it's a bit of a stretch it's a bit of a guess I can't prove it with certainty um but I'll try to explain why I think the way I do versus the other um and and I'll try to call out that guesswork as we go along to make it very clear

and I also want to point out these are not none of these are Hills I want to die on this is not something I'm going to say you have to think this way and you can't think another way

um I like the way they've written The Narrative personally and I'm going to share my thoughts with you but I fully acknowledge you don't have to see eye to eye with me on on some of these ideas

in the end the goal is to not have that guesswork change the lesson

um it just changes the narrative how we read The Narrative a little bit and and helps to emphasize um the point I want to draw out a little bit more

that being said there's not really a big Exposition or exhortation in this this class you know again it's kind of me sharing some some neat ideas that I have

um we'll look at one of the main teachings of Christ and I'll put to you why I think it's one of his main teachings and talk about that a little bit

um but there's kind of two goals that I had coming out of this class um hopefully by the end of it we'll have a renewed or a better understanding of how the love of God works in our lives um so that's kind of goal one and goal two is to just help draw these characters in such a way that they they seem a little more real next time we go through and read the Gospels

um just to give them a little more you know to flush them out a little bit more um than they kind of are typically when we go through

so with that out of the way we're going to go ahead and we'll jump into the story of these three disciples Peter James and John

so so when I went into this and and you know I started to think about why these three disciples you know it's a pattern I noticed going through scripture that these three are often called out

um you know you get on on Wikipedia you go start looking to see see what what is the tradition about these three disciples what do we know about them what's kind of you know standard Church tradition things like that

um so first off we have Peter and I you know we all kind of know the story of theater is a pretty relatable example for us in scripture right he's a very well-known character in the Bible

um besides Jesus and maybe Paul I think Peter and Paul might be kind of tied

um we have way more information about those three characters in the New Testament than any other character Peter Peter Paul and Jesus are kind of the three big ones

um tradition has it that Peter was the first pope the Catholic Church will say that he was the first pope which means that they think he was kind of the guy you know he was the one um you know if Jesus had a right hand man tradition has it that was Peter Peter was the closest to Christ and he's the guy who becomes the first pope that's why Christ gives him the keys to Heaven as they as they'll talk about

um so Peter is often the only one seemingly willing to speak in in the New Testament right you know all the other 11 disciples are so so quiet that they almost seem to just be kind of understudies to Peter's role as like the disciple of Christ you know he is the guy if you're looking for times that the other like all the different times that the different disciples speak I mean Peter's record runs away with the record

um Peter speaks something like 20 distinct times across the four gospels

um the same thing like there are duplicates in the Ford off gospels you know they're 20 roughly 20 distinct times while the other 11 maybe speak a total of 10. I didn't actually count uh the other 11. um so so this is a kind of a little bit of guesswork from what I could remember but but it's something almost like he speaks devil as much as the other 11 combined

so obviously you know we know that the other 12 disciples were unique special people as well

um but Peter's kind of the only one that seems to have any any kind of fleshed out story you know he's the only one we know a lot about any depth to him

so let me come to John and and John again tradition has a lot of things about John that we know there's not actually too much um that we'll find in scripture about John he's called the father of the church tradition has it that John was the only disciple to die from old age

um in his letters he often calls the churches his little children you know he's that old wise man who wrote the three letters of John uh the Gospel of John and Revelation right his his writings make up about five percent of the Bible so we kind of picture this old balding man he's kind of bent over a quill and paper he's got a three foot long beard you know that Renaissance painting that we all kind of picture when we think about the the disciple John

which makes it kind of ironic to note that tradition has it that John was 18 years old at the minute beginning of the ministry of Jesus so he's by Far and Away the youngest disciple you know we picture this very old wise father of the church and and when we look at the story of him in the gospels he's a young very young man

um I don't think I've ever seen a Renaissance painting of them as this kind of you know these young disciples these middle-aged men

um they often see them sorry as these middle-aged men in those different paintings but um but according to tradition he was a very very young man at the start of Jesus's Ministry

tradition also holds that John was the disciple whom Christ loved um which is a title that only John himself uses in his gospel on the other three gospel writers call use that title the disciple whom Christ loved


which you know if that's the case that seems a little bit odd but we'll still go back to that in just a bit

so that leaves us with James the final of these three disciples and when I first asked myself the question why Peter James and John I'll be honest the real question I was asking is why James you know Peter and John at least kind of make sense

um they both go on to take on very critical roles in preaching the gospel after the death and resurrection of Jesus

um in terms of lines and the gospels and the acts it goes Peter which you know like you said Far and Away has the most lines oddly enough Philip seems to be the second most lines um but then John John's kind of the third most lines of any of the disciples and Andrew's kind of right there on his heels James maybe has one line in the New Testament um and even then it's recorded as both James and John saying it so James has like nothing recorded that he says we know so little about James

um the only time you mentioned apart from John's John is actually at his desk so every time James is mentioned he's actually mentioned with his brother John

um acts 12 at the death of James is the only time we see James mentioned apart from his brother

so so the question why did Jesus choose to spend so much time with this man we know so little about what made him so special about and why why don't we know anything about him why wasn't anything about his life recorded for us

so you know yeah like kind of like brother Jim alluded to if we're looking for disciples that seem Central to the story of Christ both Philip and Andrew I would say seem like better candidates just by looking at the gospels um they seem more involved than James does you know Andrew has uh um brother Jim said it was the first to follow Jesus you see in John 1 that he's the first one to leave all and follow after Jesus uh it's kind of hard like why why were these two not chosen

and we'll talk about that a little bit maybe not too much I have there unfortunately brother Jim I want to disappoint you a little bit um it's an answer I don't quite have right now but I'm hoping maybe someone will have an idea so

um obviously we know very little about these men or any of the disciples for that matter before the ministry of Jesus

but what we do know is that Peter Andrew James and John were all fishermen and the City of Capernaum

we know from the gospels that they work together we know that Capernaum was was not a very large Village um so their families were probably pretty pretty um probably did a lot together growing up

when John the Baptist appears on the scene we again don't really know much about how old these brothers were

um they're obviously old enough to be involved in the family business we know that Peter at least was married um and I would say almost certainly had kids I think that Peter had kids and we'll talk about that as well

um the other disciples probably were married as well um it's a good chance that Andrew and James at least um were married and had kids John being 18 if we assume that he's 18 it's possible that maybe he didn't

um so tradition has it that Peter was around 30 at the ministry of uh the beginning of the ministry of Christ so while John was younger like I said closer to 18 years old I couldn't find any tradition for for how old James was I personally believe James is older than John and again we'll talk about that

um he seems to be more well-known um in some ways than John

um so I kind of put him in his mid-20s he's you know maybe around 25 maybe 28 something in that range right mid to Upper 20s

so one thing that struck me as I was looking at this was just how young these guys are I mean Jesus we think about it he's only 33 when he was called To Die For The World and John was a teenager when he left all and followed started to follow Jesus

James Andrew and Peter they could have had young families with little children to care for these aren't the old season veterans that we often see and think about later in the acts and the letters right these are young men who are still learning quite a bit they're still learning how to lead they're still learning how to to take on that kind of a leadership role they're still very new to a lot of these things

one thing I can say for sure about these two sets of Brothers Peter Peter and Andrew James and John is that before falling after Jesus um we can almost certainly say that they were good religious Jews now they they probably weren't great Jews they you know like many others they probably didn't bother with the finer details of the law but I would say in most things we can assume that they tried to follow after the law

um they most likely talked about their faith while they worked

um that's really one of the things you're supposed to do under the law you were supposed to discuss and think about God's word while you worked so you can just kind of Imagine an eager young John kind of calling over to Peter in the other boat and asking him what he thought about the the story of David and Goliath that they paddled out uh for the day

and these brothers being good Jews we know that they probably went up to the feasts regularly regularly um as was expected of them

and so we can expect that one year they went up to let's say the Passover and while they were there they heard about a new preacher right there was some John who was out in the wilderness by the Jordan and he was baptizing

and you know as I left the feast to go home back to Galilee we can assume that maybe they stopped in to hear what this John had to say

um maybe they went back home for their families and you know everybody said for a bit and went back to their homes went back to their families we don't know how long john preached for we don't know how long he had his ministry was um but we know that at some point they decided to go after and follow him you know being the good Believers that they were um they along with their families would have gone and been baptized by John after hearing that the message of repentance that he was preaching

they may have been there when John cries out in in John 1 15 that this is the one of whom I spoke he that comes after me but is preferred before me

you know maybe they were there and and witnessed that baptism of Jesus of Nazareth maybe they heard that that uh great voice or saw that great light or at least they would have heard John talking about this experience that he had of this stuff descending upon this man

but then that man disappears you know Jesus after his baptism disappears for 40 days you know that's over a month that he was just gone and I think we you know as can assume that they stayed with John during that time that they stayed with with this preacher and then maybe you forgot about this incredible event that John would tell them about

and then one day their lives are changed forever sort of you know these men had most likely spent at least a month now away from their jobs following John um possibly even a couple of months at this point and one day John Andrew is sitting there with John and John all of a sudden sudden cries out over in John 1 29 and it says Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world

and Andrew looks over uh at what who John is pointing at and there's this man this single man with no followers no one really paying attention to him

now I I do want to know that there are some theories out there that that uh Jesus and John the Baptist were related to the sons of Zebedee um it's based on their mother's names things like that

um it's not something I've looked at too much um so I'm not going to try to explain it I just want to say I I have heard that suggested before

um so it's possible that Andrew and Peter had met Christ before these events um you know possibly he'd come to Capernaum as a boy to visit his cousins James and John but Nazareth is far enough away from capernaums that I think it's safe to say that they wouldn't have really known him very well if anything he was kind of just that odd cousin who would come up you know to visit the family Village um when he was a kid like it's not someone they would have been very close with I don't think

that family relationship would explain maybe why Jesus sets up base and Capernaum at the start of his ministry because he's just staying with his extended family

um so it's possible but but I don't I'm gonna assume that they didn't know know Jesus before this event

so anyways out of all the people who were there out of all the people at the time when they heard when John proclaims this Behold the Lamb of God Andrew and one other disciple of John took note of what John had said about Jesus and they fall after him

we aren't told who the other disciple is um could have been the disciple Jesus loved it could have been Judas it could have been one of the other twelve it could have just been someone completely random but John calls out for us that Andrew Peter's brother was the first disciple to follow after Jesus

and and like brother Jim said he doesn't make the cut he is not one of the these disciples in the Trinity of disciples

um you know and he kind of left baffled like why is this young Brash 18 year old John who wants to call down fire from heaven on people included instead of this obviously more observant and older Andrew

and to be honest I don't have a good answer for why not Andrew I have a theory for why these other three are chosen um I don't really know why Andrew isn't included to make it a quaternity which also is a valid word I found out which denotes a group of four which is again kind of fun maybe you all are good at English and do that already but I I find I think it's kind of cool anyways so it's not a quaternity of of disciples it's a trinity of disciples um so if anyone has any theories as to why not Andrew um I'd love to hear math for the class um for now we're just going to focus on the three

so circling back to the narrative John 1 41 and 42 tells us that Andrew excited about finding that Christ goes and finds Peter and probably Peter's family um anytime we talk about Peter doing something from now on uh in the gospels assume his family's there with him unless it specifically says that it's just Peter and the other disciples

um there's a good chance that Peter brings his family with him wherever they go that his wife his father-in-law and his children are all there following Jesus as well

so anyways Andrew goes and finds Peter and he tells on this exciting news he says from and from here on out Peter and Andrew we know at least start to follow Jesus

they follow him as he heads to Galilee and calls Philip and Nathaniel later on in John 1. they're there and to witness his first miracle at the wedding of Cana in John 2. there's a theory from Brother Jason Hensley's book glimpses of the master that that these disciples were actually the servants that were served serving the wine at the wedding which would kind of make sense because we see Mary is helping run the wedding and we know that she was probably too poor to hire servants so maybe she asked her son and his new friends if they would help her serve at this wedding so so that it's possible that these disciples were intimately involved in the first miracle of Christ

um the first of many that they would Witness

Jesus returns to Capernaum the home of the four disciples

um and John 2 verse 12 records that his whole family actually goes there with him his mother and his brothers as well and they set up at camp in Capernaum for time

and I think it's likely that these four fishermen got back to work right there's a new family now living with them they need to support the extra mouths there's a good chance that they go back to fishing during this time

eventually the Passover comes again in John 2 verse 13. you know maybe it's been five or six months let's say uh since they first left and followed John back in John 1. um and being the good Jews that they were all these four disciples would have gone up to the Passover and John 2 verse 17 tells us that they remembered that it was written the Zeal of your house has eaten me up when they saw Jesus clearing out the money changers from the temple so they would have been there and witnessed those events at least at least these four disciples would have been there

after these this Passover Jesus goes to the Jordan and he starts to baptize you know and Peter Andrew James and John are almost certainly go there with him

um and our Mongols who were baptizing with him potentially

Jesus eventually returns North to Galilee around that same time John the Baptist is arrested it would have been a fairly scary time I would say to be following any kind of a religious leader especially for those who had been followers of John right after John's arrested there's a good chance that they were also at risk

um so they would have been there when he was with this American woman at the well and John 4 they would have witnessed that pretty scandalous event of him socializing with a a woman like her

um and it was you know one of many shocking events that these three disciples would witness Jesus perform kind of like him turning over tables in the temple at the past October

when they get to Galilee again everyone seems to just return to their homes

um it's probably been over a year now I would say since Jesus was baptized which means that it's been about a year these disciples have been following you know John first and now Jesus

and you know they did definitely spend some of that first year um out preaching and out working following Jesus but they also spent a good fortune in that year back at home working uh working away at their fishing

so there's a good chance that when they get back um to Galilee that Peter James and John go back to their father's business um they start fishing again we see that Jesus and his family return to Nazareth which is the court recorded for us in Luke 4. um where we get the account of Jesus eventually being run out of the city by his old friends and Neighbors

um and there's no mention of his disciples being there with him when the people of Nazareth try to kill him

eventually after what's probably a couple months of preaching throughout the different cities of Galilee Jesus returns to Capernaum and he's walking along the seashore and he sees these two sets of Brothers again

the way that the Matthew Mark and Luke's accounts all read um it was Jesus who went about preaching the Good News of the Kingdom early on in his ministry there's no mention of his disciples being there with him

um they probably had to go home and work for a couple of months you know but when Jesus sees them again in Matthew 4 verse 19 and Mark 1 verse 17 he calls them to follow them and they do straight away they leave their Nets they leave their father's business and they go and they follow after him

although we say they don't follow him very far because before you know it a few verses later and Mark 1 verse 21 they're actually back in Capernaum

and but this time they they really do start to witness some truly incredible signs again right they must witness a multitude of Miracles Peter's own mother-in-law is actually healed from a fever in Peter's home in Peter's home so really they really haven't gone far they really have not followed him far at all

But after those events Jesus retreats and when his disciples find him he says that he must go throughout the other towns and preach the good news and Mark eight or sorry Mark 1 verse 38 and Luke 4 verse 43. remember Peter's mother-in-law was just deathly ill

um I highly doubt that Peter's wife wanted her husband or or any of her family up and leaving right after this sickness that her mother had just gone through

they'd been on and off of work for the past year with this man and you could assume that the money is probably starting to run a little tight so Jesus says that he not they must go and preach the gospel in Luke 4 verse 43. and in Matthew 4 23 it tells us that Jesus again no mention of the disciples went throughout all of Galilee

so it suggests that Andrew Peter James and John all stay in Capernaum at this point so despite being called the follow Jesus they don't actually seem to be willing to follow him further than just back into their hometown

so when we come to Luke 5 verse 1 we see that Jesus is again preaching by the source side with a multitude of people following him and the disciples are back out working in their boats

after asking one of these old friends of his to to use their boat so that he can so that more people could hear him Jesus then tells Peter to let down his Nets and they bring in this incredible catch

and now all of a sudden I think we see a change in Peter you know if if Peter had made the choice to stay home during those few months when Jesus was preaching in Galilee after he had already been called to follow Jesus I I think it's safe to assume that had a little guilt over that choice when Jesus reappears again

you know John the Baptist had told all four of these disciples that this man was the Lamb of God they had seen him perform and been a part of some pretty incredible miracles

but the cares of this life had been too much to leave behind now Peter had a family to care for he had you know possibly him and and possibly James and Andrew had little mouths that they had to feed and remember there's there's not been any feeding of the five thousand with five floats yet right there's no miracles of food as up at this point they needed to put food on the table

but when they bring in this great catch which I think once they've sold this great catch would have been a great base of money for them to work off of for the next two years of Jesus ministry I think Peter realizes his mistake if he followed this man God would provide for him and so in Luke 5 we get this account of Peter falling on his face in humility and confessing his son sins before Jesus in Luke 5 verse 8. he says depart from me Lord for I am a sinful man

and I think it's a good reminder for us not to get distracted by providing for our Earthly needs

and in Peter's defense um when you line up the gospel accounts I would suggest to you that the events of The Sermon on the Mount have not taken place yet which means there's a good chance that Jesus has not told them do not worry about what you will wear or what you will eat yet this is this is a new teachings that Jesus had hasn't taught them yet

so we're going to do a quick tangent here because I want to talk about the other Trinity um that we're going to look at tonight and that's the Trinity of loves that we see in the Bible

there are three types of loves that I would suggest you that will find in the Bible um you know and they're all just one love they're actually all one love but there are three different parts and they're all equal and they're all the same but different and all that stuff yada yada

um anyways these three loves are just about I think the closest thing you'll find to the Holy Trinity in the Bible um you know I call this this would be my Holy Trinity because I think this is you know I mean the Holy Trinity you won't find that in the Bible but this love these three loves which I'll put you are actually one love is you know kind of one of those that that could be um I don't know it's just funny how many parallels I was Finding not to say that I'm getting in over myself here anyways not suggesting there's a holy trinity in the Bible but I like this idea of these three loves

um so the three levels we're going to look at is God's love for us our love then for God and our love for our brothers I think those are the three loves that we'll see come up over and over again in um in the Bible and John in his first letter spends a lot of his time talking about and writing about these three loves and how they interact with each other you know it kind of says these are all the same love you know they're from the beginning but they're also new and it gets confusing and hard to follow at some point sometimes but I think his main points are these God first loved us

the love of God that God has shown us should motivate us then to love our God

if we want to love God we also have to love our brothers and sisters

if we love our brothers our sisters and sisters they will also love God

if we help our brothers and sisters to love God God will love us

and before you know it we've got this whole circle going over and over again God loves us therefore we love God more if we love God more we need to love our brothers and sisters more if we love our brothers and sisters more they will love God and if they love God because of us God will love us and the cycle continues

you know this is the love of God this is this is when we talk about the love of God that's what we're talking about is this cycle I think it's the first love it's the thing that was from the beginning this is the the single commandment of Christ uh Christ calls us the new commandment um this is the one thing that God wanted from the very beginning was for people to understand I think and I think this is a crucial part of the ministry of Jesus is understanding how these three loves work together

and this is the cycle of love that we see exemplified in in Jesus you know I think this is God's word this is God's plan it's this cycle it's Central to Our Hope so three loves God's love for us our love for God and our love for our brothers and sisters three different loves working together but really I think they're all just the love of God being shown in US

and during his last night with his disciples before his death the Gospel of John specifically records for us an extended version of the teachings of Jesus that night we don't get in the other gospel accounts

so we're briefly going to look at the section of John 13 to 16. again very high level overview we're just going to skim the surface I I think sometimes it's helpful to look at these bigger sections without the chapters so like I said the whole first Epistle of John reading through that before class if you could if you want to do something after class read John 13 to 16 in one setting it's it's really good to kind of get this whole message of Jesus rather than breaking it into chunks

so we're just going to skim the surface um but but we're going to look at John 13 to 16 to see how many connections we can find between these four chapters

so immediately after the Last Supper John 13 verse 2 starts and tells us that Jesus got up and starts to wash the feet of the disciples Peter being Peter uh tell us Jesus first that he should never wash his feet and Jesus responds by saying that if he doesn't wash his feet then he has no part with him

and so Peter tells Jesus not only to wash his feet but to wash his hands and his head also and I think that's an interesting thing to note because if there's one thing we'll see about Peter is that he knew more than possibly anyone else any of the other disciples that his hope lay only in Jesus like Peter could not imagine not being with Jesus so when Jesus says that you know if I don't wash your feet you have no part with me that scares Peter you know this is Peter recognizes that Jesus was The Man Who provided for him all those years again he was the man who pulled him out of the waves in the storm

there was nothing I think Peter feared more than being separated from Jesus

Jesus then tells his disciple after washing their feet that he did this as an example for them to follow you know they were similar they were supposed to care for one another if he their Master had done this kind of gesture uh to them then none of them were above serving one another and in that context it's interesting to note that Judas was actually still there with them which means that Jesus washed the feet of the man who had already betrayed him knowing he was about to go out and and hand him over to his death but it didn't matter Jesus washes his feet anyways

Jesus 10 then he tells his disciples that one of them will betray him and it obviously causes quite a bit of stir among the disciples

and Peter looks at the disciple whom Christ loved and he who you know who's laying on the bosom of Jesus it's described for us in John 13 and he asks him who is who would betray Jesus and Jesus then shares some bread with Judas and tells him to go and do what he's about to do quickly and Judas leaves

and then Jesus says that he had a new commandment to give to his disciples in John 13 34 as a new commandment I give to you that you love one another as I have loved you that you love one another and by this all men shall know that you are my disciples if you have loved one for another mirroring what he had just said about washing their feet he tells them now to follow his example and loving one another the same way that they should follow his example and washing the feed they also should follow his example on loving one another with the same love which he had loved them with

and I don't think this is lost on the disciples when they look back um look back on this that Jesus had literally just shown love to an enemy you know we get these lessons from Jesus where he says yeah

um y'all not just to love those who love you back but to love your enemy as yourself and I think you know looking back they would have recognized that

Jesus loves them and so they also ought to love one another and by that people would know that they were his disciples people would know that that they love Jesus if they loved one another and not just that they were um

sorry and not just their friends because you know as Jesus says in the sermon of the mount even the tax collectors and the Sinners could do that they were supposed to love those who despised and hated them and by that they would be known as the Disciples of Christ

so Jesus then and John 14 talks about where he's going and he says he's going to prepare a place for his disciples and in John 14 15 he then says that if they love him he they will keep his commandment

so what commandment well the Commandment to love one another that's the Commandment he's just given him the new commandment he says if you love me you will keep that commandment because if we love Jesus again we need to love one another

John 14 21 uh Jesus says he who has my Commandments and keeps them is the one who loves me and he who loves me Will Be Loved by my father and I will love him and will disclose myself to him so hopefully you'll see the cycle of this that those three types of love working together again um as we go through some of these verses

in John 15 Jesus talks about being the True Vine and in John 15 verse 9 he says that just as the father has loved me I also have loved you abide in my love if you keep my commandment you

right after

they're right after John uh the the story of walking on water in John 6 Peter says Lord to whom will we go you have the words of life he recognizes that there's no one else and Matthew 15 it's Peter who seeks greater understanding by asking Christ to explain the parable and Matthew 16 it's Peter who confesses that Jesus is the Christ the son of God it's also Peter who tries to prevent Jesus from going to his death he's you know he actually becomes an adversary in that point because he loved him so much he could not imagine Jesus going to his death it's Peter who wants to build Tabernacles at the Transfiguration it's Peter who didn't want to let Christ wash his feet but then asks him to wash his hands and his head also it's Peter who denies ever falling away at the Last Supper it's Peter who follows Jesus Christ and to his trial that's Peter who denies his Lord

it's Peter who jumps on into the water to see Jesus after he appears to them after the resurrection and it's Peter who says Lord you know I love you over and over again he says that to Christ in John 21. if there's one thing about the story uh of Jesus asking Peter if you love him three times over and over in John 21. it's that obviously Peter loved Christ he says you know that I love you it was an obvious thing that Peter loved Christ he's the disciple that loved Christ that's who Peter was

he had uprooted his whole family his whole life to follow after Christ

in fact when we look at Matthew 18 to Mark 9 the disciples are debating over who's going to the greatest in the kingdom of heaven and Jesus grabs a little child and sets them in their midst

now uh brother recently pointed this out to me do you ever about whose child that was most likely it's the child of one of the disciples following Jesus there's not going to just be some strangers just children hanging around these are Disciples of Jesus and probably their children they're with them

it's a child that that was you know they would have all known we know that their wives and mothers um of these Men followed after Jesus it was the mother of the sons of Zebedee that came to Jesus and asks um for her sons to be to set his right hand and his left hand in his kingdom so we know that the mothers were there and there's a good chance that the children were there as well so it's very likely that Peter had literally brought his whole family to come and follow after Jesus and it's possible that it's his little children that Jesus picks up for his object lesson

Peter was a Man Who Loved Christ with all that he had to the point where it kind of blunders into awkward situations because he cares how much so there's so much

but Peter wasn't perfect you know there's a lesson that Peter really has to learn in the end and he learns it over and over again actually I think the same lesson in his life and as if we love God if we truly love Christ we must feed his flock we must be willing to care and love for our brother you know no one can say that he loves God and hates his brother Peter is someone who loved his Lord but he often struggles to love his brother and sister

um when again in John 21 when he's asked three times um to to um how much it does if he loves Christ Christ's response is to if you do care for my flock

uh it's Peter who asks how many times he needs to forgive his brother he was struggled with that forgiveness they didn't know how many times he had to keep repeating this forgiveness it's Peter who had to be reminded not to call the Gentiles unclean

he's a great example for us that our love for God and the Zeal that we should have uh in showing our love for God but it's also an important lesson for us that if that love or that Zeal um in order for that to actually mean something then it needs to be shown in the way that we love one another you know no man can say he loves God and hate his brother

the next type of love that I want to look at then is God's love for us and the disciple who exemplifies that love is obviously a disciples whom Christ loved

this particular phrase this peculiar phrase in some ways is only used in John's gospel

um and even then that disciples not really featured very often he doesn't actually show up until the Last Supper over in John 13. it's that disciple who's leaning on the on Jesus during the meal

um it's the same disciple who's at the foot of the cross and is told to take care of Jesus's mother which is really neat when you think about it for a second that you know in all that pain and Agony this disciple provided Jesus at least a little comfort knowing that you know while he's there on the cross his mother would at least be taken care of

and it's this disciple who recognizes Jesus first when the disciples are out fishing in John 21 and after the resurrection

and as I said tradition has it that this disciple is John um and based on some phraseology that John uses at the end of his book saying that you know this is the account of the disciples in Christ's love

but the image that we're given of this disciple is a thoughtful Discerning person who Jesus has a very close relationship with

and it might sound like the John we read about in the three letters of John but I don't think it really lines up with the John that we read about in the Gospels you know and it's John and Mark 9 and Luke 9 who rationally tries to prevent others from casting out demons in the name of Jesus simply because they didn't follow Jesus like the rest of them did

um John wants to call down fire on the cities of those who reject Jesus on his way up to Jerusalem and I will say that is recorded as both James and John saying that um the calling on fire so take that as you may but I the image of dawn that we get is that he's this young eager uh to fall he's eager to do the right thing but if someone doesn't really get the point of the Gospel quite yet so I have a hard time seeing that 18 to 20 year old um being the disciple whom Jesus loved more than any other disciple I mean the disciple whom Jesus loved he was loved by Jesus enough that other people knew him as the disciple whom Jesus loved

and plus if John wrote the Gospel of John then John's calling himself the disciple whom Jesus loved and it just kind of feels like an odd Flex it just feels weird

so my different take my my my different my my uh different take on this is I think that the disciple whom Jesus loved was actually James

um like we've said we don't really know much about James so it's hard to prove that

um but what we do know about James is that when him and John are listed it's always James listed first which and of itself not a big deal

um but when talking about the brothers almost all of the gospel writers list them as James and John his brother like John was known as the brother of James James was the one everyone knew and John was just oh that that's the brother of James over there you know anyone who's gone to school after an older sibling kind of knows what it's like to be oh you're just Gideon Joshua's brother right like he was second fiddle to James um the way it reads

and at the time of the gospels I don't think John was really a well-known guy right remember he's pretty young he's identified as being James's brother James was the one that people knew he's probably older he's probably more well known at that time and John's kind of just that younger brother who tagged along

now if the disciple was known for being the disciple that Jesus loves there's a good chance that people knew him because of the kind of character he had

um they would have been well known they would have had a pretty incredible character I think to be able to say that Jesus loved you that you've got to have a pretty incredible character

and John early on in the ministry of Jesus and then in acts kind of always seems to play second fiddle he's not really a leading character now when we come to acts when Peter and John go out it's Peter who leads and John who follows um he's not really someone who took charge until much later on in his life

so the question is why don't we know much about James why if this is James don't we know much about him

well I would suggest this because the gospels all focus on Peter and John Moore because Peter and John were the ones who were active during the account of the acts I mean if Peter had taught you about Christ and you read an account you know from Luke that Peter was there with Christ it would have made that account so much more credible and James isn't featured because he is not a big part uh AF you know after an ax he doesn't play a big role in the in the story of Acts

and I would suggest it's because he's too busy taking care of Mary the mother of Jesus if James was a disciple whom Jesus loved then it's James who was charged to take care of Mary the foot of the cross would you explain why after the resurrection it's Peter and John who go out preaching and not Peter James and John who'd go preached Jerusalem James had a different role to play his job was to care for the flock to care for the family of Jesus

so Peter is the disciple who loves Jesus I think James is a disciple whom Jesus loved why then is John included in this Trinity of disciples and I think it's because of that final type of Love That brotherly love I would suggest it's because the love that James had for his younger brother John was so great if Jesus wanted James and Peter his two closest disciples to go somewhere with him then James insisted that his younger brother John come with him because he loved him so much and he wanted him to love Jesus the same way he did

you know and there's a reason why I think this remember that that Trinity of loves they're all related if we love God like Peter we also need to love our brothers and if we love our brothers then God will love us

Jesus first showed his love to Peter Andrew James and John by providing that great catch of fish so that they could provide for their families this in turn caused Peter and James to love their Lord but on top of that Peter also or sorry James also loved his brother in a way that maybe Peter didn't love Andrew

Jesus you know saw that Brotherly Love in James as an incredible example of the character that he was trying to teach his disciples and so he loved James because of it Jesus loved James because James had that love for Jesus because James loved Jesus he wanted his younger brother to also love Jesus as well and so he showed that love of Jesus to him that which has first shown to him by Jesus

James loved his brother and because James loved his brother and shared the love of God with him James I think was the disciple whom Christ loved

but we do know about James is that eventually he's the first disciple to die for Christ that's the one thing that we can say for sure about James

he loved his Lord so much that he was willing to lay down his own life for his friend which Jesus said there was no greater love than that

if this is the case that again I know it's a bit of a stretch but if we assume that all of this all holds true then James did an amazing example of how these three love should work together in the life of a disciple

and I know there's one major hole in this Theory there's a small passage in John 21 about uh you know the Book of John being the account of this disciple whom Jesus loved

um it's kind of the big the big hole in this Theory I would say but I'd say it's possible that James had recorded these things long before John wrote rewrote the gospel you know it was John who distributed and rewrote it distributed it among the cliches and rewrote it but I think maybe it's possible that James had recorded this first account maybe it was James sitting there with Mary in the home uh with Mary talking about the life of her son who recorded this account for John then to use and distribute while Peter and John route preaching it's possible that Jane James recorded the events of the Life of Christ and then entrusted that account to the life of you know the life of Jesus to the person that he loved very dearly his younger brother John

it's possible that as John became older and a leader in the equation he looked back at the amusing love that his brother had for him and that account that had been given to him by his brother and decided to take that account and distribute distribute a copy to the equations

over in John 21 Jesus tells Peter that he would be led around by others in his old age and Peter looks at the disciple whom Jesus loved and says Lord what about this man what about the man that you love more than me you know what's his fate gonna be and Jesus answered if I want him to remain until I come what is that to you it doesn't matter you follow me

and if you know that is James the disciple whom Jesus loved I guarantee you that all these disciples would have remembered those words when James the disciple closest to Jesus was killed because of his faith in loving God the very first of the eleven you know the disciple who was a true friend of Jesus had been killed before Jesus had returned

the kingdom hadn't been established in time for him

they had to continue to wait for their Lord's return crisis said if I want him to remain until I come what is that to you you follow me would they be willing to continue to follow Jesus Christ if that is what it meant

the brother who had loved John so dearly that he dragged him along wherever he went whose example of love I think stirred up and motivated John to come and follow the savior was now gone from John's life

John was still a young man after the events of Acts 12 and he had now lost two incredible mentors men who had showed him incredible love two men who had been willing to lay down their lives for him

and I think it's perfectly reasonable to assume that that John picks up his his brother's cross and follows in his footsteps he remembered the love that James had shown for him he remembered the love that his brother had for Jesus to the point that he was willing to lay down his own life and John remembered the love that Jesus had for his brother James

and years later I think when John sat down to write the the letters to the gospel uh to the colleges to remind them of that great love that God had for them and that love that they should you know provoke in them I think it's possible that he read through that gospel account that his brother had gave him and he remembered the words of Jesus At The Last Supper I think maybe it's a neat little tribute to think that he thought back to that incredible brother in the example that he had laid down for John and now John in writing his first epistle encourage others and us to follow that same example

John and his letters outlines like I said these three types of love for us showing how they work in our lives we can look at these three disciples and see great examples of how this love should work in our lives

so to recap the three there's three loves that we see in the Bible God first loved us God's love for us should provoking us a love for God if we love God we should love our brothers and sisters and then if we love our brothers and sisters we should show them the love of God and if we show them the love of God to others God will again love us

Peter is a great example of someone who loved God but had to learn to love his brothers and sisters John is a great example of someone who received brotherly love and because of it was stirred up to love his Lord and James if he could handle stretching and filling in the story a bit can be a great example of someone who God loves an example of what Christ and God are looking for an example of all three of these loves and how they should work together in our lives