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JOHN, THE YOUNGEST DISCIPLE

by Dr. Christopher L. Cagan

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Morning, September 29, 2019

“This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true” (John 21:24; p. 1146 Scofield).


“This disciple” was the Apostle John. He did not mention his own name in the Gospel he wrote. Instead he called himself, “another disciple,” “that other disciple,” and other words like that.

John was the son of Zebedee the fisherman. John also worked as a fisherman, in his father’s business. He was the brother of James.

John was a disciple of John the Baptist before he met Jesus. With Andrew he was one of the very first disciples of Jesus. The Bible says,

“Again the next day after John [the Baptist] stood, and two of his disciples; And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou? He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother” (John 1:35-40; p. 1116).

There were two disciples who came to Jesus in this passage. One was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. The other was not named. He was John himself.

When John became a Disciple, he was quite young. He was the youngest of the Disciples. John was probably about 17 or 18 when he met Jesus, certainly no more than 20. When the names of the Disciples are listed, John is mentioned after his brother James (see Mark 3:17; p. 1048). In Matthew 10:2 (p. 1008) John is listed after Andrew and again after James his brother. John’s name was written after theirs because John was younger.

John was with Jesus for three years as His Disciple. The young man John went right out to preach with the other Disciples (Matthew 10:5). John did everything they did. John didn’t stay out of the work because he was young. He threw himself right into the work of Christ!

The night after Jesus rose from the dead, John received the Holy Spirit and was converted (John 20:22; p. 1144). John became a powerful Apostle. He ministered directly with Peter in Acts 3, 4 and 8. When he did that, John was in his early twenties!

Later John wrote five books of the New Testament. Besides the Gospel of John, he wrote I, II, and III John and the Book of Revelation. John was the only Apostle who did not die a martyr’s death, but he came very close. He was boiled in oil. He was exiled to the island of Patmos. John lived to a very old age.

But today I want to talk about John as a young man. He became a Disciple of Jesus before he was 20. Jesus thought so much of John that He asked him to take care of His mother Mary. The Bible says, “When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple [John] standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home” (John 19:26, 27; p. 1142). What an honor and a responsibility for a young man to take care of the mother of Christ!

The life of John proves that a young man can do a great deal for God! Yes, you can do a lot for Jesus when you’re young. John did. Don’t wait until you graduate from college. Don’t wait until your life is better. Don’t hang back until you’re thirty. Don’t wait until you’re married and have children. You will wait and wait and never do much at all! That’s not what John did. John followed Jesus right away. Why can’t you? Don’t be like the lazy new-evangelicals, forever waiting and never doing anything! Be like John and throw yourself right into the work! Today I want to bring out three points about this young disciple.

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I. First, John stayed in the church.

John stayed with Jesus when many others did not. The Bible says,

“Many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve [including John], Will ye also go away?” (John 6:66, 67; p. 1124).

Peter answered, “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). Peter stayed. John stayed. And it was John who wrote about this church split and how they stayed – for this account is in the Gospel of John!

True, John had a time of weakness. When Christ was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, John “forsook him, and fled” with the other Disciples (Matthew 26:56; p. 1039). But that same night John risked his own life and followed Jesus into the high priest’s palace (John 18:15; p. 1140). The high priest knew who he was (18:15, 16). John could have been arrested then. But John took the risk and went in anyway.

When Jesus was crucified, John was the only Disciple who was at the foot of the Cross with Mary and the other women. The Bible says, “When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple [John] standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!” (John 19:26; p. 1142).

John was near the Cross of Christ when all the other Disciples had run away and hidden themselves. John risked his own life to be there. The chief priests, the scribes and the elders were there, mocking Jesus (Matthew 27:42; p. 1042). They could have pointed out John to the others. John could have been arrested by the soldiers and killed. But there John stood, at the side of Mary, close to Jesus his Master. This young man put his elders to shame!

John stayed in the church. He stayed with Jesus. I say to you, “Stay in the church! Be by the side of your pastor!” If you don’t stay, don’t expect to grow in Christ. Don’t expect to be blessed. Stay, and stay, and stay!

II. Second, John did the work of the ministry.

John was with Jesus for three years. He did the same ministry as the older Disciples. Jesus sent John out with them (Matthew 10:2; p. 1008). Jesus told John and the others to “preach” (Matthew 10:7). John didn’t stay back because he was young. He went out to preach, and he did it for three years!

After Christ rose from the dead, John was right there, doing the work of the ministry. He was there in the upper room where the believers met to pray. The Bible says,

“They went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren” (Acts 1:13, 14; p. 1148).

John was there in the prayer meeting. He prayed for ten days with the others until the Day of Pentecost when they were filled with the Holy Spirit and the revival came!

John was at Peter’s side when the lame man was healed in the Temple (Acts 3:1; p. 1152). The priests put them in jail for preaching that Jesus had risen from the dead (Acts 4:1-3; p. 1153). The priests marveled at “the boldness of Peter and John” (Acts 4:13; p. 1153). And John, with Peter, said to them, “We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20; p. 1154).

John wasn’t satisfied with attending meetings. He threw himself into the work of the ministry, and kept on doing it. What about you? Don’t wait until you’re older. John didn’t. Don’t be satisfied with just attending the meetings. Don’t think, “I come to church. I’m fine.” Do everything you can! Speak with the pastor about what you should do. Don’t be satisfied with attendance only. Do as much as possible. Do evangelism. Bring one person to church with you!

III. Third, John stayed close to his pastor.

Of course John’s pastor was Jesus Himself, the Master of the Disciples. John was close to his Master. He often talked to him. He often communicated with Jesus, his pastor. That’s always a good thing to do!

John was with Jesus at the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1; p. 1022). John sat next to Jesus at the Last Supper (John 13:25; p. 1135). He was called the Disciple “whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23; p. 1135). John was there at the Cross with Mary, and Jesus told John to take care of Mary like he would his own mother (John 19:26; p. 1142).

You may say, “I’m not an Apostle.” True, you’re not. But you can learn from the Apostle John! Why not? It’s clear that John talked many times with Jesus. He listened to Jesus. John and Jesus cared for each other.

It is right to stay close to your pastor! Talk to him. When you have a question about what to do, talk to your pastor. When you have a decision in your life, talk to your pastor. When you have a problem, talk to your pastor. Stand by your pastor. Pray for him. Give him your respect and support.

Learn from your pastor. You’ll grow in Christ if you do. Jesus said,

“The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master”
       (Luke 6:40; p. 1081).

The Greek word translated “perfect” means “mature, grown up, complete.” A modern translation of this verse says, “The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher” (NIV).

We can learn two things from that verse. First, “the disciple is not above his master.” You are not above your pastor. Listen to your pastor. Do what he says. Talk to him often. Ask him for advice. Don’t pretend to be above him. You’re not. Second, when you are fully trained you will be like your teacher. You will grow in Christ. You’ll be able to handle the problems of life. You’ll become a mature Christian. Yes, be a disciple of your pastor. Talk to him. Listen to him. Let him help you grow. May God bless you as you do it!

Some of you here today have not trusted Jesus. Your sin separates you from God. He will judge you for your sin. But Jesus died on the Cross to pay for your sin, so you wouldn’t have to pay. Jesus shed His Blood on the Cross so your sin could be washed away in the sight of God. If you would like to speak with us about trusting Jesus, please come and stand at the front of the room now. Amen.


THE OUTLINE OF

JOHN, THE YOUNGEST DISCIPLE

by Dr. Christopher L. Cagan

“This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true” (John 21:24; p. 1146 Scofield).

(John 1:35-40; Mark 3:17; Matthew 10:2, 5;
John 20:22; 19:26, 27)

I.    First, John stayed in the church, John 6:66, 67, 68; Matthew 26:56;
John 18:15, 16; 19:26; Matthew 27:42.

II.   Second, John did the work of the ministry, Matthew 10:2, 7;
Acts 1:13, 14; 3:1; 4:1-3, 13, 20.

III.  Third, John stayed close to his pastor, Matthew 17:1; John 13:25;
John 13:23; 19:26; Luke 6:40.