Lesson 9: The Witness of the Disciples of Jesus

This Lesson is part of John’s Gospel Easy Notes Series. 

John himself said about the crucifixion: “The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe (John 19:35).” See also 21:24. Jesus had earlier told them that those were with him from the beginning will testify about him (John 15:27). John had experienced the facts of Jesus’ life first-hand. He therefore is a powerful witness. That is why there is the ring of truth about the gospel he wrote because he wrote about what he had seen and experienced.

Andrew said:
“We have found the Messiah.” – John 1:41

There are three mentions of Andrew in John’s gospel. On all these three occasions we see him introducing someone to Jesus.

He first introduced his brother Peter to Jesus (John 1:40–42). There is something lovable about Andrew. He was always known as the brother of Peter. He was never part of the innermost circle of three—Peter, James, and John. Yet we find him happily taking a back seat.

In the first case it was his selflessness that we saw. In the second instance we see his optimistic attitude as he brings a lad with five loaves and two fish to Jesus (John 6:8–9). He was not sure how this small meal the boy had would be enough for all. Yet he brought the boy to Jesus.

In the third instance we see Andrew thinking beyond his Jewish background. He brings the Greeks to Jesus (John 12:22). Andrew thus becomes a home missionary as well as foreign missionary.

Philip said:
“We have found the One whom Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” –   John 1:44

In this instance is hidden one important truth that we can easily miss. Philip is convinced that Jesus is the One whom Moses wrote about. This is the best understanding we can have of the Old Testament. Beyond the rules and the regulations, the laws, the offerings and sacrifices, the tabernacle and festivals, and the kingdom and the Jewish temple we need to see the fact that they pointed to Jesus Christ.

Nathanael said:
“Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.” –   John 1:49

Jesus is king. We find that people wanted to make him king by force (John 6:15). But that was not God’s method. We find him testifying before Pilate that he is indeed king (John 6:37). And in his death too, the written charge fixed to the cross read: “JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS (John 19:19).” Is Jesus the King in your life? If he is, how does that affect your lifestyle? Are you loyal to him? Do you obey him?

Peter said:
“We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” ­–   John 6:69

When many disciples turned back and no longer followed Jesus, he asked the Twelve: “You do not want to leave too, do you?” What a moment that might have been! But Peter was the first to respond. “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life (John 6:68).” Have you come to see the uniqueness of the words of Jesus? You might have read many books, novels, short stories, drama and poetry. Have you found such life-giving words anywhere else?

Martha said,
“Yes Lord,” “I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.” –   John 11:27

It was to Martha that Jesus made one the greatest statements anyone ever made in all human history: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

See Martha’s response: “Yes Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.” What a confession of faith. When Peter said this at Caesarea Philippi it was a normal discussion (see Matthew 18:13—16). But here, Martha was in tears. He brother was dead. But in spite of her sorrow she makes one of the greatest confessions of faith ever.

Isn’t it time that we remove the negative labelling of Martha? We find fault with her and put her in the kitchen because Jesus made a comment about her (Luke 10:41, 42). At the same time we should not fail to see the great confession of faith Martha made in her hour of deepest sorrow!

Again, before we find fault with Martha, let us ask ourselves, “Are we like Mary who chose what is better?” Do we spend unhurried time with God each day? (see Luke 10:39, 42).

Mary Magdalene said:
“I have seen the Lord!” –   John 20:18

It is amazing how Jesus empowered women. In those days a woman was not allowed to testify in court. A woman’s testimony was invalid. Yet Jesus in allowing a woman to carry the good news of the resurrection liberated women to be what God had created them to be.

We find Mary addressing Jesus as “Rabboni” meaning Teacher. That was the last time someone addresses Jesus thus. But she runs with the glorious news that she has seen the Lord. She realizes that the Risen Jesus is more than what she had known till then. The Risen Jesus makes a huge difference in the way we witness to him. But the question is: “Have you seen or experienced the Risen Lord?” It was such an encounter that changed Saul to Paul while he was on the Road to Damascus (see Acts 9, 22, 26).

Thomas said:
“My Lord and my God” –  John 20:28

We all call Thomas, “Doubting Thomas.” It is true that Jesus told him, “Stop doubting and believe.” But then what is the purpose of John telling us of this. It is to show us one of the greatest statements of faith in the gospels. Thomas in response to Jesus says: “My Lord and my God!”

This is the only instance in the gospels where anyone calls Jesus, “God.” John immediately concludes his gospel (Chapter 21 seems to have been added later.) because his purpose was to help people believe that Jesus is the Son of God (John 20:31). Perhaps there is a word of encouragement for each one of us in this incident. Jesus is willing to come to us and clear our doubts; lovely isn’t it?

John wrote:
“Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.” –  John 20:31

John wrote this gospel with a purpose in mind. That purpose is recorded in John 20:31.

Do you have a purpose in life? Is it to gain a good education, have a wonderful career, a family, build a house, and buy a car and so on? Or does this purpose of John—to testify to Jesus Christ—a part of our life?

What is your witness to Jesus Christ? It is easy to compromise Jesus when you talk with others. People are ready to accept him as good teacher, a great healer, a worker of miracles and a holy person and one of the ways to God. But that is not enough. It falls short of what all the witnesses testify to who Jesus is. Therefore be always ready to witness to the truth: Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God!

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