Part I: John 1:1-18 | Part II: John 1:19-12:50 | Part III: John 13:1-20:31

So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?”

He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”

He said to him, “Feed My lambs.”

He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?”

He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”

He said to him, “Tend My sheep.”

He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?”

And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.”

Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep. Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.” This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.”

Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said, “Lord, who is the one who betrays You?” Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?”

Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.”

(John 21:15-23)

As explored in Part III, bringing glory to God in everything we do must be our primary focus. There is nothing pragmatic in this endeavor, for any action that a Christian responds with “well, it gets the job done” is doing a huge disservice to Christ. A response like that shows the individual’s halfheartedness in the action, and further shows that they did not care whether it truly brought glory to God or not. For them, it just works for what their immediate goals might be. There is no care for the possible repercussions of their actions or they believe they can handle problems when they arise.

The passage above speaks directly against this form of compromise. Following God means not only placing our sights on Him, but looking into ourselves and realizing that we need this help; that without Him directing our steps we are completely unprepared for the tasks set before us; completely unprofitable. Due to this fact, we as humans, instead of following God, tend to emulate those who we perceive to be doing well. We take the pragmatic approach and rationalize to ourselves, “this person’s ministry is growing, I should do what that person is doing…” Jesus’ answer to this dilemma is direct: “What is that to you? You follow Me.”

This has always been and ever will be what our God wants. Boice rightly comments, “[These words] are a reminder that Christianity is Christ, not just believing in some abstract sense, but believing in him to the point of turning our back on all else to follow him.” We must let our lives be led by him and not run by us. For only by denying self and following Him can we ever get beyond our pragmatic practices, begin trusting our savior, and allow the Spirit to guide us.

John’s gospel was written to prove Jesus is the Christ. These past four posts were broken specifically into sections correlating with the gospel. My aim was to show the underlying sub-theme of obedience throughout the letter. In summary John’s prologue (1:1-18) is a fantastic presentation of our eternal God. Immediately, you are confronted with the fact that you are either God’s or not. The second section (1:19-12:50) focuses on the signs Jesus performed as proof of who He is. Throughout the whole narrative John records not just the miracles but the peoples’ response to what Jesus was doing. In each case, either more people turned to follow Him or they tried harder and harder to discredit Him. Their response mattered; for following Jesus means denying self and allowing another to lead your life. Those who wanted to stop Jesus were the ones who thought they could run their life better than their creator. The third section (13:1-20:31) is commonly referred to as “the book of glory” or “the glorification of Christ.” Pertaining to our sub-theme, everything coalesces. We see that the proverbial line is clearly drawn in the sand; either you live in obedience or disobedience. Understanding and growth come through the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit indwelling all believers. Drawing from the illustration above, prior to salvation we walked and did as we pleased. Now as believers we understand that a war is ever present within us (Romans 6-7), we are carried along by someone whether we want to admit this or not. It is the Spirit which convicts us and allows us to resist the fleshly war ruining our lives. Last, it is here in John’s epilogue (21:1-25) we come full circle. Those who believe on His name have one specific command: follow me. There is only one way, and that is God’s way. As I stated at the closing of Part I, “If it works, but is not done in accordance with scripture, then it is disobedience.  Obedience in a Christian’s life matters simply because we are God’s.”

-Next, a look at John’s Letters