The apostle John possessed a hot temper that Christ named him the son of thunder (Mark 3:17). He had a spirit of pride, ambition, resentment when injured, and was eager to take revenge (Mark 10:35–41). This spirit was clearly reflected in his words and actions.
In one incident, John exhibited his hot temper when Jesus and His disciples were traveling through Samaria on their way to Jerusalem. Jesus wanted to rest for the night there but He was rejected from the villagers, because His destination was Jerusalem—And the Jews and the Samaritan were enemies. “When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, ‘Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?’” (Luke 9:54). But Jesus rebuked John and James for their unloving spirit.
So, how did John’s spirit change into the most loving disciple?
The reason behind John’s great change of character was that he yielded himself more completely than any of the other disciples to the transforming power of His Master. As he gazed upon the love of God, he “changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Beholding the love of Jesus and meditating on it for a lifetime transformed the “Son of Thunder” and he earned a new nickname: the “Apostle of Love.” John not only loved his Master; he was named “that disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 20:2; 21:7, 20).
John’s epistles, written late in his life, showed that he possessed a fervency of spirit, (1 John 2:22; 2 John 7; 3 John 10) but it was a fervency tempered by love. In fact, in 1 John the word “love” and its relatives occur over 40 times.
According to early Christian tradition, John served as a loving apostle and supervisor of the churches throughout the Roman province of Asia during the closing years of his life.
In His service,
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