Intro: getting to Know John the beloved (Mark Driscoll on Revelation part 1)

As we are going to start a new preaching series on Revelation soon I thought I would listen to Mark Driscoll’s series on it.

Here are my notes on his introduction:

  • The preaching series follows the theme of worship through the book.
  • Worship is what we do when we come together and what we do the rest of our lives (“your spiritual act of worship”).
  • John, who wrote the book or Revelation, was a leader we should look at an emulate.
  • Jesus was worshiped by the shepherds when he was a baby and the Magi when he was a little bit older.
  • Jesus grew up like most people, going through puberty and doing a job.
  • At around 30 Jesus chose his disciples, like teachers did in those days, to be with him.
  • John was the youngest disciple
  • John was with Jesus, saw the miracles, heard the teaching, ate with him, worshiped with him on the Sabbath and special days, saw Jesus cook, do chores etc.
  • The love between John and Jesus was more like a big brother and a little brother than a prom date.
  • “oh, I love Jesus like a big brother, like a son loves his dad, like a little kid brother loves his big brother. That I get – that makes sense to me. I can get my head around that.”
  • Peter thought out loud, John processed stuff and said less.
  • John was part of Jesus’ inner circle, the three. He was there at the transfiguration, he arranged the last supper and sat right next to Jesus and sang with him (Matthew 26:30). He saw Jesus pray and sweat blood in the Garden of Gethsemane, watched him be whipped and crucified. And Jesus looked down at him from the cross and entrusted his mother to him.
  • At that moment, I would suspect that John embraced Mary, probably holding her up because she was incapable of even enduring the witness of the murder of her son. How many mothers are in this room? And that’s the last thing you want to be present for, is the public execution of your own innocent child. John is there, looking at Jesus. John is there, hearing the crowd cheering. John is there, holding Mary together. And John is there, coming apart himself. That’s John. John is there at the cross looking at Jesus when he hears Jesus Christ cry out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus quotes the Psalms, John hears it and in that moment, all of John’s sin – past, present, future – were placed upon Jesus and John was there to see the Father turn his back on the Son.”
  • John was the first to recognise Jesus as risen from the dead. (me – not sure what he means by that, Marry saw him first didn’t she? )
  • Because John was with Jesus, loved Jesus, and worshiped with Jesus, he should shape our understanding of worship.
  • John lived through brutal persecution. The first because Christians refused to recognise the Roman government over Jesus and the second because Nero used them as a scapegoat for his negligence in stopping Rome burning. John was himself apparently boiled alive but lived. It would not have been uncommon for John to see the murdered, brutalised bodies of his church members stacked high along the road side.
  • “See, some of you I had the privilege of leading to Christ. Some of you I’ve had the privilege of discipling. Some of you I’ve had the privilege of officiating your wedding or being there when your child was born. John was a pastor; it was not uncommon for him on his way to work, or on his way to church, to pass by a stack of bodies and start seeing members of his church – people that he had led to Christ, people that he prayed with the day before; people that he had just officiated the wedding of, people who had just given birth and their children. John kept preaching. He would get up on Sundays in his church and he would likely read the list of the people who had died that week, and then he would talk about the goodness and the love and the grace of Jesus who takes away sin, and the resurrection of the dead for those who believe so that there is a life beyond this life.” (me – John Loved God and he loved people. He was so devoted to both and so sure that Jesus was who he said he was, that he carried on calling people to respond to the gospel even through he knew it would likely mean their agonising death. His message would not have been a “making life work” kind of talk. He must have had eternity in his sights, and a current experience of the love of God right now). 
  • Some people have foolishly said, “Oh, the writers of the New Testament, they made that stuff up.” My question is why. What is in it for John? Boiled alive; everyone else murdered, everyone you love stripped naked, murdered, stacked in the street. You die in poverty and shame. You don’t do that unless you are irrefutably convinced that what you speak is the truth. And it was the truth and John was there for the life, death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. And he heard Jesus tell him, “Preach Good News about me.” And John did until he was 100 years of age.
  • “I believe that the one thing that kept John on track until 100 years of age was that he knew that Jesus loved him. And he loved Jesus. And if you want to strip all the theology and all the arguments out of all of our faith and just get right down to the bottom line, it’s that God has loved you in Christ and you should love him back. That is worship.”
  • Receive the love of Jesus that will take away your sin, love him back as a person. Be his friend, and spend all of your days with him and for him.

Wow. I wasn’t expecting to be so moved by an introduction to the book of Revelation. Mark D brilliantly takes us through Jesus’ life and the early church through the eyes of John, thereby emphasising not simply the historical facts but the relationship with Jesus that they open up for us. Can’t wait to read the next one.


Visiting another great church

I visited Longton Community Church on holiday recently. I had a great time worshiping to some familiar songs. I think they must have been Hillsongs or Jesus Culture or David Crowder because I recognized them from my iTunes worship collections but had not had the chance before to worship publicly with them. Brilliant.

The Preach was on Holy Moments, looking at the blind man and the mud (John 9:6), and Moses and the burning bush (Ex 3). The main points that I took home were that holy moments are:

1) hard at the front end (having mud smeared on your eyes, being asked to challenge Pharaoh).

2) involve a call to go (go to the pool and wash off the mud, go to Pharaoh and say…).

3) require trust ie knowing God in a way that allows us to walk into the unknown.

I want to approach the next difficulty that comes my way with an expectation of it being a holy moment. Not with the feeling of walking into a mine field but exploring a diamond mine.

The people were very friendly and  made us feel very welcome plus the youth had just been at a great event were they had obviously had lots of fun. The meeting ended with well over 30 of them doing a fun dance. Then back home to relatives house for Sunday lunch. mmmm

Loving Jesus

I was at a conference recently and someone recommended I listen to some of the “Jesus Culture” worship songs coming out of Bill Johnson’s Church. Thanks to itunes I quickly downloaded an album.  I wasn’t immediately taken by it but you know how it is with some Albums and the more I listened the more I began to enjoy it and get caught up in worship and finding myself singing its simple lines over and over during the day. As my friend said ‘its big on loving Jesus’. Too right it is. Listen to this:

He is jealous for me,

Verse 2:
We are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,

Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,

Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.

When all of a sudden,

I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,

And I realise just how beautiful You are,

And how great Your affections are for me.

And oh, how He loves us so,
Oh how He loves us,
How He loves us all

Yeah, He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves.
Yeah, He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves.

Bring it on! But why is worship such a wonderful life giving experience? Its because we focus on the wonderful one who is the source of life itself. I love imagining the day when Jesus comes back and every eye is on him. The stars depart their job done. Light floods the earth. A noise rises like the crowd at a football match only global in magnitude and intensity. We see him! Our hero, our saviour, our king. Come Lord Jesus. What joy that my sin is paid for. What ecstasy to be loved so much. Eyes like blazing fire. I’ve got the track “You won’t relent” on at the moment.

For there is love that is as strong as death

Jealousy, demanding as the grave

waters cannot quench this love!

come be the fire inside of me

come be the flame upon my heart

come be the fire inside of me

until you and I are one”

Got some prep still to do but going to enjoy being with Jesus for a bit. Can’t wait to worship tomorrow with the church. Whoa! how He loves.