Be Encouraged

It has been more than a month since I wrote my last blog. I’ve been going through stress, negative circumstances, medical issues, and discouragement. Recently, I read John 20 during my quiet time. The verses that caught my attention were taken from verses 3-6: “At that, Peter and the other disciple went out, heading for the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and got to the tomb first. Stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying there, yet he did not go in. Then, following him, Simon Peter came also. He entered the tomb and saw the linen cloths lying there.” The “other disciple” in these verses was obviously the author, John. He was writing the details of Jesus’ resurrection. However, when I was reading these verses, I was bothered. I asked, “Why would John even write these details? Who cares if he outran Peter? Is he this competitive with Peter? Did John want to become great? Is he this insecure?” My next question was “Why would God allow John to write these details when He was inspired by the Holy Spirit?”

After asking these questions, Matthew 20:20-28 came into my mind. This passage was about the mom of the Zebedee brothers, James and John, requesting Jesus to do her a favor by placing James and John beside Him when He reigns. Jesus replied, “…to sit at My right and left is not Mine to give; instead, it belongs to those for whom it has been prepared by My Father.” He also added, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles dominate them, and the men of high position exercise power over them.  It must not be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life—a ransom for many” (vv. 25-28).

The fact that John’s mom made this request, it is possible that John wanted this too. It showed when he wrote John 20:3-6. John even called himself, “the one Jesus loved” (Jn. 13:23) when I’m pretty sure Jesus loved all His disciples equally. Does this mean John was insecure? It this his flaw? Perhaps. But don’t we all have flaws?

One take away I got from these verses is God still used John to write a gospel about Jesus and the Book of Revelation even with all his flaws. This should be an encouragement to us! The Lord doesn’t judge us even though people do. If God chose John with all his flaws to do something great for God, this means He also chooses us and uses us in spite of all our flaws and weaknesses. This is all because of His grace. We should be honored and grateful to Him when He uses us even though we don’t deserved this at all.

Here’s another encouragement from John 20, after He resurrected, Jesus appeared first to Mary Magdalene. This is significant because women at that time were treated as second class. Jesus crossed the gender barrier because He cared for women, like Mary Magdalene. This means Jesus cares for us too.

When have negative circumstances, when there are people who judge or discourage us, and when we have physical limitations and illnesses, let us continue to press on in doing God’s will and God’s work. He will sustain us. He will see us through. If He, by His grace, used John even though John had insecurities and flaws, He will also use us by His grace for His glory. I am loved by Jesus and so are you! So, be encouraged.

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