At the end of both of John’s scriptures the last living apostle points out the transformative nature of simply reading scripture. In the Gospel of John, the author notes that any attempt to write down all of the “things” Jesus did would be too many books to fill. In the Book of Revelation, John warns his readers not to add anything to the scriptures, even offering a curse to those who would do so.
This final warning, though, is period on a much more exciting entrance to the Book of Revelation, the first three verses of Chapter 1.
Image by Subham Shome
By John Pearring
At the end of both the Gospel of John and the Book of Revelation, the writer identifies himself not only as the one giving testimony but as one with special knowledge.
In the Gospel, John says, “It is this disciple who testifies to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true.” (John 22:24)
In Revelation, he repeats his status, with an extra note to his coming death. “The one who gives this testimony says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen! Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all.” (Revelation 22:20)
It’s pretty unique in scripture for an author to describe his writing as testimony and identify himself as the author in the third person. It’s even more stunning when the author points out his unique role as the “beloved” of Jesus. He places himself in many stories he reports. Especially this one about Jesus and Peter.
Peter turned and saw the disciple following whom Jesus loved, the one who had also reclined upon his chest during the supper and had said, “Master, who is the one who will betray you?” When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about him?” (John 22:20-21)
At first blush, John highlights his importance as the one “Jesus loved” as an act of hubris. “Yeah, that’s me Jesus is talking about. You know, the one he loved. Not like those other guys …”
Remember, though, John’s perspective of Jesus needs to come from his own point of view. He’s actively engaged in these events. It would be true of anyone who hob-knobbed with the Redeemer. We want to know, after all. “So, what interactions did you have with Jesus, John? Tell us!”
In verse seven of chapter 22, John repeats his close relationship to Jesus, emphasizing he is a certified witness.
So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad, and jumped into the sea. (John 22:7-8)
John said to Peter, “It is the Lord.” John quotes himself! Of course, this circular reference is rife with confirmation bias, but John tells us he’s a witness that we can trust. “This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to his disciples after being raised from the dead.” In our modern parlance, we say, “third time’s a charm.” Do something three times, and you know it’s for real.
In the Book of Revelation, John doesn’t hold back on his mystical experiences with Jesus because he’s been told to write his testimony. An angel appeared to John and dictated seven letters that Jesus wrote to different churches. That takes place in chapters one and two of the book. It’s such an essential part of John’s need to testify that he repeats the importance of that angelic meeting at the end of the Book of Revelation, verses 8-9 of Chapter 22.
“It is I, John, who heard and saw these things, and when I heard and saw them I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me. But he said to me, “Don’t! I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brothers the prophets and of those who keep the message of this book. Worship God.”
John takes license as a member of the apostolic dozen. Over and over, he mentions himself in both of his New Testament books. John uses his credentials to certify what his testimony tells us. Not only is he touting an angel’s appearance, but he notes the angel is also a servant of his brother apostles. Brothers who are prophets of more than just the written word, but the “message” the word brings.
The angel is emphatic in his phrasing as he passes on the words of Jesus the Christ.
“I, Jesus, sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the root and offspring of David, the bright morning star.”
Jesus calls himself both God and Man. “I am the root and offsprings of David …” He is both the creator of David and an incarnated son of the great king. This is a significant testimony that clarifies the biggest theological challenge the Church will face until Jesus’ return. Is he both God and Man? John says an angel testifies the answer. Straight from Jesus.
At the end of both of John’s scriptures, the last living apostle points out the transformative nature of simply reading scripture. He knows his writings bear the weight of divine inspiration. In the Gospel of John, the author notes that any attempt to write down all of the “things” Jesus did would be too many books to fill. In the Book of Revelation, John warns readers not to add anything, even offering a curse to those who would do so.
This final warning is a period on a much more exciting entrance to the Book of Revelation, the first three verses of Chapter 1.
“The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to him, to show his servants what must happen soon. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who gives witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ by reporting what he saw. Blessed is the one who reads aloud and blessed are those who listen to this prophetic message and heed what is written in it, for the appointed time is near.” (Revelation 1:1-3)