The Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them. Luke 9:56.
John was the disciple whom Jesus loved, because he was believing and trustful and loved his Master with devotion. His love for Christ was characterized by simplicity and ardor. There are many who think that this love for Christ was something natural to the character of John, and the disciple is frequently represented by the artist as of a soft, languid, feminine appearance, but such representations are incorrect. John and his brother were called the “sons of thunder.” John was a man of decided character, but he had learned lessons from the great Teacher. He had defects of character, and any slight shown to Jesus aroused his indignation and combativeness. His love for Christ was the love of a soul saved through the merits of Jesus, but with this love there were natural evil traits that had to be overcome. At one time he and his brother claimed the right to the highest position in the kingdom of heaven, and at another he forbade a man to cast out devils and heal diseases because he followed not with the disciples. At another time, when he saw his Lord slighted by the Samaritans, he wanted to call down fire from heaven to consume them. But Christ rebuked him, saying, “The Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.”
In the character and teaching of Christ, the disciples had both precept and example, and the grace of Christ was a transforming power, working marvelous changes in the life of the disciples. The natural traits of character, the spirit of criticism, revenge, ambition, evil temper, were all in the beloved disciple and had to be overcome in order that he might be a representative of Christ. He was not only a hearer but a doer of the words of his Lord. He learned of Jesus to be meek and lowly of heart…. This was the result of companionship with his Master….
We have need of constant watchfulness, for we are nearing the coming of Christ, nearing the time when Satan is to work “with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” We must study the Pattern and become like Jesus, who was meek and lowly of heart, pure and undefiled. We should ever remember that God is near us, and all things great and small are under His control.—Signs of the Times, April 20, 1891.