January 18

Written by Bill Grandi on January 18th, 2024

As one reads the Bible, it is not unusual to read of someone and think they must have always been like that. Case in point: the Apostle John. We read today from the vantage point of 2000+ years later and we see an apostle of love. We see the aged John-respected, loved and depicted as one full of grace and truth.

But he wasn’t always like that. John had a temper. He also had a vengeful streak. We might even call him sectarian to some degree. Mistreatment of Jesus led to he and his brother, James, wanting to call down fire from heaven to consume the city. In another incident, he and James wanted Jesus to promise they would get preferred seating in the kingdom-one on His right and one on His left. Jesus was not fond of that idea. They wanted Jesus to rebuke a man who was casting out demons in Jesus’ name but because he was not with their “tribe” they wanted him silenced. (Mk. 9:38).  That didn’t work out too well either.

Over time, John was changed. That’s what happens when people spend time with Jesus. John reminds me of those who are committed to the truth, who “tell it like it is.” But that is all you see. Love? What’s that? All truth. No love. Over time John became known as the Apostle of love. Shall we say “more balanced”?

I read the following:

John was always committed to the truth, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that, but it is not enough. Zeal for the truth must be balanced by love for people. Truth without love has no decency; it’s just brutality. On the other hand, love without truth has no character; it’s just hypocrisy. (40 Lives in 40 Days-MacArthur-p.19)

I’ve heard it said that “all truth and no love is legalism; all love and no truth is mere sentimentality.” True that.

There needs to be a balance. We may take pride in being a “tell it like it is” kind of person, but honestly, what good is it if we turn everyone off?”

Find the balance. Truth AND love go together.


10 Comments so far ↓

  1. They certainly do, Bill. If we are dedicated to growing closer to Jesus, we can’t help but see that.

  2. Glynn says:

    One of the reasons the character of John is so encouraging – one of the “sons of thunder” became “the apostle whom Jesus loved.”

  3. Ryan S. says:

    A striking comment you stated that I want to point out is “That’s what happens when people spend time with Jesus”

    I think that happens with all of us. We change, we become better.

    Change will happen when/if we stop spending time with Jesus… except it isn’t for the better.

    Balance is essential… A one legged stool won’t stand very well.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      I’m glad you pointed that out Ryan. As you show, the opposite is also true when people don’t. Never thought about the one-legged stool. 🙂

  4. gail says:

    John is my favorite Gospel. Seeing the changes in John after walking with Jesus, is proof when we allow Jesus to transform us, quit fighting the transformation, He will bring out the best in us. Truth and love together should always be our motto. Truth by itself does not accomplish change. If you want someone to accept the truth and you just beat them with it, they will pull away from the truth and just make more excuses for their behavior. Putting love first and in the forefront, always allows the truth to have a warm place to land. A harden heart is not one easily transformed, but a heart that has been filled with love, is easier to transform and is more open to the truth. A heart that is open, is willing to ask Jesus to help with that truth so it can be applied correctly.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      Well said and so true Gail. While John is harder to read than the other 3, it is still the standard to go to when figuring out who Jesus is. it is my favorite as well. But your words on truth and love are important, especially when you said, “Putting love first and in the forefront, always allows the truth a warm place to land.” Thanks for the comment.

  5. Ed says:

    One of my prayers every day is that God changes our hearts to be zealous!