Boiling Oil


 John the Beloved. 

     Of all the twelve disciples, Peter, James, and John held the closest relationship to Christ. John could be satisfied with a still nearer intimacy, and this he obtained. At that first conference beside the Jordan, when Andrew, having heard Jesus, hurried away to call his brother, John sat silent, rapt in the contemplation of wondrous themes. He followed the Saviour, ever an eager, absorbed listener.

The Signs of the Times

March 8,1905


     The name of the disciple John is one of the few whose memory clusters round the earthly life of the Son of God. As John studied the life of Christ, he beheld as in a glass the glory of the Lord, and he became changed from glory to glory, from character to character, until he was like him whom he adored. He imitated the life in which he delighted. He knew the Saviour by an experimental knowledge; his Master's lessons were graven on his soul. When he testified of the Saviour's grace, his simple language was eloquent with the love that pervaded his whole being.

     As a witness for Christ, John entered into no controversy, no wearisome contention. He declared what he knew, what he had seen and heard. When insult was put upon Christ, John felt it to the very depths of his being. Christ had humbled himself; he had taken man's nature; but few could see him as John saw him. For John the darkness had passed away. On him the true Light was shining.

     It was John's deep love for Christ that led him always to desire to be close by his side; and this place was always given him. Jesus loves those who represent the Father, and John could talk of God's love as none of the other disciples could. He revealed to his fellow men that which he felt it to be his duty to reveal, representing in his character the character of God. The glory of the Lord was expressed in his face. The beauty of holiness, which had transformed him, shone with a Christlike radiance from his countenance.

     The life and character of Christ stood out before the world in sharp contrast with the life and character of the professedly religious rulers of the nation. His life of purity condemned their life of selfishness and iniquity. And their jealousy and hatred of him were intense. "The world is gone after him," they declared, and they determined to rid themselves of him. At his trial they hired false witnesses to testify against him. When Barabbas was placed by the side of Christ, and Pilate asked, "Whom will ye that I release unto you, Barabbas? or Jesus, which is called Christ?" the mob, stirred to a pitch of frenzy by the priests and rulers, cried, "Not this man, but Barabbas." "What shall I do then with Jesus?" Pilate asked. And they answered, "Let him be crucified." The thief and murderer was released; while the Son of God, free from even the taint of sin, was condemned to die. Evil angels, under their leader, Satan, were the unseen agencies in this work. It was they who inspired the priests and rulers with the spirit of rebellion.

     Christ was crucified; but he rose from the dead, appeared to his disciples, and ascended to heaven, escorted by myriads of heavenly beings. At the Father's throne he received the assurance that his sacrifice was accepted, and that the world that had been divorced from God by sin, was drawn across the gulf. Receiving Christ as a sin-pardoning Saviour, man might become an heir of God, and a joint heir with Christ; "for God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

     John's testimony in regard to the life, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension of Christ was clear and forcible. Out of the abundance of a heart overflowing with love for the Saviour he spoke, and no power could stay his words. With power he bore witness that Christ was a risen Saviour. "That which was from the beginning," he writes, "which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life: . . . that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ."




     If we study the epistles of John, we shall see why it was that this disciple could not be left in his old age to live in peace among his brethren. To please the Jews the Romans had crucified Christ, and they now sought still further to please them by placing John where his voice could not be heard by Jew or Gentile. Thinking to silence his voice, his enemies cast him into a caldron of boiling oil. But his testimony was not stayed. Like his Master, John patiently submitted to every attempt to put him to death; and the faithful servant was preserved as were the three worthies in the fiery furnace. As the words were spoken, "Thus perish all who believe in that deceiver, Jesus Christ of Nazareth," John declared: "My Master patiently submitted to all that Satan and his angels could devise to humiliate and torture him. He gave his life to save the world. He died that we might live. I am honored in being permitted to suffer for his sake. I am a weak, sinful man; Christ was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sin and sinners. He did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth." These words of the disciple had an influence, and he was removed from the caldron by the very ones who had cast him in.                                                                      

     Again the enemies of the truth sought to silence the voice of the faithful witness, and John was banished to the Isle of Patmos. Here, they thought, he could no longer trouble Israel, or the wicked rulers of the world, and he must finally die from hardship and distress. But John made friends and converts even here.

     To outward appearance the enemies of truth were triumphing, but God's hand was moving unseen in the darkness. God permitted his faithful servant to be placed where Christ could give him a more wonderful revelation of himself. He placed him where he could receive the most precious truth for the enlightenment of the churches. He placed him in solitude, that his ear and heart might be more fully sanctified to receive the truth. The Lord was preparing John to endure hatred and scorn for the sake of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. The man who exiled John was not released from responsibility in the matter. But he became the instrument in the hands of God to carry out his eternal purpose; and the very effort to extinguish light placed the truth in bold relief. 

The Youth's Instructor

March 29, 1900


     John was deprived of the society of his brethren, but no man could deprive him of the light and revelation of Christ. A great light was to shine from Christ to his servant. The Lord watched over his banished disciple, and gave him a wonderful revelation of himself. Richly favored was this beloved disciple. With the other disciples he had traveled with Jesus, learning of him and feasting on his words. His head had often rested on his Saviour's bosom. But he must see him also in Patmos. God and Christ and the heavenly host were John's companions on the lonely isle; and from them he received instruction that he imparted to those separated with him from the world. There he wrote out the visions and revelations he received from God, telling of the things that would take place in the closing scenes of this earth's history. When his voice could no longer witness to the truth, when he could no longer testify of the One he loved and served, the messages given to him on that rocky, barren coast were to go forth as a lamp that burneth. Every nation, kindred, tongue, and people would learn the sure purpose of the Lord, not concerning the Jewish nation merely, but concerning every nation upon the earth.

The Youth's Instructor

April 5,1900