In her study on John entitled The Beloved Disciple; Beth Moore made the following points:
- John served in biblical obscurity for much longer than the other apostles served, period
- How do we know that John didn’t start doubting his identity and his significance somewhere along the way?
- During John’s interim years of obscurity, one of the most intense relationships in the entire Word of God developed.
- Somewhere along the way God built a man to whom He could entrust some of the most profound words ever recorded on parchment.
After caring for Mary in Jerusalem, it is commonly believed that John served most of his years in Ephesus. His wasn’t a life of missionary journeys. His name isn’t even mentioned after the early chapters of Acts and Luke never quotes him. Beth wonders how he felt to be obscure?
I don’t have to wonder. I know. I live in Morristown. Since moving here, I’ve lost tract of most of the global ministries where I once thrived. I’ve fallen off their radar screen and live obscurely among an obscure people.
Yes, I suspect John did question why. Yet, I don’t believe he ever lost a night’s sleep over it. A servant of the Most High just obeys where placed. It’s really that simple.
Beth implied that his years in Ephesus were the preparation years for his ultimate purpose as an inspired writer. Though I’m sure these years did mature him, I think there’s more to his call.
John was sent to Ephesus because only a strong pillar of the church that had walked alongside Jesus and knew the power of His resurrection could do the ministry in this pagan city. John wasn’t sent to a cushy job or to a job anyone else could’ve done. He was placed on the front lines of the battlefield.
Ephesus housed the temple of the Roman goddess Diana, it was a hotbed for demonic activity, and the church needed a wise persevering leader to grow these new believers to Christlikeness. This was no easy task. John wasn’t missing out on all the adventures of Paul and Peter. He had an adventurous life and unlike the others, he couldn’t trot off to another location.
John has always been my favorite New Testament saint. Now I like him even more. I can relate to serving on the front lines. Morristown may be a spot in the desert compared to the city of Ephesus but I can assure you, we deal firsthand with the demonic forces of Satan. I may not have the life I dreamed I’d have by this age but I have not been bored.
Writing profound works that cause hearts to hunger for Jesus consumes the passion of my heart. I want to write stories that cause people to lose sleep. Oh how I pray that this is the second thing I have in common with John. Only God knows for sure.