JOHN, BELOVED DISCIPLE, BROTHER OF JAMESThe tomb IS empty! It IS true! I was here earlier this morning after the women brought us the news of the resurrection, but I wanted to come back - to spend some time alone to contemplate the wonder of this day. You see, I am John, the beloved friend of Jesus and brother of James. After being here earlier today, I decided to put some of my thoughts into a letter to Jesus. There are so many things I've always wanted to say to Him.
Dear Jesus, my friend,
I recall so clearly that day three years ago as James and I were fishing with our dad and you came by and called us to follow you. We never hesitated a moment - we were eager to join you, Peter and Andrew in whatever adventure was about to take place.
I remember how exciting those first days were - we never seemed to mind that we had no home, no food - you somehow seemed to meet all of our physical needs. It wasn't so bad to sleep on the ground and eat raw grain twice a day. I seemed to immediately sense that I was beginning a very unique and special time of my life. I had always assumed I would continue the family fishing business with my brother, but after traveling for awhile with you, I knew I could never comfortably go back to that life. You were showing me something different - you were using your time to talk with people - people of all walks of life. There were poor people, rich people, government people, common laborers, old people, young children, women, men, people with problems - physical, mental, spiritual, relational, financial, emotional, - people with weaknesses, people with fears, people with stress. Everywhere you went, you would be surrounded by people. I loved being part of that. I was energized by all that relational activity. I became your closest friend. I planned our itineraries; I arranged our large group sessions and the smaller break-out groups. I found community service opportunities for new converts. I negotiated for open air meeting sites and picnic basket lunches. I set up transportation. I mobilized the masses. It was awesome. I knew we were destined for the "Fishers of Men" Hall of Fame.
But then one day, something truly remarkable happened to you which changed my life and helped me see how to rearrange the priorities in my life. You asked Peter, James and me to go to the top of a mountain with you. There you were transfigured. At the time I didn't know what was happening. I just knew we were in the holy presence of God and I was privileged to be part of this phenomenon. A bright cloud enveloped us and a voice spoke which said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!" I had always known there was something special about you but I had not really grasped that you were the Son of God - the Messiah we had been waiting for. From that moment on, I knew that it was more important for me to listen to you than to get caught up in all the logistics of our operation. As I learned to listen, I realized that you were sharing with us a way to have eternal life. You said that God loved the world so much that He gave his one and only Son and whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. And then you also taught that we are to love each other as you loved us. You said that the greatest love anyone can show another is to lay down his life for that friend. When I heard those words, I thought they were just the unrealistic, utopian thoughts of an idealist. Little did I know that I was about to witness the enactment of that message before my very eyes.
During our three years together, I grew to love you deeply and care about the things you cared about. All the while, however, I was secretly hoping that you would somehow infiltrate the government of our land and bring about your kingdom in a peaceful manner. I thought it would be wonderful if our team could be put into leadership positions and we could then promote our humanitarian program. Of course, I (and my mother) wanted James and me to have the most prominence in such a regime but that was not your plan.
As I stood with your mother at the foot of the cross on Friday, I grieved for her loss, my loss and the loss to the world. I still felt your love and compassion, but I wondered why this had to be how your life ended. And then I remembered your recent words to me, "The greatest love anyone can show another, is to lay down his life for that friend." Oh, how could I have been so short sighted? How could I have missed it? You were about to show me and the world the greatest love of all time. I am not worthy to be chosen as your friend. I have failed you. Please forgive me. I give you my allegiance and will always be,
Your loving friend and devoted follower,
I, too, have a letter I've written to Jesus.
I can easily relate to John. I feel so honored that you have called me to be one of your followers. There were times as a child that I thought my parents forced me to commit my life to you but that was not true. I have willingly chosen to become one of your children. But like John, I have sometimes gotten my priorities out of whack and have cared more about my own agenda than yours. That's why this Easter is so important to me. It is a time for me to refocus my eyes on your perfection - on your sacrifice - on your love and to ask your forgiveness. Your love for me took you to the cross. Thank you for being the worthy lamb who was sacrificed for my sin. I give you my allegiance and with your help, I will always be your faithful friend and follower.
©Linda Groves Worden
To learn more about the original purpose for writing these monologues, see the blog posted on
March 5, 2013.