He was forthright.  He was quick to judge.  He was adamant about silencing others who didn’t walk with him and his crowd.  He was ambitious.  His personality was such that his Teacher gave him and his brother a very telling nickname: “Sons of Thunder.”  I’m talking about the Apostle John.  He, along with his brother, James, were quite the pair.  We talk about Simon Peter and his audacity, but according to the writers of the first three Gospels, it seems that John and James were not far behind.  For the last three weeks, our Men of the Word Bible study group has discussed the Apostle John and what we can learn from his life.  And what I learned will stick with me.  You see, when most think of John, they don’t think of John the way he was early on.  Somewhere along the line, and we don’t know when, something changed.  You see it especially in his epistles.  While still being direct, right-up-front truthful, and adamant when it comes to that truth, you see his personality tempered by something.  And it’s quite easy to see what it is.  It’s the truth about God’s love.  In fact, he’s known more for that today than anything else.  It’s never clearer than when he refers to himself in his own gospel writings.  Five times in the Gospel of John, he refers to himself as the disciple “whom Jesus loved.”  He was overwhelmed by the fact that his Lord loved him.  Loved the “Son of Thunder.”  Loved the one who allowed his ambition to sit beside Christ in the Kingdom to blind him to the truth of servanthood.  And the realization of that love shaped and molded John into a useful vessel that would pen inspired words of Scripture.  That would shepherd local churches.  That would remain faithful in spite of extreme hardship and persecution.  That took him to the foot of the cross when the other disciples were nowhere to be seen.  So much so that Jesus entrusted the care of His mother, Mary, to whom?  To John.  But it’s not just John.  It’s me.  It’s you.  Jesus loves us as well and just as much.  Remind yourself of that when you go through the valley of suffering, the guilt of a fall, or the temptation to lower the boom on others.  “I’m the one Jesus loves.”  That’s what the mighty Apostle John called himself, and that ought to be good enough for us.  What a difference that will make in our everyday lives, don’t you think?