The Twelve Apostles of the New Jerusalem – JOHN, the son of Zebedee, the brother of James
by Rev. Reingard Knausenberger
Fishermen know water, know how to read the signs in the air and clouds, can find their way in the dark and access the depths to draw up what lives there and nourishes. The Sea of Galilee is renowned for its sudden swings in weather, from calm tranquil waters to violent storms. One needs to be in Presence continually.
Come, follow me! When Jesus Christ called the brothers, Peter and Andrew, then James and John from their boats and nets it must have been like a bolt of lightning: act now! But they were ready, prepared and in presence. The first four disciples got up and created the cornerstone of the intimate circle around Jesus, to share his every step, every day and night. These were the ones that could truly be witnesses and say “I was there, I saw and heard…”
The ones who integrated the Christ power into the core of their being, from the very beginning.
James and John, his brother…John especially has the quality of being ‘brother’. What is ‘brother’ exactly? James and John are often called ‘the sons of Zebedee’…putting an emphasis on a ‘Father’ connection. James and John are also referred to as ‘the sons of thunder’…thunder is the voice of lightning, a mighty heavenly resonance vibrating through the atmosphere, preparing a moment of higher pure light breaking through into the earthly sphere. Thunder alerts us to prepare and be awake in such moments of revelation.
Are these addendums to their names maybe also indications of a spiritual capacity and orientation? Then it might not have been just naive and presumptuous for them to say: shall we call fire from heaven to destroy… (Lk 9: 51-56) or ask to be so close to Christ in his heavenly working like a right and left hand, in support of manifesting his intentions (Mk 10: 35-45).
Peter, James and John his brother, were singled out several times by Jesus to be a support and witnesses of very intimate events, each of them dealing with a moment of death and overcoming death. He was not only a teacher of a new power, but was being that resurrecting power! Like a moment of lightning breaking through, it was a glimpse of who he was and what his mission was. Every time such an event was followed by impressing upon the disciples to hold this in their heart in silence, do not speak about it until the right time comes. This is the case with the raising of the daughter of Jairus (Mk 5: 22-24; 35-43) and of Lazarus (Jn 11) and the Transfiguration (Lk 9: 28-36, Mt 17: 1-13). Thus they became the carriers of ‘secret wisdom’ (Gnosis) which could be communicated to the others after the Resurrection. This might have included an understanding of the new resurrected body, the laws connected with becoming a spirit community, but particularly how to relate to Christ’s ‘coming again’. The so-called ‘second coming of Christ’. In the Transfiguration these disciples experienced how the ‘super-space’ opened and ‘super-time’ shone in: future was now. They perceived the transforming, transfiguring of form and Gestalt of Jesus Christ. The words of revelation they heard confirmed the spirit reality of the appearance: ‘This is my beloved son, in whom I reveal myself, hear him!’ In this moment the disciples perceive the form Christ will have after his resurrection. ‘Do not speak about this until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead’.
Peter and John are chosen to go and prepare the space in the upper room for the intimate gathering for the Last Supper (Lk 22: 7-13). These three again are singled out thereafter in the Garden of Gethsemane as closest support to Jesus as he wrestles with the human temptation of succumbing to the powers of death (Mt 2: 36-46; Mk 14: 32-42). ‘Be awake and pray! My soul is despondent to the brim of death’.
John, the intimate disciple and witness, the one with a deep connection to the world of the Father God --like John the Baptist to the past, humanity’s history and becoming--, the brother and companion on the way to the Coming of Christ-like John the evangelist shows in Rev. 1: 9 is always a new revelation of future now. What deep mystery does this individual hold in the circle of Christ followers that even his name has such an intense resonance?
“In the beginning was the Word…which was Light… and gave Life… and shone into the darkness…and then there was the Human Being by the name: John, who came to bear witness to the light…and to take it into their being.” (Jn 1: 1-13)
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