#11   (The 12 Disciples Series)




TEXTS:       Luke 9:46-56;   John 19:25-27;   I John 4:19-21


INTRO:       Neither the church nor the Christian can survive without passion!  It is passion that fuels everything in society, why do you think products are sold promising moving experiences if only you buy or use their products?


i.e.  "There ain't no power like mountain dew ... just dew it!" – The commercial shows all kinds of dangerous and exciting things for a thrill and then connects it to drinking mountain dew, the idea being that drinking Mountain Dew is not just drinking a soft drink, it is a passionate experience!


“Princess Cruise Lines” – we all know it as the "Love Boat" – thus a cruise guarantees romance and intrigue! 


Cars are sold connected to such things are bathing beauties, dangerous mountain climbing, treks through the wilderness where only beasts go, etc.


Certain beers used to promise you a pool in the middle of the desert with all kinds of beautiful girls and partiers that would magically show up to share the moment with you!


One of ATT commercials a couple years ago promised their lines will be so clear and cheap that family members at odds with one another would call each other and reconcile – talk about passion!


All humans are passionate, we don't first become passionate when we get saved, but we must exchange our passions – the wrong ones for the right ones!


PROP. SENT:  The Bible teaches us that we must submit ourselves to God for developing the right passions or our lives can experience anything from emptiness to damage.  Christians must guard against passions that hurt themselves and the body of Christ ... or others.




A.   Arrogance   Lk. 9:46-50

1.   The disciples in these early days of ministry find themselves "REASONING" (KJV) as to which of them would be greatest!

a.   The word "argument" is literally "reasoning" ... thus meaning more than just a sudden thing, they were backing up their claims with examples, bragging on themselves as if to convince the others that they are God's gift to the church and the Lord – passionately trying to prove their points!

b.   You have to say they all are quite passionate, but this is passion that hurts the body of Christ and the believer that displays this attitude!

2.   Imagine how this could have impacted their friendships with one another had Jesus not stepped in to correct this!?

a.   How often however does this attitude infiltrate the church today, and is left unchecked or unchallenged?

b.   What about those Christian critics that have a hard time saying anything good about the church, they only focus their perceptions on the weak areas, if only they were in charge!

3.   Jesus has to step in to redirect their passion and pride, greatness has little to do with grandstanding or brilliance, it has more to do with SERVICE from love for even the smallest need!


ILLUS:    Like the famous story of Lord Nelson who boarded a British ship during the war and found two brilliant British officers quarreling, grabbing them and whirling them around toward the open sea where enemy ships were visible he said, "Gentlemen, there are you enemies!" – Source Unknown


4.   Upon hearing Jesus’ explanation of being the greatest in the kingdom ... serving others for Jesus, John immediately tries to complain to Jesus about some stranger he had seen who had been trying to cast out demons in Jesus' name though he hadn't joined the disciples!

a.   He seems to give away that he had failed in casting out the demon himself; his pride was hurt and his position as an "official" disciple made him mad at this other person – who may have succeeded!

b.   Perhaps his own hurt pride was at the base of this. (SEE 9:39-40)  John and the others had just come from a failure to help deliver a boy from demons and now some stranger may have succeeded where they had failed without even being a part of their close knit group!!!

c.   Their wounded pride was showing and their passion wasn't as much for Jesus as it was for their own self-elevation!

5.   Jesus attempts to stir their passion toward fighting real enemies and to consider ALL those who help in the kingdom as friends and co-laborers!

a.   We are not called to promote ourselves; we are called to promote Jesus!!

b.   When we have to have our way our passions are misplaced, when we have to have Jesus' way, our passions are right on!

6.   Arrogance is a symptom of a passionate critic who feels they are always right, others are wrong!


B.   Anger!   Lk. 9:51-56

1.   These fresh recruits however still have much to learn about proper passions, they are still concerned about their own sense of importance and rightness!

a.   The Samaritans refused Jesus; they were passionately prejudiced against Jews going to Jerusalem!

b.   This aroused a passionate reaction in at least 2 guys in the group; JAMES & JOHN the “sons of Thunder!”  (Their very name shouts “Passion!”)

c.   Their response: "Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?"

2.   Was their passion misplaced?  YES & NO!

a.   They were certainly right about the Samaritan’s prejudice being wrong!!!

b.   but their passion to prove it made their own passion just as evil ... "let's show em Lord!"

c.   We must be careful with our passions and how we channel them against a truly ungodly world; we might be right and still be wrong in how we respond!

d.   Does our response demonstrate God's passion for saving the lost, or does it seek to elevate us to show the world how right we are and how wrong they are!!!

3.   It is possible to be right and still be wrong!!!


ILLUS:     Years ago Leonardo Da Vinci was working on his painting of Jesus and the "Last Supper."  He suddenly became very angry with a certain man and said some very bitter things to this man, believing he was right.  After expressing his anger at this man he returned to his canvass to work on the face of Jesus, but he was so upset he could not compose himself to do the delicate strokes necessary to paint Jesus.  Finally he put down his tools and sought out the man he had lashed out at, he asked the man for forgiveness.  The man accepted the apology and Leonardo was able to go back and finish the face of Jesus.  His anger not only hurt the man, it made him incapable of revealing Jesus ... how true that still is!  Our passion should be to reveal Jesus to others, not to reveal ourselves! – Source Unknown


4.   Indeed, we find Jesus rebuking the “sons of thunder” here; destroying a few ungodly Samaritans would hardly have been an effective evangelism campaign!

a.   Their passions needed correction.

b.   Jesus expected more from them as believers, and as leaders – He still expects a lot from us today!




A.   Anguish    Jn. 19:25-27a

1.   What a change from John's earlier scenes, here at the end of Jesus' time with them we find a man who has gone from “BIG MOUTH” to “BROKEN MAN!”

a.   How had this come about?

(1.  John had been the one to get close to Jesus!

(2.  He was one of 3 inner circle disciples, thus he had spent more time with Jesus than most!

(3.  It was John who had leaned against Jesus at the supper table, the place usually reserved for a best friend!

b.   Perhaps leaning against Jesus chest had brought him close to Jesus' heart in both senses!

(1.  Jesus had pulled John in very close, Jesus simply rubbed off on him.

(2.  We tend to assimilate the passions of those we hang around.

(a.  This is why people who hang with complainers become complainers!

(b.  Hang around people who love Jesus and others and you’ll be like them!

(c.  You will also experience their painful consequences.


ILLUS:   Like a talking parrot a man had.  He would take the parrot outside to let him get exercise each day.  One day the parrot was flying around and noticed a group of crows on a nearby tree, so he flew up to join them.  After hanging around them for a little bit a sudden gun blast blew toward them, some crows were killed, others flew away.  The parrot unfortunately was also hit, but was only wounded, he had a broken wing.  A farmer had shot at them to get them away from his crops.  After the man noticed his parrot hadn't returned he went looking for it.  Finally finding it walking he picked it up carefully and asked, "What happened to you?"  The parrot responded, "Bad company I guess!" – Source Unknown


2.   John now stands alone at the foot of the cross, the only disciple apparently close by Jesus.

a.   John is in anguish, broken.

b.   This is not a time for words or chastising the other guys for running away, it is a time to think about Jesus, not self!

c.   Gone was the arrogance and pride, gone was the self-righteous attitude.

d.   He didn't have all the answers; his passion was a broken heart for Jesus!

3.   No criticisms are offered here though this certainly wasn't the way John would have expected things to go.

4.   He was a different man, no railings here against the Romans, no railings here against the Jewish leaders, different passions were at work now.  He had been with Jesus too long now to be a “son of thunder” by exploding.


B.   Accommodation     Jn. 19:27b

1.   Jesus now speaks to John, how glad to see him standing by!!

a.   Jesus needs a man of passion to take care of His earthly mom, not just anybody for this special mom – He wanted the man who had stayed close to His own heart!

b.   It was John that was constantly referred to as "the disciple whom Jesus loved."

2.   Jesus needed someone who didn't think of himself, someone who had learned to put others first, who had disciplined his passions to match those of Jesus Himself!

a.   What man had stayed closer to Jesus?  None other than John, he was always the closest!

b.   Peter may have been first among the disciples but John was first to the heart of Jesus, John was the “disciple whom Jesus loved.”

3.   Jesus had come to trust the passions in John's heart, He had watched him change.

a.   John was no mere spectator in Jesus' life and ministry, he had been an active participant, this had shaped him up!

b.   Critics tend to observe and judge others, caring Christians tend to get in there and serve and encourage others.

c.   Spiritual health comes to those participating in building the body and the kingdom, not to those who watch to find the errors!


ILLUS:     Who is usually in better shape, a football fan or a football player?  What happens to a football player that becomes a spectator? – His blood pressure goes up, weight goes up, cholesterol increases, and triglycerides go up, why?  Spectators just sit and so get little exercise, stamina and flexibility decrease on body muscle groups ... only the luckiest survive long as spectators – but participants are usually in great shape because they are active and so they are stronger! – Source Unknown




A.   Accountability    I Jn. 4:19-20

1.   In all of John's writings we find a great emphasis on LOVE.  He is one of the most passionate writers in the New Testament, connecting ACTION to PASSION.

a.   So much so that he states here that if one claims to have a passion to love God but hates his brother he is a LIAR!

b.   It is not enough for a Christian to be passionate; he must be passionate for the RIGHT THINGS!

2.   John's point is very clear, passions must be held accountable by theirs actions!

a.   This is the missing ingredient in the world today -- the world promotes passion but without accountability or proper responses!

b.   Passion without accountability promotes pain!

c.   It also causes passion to grow into other misguided actions, leading into a deeper and deeper pit of sin!

d.   Passion held captive by accountability however controls our appetites and guides them into proper channels!

3.   Today there is too much focus just on PASSION without looking at where passion can take us or what to do with them.

a.   The Bible is clear -- Love has a focus, and a right and wrong way to show it!

b.   We must be just as interested in the expression of passion as we are in the experience of passion!


ILLUS:    A teenage boy had a love for science, especially astronomy, so his father bought him a very expensive telescope.  The boy knew something of optics and so was fascinated on how a telescope worked.  He studied the telescope, even taking it about, examining the lenses, calculating the focal distances, etc.  He was so passionate about the telescope and its optics that he never did use it for its intended purpose -- to see the heavens!  People love passion, they study it, examine it, talk about it (look at the all the talk shows!) -- yet few ever use those passions to discover the wonders of heaven, expressing passions in God's intended way and thus they miss a great blessing! – Source Unknown


B.   Absolute!    I Jn. 4:21

1.   John's final word is clear, "Whoever loves God must also love his brother."   (Emphasis mine)

2.   How many churches have a passion to experience God's presence and power?

a.   Yet these same churches may be filled with people hating each other, or not speaking to one another, they want God to fill them with passion, but with no plan to use the passion to love one another!

b.   Churches with passion but not love are not effective!!!  It is not enough to just have “experiences” … there must be “expressions” too!

3.   John went from a “Son of thunder” to a “man of love” ... controlled passions that expressed the heart of Jesus.


CONCLUSION:     John went from a "Son of thunder" with a passion for self, to a "son of love" with a passion for others!  Being the closest to Jesus he soon not only heard Jesus' heart beat but found Jesus' heart beating in him!  It is impossible to get close to the "God of love" and remain arrogant, hard, angry, and uncaring.  What you draw close to will determine your passion!