Archive for December 27th, 2021


Written by Esau McCaulley, a contemporary pastor, professor, author, speaker, and public theologian.

December 26th, we remembered the first martyr, Stephen. December 27th, we remember John the Evangelist. According to tradition, he is the only one of the twelve apostles who did not suffer martyrdom (We pass over the end of Judas in silence)…John and Stephen speak to different aspects of the Christian experience. Some are called to the dramatic acts of faithfulness that forever mark their lives. Stephen is remembered for one speech. John, by contrast, is a witness to the long life of faithfulness. He was one of the first to follow Jesus. Later, after many of his friends and family had died, John lingered. I thought of this as I gave communion to a mostly older gathering this morning. The elderly amongst us are not signs of the church’s failure. They are witnesses to its success. The faith that began its work in them as children has sustained them as they near its consummation. John is not just an example of elderly faith. He accomplished something that few other Christian theologians have done. He articulated the beginning and end of the Christian story in a way that remains unmatched. It is the cold heart that is not stirred by the opening chapter of John’s gospel. He gets Christmas! God’s word has come among us. The light shines in the darkness.   But John also understands the church’s end: As John looked to the future of the church [in Revelation] he saw the worship of all tribes, peoples, and nations before the throne of the lamb. John brings gospel-based diversity to the heart of Christmas. Christmas, through the eyes of John, declares Jesus to be the redeemer of all mankind. It reminds the church that as long as we remain estranged from any of our brothers and sisters from other races, we fall far short of the purpose of the incarnation. God in Christ came to reconcile all to God and one another. This is the fruit of Christmas. John the Apostle and Evangelist bears witness to it.


MUSIC VIDEO: Light of the World

Performed by Lauren Daigle

Statue of the Apostle John by Donatello

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