And Jesus drew man into the closest touch of intimate friendship. The long-range way of doing things never suited Him. And it doesn’t. He didn’t keep man at arm’s length. And He doesn’t. And then because they were friends, He and they, they were eager to serve, and willing even to suffer, to walk a red-marked roadway for Him they loved.
The Gospel According to—You.
Among all those who felt and answered the call of Jesus was one called John, John the disciple. Jesus drew John close. John came close. John lived close. John came early and he stayed late. He stayed to the very end, into the evening glow of life. And all his long life he was under the tender holy spell of Jesus’ presence. He was swayed by the Jesus-passion. Always burning, he was yet never consumed; only the alloy burned up and burned out, himself refined to the quality of life called eternal.
Then John came to the end of his long life. And he knew he would be slipping the tether of life and going out and up and in to the real thing of life. And I think John was a bit troubled. Not because he was going to die. This never troubles the man who knows Jesus. The Jesus-touch overcomes the natural twinges of death. But he was troubled a bit in spirit for a little by the thought that he would not be on earth any longer to talk to people about Jesus. And to John this was the one thing worth while. This was the life-passion.
And so I think John prayed about it a bit. For this is what he did. He said to himself, “I will write a book. I’ll make it a little book, so busy people can quickly read it. I’ll pick out the simplest words I know so common folks everywhere that don’t have dictionaries can easily understand. And I’ll make them into the shortest simplest sentences I can so they can quickly get my story of Jesus.” And so John wrote his little book. And we call it the story of Jesus according to John, or, as we commonly say the Gospel—the God-story—according to John.
And all this is a simple bit of a parable. It is a parable in action. Jesus is brooding over us, giving Himself, warmly wooing us. He woos us into personal friendship with Himself. And then He asks that each of us shall write a gospel. This is the Gospel according to John; and these others according to Luke and Mark and Matthew. He means that there shall be the gospel according to—you. What is your name? put it in there. Then you get the Master’s plan. There is to be the gospel according to Charles and Robert and George, and Mary and Elizabeth and Margaret.
And you say, “Write a gospel? I couldn’t do that. You don’t mean that. That’s just a bit of preaching.” No, it isn’t preaching. It’s so. I do not mean to write with a common pen of steel or gold; nor on just common paper of rags or wood-pulp. But I do mean—He means—that you shall write with the pen of your daily life. And that you shall write on the paper of the lives of those you’re touching and living with every day.