“That disciple whom Jesus loved…” John 21:7
I really enjoy reading the Gospel of John. His no-nonsense writing style gets right to point. He doesn’t bother with complex genealogies, or tell us anything about shepherds, wisemen or angels. In very plain language, he states the most important thing we need to know: Jesus is God. The opening words of his Gospel go like this: “In the beginning was the Word (Jesus), and the Word (Jesus) was with God, and the Word (Jesus) was God. He (Jesus) was with God in the beginning. Through Him (Jesus) all things were made; without Him (Jesus) nothing was made that has been made. In Him (Jesus) was life, and that life (Jesus) was the light of men.” (Jn 1:1-4)
Goodness, isn’t that just amazing? So much truth in just those few words! Who knows how many books, sermons and teaching points have been created out of those four verses alone! It’s absolutely fantastic!
And that’s not all. Before he finishes the introductory section of his book, he’s given us the cornerstone of the whole Gospel… that this wonderful, all-powerful, Creator God, who sustains life itself, “became flesh and dwelt among us.” (Jn 1:14)
His writing has a beauty and power that I like to dwell on over and over again. However, I never really cared for how he describes himself. Five times in his book, he calls himself “the one whom Jesus loved.” I know it’s supposed to be a poetic way of identifying his involvement in the story he’s telling, but something about it never sat right with me. It just reminded me a little too much of sibling rivalry where the youngest in the family walks around announcing “Daddy loves me best!” That was until I read a powerful chapter by one of my new favorite preachers, Judah Smith. His book Jesus Is helped me see John’s description as much more than a prideful nickname. It is the absolute truth. John didn’t see himself as the youngest in a family of fisherman, a Jewish son, a less important brother, or as wearing any other self-imposed label. Once John met Jesus, it redefined everything about him and his identity became inseparably intertwined with the love of Christ.
I think that’s the essence of what the Apostle Paul is trying to communicate to us in 2 Corinthians 5:17 where he reminds us that through our relationship with Jesus, “old things have passed away,” and, “all things are new.” That’s what the love of Jesus does for us. The entire Bible is a testimony to the extraordinary lengths God has gone to in order to release us from our past. If we will embrace the truth that He loves us wholly, completely and without reserve, it has the power to replace the path we were on and gives us the vision to live a new life with a forward focus.
“the disciple whom Jesus loved.” I really like that now. Instead of seeing him as trying to place himself above the other disciples, I now realize that he’s perhaps the one who had the clearest understanding of the transforming power of the love of God. But here’s the key thing to think about… that’s not just a special name for John. Once you become a Christian, you also are given the privilege of defining yourself as “the disciple whom Jesus loves.”
11 thoughts on “Best Loved!”
John is my favorite Gospel as well simply because it seems to distinguish itself amongst the other three in such a way that I can identify with the material a bit better. It feels more personal, more intimate than the others, as if we were reading a personal diary of these events rather than a historical transcription. When reading John, I can feel like I know Jesus too, that I was right there with Him as he traveled and spread the good word. It can bring no end to the amount of peace and comfort to be “one that Jesus loves”. Great article! God bless!
I agree! John brings a warmth and personal feel that draws you into the heart of Jesus. I enjoy seeing His dynamic and multifaceted personality come through through John’s writings. It never gets old for me. Thanks for reading and commenting, Jay! Hope you will visit often!
Amen!! thanks so much for this!! 🙂
I loved this part: “his identity became inseparably intertwined with the love of Christ.”
Amen to that!!
The notion of identity is one that Christ is speaking to me about…and with this identity we are FREE and free to be ourselves in CHRIST, to rest in HIM and only Him and no longer be ashamed or try to be someone else, but rest and say, “it is finished”
Amen sis, thanks for this!
So grateful that the work Christ did for us on the cross is “finished” and that we can be just as confident that his work in us will soon be completed as well! Thanks Tawana!
The Lord loves us all, however the truth of the matter is that some Christians have a closer walk with the Lord than others. The Lord is no respecter of persons, if we pay the price, obey Him, Love the Lord, thirst after Him, we will have a closer walk with Him. Extract from an article l wrote ‘The disciple described as Whom Jesus loved’.
I agree. God promises to draw as near to us as we want. It’s always us who stop the progression toward intimacy! Thanks for the comment Bisi! Looking forward to reading your article!
I love this, Karen, and how awesome to think to that I am one of the disciples whom Jesus loves. Such a great truth for us. I love your site here. The switchbacks is an amazing title and story. Thanks for connecting. Blessings, Amy
Thanks Amy! When so many things in our world assault us, i think it’s essential for us to dwell in the fact that we are completely loved!
This is great! Your writing about John’s writing and distilling the message even MORE clearly! And of course the message itself…… Super!
Loved your post and was amazed by how your words echoed the thoughts in my own heart for my next post! Its so true when we are in HIS presence our false thoughts fall away in the presence of TRUTH revealed in HIM and by HIM.
I think that’s the biggest part of being able to consistently live a godly life. It’s only when our emotions and feelings are trumped by His truth will we see real and lasting change. Thanks for reading, Jeannie!