John 13:23 One of his disciples, the one Jesus loved, was at the table to the right of Jesus in a place of honor (leaning on Jesus’ chest).
John 19:26 So when Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing there, he said to his mother, “Woman, look, here is your son!”
John 20:2 So she went running to Simon Peter and the other disciple whom Jesus loved and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
John 21:7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” So Simon Peter, when he heard that it was the Lord, tucked in his outer garment (for he had nothing on underneath it), and plunged into the sea.
John 21:20 Peter turned around and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them. (This was the disciple who had leaned back against Jesus’ chest at the meal and asked, “Lord, who is the one who is going to betray you?”)
Who named John, “The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved”?
Since the only places where John is called, The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved, are in John’s Gospel, he obviously up with the idea to refer to himself as The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved. And there is no indication in scripture that John was Jesus’ star pupil. In short, John saw Jesus’ love for them as the central motivation for everything Jesus did. So John chose to define himself by Jesus’ love for him.
Years later John speaks about Love more than any other writer in the Bible. And in 1John 4:10 he reveals to the secret to understanding and walking in Love…
In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.
Perhaps other disciples might have believed Jesus’ primary motivation toward them was His mission. And that he basically valued them as Followers, or Ministers of His Gospel. In which case they would have described themselves as The Disciple Who Followed Jesus, or …Served Jesus. But because John identified with Jesus’ love for him, that brought him into great favor. And we too should identify ourselves by Jesus’ love for us.
Think about it…
Is your relationship with Jesus defined by how you are towards Him or how He is towards you?
- Some people see themselves as having come to Jesus more than Jesus having come to them.
- Some people see their relationship with Jesus as a more of a necessity on their part than a desire on His part. They have a stronger sense of their need for Him than of His love for them
- Some people see their walk with Jesus being driven by their pursuit of Him more than His pursuit of them.
- Some people think GOD’s motivation toward them is determined more by their correct actions toward Him than His perfect love for them.
When people see Jesus this way their tendency is to think, I’m not very spiritual so GOD’s not very interested in me.
If John had referred to himself as The Disciple Whom Jesus Forgave, or Took Pity On, or Tolerated, he would have been focusing more on himself rather than the LORD. But when John saw that Jesus loved him, he overlooked all his own shortcomings and accepted GOD’s promotion as the Disciple GOD loved!
That understanding transformed John’s life…
1John 4:16-19 And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has in us. God is love, and the one who resides in love resides in God, and God resides in him. Through this love is perfected with (in) us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, because just as Jesus is, so also are we in this world. [In this world we have the SAME relationship of LOVE with the Father that sustained Jesus here] There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears punishment has not been perfected in love. We love because he loved us first.
That understanding of GOD’s love for him transformed the Son of Thunder into a man of exceptional calm and confidence. Don’t let your identity in this world keep you from the transformation GOD’s love has for you…
Mark 10:21-22 And Jesus, looking at him, LOVED him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
John’s focus on Jesus’ love for Him brought him into positions of great favor:
- Inside information at the Last Supper
- unharassed access to Jesus’ trial
- Entrusted with Jesus’ mother
- Given the Book of Revelation
- The only un-martyred disciple
Many people identify primarily with God’s mercy, or forgiveness, or His calling. Though true, these are not our strongest connections to God.
1Cor. 13:13 And now these three remain (abide): faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Faith that believes Jesus is GOD is great.
And having Hope in Heaven is great.
But knowing and believing GOD LOVES YOU is the greatest.