TO CHEW ON: "Then Peter turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said, 'Lord, who is the one who betrays you?'" John 21:20
John, one of Jesus' first followers who later wrote the Gospel of John, the three letters 1, 2 and 3 John, and Revelation, also had his flaws. The Bible writers show him to be:
- Explosive: He, along with his brother James, were known as "Sons of Thunder" - Mark 3:17.
- Intolerant: He stopped someone who wasn't part of their group from casting out demons in Jesus name. Jesus set him straight - Mark 9:38-39.
- Vindictive: When Jesus and His disciples passed through Samaria and the locals didn't welcome Him, James and John (those Sons of Thunder) asked, "Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?" Jesus' reply was scathing: "You do not know what manner of spirit you are of..."- Luke 9:51-55.
- Ambitious: In company with his brother James, he asked to be seated beside Jesus when He set up His kingdom. Again Jesus put the boys firmly in their place: "You do not know what you ask!" In fact, their ambition threatened to divide the disciples until Jesus turned their request into a lesson about true greatness - Mark 10:35-40.
Yet, in spite of all the times John messed up and Jesus scolded him, he sensed that he was uniquely loved. Numerous times he refers to himself as "The disciple whom Jesus loved" (John 13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:20).
Though we may have felt, if we were one of the disciples, that John's claim was abrasive ('You mean He loves you more than the rest of us?') I can't help but think it warmed Jesus' heart. Just as we want our kids, friends, and the people with whom we do life to sense that we love them, I believe Jesus saw the love response of John's heart toward His love, and was honored and blessed by it.
Do you and I have such an intimate and trusting relationship with Jesus that we could say we are the ones Jesus loves--indeed, the ones He loves best? I believe that's what He wants. Look how He prayed for us:
"And I have declared to them Your name and will declare it that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them" - John 17:26
PRAYER: Dear Jesus, help me to sense my special place in Your heart without making a competition of it. Please teach me about the love You prayed I would have. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.