Tuesday, November 24, 2015
The Ones Jesus Loves
When Jesus hung upon the cross, there were only a handful of people who stood nearby. Most of them were women; His mother, Mary Magdalene, and a few others. But only one of his Twelve Disciples stood there with them – John.
We know where the other Disciples were that day. Judas was anguishing over what he had done. Peter and the rest were in hiding, fearing that they might also be rounded up for their former allegiance to the Nazarene who was being executed for opposing the Religious and Civil authority.
But not John. He was near the cross. Near enough to watch Jesus suffering. Near enough to hear him say, “Behold your Mother” and to tell Mary, “Behold your son”.
So, why wasn’t John afraid like all the other Disciples? Why wasn’t he hiding in fear for his life? What made the difference?
I think it was love.
John continuously refers to himself throughout his Gospel as “the one Jesus loved” rather than simply “me” or “I” or even, “John.”
Later on in his life, John would write this:
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” – 1 John 4:18
Furthermore, only John wrote 3 epistles to the church which were entirely about the topic of love. [That would be 1, 2, and 3 John].
I can’t help but wonder how different my life would be if I saw myself as John did – as “the one Jesus loved”.
Didn’t Jesus love all the other Disciples? Of course. He loved all of them, even Judas.
But what made the difference in the life of John was the acceptance of that love and the continual reminder that he was “the one Jesus loved”.
That’s why he wasn’t afraid of being arrested like Jesus. That’s why he wasn’t hiding with the other Disciples. That’s why Jesus trusted him with the well-being of his own mother. It’s also probably the same reason that John was the only one to receive further revelation from Jesus to share with the Seven Churches throughout Asia, later on in his life.
John was one of the "Sons of Thunder". He once, along with his brother James, asked Jesus to call down fire from heaven to burn up a Samaritan village. But something transformed John into "the one Jesus loved" who set all of that aside and embraced self-sacrifice, humility, service and compassion.
What can you and I learn from this? Simply that we are loved more than we realize. And that the more we do realize it, the closer we can be to Jesus, and the more likely that we will hear His voice.
It also means that the more aware we are of His love for us, the less we will live in fear and the more bold we will be in walking out a more dangerous faith where the love of Christ compels us to embrace the whole world as “the ones Jesus loves”.