The one Jesus loved
As Judas was preparing to leave to betray Jesus, there is the curious phrase – “the disciple whom Jesus loved”. It’s John, the author of the Gospel, and it’s how he often describes himself in the Gospel. Is it arrogance? Does it reflect poorly on Jesus for favouritism?
I don’t think so. John had been called out of the fishing trade to be one of the 12 and to be a witness and preacher of the gospel. It speaks of his experience of Christ’s love – ‘Christ loves me!’ . He knows it! Experiencing the love of God is so amazing that it gives us the sense of being uniquely chosen and blessed by it. Paul wrote of “the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me!” in Galatians 2:20. The experience of God’s love is deeply personal and life changing. For John it probably became somewhat of a nickname as he spoke of his experiences over his long life.
In the book of Ephesians, Paul prays that the eyes of our heart would be opened by the Spirit of revelation, so that we know how much God loves us. The height, the width, the breadth, the depth of it. I pray as you read this, that the Spirit of God brings a greater revelation of God’s love to you – that should bring a smile to your face!
Out of that personal experience of God’s love, comes the power and ability to fulfil the new commandment that Jesus gave us in v. 34 – ‘Love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another’.
As Rebecca testified recently – the love that Christians have is eye-opening and so attractive. That’s why being together, with those that don’t yet know the Lord, is such a powerful attractor to Jesus for so many people. All people will know we are Christ’s disciples, by how we love one another. My friend Charlie commented on being served by a pizza-making team in our garden. “How come they have worked hard all night, without a cross word.” The reply, “It’s Jesus mate.”
Love one another, because Christ loves you.