“One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to Him.”
I love John’s fervor to call himself “the one Jesus loved” in his own gospel. He knew who He was to Jesus. Loved. Cherished. And he identified himself according to that love.
Every disciple was loved by Jesus and possessed the same claim to that name of beloved, but John is the only one who names himself in this way in the gospels. And he is the one disciple who went on to receive revelations of the New Heaven and Earth: the book of Revelation.
Claim your heavenly identity as Jesus’ beloved.
There is a correlation between feeling loved by God and receiving revelation from Him.
In this passage in John chapter 13, we notice the other disciples asking John a question. They see He is close to Jesus and so they ask Him to ask for them. This is very interesting.
“So Simon Peter motioned to Him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. So that disciple, leaning back against Jesus, said to him, “Lord, who is it?” John 13:24
I can see them all eating at the dinner table and Peter elbowing John, hey ask him what he means! He sees John sitting next to Jesus, leaning on Him and he knows John has a special kind of access. A special kind of intimacy. And instinctively, Peter thinks the best way to find out the information he wants is to ask John to get that information for him. He’s the closest in proximity to Jesus.
The strength in this is that Peter is always acting on his instincts and is bold to do something. He is the only one here mentioned who asks to find out what Jesus was talking about. He is inquisitive. He is teachable. He childlike and fearless. He has a pure heart. The downside is that Peter misses the chance to ask Jesus himself, and also be Jesus’ beloved. Sure, John is next to him but Peter could sit on the other side. Peter could snag some time with Jesus too. He could choose to see himself as cherished also and decide he is going to ask Jesus directly.
Jesus loved Peter just as much as he loved John. But when we fail to see ourselves as His beloved because of someone else we perceive is closer, we doubt our access and intimacy to him.
But we all have that access to Jesus and the same claim to being His beloved.
John’s audacity to be close to Jesus is what grants him that level of intimacy.
Your audacity to embrace the role of Jesus’ beloved gives intimacy with Him.
God sees you as the one He loves.
You are just as close to Jesus as anyone else can be. Jesus loves you like you are His favorite. Jesus cherishes you as the One He would leave the rest for just to find you. Remember you too are the one He loves… and you can come close to Him regardless of what you did or how you feel.
We see John lives very differently than the other disciples. It all centers on His very intimate love with Jesus. And it impacts the rest of His life long after Jesus ascends to Heaven, cultivating a peaceable life.
History reveals John is the only disciple who did not die a death of martyrdom.
When Jesus ascended to Heaven after his resurrection, He commissioned the disciples to go into the rest of the world to save people into this opportunity to have relationship with Jesus. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8
But this calling provoked persecution along the way. So much so that all disciples except for John died from persecution.
John withstood persecution.
We know from history through Tertullian that John was thrown into a pot of boiling oil by his persecutors for preaching about Jesus but he wasn’t burned. He escaped and was not harmed whatsoever. How does that happen? Something anointed John with protection wherever He went.
When God protects you… nothing can harm you.
Jesus anointed John with special protection that the other disciples didn’t have. I wonder why… surely Jesus wasn’t aiming to show favoritism was He? Or is it that John simply claimed what they all had access to claim?
We know Jesus doesn’t show partiality.
But He does give according to our receptivity to His abundant warehouse of heavenly resources.
Jesus anointed John with the favor and protection that comes with being a “beloved” because John chose to see himself in that way.
When we see ourselves as Jesus’ beloved, we gain protection against persecution. Just like John did. When you’re in love, no amount of persecution can break you. Love seals the heart with so much happiness it’s near impossible to get you down. And from what we read in the scriptures, John gains spiritual shield from the physical harm assailed towards him.
What I notice about love with Jesus is that when you see yourself as Jesus beloved, you don’t notice the persecution as much. You’re too busy being in love and happy on the inside.
Lovers don’t fight. They love. And through their love, God fights for them.
You don’t have to fight against persecution. Just relish in how much God loves you and the persecution will lose power against you. Just like it did for John.
John kept on moving.
Later John went on to be banished to the isle of Patmos for preaching the gospel of Jesus. But even his exile is used by God for good.
It’s very interesting that John’s exile was the very place he received revelation.
Be encouraged that your exile is the place God can speak to you the most. What situation seems overwhelming? What situation is leaving you uncertain? What feels lonely? God wants to reveal Himself to you in that.
Your greatest idea may come in your greatest drought.
Your greatest breakthrough may come in your lowest breakdown.
Your most intimate moments of fellowship with God may come in your most painful experiences.
God has something for you when the enemy comes to take from you.
For Jesus said, “The thief come to kill, steal and destroy but I have come that they may have life and life in abundance.” John 10:10
John experienced the definition of “abundant life.”
John outlived all the other disciples.
He was the last remaining disciple and passing away around age 93 of natural causes.
Some have even hinted at the possibility that John ascended to heaven and didn’t die a natural death at all. In John, Jesus does say “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” So the saying spread abroad among the brothers that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not to die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?” John 21:21-23
Either way, John lived a full and peaceful life.
There is a correlation between feeling loved by God and a healthy well-being.
We thrive when we are in love with the Lord.
God strengthens us within as we lean on Jesus, seeing ourselves as the one He loves.
You are the one Jesus loves. ♥️
You are the one He created.
You are the one He calls beloved. You are the one He wants to reveal more of Himself to.
When we see ourselves as loved by our Lord, we posture ourselves to experience Him in deeper ways. Because love is constantly connected to its lover. Thus, this connection can’t help but to provoke interaction.
There is more awaiting us with the King who adores us as His own. For you are His delight.
here with You
the world that used to surround me
is fading away
ill stay here ever drowning
in Your love
lost in the waves
of the waters you hold me in
I’m content here