Is John the most arrogant of all the disciples?
Throughout the Gospel of John, essentially whenever John refers to himself, he doesn’t use his name. Instead, he says “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” At first glance, it might seem like pure arrogance, pride over the fact that John was one of the “inner three” Jesus drew particularly close to Himself.
Or it might be something else entirely.
When I discuss this title with my students, they are a bit surprised that John refers to himself as the beloved disciple. But then I try to draw their attention to the other claims John could have made.
John, the only disciple at the foot of the cross.
John, the one who leaned his head near the heart of Jesus and sat next to Him at the Last Supper.
John, the disciple who arrived first to the tomb after the Resurrection (because he ran faster than Peter).
John, the youngest of the disciples.
John, the one to whom Jesus entrusted His mother.
What do we see instead? John, the one whom Jesus loved.
There are several unique roles that John played, but when writing the account of Jesus, he chooses to simply be known by the fact that Jesus loved him. More than everything else, the love of Jesus is the most precious to John. He is the beloved disciple.
Contrary to what we might think initially, his belovedness is not in conflict with anyone else’s belovedness. It isn’t John, the one Jesus loved more than all others or to the exclusion of all others. It is simply: John, beloved by Jesus.
It is a title we could all claim.
Is that what I see first, though: my belovedness?Continue reading “The Beloved One”