The One Whom Jesus Loves
“Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.’ So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in.”
- John 20:1-5 (emphasis mine)
At this point in the Gospel of John, the disciples are still in shock and overwhelming grief at the occurrences of the past few days. They have watched their beloved friend betrayed by one of their very own; they have heard the false accusations that were spoken about Jesus; they have seen their friend and teacher carrying his cross, falling, and covered in blood. There was nothing that could shield them from the physical torture that Jesus had experienced. It would be clear in his body and his face. From a distance, they saw their hoped-for Messiah die on a cross, humiliated and fully exposed in his humanity. Now, they were without that hope, without their friend, and without their teacher. What was left?
For the Apostle John there was love. Even prior to the resurrection of Jesus, John knew that he was a beloved disciple. He was secure in his love for Jesus and Jesus’ love for him. John was the one who reclined at the table on the shoulder of Jesus. John heard Jesus speak from the cross and entrust him with the care of Jesus’ mother. John grieved the one that he loved, and John surely treasured what it meant to be loved by Jesus.
With the resurrection of Jesus came the assurance of the mission and identity of Jesus as well as the mission and identity of John. John, the beloved disciple, was now to be the teacher and the disciple to the nations. He was to not only share the Good News of Jesus’ death and resurrection but also the good news of what it means to be loved by Jesus. The love of Jesus transformed John’s life, and now John was to be part of seeing it transform others.
Sure enough, John came to be known as the apostle of love. He did love others with the love of Jesus. In that love, he sought to build churches, nurture the believers, and to speak the truth in love. John knew he who he was – a man loved by Jesus. From that place of knowing, John lived and loved others.
You are now the beloved disciple of Christ. You are the one whom Jesus loves. Are you living in that love? Are you allowing it to completely transform your life? Then, are you sharing that love with others? For those who truly know this radical love of Jesus, there is no way to keep it to oneself. The love grows as it is shared and as the kingdom of God is built.
Graham Cooke has a wonderful recording entitled “Inheritance.” In it, he speaks about this love of the Lord. At one point, Graham states that it is your job to be loved and to be loved outrageously. Is God’s love demonstrated in Jesus Christ the ultimate reality of your life? Is it the way you would find your identity? If not, the Lord would have you gaze at the cross again this Holy Week, to see your Savior, and to hear his words of love, forgiveness, and grace. Reflection:
How can you live today as the one whom Jesus loves? Can you make it your job to be loved?
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