The phrase “The disciple whom Jesus loved” was mentioned 5 times in the Gospel of John. Who do you think it is?
Not only was the phrase mentioned 5 times in the Gospel of John, it was also only mentioned in the Gospel of John. It does not appear in any other books in the Bible. Interesting, isn’t it?
John refers to himself the disciple whom Jesus loved.
I thought, what audacity. On second thoughts, I realized that it is because he has such a strong sense of God’s love for him.
How often do I remember that God so love me? If I do, I think a lot of my angst can be resolved sooner.
Let’s deep dive a little into the 5 occurrences
First mention: John 13:23
This was at the last supper. Jesus had just announced that one of them will betray Him. John, who was lying on Jesus’ breast, was the only one who knew who it was.
23 One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was at the table, leaning against Jesus’ breast. 24 Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, and said to him, “Tell us who it is of whom he speaks.”
25 He, leaning back, as he was, on Jesus’ breast, asked him, “Lord, who is it?”
26 Jesus therefore answered, “It is he to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it.” So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot.John 13:23-26 WEB
Second mention: John 19:26
Jesus is hanging on the cross here. John was at his feet. Where Peter was hiding in fear, John was with Jesus when He was suffering. He was therefore available to receive Jesus’ request to take care of Mary, His mother.
26 Therefore when Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing there, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” From that hour, the disciple took her to his own home.John 19:26-27 WEB
Third mention: John 20:2
John, together with Peter and Mary, were the first to discover that Jesus was missing from the tomb.
2 Therefore she ran and came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have laid him!”
3 Therefore Peter and the other disciple went out, and they went toward the tomb. 4 They both ran together. The other disciple outran Peter, and came to the tomb first. 5 Stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths lying, yet he didn’t enter in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and entered into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying, 7 and the cloth that had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths, but rolled up in a place by itself. 8 So then the other disciple who came first to the tomb also entered in, and he saw and believed.John 20:2-8 WEB
Fourth mention: John 21:7
John was the first to recognise Jesus standing on the shore calling out to them in the fishing boat.
7 That disciple therefore whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Lord!”
So when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he wrapped his coat around himself (for he was naked), and threw himself into the sea.John 20:7 WEB
Fifth mention: John 21:20
I noticed that John is following Jesus. He is never far.
20 Then Peter, turning around, saw a disciple following. This was the disciple whom Jesus loved, the one who had also leaned on Jesus’ breast at the supper and asked, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”John 21:20 WEB
Becoming the Disciple Whom Jesus Loved
Joseph Prince preached a sermon titled “Becoming The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved” where he explained how focusing on the love that Jesus has for me can transform me from the inside out.
Which is more unchanging? My love for God or God’s love for me. God’s love for me is unwavering. It is constant. An anchor for me in the storms of my life.
From the story of Abraham offering Isaac on the altar in Genesis 22, we learnt that God commended Abraham for not withholding Isaac and that He considered this act as proof that Abraham loves God.
Have you thought of it another way? That God demonstrated His love for us when He didn’t withhold His son Jesus and gave Him up as a ransom for our salvation.
The thought of God not withholding Jesus from all the pain, suffering and rejection on the Cross brought tears to my eyes and overwhelming love in my heart.
This short personal study on the Disciple Whom Jesus Loved is inspired by a sermon entitled “Becoming the Disciple Whom Jesus Loved” by Joseph Prince of New Creation Church, Singapore.