I’ve often wondered what it would have been like to be John the disciple. Can you imagine walking with Jesus for three years, being in His inner circle, watching Him interact with children, sinners, and Pharisees? Can you picture Him changing water into wine, walking on water, and then serving up Living Water at a well? Can you hear the sounds of mourning change into laughter as the dead are raised? Can you detect the scent of bread as five loaves are multiplied to five thousand?
John drew close to Jesus, maybe closer than the others. He along with Peter and James witnessed the transfiguration of Jesus. They were privy to some prayer meetings that others were dismissed from. And John alone (of the twelve disciples) followed Jesus all the way to the cross.
There was an intimacy between the two of them that draws me. I want to know Jesus so closely that I hear His voice just as if He were right beside me. I want to see Him at work in every mundane detail of my life. I want to be so close to the Lord that it would be said of me, “She is the disciple whom Jesus loves.”
Of course, He loves us all, but John just cracks me up with that. Four times in his gospel, John refers to himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” Perhaps it was John’s confidence in Christ’s love for him that drew him so close to the Master. Maybe it was the other way around.
All I know is that when I read these words, my heart turns double-flips. To consider oneself so beloved and yet still recognize the deity and holiness of the Messiah strikes a chord of awe and wonder that is just too much to comprehend. And yet John penned these words with grace and beauty:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it….He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God–children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God” (John 1:1-5, 10-13, NIV).
As we remember the death and resurrection of Jesus this week, I pray that we would each approach the Word made flesh with the intimacy that considers ourselves the beloved of God and yet with the reverence that bows us before His majesty.
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” John 1:14).
Could I humbly suggest that you read through the Gospel of John this week in preparation for remembering and celebrating God’s redemptive work through Jesus Christ? As you read, try to put yourself in John’s shoes and experience the Gospel as if you are hearing it for the first time. Remember your first love–the love of the One and Only–and let Him call you His beloved.
“Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written” (John 21:25).