“When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son!'” – John 19:26
The disciple Jesus loved. For those of you who don’t know, this phrase is referring to John… in the book of John. Now, some critics have used this to point out John’s arrogance and pride. It may seem like that at first. John, the disciple Jesus loved, calling himself Jesus’ favorite. This phrase occurs only five times in the entire Bible, all of which are in the book of John, all of which refer to John himself. At this point you should be thinking that John had some serious pitfalls. He most certainly did, but I don’t believe that this was one of them.
Think about it for a minute. John could have called himself other things. He could have been John, the one who rested his head on Jesus’ lap, John, the one who didn’t doubt, John, the one who was first to the tomb, or, my personal favorite, John, the one who stayed at the cross when all the other disciples ran. He didn’t do that. He instead chose to focus on who he is to God. His identity wasn’t anything he had done or accomplished. It was that he, the greatest of sinners, was loved by God, Creator of Heaven and Earth! It as as if he was saying,” YES! God chose to love Me! I am loved by God! Forget everything else about me! I am the disciple Jesus loved!”
When we look at 1 John 4:10, we see a continuation of this idea.
“In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” –
1 John 4:10
Our identity is not in what we do or how we love God. No, we aren’t that important to our own identity. Instead, God is at the very core and center of our identity. “I am the disciple Jesus loved. Nothing else matters, but that I am loved by God!” Think about it for a moment. I have said before, and will continue to say, how amazing it is that God chose to forgive us for all of our atrocities and our utter rejection of Himself. He goes even further, and becomes the very center of our identity. Instead of our identity being, ” He who rejected God, or He who is alone,” we will be, “He who Jesus loved.”
Now, we see that there was nothing more humble that John could have focused his identity on. He didn’t take all those prideful examples, he didn’t even use his own name! That was even too much of a focus on himself to be his identity! No, he chose God’s redeeming love to be at the very core of who he was. Forget everything else, I want to be known as nothing else but the one whom Jesus loves. Nothing else matters.
God's Warrior says
Great post, Darrel. I like when you said, “Our identity is not in what we do or how we love God. No, we aren’t that important to our own identity. Instead, God is at the very core and center of our identity.” because it’s true. God should be at the VERY core and center of who we are. Not how the world wants us to be or perceives us to be.
Marilyn Current says
Yes, yes!! I noticed years ago that it is only John who calls himself the disciple Jesus loves, and he did NOT call himself the one Jesus loves MOST…simply one that Jesus loves. We all can identify with that. What what matters?! Thank you for sharing your insights!
Theron St. John says
Darrel, you make a great point! Your point that our identity is not found in what we do or even our love for God but rather God is at the very core and center of our identity causes us to look upward. Thank you for giving us a vertical perspective! I needed it!