This article is part of Brother Jerry Valenti’s series on the original 12 Apostles of Christ.
Does the title of this blog make it sound like I think I’m special? Who would put this kind of statement in writing? Well, the Apostle John did it — several times!
- “Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.” (John 13:23)
- “Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved.” (John 20:2)
- “Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord.” (John 21:7)
In fact, John never refers to himself by name in his entire gospel! Why did he do it this way? Was he so humble that he didn’t want to mention his own name? Maybe. Was he so egotistical that he thought he was the one who Jesus loved the most? Not likely. What John is trying to do is to get us to understand that each of us is the one who Jesus loves.
Would you feel uncomfortable saying, “I’m the one who Jesus loves”? You may not even believe that He loves you at all. If your personal definition of the Lord loving you consists of Him giving you this or that or making this particular situation work out the way you want it to, then it’s possible you could conclude He doesn’t love you when your own predefined conditions aren’t met.
However, John defines it this way: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Or the most oft-quoted verse in the Bible:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
Everlasting life? I get to live forever? Will it be like today with pain, sorrow, worry, hardships, etc.? What, all that bad stuff will be gone? I definitely want this great package — what’s the price? What, Jesus already paid the price for me? Wow, I guess I am the one who Jesus loves!
What’s that part about believing in God’s Son? According to other scriptures, it consists of repentance, baptism, and enduring to the end. That’s it? I do this little bit and I get this much? That’s a way better arrangement than I’ve ever been offered by anyone else — including people who love me.
John definitely has a way of expressing how God’s love has been demonstrated to us through the gift of His Son.
In 1 Nephi 8, Lehi has a dream in which a man in a white robe shows him the way to a tree laden with fruit — fruit that tastes better than anything he had ever before tasted. In 1 Nephi 11-14, Nephi receives the interpretation of Lehi’s dream — he is told that the tree represents the Love of God and he then sees Jesus Christ being sent to earth as the manifestation of that love. At the end of the vision, Nephi discovers that the man in the white robe is the Apostle John. So, even 600 years before he was born, God used this Apostle to point people toward Jesus Christ as the manifestation of God’s love (just as his gospel would later do).
While Jesus was hanging on the cross, this scene occurred:
“Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother. When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.” (John 19:25-27)
John knew how much Jesus loved him. And Jesus knew that John knew that. So, Jesus felt free to ask John to do something for Him — to care for His earthly mother for the rest of her life. John could have said it was inconvenient, an imposition, too much to ask for, etc. But, how could he say no? He was the one who Jesus loved — and he was more than happy to do something to show how much he appreciated that love.
What is Jesus asking us to do today? Is it something that’s inconvenient, an imposition, too much to ask for? Whatever it is, it’s a great opportunity to show how much we appreciate how much He loves us. Can any of us say no to Him? I know I can’t — I’m the one who Jesus loves!
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.