“Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord….” John 21:7
I used to read the disciple John’s description of himself, like the one in the verse above, and think that he was a little prideful. Was he implying that Jesus loved him more than the other disciples, or that he was somehow better than they were? It wasn’t until I started studying the Gospel of John in order to write our curriculum lessons, that I saw John’s description for what it really was: his identity.
John could have chosen many different adjectives to describe himself; the young disciple, the brother of James, the handsome one, the fisherman etc… However, John chose to describe himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.”
John’s identity was not wrapped up in his earthly attributes, his family connections or his profession. His identity was completely rooted in the person of Jesus, and in how beloved he was by Him. I now read the words, “the disciple whom Jesus loved”, and see not a heart of pride, but a humble heart overwhelmed by the fact the King of the universe died for him. John seems awestruck with the truth that he was a sinner, and yet he was loved by his perfect Savior.
John’s entire world had been changed by Jesus. John left everything he had known to follow this simple man from Nazareth. As John watched Jesus day after day, studied Him, learned from Him, ate with Him, walked with Him, what must he have seen in His Savior’s eyes? Can you imagine the depth of love and holiness that would have dwelled in Jesus’ eyes?
John seemed to realize that the only description of himself that truly mattered was that he was loved by Jesus. He was a sinner, whose sins had been forgiven and then was clothed in Jesus’ own righteousness. Nothing else in John’s life could compare with that truth.
If I was to write about myself in the third person, how would I describe myself to others? She’s a wife and mother, she’s a writer, she’s the quiet one, she’s the one who tries to be all things to all people…. Or, would I write, she’s the one whom Jesus loves!
Without Jesus, I have nothing and am nothing. He has forgiven my sin, and saved me from a life of separation from God. I am His and He is mine. I pray that my identify, like John’s, will be completely rooted in Jesus.
Lord, may I SEE You as the One who loves me. May my identity be found in You. Thank You for knowing me and yet loving me for who I am. I love You, Jesus!