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. At first, 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 occasions.
First mention: John 13:23
23 Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved. 24 Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake. 25 He then lying on Jesus’ breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it? 26 Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.John 13:23-26
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.
Second mention: John 19:26
26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! 7 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.John 19:26-27
Jesus is hanging on the cross here. John, unlike Peter, was at the feet of Jesus. He was with Jesus when He was suffering. He was therefore available to receive Jesus’ request to take care of Mary, His mother.
Third mention: John 20:2
2 Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him. 3 Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre. 4 So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. 5 And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. 6
Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, 7 And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. 8 Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.John 20:2-8
John, together with Peter and Mary, were the first to discover that Jesus was missing from the tomb.
Fourth mention: John 21:7
4 But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus. 5 Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No. 6 And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. 7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher’s coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea.John 21:7
John was the first to recognise Jesus standing on the shore calling out to them in the fishing boat.
Fifth mention: John 21:20
20 Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee? 21 Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? 22 Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.John 21:20
I noticed that John is never far from Jesus.
Becoming the Disciple Whom Jesus Loved
Pastor 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 Pastor Joseph Prince of New Creation Church, Singapore.
Watch the excerpt