The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved
Ever wonder why John was referred to in the Bible as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (as in Jn. 21:20)?” I have. It’s quite a distinction. Of course Jesus loved all His followers, but there was something special about John, and I doubt that it had anything to do with his status as “blood relative.” Then there’s Jesus’ confrontation with Peter (John 21:15-19) when He kept asking Peter if he loved Him. I’ve wondered about that, too. Lately, I’ve wondered if the two are connected.

Follow my line of thinking here as I attempt to make a connection. I’d be surprised if most Christians weren’t focused almost exclusively on the blessings we think we’re entitled to. After all, doesn’t God want to bless us? We’re always reminding Him how He can do it. We ask Him to bless our food, bless our ministries, bless our time together with other believers, bless the missionaries, bless this, bless that. We’re obsessed with being blessed. In the back of our minds, we think we’ve earned the blessings. We try our best to obey God’s call on our lives. Some are exercising their spiritual gifts to the max. Some are displaying awesome stewardship. Others are displaying exemplary sacrificial giving. Some sing in the choir. Others teach faithfully every week, and on and on.
We think we’ve earned God’s blessings by our obedience. This is legalism at its finest—performing to earn God’s favor. In our spiritual regression, we’ve missed the whole point.

The greatest commandment says nothing about serving, ministering, or obeying. It’s all about loving God with every part of us. It’s about entering into an intimate relationship with the living God. It’s all about spiritual intimacy with our Heavenly
Father. This is what He want most from us—not sacrifice or even obedience. Most of all, He wants us to love Him. When that is our primary focus, the obedience will automatically follow. It won’t be a chore deserving of a reward. The more time we spend in intimate fellowship with Him, the more of Him will rub off on us. Obedience will come naturally.

The Apostle Paul showed that he had learned this when he said that he was determined to “know nothing except Christ and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2). Christ had been willing to die so that Paul could find real life. Paul wanted to get to know the One who could love to that degree. He wanted to understand His heart. He wanted to know everything about Him. What God desired from Paul would flow automatically from Paul once He started to really know Jesus Christ.

Back to the connection between “Do you love me?” and John being the disciple Jesus loved. I think the connection can be seen in the way John begins the epistle (letter) known as 1 John. Open you Bible and read the first three verses. It’s all about fellowship with the Father. John enjoyed the fellowship that comes from loving God (and Jesus) as his top priority. He wanted the readers of his letter to share in that fellowship so they could experience the joy it brought.

I have learned the hard way that if we seek our joy from our service to God, we will eventually be very disappointed. Joy comes from knowing God on an intimate, personal level, not simply by having a quiet time, but by desiring, as Paul did, to want nothing more than to really get to know the members of the Trinity. I think John loved Jesus like that, and Jesus wanted Peter to do the same. I think that’s the connection, and it’s a lesson we all need to learn. Stay tuned. I’ll be hammering this message home from several different angles in the near future. It’s that important!


A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class because it was a weapon of math disruption.