Jesus Christ had 12 disciples whom he loved unconditionally, but John was the one whom he loved the most. This is not to say that the other disciples were not loved. Jesus is love, and He exudes love. So then, why did Jesus love John the most?
The Bible does not explain why John appeared to be Jesus’ favorite and most beloved disciple. However, based on Biblical reading, many scholars believe that John was Jesus’ most beloved disciple because he was the youngest. He approached Jesus with a childlike eagerness to learn more. He tagged along with Jesus, never leaving His sight, and whenever Jesus went out, John was there, at times even leaning on Jesus’ shoulder as He preached.
Keep reading this article to get answers to questions like what was Jesus’ relationship with John? What makes John special to Jesus? And What does John’s nickname, beloved disciple, mean?
How does the Bible describe Apostle John?
The Bible describes John as a young man who wore many hats throughout His life. Apostle John was not only Jesus’ disciple but was a writer and a fisherman. However, the most important description is that John is the most loved disciple. Most of the verses that allude to this are found in the book of John, which John Himself penned, and John refers to himself as the beloved disciple. John 13:23 One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at the table at Jesus’ side. John speaks of himself as the disciple that Jesus loved almost 5 times throughout the Bible.
John is also shown to be a young man who had a brother called James. John was the youngest among the disciples, and the Bible suggests that he never left Jesus’ side. He was there during the transfiguration when Jesus raised Jairus’s daughter to life, and when Jesus was crucified, Jesus gave Him the responsibility to care for his mother, Mary.
What was Jesus’ relationship with John?
Aside from being John’s teacher for about three years, Jesus had a very close relationship with him. As the youngest of the disciples, it is assumed that John was frequently unruly, egotistical, and impetuous. He was a young man full of energy, just like any other. He wanted to learn more and explore new things, which often got him into trouble. To guide and lead John as a mentor toward what Jesus had already seen in John, Jesus had to extend much more grace and love to him than to the other disciples.
Jesus had already witnessed John’s enormous potential and passion for matters about God’s kingdom, and John’s execution was what needed to be tamed. As a result, it is suggested that Jesus kept John close to teaching Him the ways of God. Jesus made sure to expose John to the wonders of God’s kingdom.
The Bible mentions that John was among the disciples at the transfiguration in Matthew 17;1-8. John was taken into the room by Jesus when he was bringing back Jairus’s daughter to life in Mark 5:37. All these instances were to mentor young John and to bring out the gift the Lord had placed in Him. This show of trust and affection by Jesus led young John to become one of the greatest Apostles ever to exist. They suggest that Jesus had a loving, gracious relationship with John where, despite his shortcomings, Jesus still accepted and loved him, the essence of true love and friendship. John’s childlike curiosity of wanting to always be in the know and having an open heart to learn and make mistakes grew His relationship with Jesus as he was more vulnerable in his dealings with Jesus than the other disciples. It is thought that John and Jesus were best friends.
What makes John special to Jesus?
Out of all the disciples, John is the only one who knew what being loved by Jesus meant. He was additionally not shy of mentioning it in the books he wrote. He describes himself as Jesus’ beloved disciple. John was an open book, and He was a passionate character that fully trusted Jesus and knew that Jesus’ love for Him could not be taken away by anyone. It might appear boasting, but John is special in that he truly recognized who Jesus was from the very beginning and fully gave Himself to Jesus’ mission.
The rest of the disciples were still questioning who Jesus was and if Jesus loved them but not John. He knew who he was in Jesus and what Jesus had done for him. John was also unique in how he showed his affection to Christ. We see John always tagging behind Jesus and even resting on Jesus’ shoulder in the last Passover. John is depicted as being vulnerable, authentic, and open about his true character before Jesus. He approached Jesus just as he was, without trying to sugarcoat his faults.
How did Jesus show his love for John?
John witnessed Jesus’s death on the cross, one of the most significant events that truly showed Jesus’s love for John and all other people, as is mentioned in the scriptures. John 15:13 There is no greater love than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John wrote this verse, and he experienced Jesus’ love firsthand when He saw his friend Jesus dying on the cross for his very sins, yet he was still a sinner.
Jesus also showed His love by constantly choosing John to follow Him into places where you needed a friend and someone who believed in you to access. Like the transfiguration and while Jesus was raising Jairus’ daughter to life.
In reading the Story of Jairus’ daughter, you realize that the people in that house mocked Jesus; they did not believe Jesus could change the situation. They laughed when Jesus said the girl was just sleeping and during a time when nobody believes in you, always want those who believe in you to surround you and in those moments, Jesus expressed his love and affection by leaning on John as a crutch to reassure Him of his abilities as the son of God.
Jesus also showed His love by charging John with the responsibility to take care of His mother, Mary, when He was at the point of death on the cross. This showed that Jesus trusted and loved John and would give him responsibility over a woman he loved dearly.
What does John’s nickname, beloved disciple, mean?
The nickname simply means that John was Jesus’ favorite disciple, but it does not imply that Jesus did not love his other disciples. It simply means that because of John’s likable personality, he benefited from a closer relationship with Jesus than the others.
Because he was the youngest, he had a childlike faith in Jesus, which gave him the name. It is suggested that, just as a baby does not leave his mother’s bosom, John stuck to Jesus’ bosom even to the point of asking Jesus to allow him and his brother James to sit at Jesus’ right hand in Heaven in Mark 10: 35–45.
Why does John describe himself as the beloved disciple?
John had witnessed Jesus’ love firsthand, and as an outspoken individual, he was not about to keep quiet about it. He understood what it meant to be loved by Jesus and wrote about it in the beautiful book of John. This book has long been recommended as a good read for new Christians because John writes about Jesus’ love and the sacrifices he made for those he loved.
John frequently erred as a young man on the journey with Jesus, and he saw how Jesus extended grace and loved him through these seasons. He recognized and understood what it meant to be loved, even in one’s fallen state, and declared that he was truly the beloved disciple. He implied that he fell short more than his mature counterparts, but Jesus continued to choose him over the others who were always correct.
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They say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, right? Being raised by Christians significantly impacted my life since I started professing Christ from a young age. My passion for the Christian faith made me pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology. I am a believer and pastor dedicated to spreading the word of God. I have been in the Christian ministry for over a decade and am currently ministering in Life Christian Church. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Please check the About Us Page for more details.