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I've never been comfortable
with John's self designation as the "Disciple whom Jesus loved."
As a child, my Sunday School teachers told me John was a humble man and
used that designation to avoid using his name. They thought it was his
way to avoid "name dropping." I didn't buy it. Oh, I knew better
than to argue with them, but I didn't buy it. Though it isn't exactly what
he said, to a child, the phrase smacked of "He loved me more than
Was John saying that Jesus
loved him more than the others? Remember, it was his mother who asked Jesus
if her boys could have a place of honor in the Kingdom (Matt. 20:20). Do
you think John was being competitive?
As a part of the "inner
circle" John had a special relationship with Jesus. But I don't think
that explains the designation either. Then what does?
He was there.
The hymn writer described
it like this, "Oh the love that drew salvation's plan! Oh, the grace
that brought it down to man! Oh, the mighty gulf that God did span at Calvary."
John was the only disciple
at Calvary. If hearing about the cross inspired the poet to relish Jesus'
love, wouldn't being there make an even greater impact?
Could it be that Jesus' love
so defined his life that no other words were needed to describe who he