“…the disciple whom Jesus loved…”

Although he was one of the characters in the book he wrote, he never mentioned himself by name. It is generally understood, however, that “the disciple whom Jesus loved” in the Gospel of John was the apostle himself.

In referring to himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” was John saying that Jesus loved him more than the others? He certainly held a special place among the disciples. He was the one reclining next to Jesus at what we know as the Last Supper. As he was dying on the cross, Jesus entrusted his mother into John’s care. After the resurrection, John was the first apostle to look into the empty tomb. Then he was the first disciple on the fishing boat to recognize the risen Lord on the shore. At the end of his gospel, John identified himself not only as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” but as the one “who testifies to these things and wrote them down.” (John 13.23; 19.26, 27; 20.2; 21.7; 21.20, 24)

As I read the gospel of John, I don’t believe John saw himself as a favorite of Jesus. I believe John saw himself as special not because Jesus loved him best, but because Jesus loved him at all. He had been one of the “Sons of Thunder” who asked Jesus to destroy an unresponsive village. He and his brother James had had the audacity to ask for a special place in Jesus’ kingdom. But through his faith in Jesus, he later became “the elder” writing to his own disciples and the one who was chosen to pen Jesus’ last words in the book of Revelation. (Mark 3.17; Luke 9.54; 3 John 1; Revelation 1.1)

When John wrote that he was loved, he was expressing a gratitude for the special love that Jesus has for every one of his disciples, a tender spot in his heart for each one of his children. I am that disciple “whom Jesus loves.” And if you follow Jesus, then you can say with the same eternal gratitude and joy that John had that you are also that disciple “whom Jesus loves.”

5 thoughts on ““…the disciple whom Jesus loved…”

  1. I hope you will receive, this offer of biblical correction. When the Bible urges the readers of scripture to “prove all things” it certainly was not suggesting that they should look to the hearsay of men as their standard of truth but, rather, in accord with Ps. 118:8 they should look to scripture and trust the authority of God’s word — and not the traditions of men which may be added to that word.

    While the designation “the disciple whom Jesus loved” does depict the one-of-kind-relationship that this author had with Jesus, it is also true there is not a single verse that would justify teaching the idea that John was this unnamed “disciple whom Jesus loved”. Truly, the facts stated in the plain text of scripture can prove that WHOEVER the unnamed “other disciple, whom Jesus loved” was he could not have been John — because that idea forces the Bible to contradict itself, which the truth cannot do.

    That is why hearsay from non-Bible sources must be used to sell the John tradition. One can pick and choose their favorite non-Bible source to cite as a reason why they believe the idea that the unnamed “disciple whom Jesus loved” was John. But what no one has ever done is cite a single verse that would justify teaching the John idea — not those who originated this unbiblical tradition and not those who repeat their error to this day.

    Of course, those who want to avoid the light of scripture on this topic (because it proves the John tradition is false) will rush to change the subject – raising this-or-that objection to divert attention from what the word of God actually has to say on this topic. The best method for seeking truth on this issue is to simply read this unnamed author’s gospel from the beginning with the honest question, “Who would I conclude that this author was based on just the facts stated in his own gospel?” Those who do won’t come to the conclusion that this “other disciple, whom Jesus loved” was John simply because none of the evidence points toward John.

  2. Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of their faith in The Doctrine of Christ Resurrected, the same have knowingly, or perhaps unwittingly strained out Jesus beloved disciple and swallowed an apostle, whereby proclamations were published contrary to their original intent. If it were possible for a doctrinal tradition of men to bridge the gap between hearing the truth for the first time…Jesus Christ is risen from the dead…and knowing with the greatest degree of scriptural certainty whom exactly it was that had testified and wrote of it, then any debate over authorship of the fourth gospel as a means of determining it’s “canonicity” would never have been necessary. The greatest measure by which the greatest degree of scriptural certainty might be achieved in discerning the true identity of him whose testimony we know by faith is true , is belief in Christ Jesus Resurrected…which without , Jesus beloved disciple could not have had any good purpose to testify thereby, much less whereby to write. Simply ask: when did Jesus beloved disciple come to believe that Jesus was risen from the dead ? “Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.” (John)20:8 KJV. Reasoning from the viewpoint of “unbelief before belief,” traditionalists’ maintain that the apostle John did not necessarily believe that Jesus was risen from the dead at the advent of (John) 20:8, but that he believed Jesus ‘overall message’. This is of course , obstinance in the face of scriptural reality, for two reasons…first, Jesus ‘overalll message’ is “The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” Luke 24:7 KJV. Second, how can the apostle John be “that other disciple” which saw the empty tomb and believed Jesus was risen from the dead @ the advent of (John) 20:8 if the apostle John is counted among ‘the eleven’ (apostles) whom Jesus rebuked (Mark 16:14 KJV) for unbelief in the testimony of them which saw the risen Christ with their own eyes ? When I first heard the good news of God’s only begotten Son, Jesus Christ…how that he was delivered into the hands of sinful men, and was crucified, and was buried, and the third day rose again from the dead, I rejoiced and was comforted by what God has so graciously wrought for me, a sinner…and I believed. Know therefore, and understand that if I follow this apostle so beloved of men “to the heart of Jesus” by beginning in unbelief first by reason of him whom I am following, that would be contrary to what I first believed when I heard the report, and I would most likely find myself wandering around in a desert of scriptural uncertainty, only to be caught up in a whirlwind faltering between two opinions: belief in what I at first, only heard…Jesus Christ is risen from the dead…and unbelief in what the apostle John also at first only heard…Jesus Christ is risen from the dead.
    “But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death; Because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away and believed on Jesus” (John) 12:10,11 KJV.
    Only a man whom Jesus raised from the dead could lend the greatest degree of credibility as a reliable eye-witness to testify and write of Jesus resurrection from the dead. Only Lazarus of Bethany would have understood the significance of Jesus face cloth folded together in a place by itself. Only Lazarus, having recently removed his own face cloth, would have been comforted by what the careful, and quite deliberate placement of Jesus face cloth signified. Indeed, only Lazarus of Bethany could have known how to read this unveiled message between resurrected friends hidden in plain sight. So while the apostle John is to be honoured as a bold apostolic member of the body of Christ, for Jesus set him so (son of thunder), until those in positions of scholastic authority recant this 2000 year old falsification of the Gospel of Christ called “The Gospel according to John”, the apostle John’s martyred blood will continue to cry out ‘is it right in God’s sight to follow me in accordance with a tradition of men, or believe in Jesus by reason of him whom God has evidently honoured ?

    • Jim and Paul (?),

      Thank you for your comments. You both have obviously researched this topic more than I have. If you notice, in the first paragraph, I stated that “it is generally understood” that John the apostle wrote the book. I hope you will agree, that no matter who penned the book, God is the ultimate Author, which is why this gospel is so important to us.

      In your haste to attack my supposition, I fear you missed the whole point of my article, which is that each one of us who follow Jesus is blessed beyond degree to be among those he loves. The fourth gospel was written so that we might believe, and that in believing we might have eternal life.

      I’ll be interested to read your e-book, Jim. I am hoping that no matter what conclusion I reach about the authorship of the fourth gospel, I will never forget Jesus’ prayer for us all: That we all be one, so that the world will know that God sent Jesus and that He loves us. The truth that sanctifies us is not the identities of authors but the death, burial and resurrection of the Son of God.

      • annieb44, you indicated that you will be reading the eBook and that is great. I trust that you will post your verdict once you have considered the presentation of Bible evidence that it presents.

        Pr. 25:2

  3. annieb44
    it is obvious what is “generally understood” about authorship of the fourth gospel because of the title publishing houses keep printing by reason of a doctrinal tradition of men. While the weight of circumstantial evidence seems to tip the scales toward a more traditional conclusion, keep in mind that after nearly two thousand years of speculations, debates, and bloody conflagrations over such a seeming “secondary” issue, this traditional theory remains absolutely immpossible to validate as true based solely upon the plain text of scripture. As for your defence of what you “suppose” is true, it would be better for the body of Christ if you would defend what is true. Yes, beloved in Christ, we who believe are sanctified by the death and resurrection of God’s only aquired, anointed, and empowered Son; but the reason why knowing the true identity of him whose testimony we know by faith is true is so very important is because Jesus raised him from the dead!!Lazarus of Bethany was a living testament to the power of Christ. Only a man whom Jesus raised from the dead could lend the greatest degree of credibility as a reliable eye-witness that Jesus is who he said he is, The Son of God…which is the very reason why the chief priests(who were godless) wanted to kill Lazarus. If they could kill Lazarus before he could give a written testimony(for you see, Lazarus was an educated man in spite of his genetic disposition to leprosy), then they would have succeeded in erasing the memory of what Jesus did and any belief in him. It was for this very reason that , like the “underground church” of the former U.S.S.R., Lazarus of Bethany chose to remain anonymous as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” Thus we are indeed blessed “to be in the company of so great a cloud of witnesses who by reason of Lazarus went away and believed on Jesus.

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