Listen:  103 Question 3

Let’s begin by reading one of the references to this disciple whom Jesus loved.  While the Lord Jesus was on the cross, we read in John 19:26-27, “When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.”  In John 13:23, 20:2, 21:7 and 21:20, we again have the expression, “the disciple whom Jesus loved.”

Now, here is where we do a little bit of detective work.  If you use a good concordance, you will find that it is only in the Gospel of John that this expression is used.  Also, using a good concordance, you will find that John never mentions his own name in the Gospel of John.  It is John, in his humility, which causes him to simply reference himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved.

For a little more information about who John was, let’s read Matthew 4:18-22, “And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.”  In this portion, we see the Lord Jesus calling out four of His disciples; two sets of brothers.  Peter and Andrew were brothers, and James and John were brothers.  It was typical to mention the oldest brother first, so we can assume that John was younger than James.  These all were fisherman.  James and John were the sons of a man named Zebedee.  Although their mother is mentioned in the Bible, her name is not given.  We read of her in Matthew 20:20-21, “Then came to him the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him. And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom.”

It is interesting to contrast Peter and John.  While John was occupied with how much the Lord loved him, Peter seemed to be occupied with how much he loved the Lord.  For an example, let’s read Matthew 26:31-35 where the Lord was speaking to His disciples prior to going to the cross.  That says, “Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee. Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended.  Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples.”  Peter was sure that his love for the Lord would never let him be offended by the Lord or betray the Lord.

It is much better to think about how much Jesus loves us, rather than how much we love Him.  When our eyes are off ourselves and on the Lord, we will appreciate His love, guidance, and strength more.  It’s true that Matthew 22:37 tells us to, “…love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.”  However, when we focus on the love of Christ for us, we will more easily be led of him as we read in 2 Corinthians 5:14, “For the love of Christ constraineth us…”  To constrain means to compel or lead.  So, with our hearts and minds on the love of Christ, we will follow Him.  (103.3)