Sunday, October 29, 2006

A New Name

John 21:20 “The disciple whom Jesus loved....”

Six times in the Gospel According to John, the author refers to himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” Near as I can tell, John never once identifies himself by name in the gospel. In a very real way John had given up his own life, as John, a fisherman, a son of Zebedee; to live as the beloved disciple. His earthly identity, the person he was before he met Jesus, no longer described and defined him. John chose to be known not for who he was nor what he did, but for Who loved Him. The fact that Jesus loved him came to be the totality of his identification. It was his new identity in Christ. This may be what Jesus had in mind when He spoke about losing one’s life - ....(Matthew 10:39) He that finds his life shall lose it: and he that loses his life for my sake shall find it.
John was a fisherman, in business with his brother and father. When he became a disciple of Jesus, he went on to record the gospel account with his name and author four other books in the New Testament. The last of these books was the result of the vision, given John, of the time of Jesus’ return to earth as conquering king. He went from one of a thousand working men, living in a corner of the globe, to a man who served and taught millions of the love which he experienced himself.
His life, which he lost for the sake of Jesus, was like a million other lives lived out every year on this earth. The life he gained as the disciple whom Jesus loved, was one only the Lord of all life could envision and provide.
John did not hold onto the designation and role given him by the world. His time with Jesus so changed him that the only appropriate name he could use was a description of the relationship God had with him.
He was the disciple whom Jesus loved. That was enough for John.


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