This year I’ve been studying the book of John with Bible Study Fellowship (BSF). Reading John’s account of Jesus’ life, one particular truth stands out.
John refers to himself as ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved‘. (John 13:23, 19:26, 21:20)
The one Jesus loved.
Years ago, reading this for the first time, John seemed kind of arrogant to me. The ONE Jesus loved – who does he think he is?’
Was he saying he was MORE loved than the other disciples? That idea didn’t seem consistent with Jesus’ character in the rest of the Bible. Confusion fueled the desire to know more.
And you know what? As I’ve studied the Bible, learning about God’s character and attributes, I identify myself more and more as John did.
I can tell you with certainty, it is not arrogance.
John knew he wasn’t more loved than his peers. John was Jesus’ friend and eye-witness to His life. He walked alongside Jesus daily, watching Him love everyone He came into contact with.
No matter how sinful, no matter how much they loved or didn’t love Jesus back – Jesus loved ALL people.
Jesus’ love is SO important to John that he replaces his own name with Jesus’ love – John’s most important characteristic.
So often, I succumb to a wrong-view of myself. I focus on negative aspects of my personality, image or actions. When who I believe I am doesn’t match who God says I am, my day is robbed of joy. Then too easily, this wrong-thinking infects my actions, thoughts and relationships.
What we think about ourselves needs to be rooted in truth. Who better to tell us who we are than the one who created us in His own image?
How do you identify yourself?
Often, we identify ourselves by what we do – mom, dad, scientist, manager, teacher, student, child, sister, brother, volunteer…
What we do is important, but have you considered your more important, all-encompassing identity?
Not what you do, or who you do it with, but WHO you are.
Jesus Christ knows each of us, inside and out. There is nothing you can hide from Him and nothing He doesn’t know about you, good or bad.
We are fully seen.
And fully LOVED.
Do you know this truth in your bones?
As celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus, will you take time to reflect on who HE says you are?
YOU are SO loved that He purposefully came to earth – fully God and fully man – to save you.
He lived a perfect life, demonstrating perfect love as He interacted with the people HE created.
He knew every sin of every person as He spoke truth in love. He lovingly healed their bodies and their souls.
He laid His life down on purpose.
Jesus is the perfect, unblemished Passover Lamb who takes away the sin of the world.
His perfect, sinless blood reconciles sinful, UNHOLY man with God.
We can be united with the holy God who cannot be in the presence of our sin. He is SO holy, He needs to be described by repeating holy 3 times.
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty.
Now united with Him through Jesus, what if we lived out our identity as John did?
Who are you?
The _________ whom Jesus loved.
The mama whom Jesus loved so much He died for her so she can spend eternity with Him.
The daughter whom Jesus loved so much He laid His life down so she can be forgiven.
The manager whom Jesus loved so much He purposefully died on a cross to bear her punishment.
The father whom Jesus loved so much He came to earth to reveal His perfect Father in heaven.
The blogger whom Jesus loved so much He chose to suffer so that she can share in His glory.
The one whom Jesus loved and longs to reveal Himself to – so you know you are fully seen, fully heard, fully known, and despite all your shortcomings, are fully loved.
Will you ask Him to help you believe it?