The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved
John 13:21-28 (Note verse 23 “Whom Jesus Loved”)
Intro: The Bible calls John in four places not by his name, but it calls him the disciple whom Jesus loved. In this instance we find him at the last supper sitting next to Christ leaning upon his pillow as was customary, and with his head leaned over on Jesus’ breast. It would appear that as John was sitting next to Christ, he felt the need at the supper to embrace the Lord about the time that Christ was to disclose the betrayal of Judas.
The old proverb says that you are known by the company that you keep. There is no better company than him! John was not known by his ability, but he was known by who loved him- “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” Before I tell you what this means, I want to tell you what it does not mean. It does not mean:
1. Jesus loved John and not the other disciples. Jesus loves everyone. John 13:1 teaches us that he loved all those that were his until the end.
2. Jesus loved John more than the other disciples. There is no variableness in him. There are no degrees of God’s love. When God loves, he fully loves.
The thing is that everybody does not love God the same! In fact, some hate him or the very mention of his name. Some don’t really love him. Some only love him on Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Decoration Day. People who are disobedient, unconcerned, and unstudied don’t really love him as they say they do! There were 15,000 on the mountain, but very few when Jesus said you’ll have to deny yourself. God, church, and the Bible has to be able to fit into your schedule, but most will not serve in inconvenience. I learned from some parents who were disciples whom Jesus loved that God must be first, and everything else can be scheduled, as it is convenient.
* It does mean that John went deeper and further in a cultivated relationship with God. He was never satisfied just to be a disciple. He wanted to lean on Jesus’ breast. I’m so glad God saved me from religion, rules, regulations, reformation, and renewal of vows, promises and commitments and put me in a relationship with him. I just want to be a disciple whom Jesus loves.
I. Sit Where Others Do Not Sit: John 13:23, one was leaning on Jesus’ bosom. They were not all there… only one. John is the only disciple that ever heard the Lord’s heart beat! There are times when we cannot stand, but I am glad for a place to lean! This is his last night, but John is the only one who sat close by. While the others were arguing over who would be first in the kingdom, John was leaning on Jesus’ breast. All they could see was themselves and one another, but all John could see was him. While Peter was making promises that he could not keep to be faithful to Christ until death, John was leaning on Jesus’ breast. While Judas was counting his money, John was leaning on Jesus’ bosom. While some were finding fault, John was leaning on his breast. While the others listened to themselves and one another, John was feeling the Lord’s breath, listening to his heartbeat, feeling the warmth of his love. Sitting close to Jesus is not a matter of pride it is priority. It is not showmanship; it is spiritual necessity. It is like when I preach and some are blessed to death and others are bored to death! It ain’t all the preacher! Some are sitting where others cannot sit! It is like Mary and Martha (Luke 10:42). It is like the Grandmother who shouted with so much power. Her Granddaughter said to her, “Grandma, I’d give anything to shout with the power of God lie that.” Grandma responded, “That’s what it will take.”
II. Stand Where Others Do Not Stand: Closer to Calvary Jesus got, the fewer disciples there were. Where is the blind man, the deaf man, Lazarus? None was left except a handful of devoted women… and the disciple whom Jesus loved (John 19:25-27). The same one who stood by the cross is the same one who sat by his side. The others could have sat there, and they could have stood there, but they did not. You will never be successful standing until you take some time sitting. Some will tell you how much they have been sitting, but when it comes time to take a stand, you will find out who has been truly sitting at the feet of Jesus! The disciple whom Jesus loves will stand. How it must have helped Jesus to see the face of John! And John had the privilege of taking the mother of Jesus home to stay with him and living as her son! Can you imagine the conversations into the unrecorded scenes of Jesus’ life that they must have had? God will give to you special revelation and insight when you stand where others do not stand! How it must have been to stand by her bedside when she was dying!
III. Serve Where Others Do Not Serve: Matthew 20:20-22 James and John wanted to serve in a grand capacity, but Jesus told them that they were not yet able. They would serve, but that time had not yet come. You will have to first sit and stand before you can truly serve. Many want to preach or teach Sunday School, but they have only been in the way a short time. If you will be the disciple whom Jesus loves, sit and stand, and God will give you an opportunity to serve.
IV. See What Others Do Not See: John 21 they went fishing. When the morning was come they looked and saw a man on the shore. They could not tell who it was. When they brought in the fish, John 21:7 says that there was one who knew who it was! John, however, said, "It is the Lord." Some are always wondering what in the world is the matter at home, on their job, and in the church, but the disciple whom Jesus loves knows that God is doing something. He can see the hand of God at work where others only see pain and grief. John had been close enough to Jesus to come to recognize his whisper; he surely would recognize his shout! Some know not when Jesus is passing through, but I am glad that I can recognize him! Some know when to shout and when to be somberly quiet. Some know when to rejoice, sing, preach, come to the altar to pray for yourself and give thanks, and you know when to seek the face of God for sinners.
Conclusion: The disciples whom Jesus loves see what others do not see. If this passage is not enough, there are 22 chapters to the book of Revelation. John saw what others could not see! You can have a deeper, fuller, and more cultivated relationship with God, if you are willing to begin by sitting near him and listening to his voice.