The disciples – a most diverse group of men. They were each called by Jesus to come and follow Him.
John has always held my interest probably because he hailed himself as “the disciple Jesus loved”. It was not said in a way meant to brag which is what I always have found curious. Yet on at least two occasions, he refers to himself in that manner …
In sitting at a dinner table with the twelve disciples, Jesus states that one of them would betray Him. In the Gospel of John, John writes:
His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant. One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him.
(John 13:23, NIV)
After His death and resurrection, Jesus has a conversation with a few on the shore after they had been out fishing. Peter, who had betrayed Jesus, was included in the group and invited, once more, to follow Jesus. Again John writes …
Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (John 21:20, NIV)
John was a disciple who knew he was loved by Jesus. In his writing, he constantly reminded himself of his identity and relationship with Christ. He also reminded himself, and us, of the benefits obtained from this relationship:
- We are children of God. John knew he was a child of God and would always remain so. “Dear friend, we are already God’s children.” (1 John 3:2. NLT) John knew he did not need to strive to enter nor remain in God’s family. He was already in.
- The victory was won. John knew battles would be fought in his life and in ours. But he remain confident victory was his – in and through Christ. “But you belong to God, dear children. You have already won a victory, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater that the spirit who lives in the world.”
(1 John 4:4, NLT)
John used this word to denote an action which was completely done or accomplished. It was similar to him saying, “You were previously and completely made a child of God” and “The victory was previously and completely won”.
Being assured of our identity then assures us of what we are now able to do …. love.
In so reminding himself (and us) of these truths, he tells us we are able to love others because of Whose we are. In this letter of 1 John, John uses the word “love” 43 times. This was a man who not only knew Jesus loved him but lived in the confidence he was able to love others through God’s Spirit in him.
Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God.
(1 John 4:7, NLT)
Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.
(1 John 4:11, NLT)
We love each other because he loved us first. (1 John 4:19, NLT)
It assures us of who we are.
It reminds of what has been done.
It encourages us to do what we know to do.