The Beloved Disciple / C

Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them …. When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!”

I’d always been kind of jelouse of the beloved disciple until I read an article by David Alan Black – The Disciple Whom Jesus Kept on Loving? He says that the translation of that expression, the disciple whom Jesus loved, … implies, not arrogance (as if he meant “the disciple whom Jesus loved more than the others”), but a profound sense of divine grace … John uses a tense that emphasizes a process— something like “the disciple whom Jesus kept on loving.” The implication is almost, “he kept on loving me despite myself.”

The passage above is very interesting. Jesus makes a disctinction between Peter and John (if John is indeed the beloved disciple) as to their future duties and fates. On what was the decidsion based and does it mean anything for us? An article I read recently – John’s Warning to His Church and to Our Church: Beware of Following Peter by Ann Naffziger – says that the writer of John’s gospel presents us with a choice …

John tells us that there are more ways to be a disciple than to follow in Peter’s footsteps. Indeed, he recommends that it is better not to! Instead, we are invited to abide in Jesus as the Beloved Disciple abided in Jesus, and to let ourselves be fed and nurtured by that relationship. And Jesus’ invitation to such discipleship is by no means exclusive; in fact, it is open to all who believe in him.

… if we are being offered a choice, a different version of the Martha/Mary dynamic, this brings up intriguing questions about the best way to be a friend of Jesus.

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8 responses

  1. Deleting yet another bit of advertising. Clean. Clean. Clean.This one’s selling anti-obesity drugs through the internet. I’m sure if anyone really wants to lose weight badly enough to start playing with their brain chemistry tehy will do so under strict doctor’s orders and buy the stuff from a pharmacist they can trust.

  2. Given the dearth of activity on the blog lately, those spam messages may be the only comments I get 🙂

  3. Crystal ~ I know a dare when I see one! :)It does help put a different spin on the best way to be a friend of Jesus. What I’ve so often valued in friendship was a sense of acceptance, a just “being there”. Mary at Christ’s feet or bathing his feet with her tears have always been such an inspiration to me.

  4. Hi Twyla. I like that story too of Mary crying over Jesus’ feet … good reason not to get my hair cut 🙂

  5. Crystal, You offer some really interesting side notes here. THank you for digging into this. I’m curious – how would you answer your own question about the best way to be a Friend to Jesus? What comes naturally to you when you consider this question?

  6. Hi Meredith. I wonder, who would I rather be, John or Peter … would I rather be the disciple Jesus loved or instead, the disciple who loved Jesus? Myabe the best way to be Jesus’ friend is different for each person? For me, though it probably sounds dopey, I think the best way to be his friend is to believe he loves me. I try … it’s the hardest thing I could try to do.

  7. Thanks, Crystal, for an excellent post. I really appreciate these links you share with us, usually saying very pertinent things re our selected scripture; that was especially true here.I especially liked Ann Naffziger’s article. It is eisegesis of course, but since I believe that it’s all poetry, we are encouraged to share whatever comes to us from the reading.Her idea is a very good one: to me Peter represents the organized doctrinaire church; John represents those who trust in their own relationship to Christ, those called ‘heretics’, who are found in large numbers throughout the centuries that Christianity has existed. As you probably know, I belong to the second party, and it is very encouraging that those in both groups can share ideas and enjoy communion with one another.

  8. I agree, Larry – I like the idea that we have choices of how to respond to Jesus. I lean more in your direction than the other.

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