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.