The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved

John 13:23

One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him.

In John’s gospel he doesn’t often refer to himself as a member of the disciples.  Instead he refers to himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.”

Aside from the fact that it seems odd for John to refer to himself in the third person with such a title, there feels like there is a problem of Jesus showing favoritism as well.  Why is John singled out for this title?

Scripture is clear that God doesn’t show favoritism but God does bless some people more than others.  David committed terrible sins but he was considered a man after God’s own heart.  Jesus chose twelve men to follow Him and even among these He had an “inner circle” of Peter, James, and John.  And John was called the one whom Jesus loved.  (And historically John is the only disciple who wasn’t martyred although he was boiled in oil – it didn’t kill him – and sent into exile on the island of Patmos.)

God doesn’t play favorites but He does respond to those who love Him.  Throughout history certain people have shown tremendous faith and God has chosen to bless them.  Abraham, David, and John all loved God and God in turn blessed them.  We can’t know the mind of God so we can’t say for certain why He chose these men but their faith is a crucial element to their blessing.

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