Why was John considered “the disciple whom Jesus loved”?

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John the apostle is known above the rest of the Twelve as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 21:20) and the son of Zebedee and brother of James. He was a one of the inner circle of three whom Jesus made His most close friends and shared His deepest experiences (Matthew 17:1).

When John and his brother James first came to Christ, they were named the “sons of thunder” (Mark 3:17). They were proud, self-confident, striving for honor, impulsive, indignant under injury; they often had the desire for retaliation, and took it when there was an opportunity. But below this hostile exterior, Jesus saw a zealous, honest, loving heart. At first, John was a slow pupil but later on, he carried the yoke of Christ, and as a result his whole life and personality were changed.

John had a deepest loyalty and love for Jesus which seemed to burn purer and brighter than in the hearts of his fellows. Between him and Jesus, there developed a more deep connection than the others knew. As John beheld the love and kindness of Jesus, he desired to become like Him. He was younger than the other disciples, and with the confiding trust of youth he allowed the love of God to transform his heart.

He was ever close by the side of his Master (John 13:23), submitting his mind to the influence of that perfect life, and as a result came to replicate it more fully than did his fellow disciples. His was the most open, the most teachable soul. As in the pure light of the Sun his faults were shown one by one, but he accepted the reproof. Divine mercy and grace converted him as he yielded his life to the Savior’s touch.

For this reason, Christ entrusted His own mother to His beloved disciple as He hung upon the cross (John 19:25-27). Early Christian tradition tells us that many years later Mary escorted John to Ephesus, where he oversaw the Christian churches of the region.

John was the first of the disciples at the tomb on the resurrection day, and the first to know the glorious truth that the Lord had risen (John 20:8). Thereafter, he dedicated his all to the declaration of a crucified, risen, and returning Savior, witnessing to what he had heard, seen, and experienced “of the Word of life” (1 John 1:1, 2).

As Christ alone could flawlessly reflect the Father, being the only One who knew Him perfectly, so John was highly qualified apostle to present, in his Gospel, the beautiful truths about Jesus the Son of God that loved mankind to death (John 3:16).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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