One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. John 13:23
I routinely tell each of my kids, “You’re my favorite.” Of course, they know I say the same thing to their other siblings. It’s true though. I want all four of them to feel that they are particularly loved and have a special place in my heart.
Four times in John’s gospel, this mysterious phrase pops up: “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” The fact that those words aren’t used anywhere else in the scriptures raises suspicion that John may have been referring to himself, while trying to stay humble.
John was the youngest of the twelve disciples, probably in his late teens when Jesus called him to follow. He was often part of the “inner circle” along with Peter and James — the three disciples allowed to enter into the Garden of Gethsemane with Jesus. After three years with the Master, John was sure that he, of all the disciples, was especially loved.
John alone recorded the words of Jesus from the cross concerning Mary. It’s likely that John was the only disciple who was near enough to the cross to hear Jesus’ words. The rest had run and were in hiding, fearing for their own lives. Because Jesus was Mary’s oldest son and because Joseph had likely died by then, Jesus fulfilled his duty to provide for His mother. He asked one of His closest friends to take her into his home.
In the book “The Shack”, by author William P. Young, the character portraying God says of every person, “I am especially fond of him,” or “I am especially fond of her.” God doesn’t play favorites — yet somehow, we are all His favorite.
Lord, it is one of the mysteries that is impossible for us to comprehend — that You love each and every one of us with an everlasting love. We each can say with assurance, “God is especially fond of me.” Thank You.