the disciple Jesus loves!
This weekend I spoke at our college’s Awaken gathering and this was the title of my message. I wanted to teach out of John’s letters, especially about the concepts of living in the light and proving our love for God by our submission to his commandments. In the midst of studying that, I made a connection between the John who wrote so adamantly about devotion to Jesus and the John who referred to himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.”
The John who expects the highest standards from his “beloved children” in the faith is the John who found himself the only disciple at the foot of the Cross. It would be easy to take his letters as legalistic impossibilities unless you remembered that this is the John who never referred to himself by his own name but only as the disciple Jesus loved. A commentary I consulted made a strong point of this: John’s identity wasn’t even in his own ability to love Jesus but was in the love that Jesus had for him.
Living up to Biblical standards can seem difficult until you put it into this kind of perspective. The amazing thing about grace is that it is unending, unfailing, unlimited, and unmerited. (That’s two awesome golden oldie song lines stuck together – how great am I?) John knew that. John knew that if we lived in the love of Jesus for us, we could live up to the high calling of faith.
My challenge to my listeners Friday, and my challeng to you today, is to live in that place of His love. Not in your ability to do it all right. Not in your good intentions or lofty ideals. Live in his love. I think you’ll like the view from there – it just might make living in the light seem a little easier!