Greetings Brothers and Sisters in Christ!
This is not going to be a very long article at all. In fact, it’s going to be rather brief. I apologize in advance for any grammatical or spelling errors you may come across in this or the previous article, but my husband, who is normally my editor, has been extra busy these past several weeks with work and helping his family. Hopefully he’ll be able to play catch up one day soon and check these articles for me. This one is about the mystery behind the disciple that Jesus Christ loved. I know there are several schools of thought on whom this could be, such as John the apostle, Mary Magdalene, and Lazarus. I’ll be honest, I have not studied all the different schools of thoughts and why some scholars come to these conclusions. All I can do is share my thoughts on the topic and who I think it is. Please, I kindly ask, feel free to share your thoughts with me as to whom you think it is and why I may be wrong or to share scripture to corroborate why I may be right. All Glory and Praise goes to God in the name of Jesus Christ always and forever.
Firstly, I think it’s safe to say that Jesus Christ loves all His children. I believe the Gospel of John is called such because certain men thought that it was John the Apostle that wrote it. I’m no scholar; nor do I need to be. I get all my understanding of what’s important directly from God and His Good Word (as do and as can all my brothers and sisters in Christ), but again, please feel free to share with me what you may have learned by way of the Holy Spirit, but please come to me with kindness in your heart and warmth in your greeting. There’s a passage in the Gospel of John, the 4th canonical Gospel of Jesus Christ, that reads as follows:
There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the [sons] of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples. – John 21:2
John the Apostle IS one of the sons of Zebedee, so if he were the author of this book, why would he refer to himself in third person? And with regards to the disciple that Jesus loved, I do not believe it’s Mary Magdalene because the Gospel of John clearly states, in one or more verses, that the disciple is male, by referring to the disciple as “him.” I personally believe the disciple being referred to as the one that Jesus Christ loved is Lazarus because we see in one or more verses how much he loves Lazarus and his sisters. But more than this, we never see Lazarus speak or see his name used when out and about with Jesus Christ and the others – only when in a home or at his being brought back to life, do we even know he’s there.
But there is a much bigger picture to see here in all of this. I believe that Lazarus is also divinely symbolic for the love that Jesus Christ has for all of us – for all His children that hear His voice and believe in Him. There’s not just one disciple that Jesus Christ loved or loves. He gave His life for everyone! At one point, after Jesus Christ has resurrected and upon his 3rd visitation, Peter points to the “disciple that Jesus Christ loves” and asks “what about him?”. Jesus replies to Peter with “What about him? If I wish him to live forever, what’s that to you? Just follow me.”
Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee? Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what [shall] this man [do]? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what [is that] to thee? follow thou me. – John 21:20-22
Jesus Christ wishes us all, that are obedient to Him, to live forever and I believe that’s what the message is here to all of us – for us not to worry about what our other brothers and sisters are doing or what they have, or what Jesus Christ is doing for them, but to focus on what we are doing for Jesus Christ and doing for others and to be obedient to God. Jesus Christ brought Lazarus back from the dead and He brings all of us back from the dead that are born again, and if we choose to follow Him, in obedience and love, until the very end, we WILL make it to the first resurrection and get to live forever. We are spiritually brought back from the dead now and will be literally brought back from the dead upon His second return to us.
I believe Jesus Christ chose the name Lazarus in the parable of the Rich Man and the Beggar for a reason, because again, this Lazarus, was faithful until the end, even though he was afflicted and persecuted. This IS the disciple that Jesus loved – that Jesus Christ still loves. It’s you and it’s me and everyone that hears His voice and follows. It’s the same disciples spoken of in the Book of Revelation:
“And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” Revelation 1:5-6
And guess what? We need Him and His gift of the Holy Spirit. In the Book of Mark 14:51-52 in the New Testament of the Holy Bible at the moment in Gethsemane where Jesus Christ is being taken away captive, we read:
“And there followed him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and the young men laid hold on him: And he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked.”
I believe this verse also gives us a clue as to whom the mysterious disciple is that Jesus loved. This man ran away naked. He only had a linen cloth cast about his naked body. Isn’t that kind of odd? Well, at the resurrection of Lazarus in the Book of John we read the following:
“And when He thus had spoken, He (Jesus Christ) cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.”
I believe, again, that the mysterious man that runs away naked is, Lazarus, who is symbolic of all the disciples that Jesus Christ loves. I believe this simply because of the anonymity we see again of this man and because of the reference to the graveclothes being loosened in one passage and to the reference of the loose fitting linen cloth in the other. I do, however, believe that Lazarus was also a real man, and these are all true stories, but that the entire Bible is divinely parabolic and symbolic, with a message to all of us woven in and out of it. Jesus Christ’s hour had not yet come to be crucified, resurrected, and returned Home to be with our Heavenly Father, so this young Lazarus running away naked, I believe, is symbolic for anyone that does not yet have the Holy Spirit. He is symbolic for all that are naked without the Armor of God, which in fullness, is the Holy Spirit.
And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon (satan), and out of the mouth of the beast (anti-christ spirit), and out of the mouth of the false prophet (spirit of false prophesy.) For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon. Revelation 16:13-16
The Holy Spirit guides us, comforts us, teaches us, and gives us strength! All of Jesus Christ’s disciples ran away scared that night, because they had not yet received the Holy Spirit. Even Peter, we know, denied that He even knew Jesus Christ three times! The Holy Spirit could only come forth to all of His disciples only after He had returned to the Father, and to this day, no one can receive the Holy Spirit until after acknowledging he or she is a sinner and truly accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and then being baptized with water as a symbol of that devotion. As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, The Good Word tells us that one of Jesus Christ’s name is The Word of God. So in these examples I have given you, we see these disciples do want to believe in Jesus Christ and to follow Him, The Word of God, but without the Holy Spirit, they do not yet have the protection and comfort they need to overcome this world as Jesus Christ did. Jesus Christ, of course, had the Holy Spirit bubbling over in Him when He was persecuted and nailed upon that cross. It’s the same today. Just because someone reads the Word of God and says they believe, does not mean they truly are protected by the Holy Spirit or have understanding. Again, even satan knows scripture, does He not?
Yes, indeed, we are all the disciples that Jesus Christ loves, and we know this because of what He did for us. He gives all that He loves, and that are in The Book of Life, the Holy Spirit to help us make it through Tribulation, by overcoming this world as He did, and making it to the end. But as we see in this warning of His to us found in Matthew 26 “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak”, even with the Holy Spirit, we still need to pray and to keep watch. The disciples at Gethsemane, we know, fell asleep and did not pray or watch, and Jesus Christ was captured. Of course, Jesus Christ could have prayed to be rescued, but He instead chose to pray for strength. He chose instead to be obedient to our Father and to fulfill prophesy in order that we might be saved, the disciples that He loves.
Peace and Love to you and yours!
Glory and Praise be to God in the name of Jesus Christ, The Word of God, our Lord and Savior, forever and ever!