“One of his disciples – the one whom Jesus loved – was reclining next to him.”
Near to the Heart of Jesus (The Beloved Disciple)
As we grow in our love for Jesus, we too begin to see Jesus in new ways in the world, in other people. We recognize him often in places where we don’t expect to find him.
-Br. Geoffrey Tristram
This week, we are considering how Jesus has called us to friendship with him: “I have called you friends.” Today, we are reflecting on a beautiful passage taken from the story of the Last Supper. It is the image of the beloved disciple (often taken as John) resting next to Jesus. “One of the disciples, the one whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him.” He’s reclining next to him. Actually, the Greek says something much more startling. It says, literally, that the beloved disciple was resting “on the breast” or “on the bosom” of Jesus. That conveys that very deep and special intimate friendship that Jesus had particularly with that beloved disciple.
The wonderful thing is that Jesus calls each one of us to that same level of deep friendship with him, a friendship where we can trust in him, rest on him, trust in him. “Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” One of the fruits of that friendship which the beloved disciple had with Jesus, because of the depth of his love for Jesus he actually saw Jesus’ presence in the world in a special way. He recognized Jesus where others didn’t. The love that he bore for Jesus, as it were, opened his eyes to recognize Jesus. Remember how he ran with Peter to the tomb and it’s John who believed. When Peter and John were out fishing, it is John who said, “It is the Lord.”
I believe that we too, as we grow in our love for Jesus, we too begin to see Jesus in new ways in the world, in other people. We recognize him often in places where we don’t expect to find him. The love we have, as it were, opens our eyes so that we recognize him in our midst. So perhaps today, two questions to reflect on: First of all, how might Jesus be calling you now into deeper friendship with him? And secondly, how do you recognize Jesus? Where do you recognize him in the world today?