One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at Jesus’ side.-John 13:23
In the midst of Jesus’s discussion of betrayal and the confusion of the disciples, John wrote this short line. Sit with these few words for a moment.
First, John wrote “One of the disciples, whom Jesus loved.” Although that disciple is never named, commentators universally believe John was referring to himself. Of all of the New Testament writers, John shines the brightest light on the love of God through Christ. Love saturates his gospels, epistles, and Revelation. John’s primary identity is not disciple, apostle, or ambassador for Christ; it was “one whom Jesus loved.” His identity was his belovedness.
Second, notice that John was reclining at Jesus’s side. They were not sitting in chairs around a formal dining table like we might imagine. They probably would have been lying next to a low table or sitting comfortably on the ground. John was likely leaning against Jesus during this intimate gathering of friends.
Jesus, help us to know and remember our belovedness and understand that we are not merely numbers in your kingdom, that we are not disappointments to you. Help us to know that you are pleased with us and to live out of the reality that intimacy. Amen.