Loved by the Shepherd – John 13:23

John 13:23 ‘Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.’

See John there, reclining on Jesus’ bosom. Is it not a picture of implicit trust and serenity? Put yourself in John’s place for a moment? With your head close to the Great Shepherd’s heart, what may you be thinking of? Let us imagine for a moment…

The Master has just washed your feet, along with all the other disciple’s feet. It was a strange moment, but so special. You knew He was the Son of God, and the promised Messiah, but now He has just taken the time to stoop down and wash your dusty feet. The thought crosses your mind that your head is so close to the heart-beat of Almighty God. How can it be?

As you lie there, you listen to His teaching. This is the same One Who twice confronted the multitudes in the temple. He had overturned the tables of the money-changers. He had driven the merchants and the animals out of the temple with His scourge of small cords. Yet, for all His indomitable courage, He is the gentle Shepherd. You recall how He said He was the life – the bread of life, the light, the way, the truth, and the door.

You recall how the Master rebuked James and yourself, when you wanted to call fire down from heaven upon the Samaritans. You remember how He gently and truthfully answered you both when you requested to sit beside Him in His coming kingdom. You can still see His scathing addresses to the scribes and Pharisees, pronouncing woe to the hypocrites. You can never forget the mysterious transfiguration upon the mountain, when His clothes shone with brilliant light. This is the One Who stilled the storm, held little children in His arms, fed the multitudes, healed the lepers, stretched out His hands to the wretched and unlovely, and cast out the most powerful demons. Here is the One Who stands like a tower when all men contradict Him, and seems to survive all of men’s hatred and all His own experiences of loneliness. With such a Friend, it seems that nothing could disturb this wonderful moment.

The moment has now passed, and with the others, you fall asleep in the garden, while the Master prays alone. Presently, you see Him handed over to wicked men. This Man, this Pillar of strength, is handed over to the Gentiles to be scourged, humiliated, and crucified. You realise that He has now come to pay for all your sins. As you stand near His cross, He calls upon you to look after His earthly mother.

Later, you run to His tomb to see greater things than you have ever seen. Finally, you see Him ascending with great power into the heavens. All your prior confidence in His person has been vindicated and multiplied. You shall ultimately be used of Him to pen five great epistles of Scripture.

There are many other things which this Man has done, which are far more than could be written down in all the books of the world. You know this. But with pen in hand, and great joy in your heart, you pause to ponder upon the singular, recurring thought: ‘that disciple whom Jesus loved.’

Oh, to lie forever here,
Doubt and care and self resign,
While He whispers in my ear,
I am His, and He is mine.

Pastor James West

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