Welcome to our online Bible study on Luke!
Read: Luke 9:37-62
The disciple John is often dubbed “the beloved disciple.” So people sometimes presume this to mean that Jesus loved John more than the other disciples. But the Bible is quite clear: God doesn’t play favorites.
Jesus never actually referred to John as His beloved disciple. It was actually John, in his own gospel account, who spoke of himself as Jesus’ beloved. Because John understood this profound truth: We’re all Jesus’ beloved.
John knew the transforming power of Christ’s love and acceptance and forgiveness as well as anybody could.
In today’s reading, we see a young John — probably still in his late teens — traveling with Jesus and the other disciples. When they pass a Samaritan village, the people of the town reject Jesus. So John and his older brother James ask Jesus:
Do You want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them? (Luke 9:54)
In other words . . . Do You want us to make sure that every man, woman, and child in this town is burned alive?
These are the words of a young John. A young disciple who still has so much to learn. A young disciple who is probably quite impressed with himself that he even has the supernatural ability to call fire from heaven. A young disciple who thinks more about retribution than restoration.
Jesus rebukes his disciple and moves on.
This is the same John who, years later, will go on to write a gospel account, three letters, and the final revelation.
This is the same John whose predominant theme to the church will be love. Because true followers of Christ are known by their love. By the way they love everyone in their midst.
Yes, John was the beloved disciple. But so are you. And so am I.
It’s only through Christ’s love for us that we can be truly transformed– from our young, immature, and self-focused selves to a more mature, love-filled, and others-focused follower of Jesus.