The apostle John called himself the disciple whom Jesus loved.
This is not a statement of arrogance, but of humble conviction. After all, John did not mention himself by name in his gospel. Such a self-description was a practical demonstration that his identity was defined by the love of Jesus— a love that was confirmed via the cross.
Is it any wonder that in meditating on the love of Jesus that John would write passages such as 1 John 4:9-10, “9This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
The truth is that Jesus loves every disciple the way he loved John. The only difference is that John had personalized and internalized this reality.
The love of Jesus was woven into the fabric of his theological conscience and spiritual experience.
What if I could be so confident in the gospel that I could say, “I am the disciple whom Jesus loves.”
Not just tolerated, but treasured.
I think it would make a difference.