While praying the rosary recently, I found myself meditating on two somewhat ambiguous figures in the New Testament: Theophilos, and the Disciple Who Christ Loved.
Theophilos is the Christian to whom Luke addressed both his Gospel and the book of Acts. In Greek, Theophilos means “one who loves God”. While it is reasonable to imagine that this is a proper name of a real person, I prefer to think that Luke was addressing these books to ALL lovers of God, you and I included.
In John’s Gospel, John frequently refers to the disciple who Jesus loved. Everyone I have ever read says that this refers to John himself. It occurred to me, though, that perhaps John was also using a device. Are we all not also disciples whom Christ loves? Could John have been trying to bring us into the Gospel?
In Luke’s writings, he endeavors to teach us who Jesus is, from the Annunciation to the Ascension and beyond. As ones who love God, we want to learn details of the person we love. Luke helps us to do that.
John’s Gospel is different. It is full of imagery and emotion. There is no birth narrative, no geneology, but there are more personal descriptions. I would argue, and will go into detail in future posts, that John was trying to illustrate how much Christ loves us. If we are the disciples whom Christ loves, we want to know how He loves us.
Why is this important? If John meant us to identify with the disciple whom He loved, then we should take that into account when we read Chapter 19 Verses 10 and 11:
“When Jesus saw his mother 11 and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.”
So the question becomes, have we taken her into our homes?
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