The beloved disciple

Gospel reading: Jn 21:20-25
Peter turned and saw the disciple following whom Jesus loved, the one who had also reclined upon his chest during the supper and had said, “Master, who is the one who will betray you?” When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus said to him, “What if I want him to remain until I come? What concern is it of yours? You follow me.” So the word spread among the brothers that that disciple would not die. But Jesus had not told him that he would not die, just “What if I want him to remain until I come? What concern is it of yours?”

It is this disciple who testifies to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true. There are also many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the books that would be written.

What about him?

Peter asks this of Jesus about the disciple whom he loves, the one who reclined upon his chest at the Last Supper.

(We identify him as the apostle John.) How about John? Will he have the same destiny? Is John also called to follow him, to die like him?

Jesus seems irritated. He answers Peter, “What is that to you?” Then he asks a hypothetical question, “What if…” that courts a misinterpretation from the disciples themselves.

Sometimes our questing minds reveal our feelings of being treated as special or being singled out to do something and then left all alone. We want someone to accompany us in our journey.

This seems to be the concern of Peter. Is he the only one who will be crucified like Jesus? Tradition says yes. This John will not be crucified, but he will die as a witness to Jesus, too.

Towards the end of the passage, the author who is identified as John the Evangelist breaks in and authenticates the stories he has written so far. He recognizes the limitations of his pen and writing materials to recount the story of Jesus. Those who want to know more must rest content with what he offers as a writer. He cannot be writing accounts of Jesus forever.

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John has given us his story of Jesus.

Perhaps, we can write ours to continue the story.

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SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord,” ST PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website:

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