One of my favorite things about the Gospel of John is the way it portrays Jesus, not as someone who has come to judge and condemn, but as someone who loves and is warm and welcoming.
My Lenten bible study this year called “Meeting Jesus in the Gospel of John” by the Society of Saint John the Evangelist at Virginia Theological Seminary, and it really spoke to my heart about the type of relationship Jesus wants to have with me.
John 13:23 “One of his disciples – the who whom Jesus loved – was reclining next to him.”
I can’t possibly image during all of the years of Jesus’ ministry that his disciples spent that entire time worshiping and adoring him. In fact they often questioned him. What I like about this phrase is it shows that they also relaxed with him. They just hung around together – they were friends.
It’s so strange isn’t it. We think of the Christ whom we worship at church and pray to, who we see hung on the cross to die for our sins, but how often do we think of having a relationship with God that is so casual? Can we even conceptualize hanging out and laughing together just like we would with our friends. But I think that’s exactly what the point of this passage is. It’s talking about a relationship of love, of being loved. And being loved…that comes of “knowing” and of being known. As in, Jesus knows you deeply and intimately and you can know him in that very same way.
I think there is a reason for God the Father and God the Son. God is above us, he’s supposed to be, he’s “the maker and preserver of all things”. God knew that mankind just couldn’t get past his godliness to really have the relationship he desires to have with us. But Jesus… in Jesus he calls us to be his friend, to love and be a part of his family. We are all “children of God”.
I really believe that is in coming to know him and that amazing and powerful love that he has for all of us, that we come closer to really knowing God our Father. So when you feel sometimes as if God is remote and out of reach, try reaching out to your brother, your friend – Jesus just like you would to any other friend. Talk to him about your good days and your bad.