Monday, February 6, 2012

Whom Jesus Loves


Before I start...this was inspired by Beth Templeton, a keynote speaker at Created for Care. Much of what I will write about in the next few days will be nuggets of encouragement and wisdom this adoptive mommy spoke to a room full of 300 women longing to be fed.
Have you ever read the gospel of John and wondered about this whole "the one whom Jesus loved" thing? Let me give you a glimpse of John's words:
John 13:23One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him.
John 19:26When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,”
John 21:7Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!”
John 21:20Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”
In case you didn't know, "the disciple whom Jesus loved" was John himself. So, here was John writing his good news book, choosing to often refer to himself as "the disciple whom Jesus loved." How does that sit with you?
Do you find that a little arrogant? Does that mean John was implying Jesus loved HIM the most? And then, I start to wonder, did Jesus tell John he loved him the most?
I have to admit that often as I read this book in the New Testament, I would balk a bit at this phrase. I would say, "Come on, now, John! How stuck up!" If I get really honest, there was something so distasteful about this attitude that is affected how I viewed John over all. In my mind, maybe in combination of the portrait by DaVinci titled The Last Supper, John was this pasty, weak, almost feminine man who just liked to get a dig in with the other disciples by saying with a turned up nose, "I am the ONE whom Jesus loved."
But, over the weekend as I was on retreat and getting respite from a very difficult situation at home, the keynote speaker brought this up. John...a man who had the nerve to constantly refer to himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved...said this not to be arrogant or snobby or to one-up the other disciples...but rather said it because he SO DEEPLY KNEW THIS IN HIS HEART.
Jesus..the son of God...who left heaven to serve and teach and ultimately lay down his life did all of this for one reason...HE LOVED US. He loved YOU. He loved John. He loved Lazarus. He loved my grandmother. He loved me. He loved with a love that was so incredibly pure and passionate and wonderful and amazing that he chose to die a humiliating, excruciating death in order for us to be reconciled to God and spend eternity with him. THAT is love.
And when we understand...no, more than an intellectual assent, but a heart-felt knowing that this love has set us free...we would all refer to ourselves as the one whom Jesus loved. Because that love is what defines us and compels us and guides us and teaches us and keeps us going.
I know adopting George was all about one big lesson for me...LOVE. I have learned more about God's unrelenting, never-ending, passionate, amazing love in the last three years than in the first 38 years of my life. And when I sit and ponder the LOVE that God has lavishly poured into my life, I have to sit in awe. And then...when I describe myself, what should that phrase be?
Traci...the one who has six children?
Traci..the one who has a wonderful husband?
Traci..the daughter of Bob and Judy?
All of those things are true and good...but are they the best description of who I am?
No...but this is...
Traci...the mommy whom Jesus LOVES.
So, forgive me if you think me arrogant or haughty when I start referring to myself as "the mommy whom Jesus loves", but..I think it fits these days.
And it's what is going to keep my going.
Traci...the mommy whom Jesus LOVES. I kind of like the ring...don't you?

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