I had a conversation with someone the other day about John and Peter and their various characteristics. This is a conversation I gladly engage in because of my great passion for the story of John. Here's just a few thoughts... There's a dynamic of the heart that John the Beloved posesses that I have intently and diligently pursued for the last 6 years. The intimacy and devotion that John felt towards Jesus is unparalleled in scripture. The Beloved is not absent of obvious character flaws, yet the confiding love and unselfish devotion manifested in the life and character of John have lessons of untold value.
John was proud, craved recognition, self assertive, really the list could go on. He and his brother were called "sons of thunder", he had a strong desire for revenge, was critical, and yet... He was the Beloved. We see in scripture Jesus' rebuke of John several times. John's imperfections led to open rebuke from the One he so cherished. I honestly find that concept as one so lacking in the body of Christ. John obviously had an understanding that rebuke didn't necessarily mean disappointment or result in broken fellowship. John was still the one who laid upon the breast of Jesus, right next to his heartbeat. Discipline and correction from the Lord, godly mentors, parents, does not have to equal broken friendship unless we choose to be offended.
The Beloved wanted close, intimate, unbroken, fellowship with Jesus. The Beloved was not just a selfish baby craving attention, but rather his heart lavished in the affection of the object of its love, Jesus. It was John's deep love for Christ which led him always to desire to be close by His side. The Savior loved all the twelve, but John's was the most receptive spirit. He was younger than the others, and with more of the child's confiding trust he opened his heart to Jesus.
It is my desire to be so passionately and unwaveringly in love with Jesus. Even in his shortcomings we see a loyalty and devotion that is remarkable. I believe John had a revelation of intimacy that none around him had. He understood the concept of righteousness that we live into having the blood of Jesus as our mediator. When God looks upon you, not because of you but because of what Christ did, He does not see all of your sin! You don't have to live in constant broken fellowship... We can live into life as the Beloved.