The Disciple whom Jesus Loved – Third Sunday of Easter
Today’s reading is from the last chapter of the Gospel according to John or rather, as the Gospel puts it, according to the Disciple whom Jesus loved!
John 21: 1 to 19:  After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he [himself].  There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the [sons] of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples.  Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.  But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.  Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No.,  And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.  Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt [his] fisher’s coat [unto him], (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea.  And the other disciples came in a little ship; (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes.  As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread.  Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught.  Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, and hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken.  Jesus saith unto them, Come [and] dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord.  Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise.  This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead.  So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, [son] of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.  He saith to him again the second time, Simon, [son] of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.  He saith unto him the third time, Simon, [son] of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.  Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry [thee] whither thou wouldest not.  This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.
Feed My Sheep, that was Jesus instruction to Peter. Jesus just had fed his Disciples, but (Matt. 4: 4), ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.’
Jesus actually tempted Peter in verse 15, when he asked whether Peter loved him more than the other Apostles did. But Peter just replied, ‘Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee.’
Peter proved his humility here, while he had not when Jesus said before the crucifixion (Matt. 26: 31), ‘All ye shall be offended because of me this night ….’ They all would deny being his disciple. Peter answered (Matt. 26: 33), ‘Though all [men] shall be offended because of thee, [yet] will I never be offended.’ Jesus then predicted that Peter would deny him three times that night before the cock would crow.
Now in John 21: 15 to 17 Jesus asked Peter three times, whether Peter loved him, and Peter was grieved, because Jesus did not seem to accept his answer.
In verse 19 Jesus asked Peter to follow him, in other words to preach the Gospel even if it meant becoming a martyr.
Following that Peter turns around and sees the ‘Disciple whom Jesus loved’. Isn’t it remarkable that there is a Disciple whom Jesus loved? Did Jesus have a favourite?
Peter asked Jesus what this man should do. Jesus answer was (John 21: 22), ‘If I will that he tarry till I come, what [is that] to thee? follow thou me.’ Some seemed to think that this Disciple whom Jesus loved would not die, however, that was not exactly what Jesus had said.
Why was Jesus hesitant to ask this Disciple to follow him? There is the theory that the Disciple whom Jesus loved actually might have been a woman, Mary Magdalene. Women were usually not asked to sacrifice their lives for good causes, since they bear children and therefore the survival of a woman is more important for the survival of a tribe than the survival of a man. Deut.: 25: 5 prescribes that a man shall make the woman of ‘his brother’ pregnant, if that brother had died without son (it does not say child!). This son shall carry the dead man’s name.
It is explained in Greetings from Paradise in the chapter on the ‘Original Sin’ that people at the time thought that the ejaculation was the complete child and the woman an empty container. Therefore the son was seen as a true continuation of the father and brothers to be the same. Therefore it was not thought it mattered whether a man or his brother makes a woman pregnant. If a son was born he was thought to be the same as the grandfather, the father and his dead uncle. For this reason is the nation Israel named after this man, originally called Jacob. The original thought was, they are him!
Why would the scripture call this Disciple whom Jesus loved (more or differently from the others) a man, if he was a woman? John 21: 24 says that this Disciple whom Jesus loved wrote this Gospel. Nowhere in the Bible does it say, that the Disciple John wrote it. If this Disciple whom Jesus loved was Mary Magdalene then the Gospel might have been named after a man to give it more credibility, since women were seen as empty containers well protected by a man or men from the outside world in their child bearing duties and therefore ignorant of knowledge about the world.
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.