“One of His disciples, whom Jesus loved [whom He esteemed and delighted in], was reclining [next to Him] on Jesus’ bosom.”
John 13:23, Amplified
“And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”
This apostle, traditionally known to be John, is sitting at the table with the rest of the disciples. It is an intimate and relaxing affair, they eat and talk and rest in a cool, quiet room. It’s here that John learns to lean.
John sits next to Jesus, an informal place of honor.
The scripture says that he just rests his head on Jesus’ shoulder. And Jesus did nothing to stifle such behavior. Often, with men it would be very uncomfortable and distracting. I remember when I was a missionary in Mexico watching men holding hands, as good friends. (I’ve heard that this is true in other cultures as well.)
The intimacy between Jesus and John might strike some as a little odd.
But for Jesus this love encouraged him as he prepared himself for a brutal death. He felt John’s love and confidence in Him. It was a precious moment. I’m certain both men drew strength from this. Perhaps maybe we can also encourage Jesus like this–maybe?
Tradition tells us that John was boiled in oil. Loving him can be dangerous.
When the black rolls in, and it begins to get scary, resting your head on Jesus’ shoulder is a wonderful place to be. We may not look at it like this, but I believe Jesus is comforted by our love. He is encouraged by our affection. It was now getting dark outside. Jesus had just hours before the nightmare would begin.
We can make Him happy and content by our simple tokens of affection.
The ‘arm of the Lord’ is spoken of repeatedly by the prophets. They had a prophetic insight into the strength of God. We call it, ‘omnipotence’, and our understanding is that He has all strength, and all power– all of the time. I think that John was leaning on that omnipotence. But it still was motivated by his affection and love for Jesus.
Our Savior is strong enough to carry our very heavy burdens and all of our loads.