"There was at the table reclining in Jesus' bosom one of
His disciples, whom Jesus loved." (John 13:23)
We have a running joke in our family. Each of our children like to claim being the favorite grandchild to their grandparents. They have reasons they give for this conclusion. I remind them that they are each loved unconditionally, but in different ways. They are loved individually and uniquely by their grandparents.
John was not the only disciple loved by Jesus. But he chose to refer to himself as the "one whom Jesus loved." He knew who he was. That he was loved. When Jesus informed the disciples that one of them would betray Him, John leaned into His breast, knowing that he was loved. What consolation he received from Jesus.
Where do we go in difﬁcult times? Times of suffering. Do we run to the things of this world that we think can comfort us? These can be referred to as idols or false gospels. They give us the promise or illusion that they can comfort us or offer consolation. There may be "some perishing comfort given for a little season." But only Jesus can comfort with everlasting consolation.
No matter what the circumstances we have, the promise of the Spirit is to offer us consolation. We enter into that consolation by faith and by grace. Leaning into Jesus breast. Consolation is setting our soul in rest and contentment in the midst of troubles. "It is a knowing within that the good outweighs the evil, trouble or perplexity that it wrestles with. As the sufferings of Christ abound so does the consolation of Christ abound." (2 Corinthians 1:5-6).
God has given us a sense of the love of God shed abroad in our hearts and a clear witness within that we are children of God. That we are sealed and marked of God for His own. That we are heirs of all the promises of God. " He has made it impossible that [through Him] we should not triumph in all our tribulations."
"[Consolation] is abiding. Thence it is called 'everlasting consolation.' (2 Thessalonians 2:16) This consolation is from everlasting things. It vanishes not. The consolation which we have from the Holy [Spirit] is from things everlasting: everlasting love, eternal redemption, and everlasting inheritance."
This consolation is through all opposition. It strengthens the heart under any suffering or tribulation. It makes the heart willing to go through anything that it is called to because it is from God. It brings great joy to the heart through the presence of the Spirit and the work in our hearts. It provokes us to love, worship, believe in God. The Spirit is like a never ending fountain that springs within our hearts.
We are indeed the ones whom Jesus loves ...
Quotes and insights taken from: "Communion with God" by John Owens