I am the disciple that Jesus loved. (from John 20:2)

 This was John’s declaration of himself. This was how he thought of himself, and that reality shaped his identity. His head had rested only recently upon his Master’s chest. He was conditioned and entrenched in the reality of God’s personal affection for him. By most religious standards, John, in his simple childlike devotion, was outrageously presumptuous about His relationship with God. He had zero doubt regarding Jesus’ fondness for Him. He did not introspect about His fallen nature and the possible rejection by God it might portend.

John (who was certainly not without sin) had lived with Him for three years and Jesus had never once harped on his depravity. John’s soul processed everything through this filter of unqualified acceptance, and, consequently, he was spared the religious contortions of the soul that plague so many believers. He simply was not stalked, as many are, by guilt and shame.

The tremendously good news is that there is a safe place for us in Christ where we are immune from guilt and shame. In that space, which John pioneered, we can live joyously free in our identities, which are rooted and founded in Christ. Our new identities, freshly resurrected with Him, are eternally superior to our fallen identities that have been buried with Christ. Our lives, like John, can exhibit that we are those disciples whom Jesus loves. As we find our home in the broad, safe expanse of His love, we in turn will create safe space and shelter for those God has situated near us.

Father, may we lay hold of Your Life; may Your life lay hold of us. May Jesus be proclaimed from our lives and lips with a clarity yet to be heard in this earth—that we are the disciples whom You have loved. May our words and deeds make a clear declaration that You are risen from the grave and that You are exposing the lies of Satan, evicting him from his strongholds, reclaiming all that is rightly Yours and transforming Your Church. May every expression of our lives reflect that ours is a good and a sovereign God. Father, in our freshly acquired joy and freedom, receive the reward of Your sufferings. You are indeed astonishing. Amen.

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