Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Webster
Davis Motor Sales banner ad

Keeping the Faith - The Ones Jesus Loves

ronniemcbrayer300 blackKENTUCKY (8/18/13) - “Just who do you think you are?” Now there’s a question that has been posed and pointed more than a few times. Usually it is a weaponized question of sorts, laden with accusation; or it is a declaration aimed at someone’s preposterous behavior. Nevertheless, I think it is an essential question of spiritual identity.

Consider the writer of the New Testament book commonly known as “John.” Tradition holds that this Gospel was written by the disciple John, one of Jesus’ closest associates, though the writer, mysteriously, never identifies himself by name.

If I had written a book that was an eyewitness account of the life and times of Jesus of Nazareth, you can bet that I would have signed it – as gigantic as John Hancock – but John the Disciple did not. He used a different signature. He used an alias, a pen name tagged: “The one Jesus loved.”

Why such a moniker? The leading explanation is that because John wrote his gospel some time later than the other three, persecution had set in against the church. Thus, for John to give his actual name would have meant persecution, censure, or even death. Another theory is that John was being a bit arrogant. He was Jesus’ favorite, so goes this theory, and he was rubbing others’ nose in it.

But I don’t think John was hiding his identity or flaunting his supremacy in the band of Jesus’ merry men. I think he was playing another creative game altogether; he was using a literary device to force his readers to take hold of the core meaning of what it means to be in relationship with Jesus Christ. He was asking the question, “Just who do you think you are?”

John understood that his core identity was directly connected to the love Christ had for him. So much so, that he did not think of himself as a fisherman, a disciple, an apostle, a Gospel writer, or a Church Father. He was simply one who was supremely loved. That’s who he was, and the exact identity he wanted us, his readers, to embrace.

We are no longer just names or anonymous faces. We are not defined by occupation, label, race, nationality, failure, our family of origin, culture, popularity, or the ancillary chorus of the voices around us. We are simply the Ones Jesus Loves. This is our identity and who we really are. Is this too much to understand? Probably so. But I don’t have to understand it to accept it, embrace it, and live it.

I don’t understand the science of how the sun can be 93 million miles away, provide life-giving light and heat to this planet, and keep our solar system from devolving into chaos, but I believe it, and I experience its light and heat every day. I don’t understand Newton’s Law of Gravitation or Einstein’s later Theory of Relativity, but I know these things keep my feet grounded on planet earth every day, and anchor me within this time and space.

I don’t understand how oxygen is processed by the bronchial tubes in my lungs, but my lack of understanding doesn’t keep me from breathing! I don’t understand the strange affection we have for puppies, the passion I feel for football, the satisfaction that comes from being with those whom I care about, or the serenity in my soul produced by sitting on top of a mountain or seeing the Gulf of Mexico on a cold, winter day.

I understand very little about these things. But I still experience all of these richly and deeply, and these experiences make me alive. Can’t God’s love in Christ work the same way? As a shining light, a grounding force, a sustaining atmosphere; an affection, passion, and serenity that gives us life and meaning?

No, we can only understand bits and piece of it all, but our lack of complete knowledge should not prevent us from believing and living this fact: We are unconditionally and eternally adored by God. We are indeed, the Ones Jesus Loves.

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, pastor, and author of multiple books. You can read more and receive regular e-columns in your inbox at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.


Disclaimer: The content supplied by columnists and letters to the Editor on this site does not in any way, shape or form, implied or otherwise, necessarily express or suggest endorsement or support of any of such content, statement, or opinions therein. SurfKY News does not necessarily adhere to or endorse content provided by outside non-staff sources.

© Copyright 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story by using one of the social media links below.

In Other News...

Madisonville North Hopkins High School and FFA Program Welcome Student Teacher

HOPKINS COUNTY, Ky. (9/2/14) — Owensboro, Ky. resident Kaitlyn Bartlett, 21, and a senior agricultural sciences with… Read More

Covenant Community's 'Loving God's Abundant Life' Conference Coming in September

MADISONVILLE, Ky. (9/2/14) — The women's ministry of Covenant Community Church in Madisonville will be hosting a ladies… Read More

Most Read This Week (Site-Wide)

August 29, 2014 8465

Luke's Flea Market Vendors' Home Away…

in News by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
August 30, 2014 8099

One Hospitalized After Officer-Involved…

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
August 31, 2014 5929

Passenger in Officer-Involved Shooting…

in Top Stories by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
August 29, 2014 4179

Business Spotlight - Magical Memories…

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
August 30, 2014 3257

Ponderosa Madisonville to Donate 10…

in Top Stories by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director

Most Read Stories from Hopkins County

August 30, 2014 3257

Ponderosa Madisonville to Donate 10…

in Top Stories by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
September 01, 2014 1633

Hopkins County Misdemeanor Indictments

in Top Stories by Karen McKnight
August 30, 2014 1420

City of Madisonville Says 'Goodbye' to…

in Top Stories by Amber Averitt, SurfKY News
August 29, 2014 952

MCC Announces New Board Members

in Top Stories by Joyce Riggs
August 29, 2014 634

Trover Health Endowment Reaches $100,000…

in Top Stories by Joyce Riggs

Most Read Stories from Owensboro

August 29, 2014 2858

Daviess County Sheriff’s Office Activity…

in News by Dennis Beard, SurfKY News
August 29, 2014 2735

Owensboro Police Department Activity…

in News by Dennis Beard, SurfKY News
August 30, 2014 2009

Owensboro Traffic Advisory

in News by Keith Todd
August 29, 2014 1077

Woman Charged in Assault of 3-Year-Old…

in Top Stories by Dennis Beard, SurfKY News
August 30, 2014 493

Smith, Hamilton honored at Distinguished…

in Top Stories by Dennis Beard, SurfKY News

Most Read Stories from Muhlenberg County

August 29, 2014 4179

Business Spotlight - Magical Memories…

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
August 30, 2014 2251

Skateboarders Enjoy Own Style of Cruise In

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
August 29, 2014 2166

School System Facing $5M Shortfall;…

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
August 29, 2014 2070

No College = Low Wages : A Muhlenberg…

in Top Stories by Ken Robinson

SurfKY News Group, Inc. Central Office & Printing Division
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431  •  270.452.2249 (fax)
Main Number: 270.452.2727 (phone)  •  Printing Division Direct Line: 270.821.8600 (phone)

SurfKY Owensboro News Bureau
920 Frederica St. / Suite 210  •  Owensboro, KY 42301  •  270.683-8060 (phone)


Contact a member of our staff: www.surfky.com/contact
Copyright © 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc.  •  Terms of Use  •  Site Map

social 03social 04social 22social 21social 06