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Reasonable Faith in the Beloved Disciple’s Testimony

I was asked to speak at an event hosted by Reasonable Faith Perth, so here is a handout summarizing my presentation about the beloved disciple in the Fourth Gospel. Note that I put question marks around the passages that do not explicitly identify the anonymous figure mentioned as the “disciple whom Jesus loved.” I have argued against identifying the disciple of John the Baptist who is not named in John 1:35-42 as the beloved disciple, judging that the beloved disciple is instead first introduced in 13:23-25, while I consider it likely that the “other disciple” in the high priest’s courtyard in 18:15-16 is the beloved disciple (cf. 20:2). What I try to emphasize in churches when I present on this topic is that the beloved disciple does not just witness the crucifixion or the empty tomb, but he perceptively recognizes and believes in the theological significance of these events. For instance, he interprets the cleansing blood and the water of life that flows from the crucified one’s side. Moreover, the beloved disciple remains loyal to Jesus to the point of Jesus’s death and thus models for all would-be disciples of Jesus what it means to take up one’s cross and follow. On that note, I hope this post may be useful as you reflect on the meaning of Good Friday today.

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