One thing that's always stuck out to me is that John defined himself as "the one whom Jesus loved." I don't think he meant that as to exclude the others from His love or say that Jesus loved John way more. But, and if you know Jesus you can relate, His love has this funny way of making you feel like you are just crazy special to Him. And of course, you are. But isn't it cool that of all the things I'm sure John could have identified with, the thing that seemed most true to him was that he was loved by Jesus?
I don't want to find my identity in being a hairdresser, a daughter, a sister, a friend. All those things are awesome and true, but the thing that is most stable and most trustworthy in my life is that Jesus loved me at the foundations of the Earth (Eph. 1:4-6), He loved me when He died for me over 2000 years ago (John 3:16), He loved me when He formed me in my mother's womb almost 20 years ago (Psalm 139:13), and His loving is still going strong. It's not worn out. So, I choose to identify myself as "Hannah, the one Jesus loves."
When I was little and I heard someone say "Jesus loves all of us equally," I have to admit I was kind of disappointed. I saw a picture in my head of a stern Jesus, whose attention I was vying for and yearning to captivate, but I got the response of "Sorry, I don't love you any more than I love everyone else."
But I didn't realize His love wasn't some mediocre, spread too thin over all of humanity, kind of love. It's the kind of love that only God can have. It's the kind that sees every individual person with their quirks and talents and faults and fears, and thinks "I made him/her in my image. I see myself in that person, and I want them to be with me for eternity." But we couldn't get there on our own. We are sinful by nature. Even the best, most generous and caring person couldn't make it to heaven on their own. We all fall short (Romans 3:22-23). And so God sent the solution, the ONLY solution, in His son. That is some serious love. I know I can't make Him love me any more (or less) now, and that's because He already does with a steadfast, everlasting love (Ps. 138:8).
I know all this rambling is super basic. I'm no theologian or scholar. But I just don't get tired of this reality that I am loved, justified in Christ, and He is making me more and more like Him. None of it for my glory or for a pat on the back, but so that hopefully others will see how awesome He is and want to know Him for themselves. Being a Christian was never meant to be a cakewalk, but He promised it would be worth it and He would never leave us to do this thing on our own. I've never heard or seen someone love more than He loves us.
-Hannah, the one Jesus loves.
"And I will life the name of Jesus high, and I will live my life for Him. For there is none who's loved me greater." -"Lift the Name" by Highland's Worship.