When Jesus saw His mother and the disciple whom He loved standing beside her, He said to His mother, “Woman, here is your son.”
You will not find this phrase, “the disciple whom He loved” in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. It is found only in the Gospel of John! There are three such references mentioned in that gospel, but none of them specifically name him as “John.” It is clear though that “the disciple whom He loved” is John, a fisherman, brother of James, and also the son of Zebedee. It is also evident that John is Jesus’ best friend.
I am sure that the other eleven disciples wondered how John became the favored one. How was it that he became Jesus’ best friend? Simon Peter, Andrew, James, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot all probably wondered, “Why didn’t Jesus choose me to be His best friend?” It must have been difficult for the nine, and especially for Andrew, brother of Simon Peter, to be left behind while watching Jesus take some short excursions with his brother, and the other brothers of the Twelve, James and John.
For Jesus to have chosen the Twelve, He must have surely liked them and felt down to them. He also must have recognized their potential to be good disciples. All of them were His friends, but somehow John became Jesus’ best friend.
Friendship is a wonderful thing but we don’t know all the particulars of how it happens! Do you become best friends because of what you have in common? Do you become best friends through shared experiences? Does the length of time you have known one another and the time you have spent together serve to make you best friends?
One thing I have learned is that while we cultivate friendships, we cannot become best friends if one does not want that relationship as much as the other one. It can’t be forced or manipulated. We cannot make people like us or love us. That just happens and becoming best friends truly happens in a mysterious way! Thanks be to God!
Loving God, we thank You for those we call our “friends” and for those we consider our “best friends.” We thank You for those who have shown devotion and loyalty. Let us never forget that we have a “Best” of Best Friends in Jesus Christ, who bears all of our sins and griefs, and who welcomes us to lift all our concerns to Him in prayer. Amen.