John 13:21-30, When Jesus had said this, He became troubled in spirit, and testified and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, that one of you will betray Me.” The disciples began looking at one another, at a loss to know of which one He was speaking. There was reclining on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. So Simon Peter gestured to him, and said to him, “Tell us who it is of whom He is speaking.” He, leaning back thus on Jesus’ bosom, said to Him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus then answered, “That is the one for whom I shall dip the morsel and give it to him.” So, when He had dipped the morsel, He took and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. After the morsel, Satan then entered into him. Therefore, Jesus said to him, “What you do, do quickly.” Now no one of those reclining at the table knew for what purpose He had said this to him. For some were supposing, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus was saying to him, “Buy the things we have need of for the feast”; or else, that he should give something to the poor. So, after receiving the morsel he went out immediately; and it was night.
One of the evidences that John was the youngest apostle was his location at the table during the most famous supper. The youngest child, able to talk, would sit in the closest proximity to the father figure and ask questions that would prompt the telling of the Passover story and Israel’s deliverance. The actual room was likely small enough that anyone at the greatest distance could have clearly asked a question. It seems that Jesus would prompt John to participate as the “petitioner.”
An advantage of being seen as the youngest is the grace for not always adhering to protocol. The questions can be complex or challenging, but they are always innocent. He actually leaned against Jesus! John didn’t lean on the Christ because of any protocol, or Judaic law. He didn’t have to lean on Him to speak to Jesus. John leaned on Jesus because he wanted to. He was comfortable in such close proximity to the Savior. We all should be! John loved and appreciated Jesus and this was the basis for their real communication. Jesus loves John so much that He allows a beloved disciple to have access more formal relationships won’t allow.
When my daughter Lydia was little, she would often find her way onto the lap of Mom or Dad. She was always welcome and formality was never really an issue. I believe in some ways John was this way with Jesus. He was likely the “baby” of the family. His love for Jesus was not encumbered by the ridiculous barriers we often construct in society. May we all have the love of a child and the intimacy of one who belongs to Jesus.
One of the greatest tasks of the Gospel of John is to convey the love of the Savior and the love of His people. I want the kind of closeness that over rides formality and does away with the silliness of the poorly planned shallowness of virtue signaling. I want to be as close to Jesus as He is to the Father. That’s what Jesus was asking for in John 17. Too many children are hindered by the heartless, handed down faith of their forefathers. They struggle to even begin to know the beauty and power of a life that is lived in true closeness to God. While the world is trying to construct boundaries for faith so that the secular vote can have the same power as the Gospel of Christ, let us tear down the walls of separation that divide us from our Savior. At least as much as we can. Maybe the only thing we can really do is to trust Jesus enough to never build foolish walls between us and Him. If they are there, we placed them there! Only the blood of our Savior can destroy the barriers that divide us.
I hope you will always be found leaning on the shoulders of Jesus. Whether we seek victory in battle, or just to make it through the day, may we always be known as those who are close to the Lord! Godspeed on your journey.