Learning to be loved
Peter was famous for asserting his love and commitment to Jesus, even when he couldn’t live up to his vows. Peter was deeply loved by God, but Peter did not place his significance on how much he was loved, but on how much he loved.
Peter saw himself as the man who loved Jesus, his identity was in his own love and commitment to the Lord, after all he had left all to follow Jesus. Peter’s human love and strength became Peter’s source of significance, which would become Peter’s downfall.
It was only when Peter’s love was put to the test that he realized that human strength is a bubble, a foolish place to put ones identity and significance. I believe it was during the time of Peter’s triple failure that he realized there was something wrong with his thinking.
John was very different to Peter. He saw himself as the man who was loved by Jesus. He identified himself as the ‘beloved’ one and he spoke of the times when he lay on Jesus breast. The most significant moments for John were not the moments when he was performing well, but when he discerned God’s love. This is who John was because this is how John saw himself, John came into agreement with God about who he truly was; God’s beloved.
When John’s and Peter’s love was tested Peter ran away (because human strength alone is not enough). John remained at the cross and even inherited Jesus’ mother because John was not living by the strength of his own love but by the strength of another’s unfailing love. John had tasted how to live from love, not for love. For John understood that he was already deeply loved and all his significance came from how God loved him.
We are all Christ’s beloveds, but only those who believe it and place their identity on it will live in that position.