Peter turned and saw the disciple following whom Jesus loved, the one who had also reclined upon his chest during the supper and had said, “Master, who is the one who will betray you?” When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus said to him, “What if I want him to remain until I come? What concern is it of yours? You follow me.” So the word spread among the brothers that that disciple would not die. But Jesus had not told him that he would not die, just “What if I want him to remain until I come? What concern is it of yours?”
It is this disciple who testifies to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true. There are also many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the books that would be written.
What about him? After receiving his mandate to feed Jesus’ flock, Peter asks Jesus about the Beloved Disciple. Given the context of Jesus’ prediction that Peter will die a martyr, Peter most probably inquires into the fate of the Beloved Disciple. Jesus does not answer directly the impertinent question, but his remark implies that though the Beloved Disciple may not suffer a martyr’s death like Peter, his kind of witness will not be inferior to Peter’s.
In early Christianity, to suffer martyrdom is considered the supreme act of witness. Tertullian declares that the blood of martyrs is the seed of Christianity. Once the time of persecution has passed, to live as monks or retire to the desert will be thought of as a higher form of sanctity. Religious or consecrated life will then be deemed a higher calling. In our age, all states are considered equal; all believers are called to be holy in the state of life they have chosen.
The Lord has a unique call for every disciple. The Beloved Disciple, in his own way, is no less important than Peter.
“All the faithful of Christ of whatever rank or status are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of charity… All the faithful of Christ are invited to strive for the holiness and perfection of their own proper state” (Lumen Gentium, nn 40, 42).
SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2017,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.
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