THE OTHER DISCIPLE
Being human, we all need someone to stand beside us; especially when we are not doing very well. We can take a lesson from Peter, the man Jesus had left in charge. He was blessed with exceptional insight (Mt.16: 16) and with mistakes difficult to overcome (Mt.26: 69-75). At least twice, Jesus warned him that he was exposing himself to Satan (Mt.16: 23; Lk.22: 31). On the first Easter, Peter was completely devastated. Would he have become the leader without the help of “The Other Disciple?” Who was that person?
Scholars generally argue that we are dealing with John Zebedee, the brother of James, a fisherman from Capernaum in Galilee. He sought out Jesus before anyone else and became very attached to His Master (Jn.1: 35-42). He claimed to be the major source of The Fourth Gospel (Jn.21: 24) and referred to himself as “the disciples whom Jesus loved” (Jn.13: 23; 21: 7, 20). All three references use the Greek word “love” (hon egapa) as the Aramaic equivalent. With regard to “The Other Disciple” John himself called him a friend of Jesus (hon philei) (Jn.20: 2). It is this friend that joins Peter in Gethsemane and they follow Jesus to the High Priest’s place. This disciple knew the High Priest and instructed a girl to let Peter inside (Jn.18: 15-16). The same person runs with Peter to the grave after Mary Magdalene reported that Jesus’ body had been taken away. He is the first to believe that Jesus had risen from the dead and his knowledge of the Scriptures convinced him that it was true (Jn.20: 1-9; 31-37). John Zebedee does not appear to fit the mode.
The Other Disciple, like Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, was a friend of Jesus and of Peter and very likely of John Zebedee. He resembles very much the Rich Young Ruler or the well-known John Mark, the son Mary that had opened her home to Jesus and His followers. This Other Disciple stood by Peter during this difficult time and gathered all of the dispersed flock so they could meet the Risen Jesus and receive further instructions for the mission of Christ. He was someone that could fill in while Jesus could not be present. For Christians, Christ and because of Easter, is always present (Mt.28: 20). Nevertheless, I have been blessed with friends like “The Other Disciple” that have been with me when life was most difficult. No doubt, you too had similar encounters with invaluable friends. It was because of Easter that a friend gave His life for his friends. We can have such a friend in Jesus (Jn.15: 13-15).