You know the guy, don’t you? Yes, it is John, who used this term six times in the Book of John.
Then the disciple whom Jesus loved says to Peter — It is the Lord! (John 21:6)
At first glance, it seems like John is boasting of his status in the group, but is he really?
Is this John’s nickname or is it what John thinks of himself? He was indeed part of Christ’s inner circle, (Peter, James and John, Matthew 17:1) but Jesus loved all his disciples, even Judas Iscariot.
Look at the words in the phrase. The disciple who Jesus loved. What is the highlight here? Jesus loves. Perhaps, by not using his own name, John elevates Jesus and his love for all of us. Maybe he is trying to remain anonymous. (See my notes on John 21:2)
Perhaps John is drawing attention to the fact that Jesus made a big change in his life and now he felt loved. As I’ve mentioned before…beloved means Being eternally loved, overwhelmingly valued and endlessly dear.
As nicknames go, I could live with that one. Can you?