Does God Have Favorites?

By Robert Crosby

While conventional evangelical wisdom would say that God never plays favorites, one of Christ’s disciples would beg to differ.

Jesus seemed to favor John. Somehow God playing favorites, however, doesn’t quite jibe with the theology I was raised on. The God I learned about in Sunday School is the one who shows absolute equality in his expressions of love toward all people. He doesn’t have “favorites.” God loves everyone the same. Right? The Jesus I learned about on the front pew is one who would never think of playing favorites. “Jesus loves the sinner on skid row just as much as he loves the pastor. He loves us all the same.” At least, that’s what I was told.

Still, it appears the Jesus I read about in the Bible did have a favorite, a favorite disciple, or should I say favored? If nowhere else, it shows up in John’s Gospel. On no less than five occasions, John described himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (Jn. 13:23, 19:26, 20:2, 21:7, 20).

Clearly, if Jesus did not have a favorite disciple, John must have thought otherwise. Yes, those familiar with the Gospel narratives know that there was a select Three among the Twelve: namely, Peter, James and John. Theologians refer to them as the Triumvirate, those in whom Jesus confided more than the other Nine. They were with Christ at the peak of his glory and the depths of his despair, at the Mount of Transfiguration and in the Garden of Gethsemane. But, John was clearly the closest.

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Does God Have Favorites?

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