Among His early followers Jesus chose seventy and sent them out two by two to preach for Him.
He chose a circle of twelve after a night of prayer, to be with Him to learn of His ways and absorb His Spirit.
Within those twelve, there emerged an inner circle of three: Peter, James, John with whom Jesus became more intimate, closer to Him than any of the others.
Now within the circle of three, there was one, John who received a special place at Jesus’ breast.
Wonder which group would we be found – Seventy, twelve, three, or one?
The deciding factor is that each of His disciples could be as close to Jesus as he chose to be. Because, Jesus the Son of God had no favorites. John 3: 25
It is recorded that on four special occasions, his inner circle of three learnt valuable lessons from their experiences with him.
On one occasion they had a foretaste of the Lord’s mastery over death in the raising of Jairus’ daughter back to life. Luke 8: 51.
On another occasion at the mount of transfiguration, they gained clearer insight into His impending death, and a preview of His glory and majesty Mattew 17: 1; Luke 18: 34. John 1: 14; 2 Peter 1: 16.
On the Mount of Olives, He shared with them the coming future, divine purposes and some secrets of God. Mark 13: 3
In the Garden of Gethsemane, they witnessed in part His sufferings, His agony, the cost of their salvation; although they were unable understand fully. Matthew 26: 37.
Why couldn’t any of the twelve be in that favored inner circle since there is no favoritism with Him?
The only reason could be the result of their own choice. The three were deeply intimate with Jesus because of their deep response to His love and training. They understood that intimacy with Him was a privilege which carried responsibility. He had told them that “whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother.” We too are as close to Christ as we choose to be. Mark 3:35.
Jesus loved all his disciples. Beyond this inner circle we find John alone got the title “the disciple whom Jesus loved.”
If Jesus loved John more, it was because John loved Him more!
Mutual love and confidence are the keys to intimacy.
If we wish to enter the inner circle of intimacy with God, we must first and foremost have a deep desire to be in that circle and secondly sacrifice our all for intimacy.
We can only be as intimate with God as we choose to be.