John 1:37, The Beloved Disciple Inclusio
And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.
//Yesterday, I pointed out the Petrine Inclusio in the Gospel of Mark. This, some scholars surmise, is meant to imply that the Gospel of Mark carries the authority of Peter.
Well, a similar inclusio occurs in the Gospel of John, this time highlighting the mysterious Beloved Disciple. In today’s verse, one of the two disciples mentioned is universally considered to be the Beloved Disciple. This verse, then, forms an inclusio with this story in the last chapter of John:
Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee? –John 21:20
So the first and the last disciple mentioned in John’s Gospel is the Beloved Disciple! What makes this particularly fascinating is that John’s Gospel blatantly contradicts Mark’s claim that Peter was the first disciple called, and says instead that it was the Beloved Disciple.
John is claiming a greater authority than Mark: He is claiming the authority of the true first disciple. Indeed, this verse (John 21:20) seems to put Peter and the B.D. at odds. This should hardly come as a surprise, since nearly every time John’s Gospel refers to an event recorded in the Gospel of Mark, John contradicts Mark to set the record straight.