The phrase "disciple whom Jesus loved" is used 5 times in John's Gospel. It is commonly accepted each use refers to the same person, John the Apostle.
Four of the 5 times the word [G25 - agapao] is used (ESV):
One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved (ἠγάπα), was reclining at table at Jesus' side (13:23)
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved (ἠγάπα) standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” (19:26)
That disciple whom Jesus loved (ἠγάπα) therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. (21:7)
Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved (ἠγάπα) following them, the one who also had leaned back against him during the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” (21:20)
In one a different word, [G5368 - phileo] is used:
So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved (ἐφίλει), and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” (20:2)
There is an appreciable difference in the meaning, and, notably Matthew, Mark, and Luke use φιλέω (phileo) in describing Judas' betrayal of Jesus:
While he was still speaking, there came a crowd, and the man called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He drew near to Jesus to kiss (φιλῆσαι) him, (Luke 22:47)
Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss (φιλήσω) is the man; seize him.” (Matthew 26:48)
Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss (φιλήσω) is the man. Seize him and lead him away under guard.” (Mark 14:44)
- Is "the disciple whom Jesus loved" the best understanding of "...τὸν ἄλλον μαθητὴν ὃν ἐφίλει ὁ Ἰησοῦς..." in John 20:2?
- Should the disciple whom Jesus loved ἐφίλει in John 20:2 be seen as the same disciple whom Jesus loved ἠγάπα (in 13:23, 19:26, 21:7, and 21:20)?
- Why would John choose to describe himself (or another disciple) differently in this situation by using the same word Matthew, Mark, and Luke used to describe Judas' betrayal of Jesus?