23 One of His disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining on the fold of His garment;
24 Then Simon Peter nodded to this disciples and said to him: “Ask him about whom He speaks.”
Perhaps most people are familiar with the Painting of the Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci. However, it does give us a false view of what the real scene would have looked like. It was not customary for people to sit on chairs at a table, as we are used to. Instead, the table would have been much lower and those gathered around it would have been on a couch in a semi laying down position.
They would lean on the left arm, which meant that their right arm was free to eat the meal.
In this position the head of each person would have been very close to the chest of the person on their left. Their feet would have been stretched out behind the person on their right. This was a custom that the Jews brought back with them from their time of their captivity.
We can see from this that there was a greater sense of closeness with other guests.
Who was the person who was next to Jesus, on His right-hand side?
This person John described as the one whom Jesus loved.
We know for certain that it was not Simon Peter, since he asked the one next to Jesus to as Jesus who the betrayer was.
It is generally assumed that Peter was the spokesman for all of the disciples; however, he is not described as the disciple whom Jesus loved. It is accepted that the disciple referred to by John is John himself. There is a similar situation in Mark’s gospel where a young man is mentioned fleeing in the Garden of Gethsemane: And a certain youngster, wearing a fine linen night garment over his naked body followed Him, and they grabbed hold of him – Mark 14.51. In both incidents the author dopes not name the person, but modesty and humility would have meant they would not want to identify themselves and so lead people to think more highly about them than they should.
Paul gives us these words to guard our thinking about ourselves: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us – Romans 12.3 (NLT).