Why is Jesus described in some verses as loving one particular disciple, or is it not to be taken that way? The disciple whom Jesus loved sounds like he was closer to just one rather than treating all equally.
Is it just a human thought on part of the writer, or did Jesus really have a ‘favorite’
Jesus as God would love everyone without condition and equally.
As for his relationship with the disciples, there were those who were closer to him than the others, at least from what we can see superficially. We know he had friends. At least the three siblings, Lazarus, Mary and Martha.
As a teacher, it would not be unusual for him to find personal friendship even with the disciples or that he could dot on John, the youngest of them all.
The reality was that even among the twelve, it seems a few were his confidants, notably Peter, James and John. The three were with him in some very important scenes, for example, the transfiguration and the passion at Gethsemane.
Jesus is God. But Jesus is also fully human, with human characteristics and personality traits. Besides, he didn’t treat all his apostles equally. The gospels often mention that Jesus was with Peter, John and James, and not with the others. For example on the mount of transfiguration, and in the Garden of Gethsemane.
John calls himself “the disciple who Jesus loved.” That’s his perspective. Maybe they each felt that way.
Jesus is human; it’s possible he got along better with John. or felt John understood him better at times. But there’s enough of his love to go around to everyone.
God is God but He also has his own favorites, He chooses and wills someone over the others, just as he chose St. Francis of Assisi who was a faithless sinner then. God’s reasons are only known to Him and Him alone…
Jesus loved St. John “the Beloved” more because St. John has a deeper devotion to the Blessed Mother. The Apostles also had a devotion to the Blessed Mother but St. John’s devotion was even greater. This devotion included always reporting to Mary what Jesus was doing in His public ministry like healings, teachings, daily tasks…
I read this in the great Marian book “The Mystical City of God” by Venerable Mary of Agreda