John (son of Zebedee)

Referenced in the Bible:

John is mentioned in the four Gospels, the book of Acts, and as the narrator of Revelation.

Key Verse: 

John 11:25-26
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (NIV)

1 John 4:16-17
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. (NIV)

Revelation 22:12-13
“Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”(NIV)


1.0 John the Apostle – ‘The Disciple Jesus Loved’:1)http://christianity.about.com/od/newtestamentpeople/a/JZ-John-The-Apostle.htm (By Jack Zavada).

Gospel Writer and Pillar of the Early Church

John the Apostle had the distinction of being a beloved friend of Jesus Christ, writer of five books of the New Testament, and a pillar in the early Christian church.

John and his brother James, another disciple of Jesus, were fishermen on the Sea of Galilee when Jesus called them to follow him. They later became part of Christ’s inner circle, along with the Apostle Peter. These three were privileged to be with Jesus at the raising of Jairus’ daughter from the dead, at the transfiguration, and during Jesus’ agony in Gethsemane.

On one occasion, when a Samaritan village rejected Jesus, James and John asked if they should call down fire from heaven to destroy the place. That earned them the nickname Boanerges, or “sons of thunder.”

A previous relationship with Joseph Caiaphas allowed John to be present in the high priest’s house during Jesus’ trial. On the cross, Jesus entrusted the care of his mother, Mary, to an unnamed disciple, probably John, who took her into his home (John 19:27).

Some scholars speculate that John may have been a cousin of Jesus.

John served the church in Jerusalem for many years, then moved to work in the church at Ephesus. An unsubstantiated legend holds that John was taken to Rome during a persecution and thrown into boiling oil but emerged unhurt. He was then exiled to the island of Patmos. John supposedly outlived all of the disciples, dying of old age at Ephesus, perhaps about A.D. 98.

John’s Gospel is strikingly different from Matthew, Mark, and Luke, the three Synoptic Gospels, which means “seen with the same eye” or from the same viewpoint. John continually emphasizes that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God, sent by the Father to take away the sins of the world. He uses many symbolic titles for Jesus, such as the Lamb of God, resurrection, and the vine. Throughout the Gospel of John, Jesus uses the phrase “I am,” unmistakably identifying himself with Jehovah, the Great “I AM” or eternal God.

Although John does not mention himself by name in his own gospel, he refers to himself four times as “the disciple Jesus loved.”


Accomplishments:

John was one of the first disciples chosen. He was an elder in the early church and helped spread the gospel message. He is credited with writing the Gospel of John; the letters 1 John, 2 John, and 3 John; and the book of Revelation.

Strengths:

John was especially loyal to Jesus. He was the only one of the 12 apostles present at the cross. After Pentecost, John teamed up with Peter to fearlessly preach the gospel in Jerusalem and suffered beatings and imprisonment for it. Because John experienced the unconditional love of Jesus firsthand, he preached that love in his gospel and letters.

Weaknesses:

At times, John did not understand Jesus’ message of forgiveness, as when he asked to call fire down upon unbelievers. He also asked for a favored position in Jesus’ kingdom.


Life Lessons:

Christ is the Savior who offers every person eternal life. If we follow Jesus, we are assured of forgiveness and salvation. As Christ loves us, we are to love others. God is love, and we, as Christians, are to be channels of God’s love to our neighbors.

Hometown:

Capernaum

Occupation:

Fisherman, disciple of Jesus, evangelist, Scripture author.


2.0 What should we learn from the life of John the Apostle?2)http://www.gotquestions.org/life-John-Apostle.html

The Apostle John is the author of five New Testament books: the gospel of John, the three short epistles that also bear his name (1, 2, and 3 John) and the book of Revelation. John was part of Jesus’ “inner circle” and, along with Peter and James, John was given the privilege of witnessing Jesus’ conversation with Moses and Elijah on the mount of the transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-9). His importance in the twelve grew as he matured, and after the crucifixion, he became a “pillar” in the Jerusalem church (Galatians 2:9), ministered with Peter (Acts 3:1, 4:13, 8:14), and finally was exiled to the island of Patmos by the Romans, where he received from God the majestic visions that comprise the book of Revelation.

Not to be confused with John the Baptist, the Apostle John is the brother of James, another of the twelve disciples of Jesus. Together, they were called by Jesus “Boanerges,” which means “sons of thunder,” and therein we find a key to John’s personality. Both brothers were characterized by zeal, passion and ambition. In his early days with Jesus, at times John acted rashly, recklessly, impetuously, and aggressively.

We see him in Mark 9 forbidding a man to cast out demons in Jesus’ name because he was not part of the twelve (Mark 9:38-41). Jesus gently rebuked him, saying no one could cast out demons in Jesus’ name and then turn around and speak evil of Him. In Luke 9:51-54, we see the brothers wanting to call down fire from heaven to destroy the Samaritans who refused to welcome Jesus. Again, Jesus had to rebuke them for their intolerance and lack of genuine love for the lost. John’s zeal for Jesus was also influenced by his natural ambition, as seen in his request (through his mother) that he and his brother be seated on Jesus’ right and left hands in the kingdom, an incident that caused a temporary rift between the brothers and the other disciples (Matthew 20:20-24).

In spite of these youthful expressions of misdirected passion, John aged well. He began to understand the need for humility in those who desired to be great. John’s is the only gospel that records Jesus washing the disciples’ feet (John 13:4-16). Jesus’ simple act of servanthood must have impacted John greatly. By the time of the crucifixion, Jesus had enough confidence in the young man to turn the care of His mother over to him, a charge John took very seriously. From that day on, John cared for her as if she were his own mother (John 19:25-27). John’s rash request for special honor in the kingdom had given way to a compassion and humility that would characterize his ministry in his later life.

Although he remained courageous and bold, his ambition was balanced by the humility he learned at Jesus’ feet. This willingness to serve others and suffer for the sake of the gospel must have enabled him to bear his final imprisonment on Patmos where, according to reliable historical sources, he lived in a cave, cut off from those he loved, and was treated with cruelty and reproach. In the opening of the book of Revelation, which he received from the Holy Spirit during this time, he referred to himself as ‘your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus” (Revelation 1:9). He had learned to look beyond his earthly sufferings to the heavenly glory that awaits all who patiently endure.

John was passionately devoted to the proclamation of truth. No one in Scripture, except the Lord Jesus, had more to say about the concept of truth. His joy was proclaiming the truth to others and then watching them walk in it (3 John 4). His strongest condemnation was for those who perverted the truth and led others astray, especially if they claimed to be believers (1 John 2:4). His passion for truth fueled his concern for the sheep who might be deceived by false teachers, and his warnings about them take up much of 1 John. He had no qualms about identifying as “false prophets” and “antichrists” those who tried to pervert the truth, even proclaiming them to be demonic in nature (1 John 2:18, 26, 3:7, 4:1-7).

At the same time, John is also called the “apostle of love.” In his own gospel, he refers to himself as “the one whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23, 20:2, 21:7, 21:20). He is depicted as the one leaning against Jesus’ breast at the last supper. His brief second epistle is filled with expressions of his deep love for those in his care. He addresses his first epistle to a group of believers “whom I love in the truth” and exhorts them to “love one another” by walking in obedience to Jesus’ commands (1 John 1:1, 5-6).

John’s life serves to remind us of several lessons which we can apply to our own lives. First, zeal for the truth must always be balanced by a love for people. Without it, zeal can turn to harshness and judgmentalism. Conversely, abundant love that lacks the ability to discern truth from error can become gushing sentimentality. As John learned as he matured, if we speak the truth in love, we, and those we touch, will “in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ” (Ephesians 4:15).

Second, confidence and boldness, untempered by compassion and grace, can quickly turn to pride and smugness. Confidence is a wonderful virtue, but without humility, it can become self-confidence, which can lead to boasting and an attitude of exclusiveness. When that happens, our witness of the grace of God is tainted, and others see in us exactly the kind of person they wish not to be. Like John, if we are to be effective witnesses for Christ, our demeanor should be one that reflects a passion for the truth, compassion for people, and a steadfast desire to serve and represent our Lord by reflecting His humility and grace.


3.0 John the Apostle יוחנן בן זבדי3)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_the_Apostle

John the Apostle (Aramaic: ܝܘܚܢܢ ܫܠܝܚܐ‎‎ Yohanan Shliha; Hebrew: יוחנן בן זבדי‎‎ Yohanan ben Zavdi; Koine Greek: Ἰωάννης; Latin: Ioannes; c. AD 6-100) was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus according to the New Testament.

He was the son of Zebedee and Salome. His brother was James, who was another of the Twelve Apostles. Christian tradition holds that he outlived the remaining apostles and that he was the only one not to die a martyr’s death (excluding Judas Iscariot who died by suicide). The Church Fathers considered him the same person as John the Evangelist, John of Patmos, John the Elder and the Beloved Disciple, although modern theologians and scholars have not formed a consensus on the relative identities of these men. The traditions of most Christian denominations hold that John the Apostle is the author of several books of the New Testament.

New Testament author:

Church tradition holds that John is the author of the Gospel of John and four other books of the New Testament — the three Epistles of John and the Book of Revelation. In the Gospel, authorship is internally credited to the “disciple whom Jesus loved” (ὁ μαθητὴς ὃν ἠγάπα ὁ Ἰησοῦς, o mathētēs on ēgapa o Iēsous) in John 20:2. John 21:24 claims that the Gospel of John is based on the written testimony of the “Beloved Disciple”. The authorship of some Johannine literature has been debated since about the year 200.4).Eusebius of Caesarea, Ecclesiastical History Book vi. Chapter xxv. , 5)CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Apocalypse“.  Some doubt that the “Gospel of John” was written by an individual named “John” (Ἰωάννης or יוחנן). Nevertheless, the notion of “John the Evangelist” exists, and is usually thought of as the same as the Apostle John.

In his Ecclesiastical History, Eusebius says that the First Epistle of John and the Gospel of John are widely agreed upon as his. However, Eusebius mentions that the consensus is that the second and third epistles of John are not his but were written by some other John. Eusebius also goes to some length to establish with the reader that there is no general consensus regarding the revelation of John. The revelation of John could only be what is now called the book of Revelation.6)The History of the Church by Eusibius. Book three, point 24.  The Gospel according to John differs considerably from the Synoptic Gospels, likely written decades earlier than John’s gospel. The bishops of Asia Minor supposedly requested him to write his gospel to deal with the heresy of the Ebionites, who asserted that Christ did not exist before Mary. John probably knew and undoubtedly approved of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, but these gospels spoke of Jesus primarily in the year following the imprisonment and death of John the Baptist.7)Thomas Patrick Halton, On illustrious men, Volume 100 of The Fathers of the Church, CUA Press, 1999. P. 19.  Around 600, however, Sophronius of Jerusalem noted that “two epistles bearing his name … are considered by some to be the work of a certain John the Elder” and, while stating that Revelation was written by John of Patmos, it was “later translated by Justin Martyr and Irenaeus”,8)Saint Sophronius of Jerusalem (2007) [c. 600], “The Life of the Evangelist John”, The Explanation of the Holy Gospel According to John,House Springs, Missouri, United States: Chrysostom Press, pp. 2–3, ISBN 1-889814-09-1  presumably in an attempt to reconcile tradition with the obvious differences in Greek style.

Until the 19th century, the authorship of the Gospel of John had universally been attributed to the Apostle John. However, most modern critical scholars have their doubts.9).Harris, Stephen L., Understanding the Bible (Palo Alto: Mayfield, 1985) p. 355 , 10).Foley OFM, Leonard. “Saint of the Day: Lives, Lessons and Feast”, (revised by Pat McCloskey, OFM), American Catholic.org.  Some scholars agree in placing the Gospel of John somewhere between AD 65 and 85,11)Harris, Stephen L., Understanding the Bible. McGraw-Hill, 2006. ISBN 978-0-07-296548-3   John Robinson proposes an initial edition by 50–55 and then a final edition by 65 due to narrative similarities with Paul.12)Robinson, John A.T. (1977). Redating the New Testament. SCM Press. ISBN 978-0-334-02300-5.  :pp.284,307 Other scholars are of the opinion that the Gospel of John was composed in two or three stages.13)Mark Allan Powell. Jesus as a figure in history. Westminster John Knox Press, 1998. ISBN 0-664-25703-8 / 978-0664257033  :p.43 Among contemporary scholars are those who consider that the Gospel was not written until the latter third of the first century AD, and in the opinion of some an earliest possible would be 75-80 CE.14)Gail R O’Day, introduction to the Gospel of John in New Revised Standard Translation of the Bible, Abingdon Press, Nashville, 2003, p.1906  “…a date of 75-80 CE as the earliest possible date of composition for this Gospel”. Other scholars think that an even later date, perhaps even the last decade of the first century AD right up to the start of the 2nd century (i.e. 90 – 100), is applicable.15)Reading John, Francis J. Moloney, SDB, Dove Press, 1995

Today, many theological scholars continue to accept the traditional authorship. Colin G. Kruse states that since John the Evangelist has been named consistently in the writings of early church fathers, “it is hard to pass by this conclusion, despite widespread reluctance to accept it by many, but by no means all, modern scholars.”16)Kruse, Colin G.The Gospel According to John: An Introduction and Commentary, Eerdmans, 2004, ISBN 0-8028-2771-3, p. 28.

The Gospel of John was written by an anonymous author.17)E P Sanders, The Historical Figure of Jesus, (Penguin, 1995) page 63 – 64. , 18)Bart D. Ehrman (2000:43) The New Testament: a historical introduction to early Christian writings. Oxford University Press. , 19)Bart D. Ehrman (2005:235) Lost Christianities: the battles for scripture and the faiths we never knew Oxford University Press, New York. , 20)Geoffrey W. Bromiley (1995:287) International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: K-P MATTHEW, GOSPEL ACCORDING TO. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. Quote: „Matthew, like the other three Gospels is an anonymous document.” , 21)Donald Senior, Paul J. Achtemeier, Robert J. Karris (2002:328) Invitation to the Gospels Paulist Press. , 22)Keith Fullerton Nickle (2001:43) The Synoptic Gospels: an introduction Westminster John Knox Press. , 23)Ben Witherington (2004:44) The Gospel code: novel claims about Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and Da Vinci InterVarsity Press. , 24)F.F. Bruce (1994:1) The Gospel of John Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. , 25)Patrick J. Flannagan (1997:16) The Gospel of Mark Made Easy Paulist Press  According to Paul N. Anderson, the gospel “contains more direct claims to eyewitness origins than any of the other Gospel traditions”.26)Paul N. Anderson, The Riddles of the Fourth Gospel, p. 48.  F. F. Bruce argues that 19:35 contains an “emphatic and explicit claim to eyewitness authority”.27)F. F. Bruce, The Gospel of John, p. 3.  Bart D. Ehrman, however, does not think the gospel claims to have been written by direct witnesses to the reported events.28)Bart D. Ehrman (2005:235) Lost Christianities: the battles for scripture and the faiths we never knew Oxford University Press, New York. , 29)Bart D. Ehrman (2004:110) Truth and Fiction in The Da Vinci Code: A Historian Reveals What We Really Know about Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and Constantine. Oxford University Press. , 30)Bart D. Ehrman(2006:143) The lost Gospel of Judas Iscariot: a new look at betrayer and betrayed. Oxford University Press.

Book of Revelation:

The author of the Book of Revelation identifies himself as “John”31)“Revelation, Book of.” Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford dictionary of the Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005  The early 2nd century writer, Justin Martyr, was the first to equate the author of Revelation with John the Apostle.32)Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, 81.4  However, some biblical scholars now contend that these were separate individuals.33).Harris, Stephen L., Understanding the Bible (Palo Alto: Mayfield, 1985) p. 355 , 34).Ehrman, Bart D. (2004). The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings. New York: Oxford. p. 468. ISBN 0-19-515462-2.

John the Presbyter, an obscure figure in the early church, has also been identified with the seer of the Book of Revelation by such authors as Eusebius in his Church History (Book III, 39) 35)Church History, Book III, Chapter 39″. The Fathers of the Church. NewAdvent.org. Retrieved 1 June 2015.  and Jerome.36)saint, Jerome. “De Viris Illustribus (On Illustrious Men) Chapter 9 & 18”. newadvent.org. Retrieved 2 June 2015.

John is considered to have been exiled to Patmos, during the persecutions under Emperor Domitian. Revelation 1:9 says that the author wrote the book on Patmos: “I, John, both your brother and companion in tribulation… was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Adela Yarbro Collins, a biblical scholar at Yale Divinity School, writes:

Early tradition says that John was banished to Patmos by the Roman authorities. This tradition is credible because banishment was a common punishment used during the Imperial period for a number of offenses. Among such offenses were the practices of magic and astrology. Prophecy was viewed by the Romans as belonging to the same category, whether Pagan, Jewish, or Christian. Prophecy with political implications, like that expressed by John in the book of Revelation, would have been perceived as a threat to Roman political power and order. Three of the islands in the Sporades were places where political offenders were banished. (Pliny Natural History 4.69-70; Tacitus Annals 4.30)37)Adela Collins. “Patmos.” Harper’s Bible Dictionary. Paul J. Achtemeier, gen. ed. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1985. p755.

Some modern higher critical scholars have raised the possibility that John the Apostle, John the Evangelist, and John of Patmos were three separate individuals.38).Griggs, C. Wilfred. “John the Beloved” in Ludlow, Daniel H., ed. Selections from the Encyclopedia of Mormonism: Scriptures of the Church(Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book, 1992) p. 379. Griggs favors the “one John” theory but mentions that some modern scholars have hypothesized that there are multiple Johns.  These scholars assert that John of Patmos wrote Revelation but neither the Gospel of John nor the Epistles of John. For one, the author of Revelation identifies himself as “John” several times, but the author of the Gospel of John never identifies himself directly. Some Catholic scholars state that “vocabulary, grammar, and style make it doubtful that the book could have been put into its present form by the same person(s) responsible for the fourth gospel”.39)Introduction. Saint Joseph Edition of the New American Bible: Translated from the Original Languages with Critical Use of All the Ancient Sources : including the Revised New Testament and the Revised Psalms. New York: Catholic Book Pub., 1992. 386. Print.

References to John in the New Testament:

Sons of thunder:

John the Apostle was the son of Zebedee and the younger brother of James, son of Zebedee (James the Greater). According to Church tradition, their mother was Salome.40)By comparing ‹ The template below (Nkjv) is being considered for deletion. See templates for discussion to help reach a consensus.› Matthew 27:56 to ‹ The template below (Nkjv) is being considered for deletion. See templates for discussion to help reach a consensus.› Mark 15:40  Zebedee and his sons fished in the Sea of Galilee. The brothers were firstly disciples of John the Baptist. Jesus then called Peter, Andrew and these two sons of Zebedee to follow him. James and John are listed among the Twelve Apostles. Jesus referred to the pair as “Boanerges” (translated “sons of thunder”);41).Foley OFM, Leonard. “Saint of the Day: Lives, Lessons and Feast”, (revised by Pat McCloskey, OFM), American Catholic.org.  although their nature was calm and gentle, when their patience was pushed to its limits their anger became wild and thunderous causing them to speak out like an untamed storm. A gospel story relates how the brothers wanted to call down heavenly fire on a Samaritan town, but Jesus rebuked them. [Lk 9:51-6] John lived more than half a century after the martyrdom of James, who was the first Apostle to die a martyr’s death.

Other references to John:

Peter, James and John were the only witnesses of the raising of Daughter of Jairus.42)Fonck, Leopold. “St. John the Evangelist.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 8. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 6 Feb. 2013″. Newadvent.org. 1910-10-01. Retrieved 2013-05-03.  All three also witnessed the Transfiguration, and these same three witnessed the Agony in Gethsemane more closely than the other Apostles did.43).Butler, Alban. The Lives or the Fathers, Martyrs and Other Principal Saints, Vol.IV.  John was the disciple who reported to Jesus that they had ‘forbidden’ a non-disciple from casting out demons in Jesus’ name, prompting Jesus to state that ‘he who is not against us is on our side’.44)Luke 9:49-50 NKJV

Jesus sent only John and Peter into the city to make the preparation for the final Passover meal (the Last Supper).[Lk 22:8][40] At the meal itself, the “disciple whom Jesus loved” sat next to Jesus. It was customary to lie along upon couches at meals, and this disciple leaned on Jesus.45).Butler, Alban. The Lives or the Fathers, Martyrs and Other Principal Saints, Vol.IV.  Tradition identifies this disciple as Saint John[Jn 13:23-25]. After the arrest of Jesus, Peter and the “other disciple” (according to Sacred Tradition), John followed him into the palace of the high-priest.46).Butler, Alban. The Lives or the Fathers, Martyrs and Other Principal Saints, Vol.IV.

John alone among the Apostles remained near Jesus at the foot of the cross on Calvary alongside myrrhbearers and numerous other women; following the instruction of Jesus from the Cross, John took Mary, the mother of Jesus, into his care as the last legacy of Jesus [Jn 19:25-27]. After Jesus’ Ascension and the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, John, together with Peter, took a prominent part in the founding and guidance of the church. He was with Peter at the healing of the lame man at Solomon’s Porch in the Temple [Ac 3:1 et seq.] and he was also thrown into prison with Peter.[Acts 4:3] He went with Peter to visit the newly converted believers in Samaria.[Acts 8:14]

While he remained in Judea and the surrounding area, the other disciples returned to Jerusalem for the Apostolic Council (about AD 51). Paul, in opposing his enemies in Galatia, recalls that John explicitly, along with Peter and James the Just, were referred to as “pillars of the church” and refers to the recognition that his Apostolic preaching of a gospel free from Jewish Law received from these three, the most prominent men of the messianic community at Jerusalem.47)Fonck, Leopold. “St. John the Evangelist.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 8. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 6 Feb. 2013″. Newadvent.org. 1910-10-01. Retrieved 2013-05-03.

According to the Book of Revelation, its author was on the island of Patmos “for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus”, when he was honoured with the vision contained in Revelation.[Rev. 1:9]

The disciple whom Jesus loved:

The phrase the disciple whom Jesus loved (Greek: ὁ μαθητὴς ὃν ἠγάπα ὁ Ἰησοῦς, ho mathētēs hon ēgapā ho Iēsous) or, in John 20:2, the Beloved Disciple (Greek: ὃν ἐφίλει ὁ Ἰησοῦς, hon ephilei ho Iēsous) is used five times in the Gospel of John,48)John 13:23, John 19:26, John 20:2, John 21:7, John 21:20  but in no other New Testament accounts of Jesus. John 21:24 claims that the Gospel of John is based on the written testimony of this disciple.

The disciple whom Jesus loved is referred to, specifically, six times in John’s gospel:

• It is this disciple who, while reclining beside Jesus at the Last Supper, asks Jesus, after being requested by Peter to do so, who it is that will betray him.[Jn 13:23-25]

• Later at the crucifixion, Jesus tells his mother, “Woman, here is your son”, and to the Beloved Disciple he says, “Here is your mother.”[Jn 19:26-27]

• When Mary Magdalene discovers the empty tomb, she runs to tell the Beloved Disciple and Peter. The two men rush to the empty tomb and the Beloved Disciple is the first to reach the empty tomb. However, Peter is the first to enter.[Jn 20:1-10]

• In John 21, the last chapter of the Gospel of John, the Beloved Disciple is one of seven fishermen involved in the miraculous catch of 153 fish.[Jn 21:1-25] 49)James D. G. Dunn and John William Rogerson, Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2003, p. 1210, ISBN 0-8028-3711-5.

• Also in the book’s final chapter, after Jesus hints to Peter how Peter will die, Peter sees the Beloved Disciple following them and asks, “What about him?” Jesus answers, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!”[John 21:20-23]

• Again in the gospel’s last chapter, it states that the very book itself is based on the written testimony of the disciple whom Jesus loved.[John 21:24]

None of the other Gospels has anyone in the parallel scenes that could be directly understood as the Beloved Disciple. For example, in Luke 24:12, Peter alone runs to the tomb. Mark, Matthew and Luke do not mention any one of the twelve disciples having witnessed the crucifixion.

There are also two references to an unnamed “other disciple” in John 1:35-40 and John 18:15-16, which may be to the same person based on the wording in John 20:2.50)Brown, Raymond E. 1970. “The Gospel According to John (xiii-xxi)”. New York: Doubleday & Co. Pages 922, 955.

Extrabiblical traditions:

There is no information in the Bible concerning the duration of John’s activity in Judea. According to tradition, John and the other Apostles remained some 12 years in this first field of labour. The persecution of Christians under Herod Agrippa I led to the scattering of the Apostles through the Roman Empire‘s provinces.[cf. Ac 12:1-17]

A messianic community existed at Ephesus before Paul’s first labours there (cf. “the brethren”),[Acts 18:27] in addition to Priscilla and Aquila. The original community was under the leadership of Apollo (1 Corinthians 1:12). They were disciples of John the Baptist and were converted by Aquila and Priscilla.51)Vailhé, Siméon. “Ephesus.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 5. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909. 6 Feb. 2013″. Newadvent.org. 1909-05-01. Retrieved 2013-05-03.  According to Church tradition, after the Assumption of Mary, John went to Ephesus. From there he wrote the three epistles attributed to him. John was allegedly banished by the Roman authorities to the Greek island of Patmos, where, according to tradition, he wrote the Book of Revelation. According to Tertullian (in The Prescription of Heretics) John was banished (presumably to Patmos) after being plunged into boiling oil in Rome and suffering nothing from it. It is said that all in the audience of Colosseum were converted to Christianity upon witnessing this miracle. This event would have occurred in the late 1st century, during the reign of the Emperor Domitian, who was known for his persecution of Christians.

When John was aged, he trained Polycarp who later became Bishop of Smyrna. This was important because Polycarp was able to carry John’s message to future generations. Polycarp taught Irenaeus, passing on to him stories about John. Similar goes with Ignatius of Antioch, who was a student of John and later appointed by Saint Peter to be the Bishop of Antioch. In Against Heresies, Irenaeus relates how Polycarp told a story of

John, the disciple of the Lord, going to bathe at Ephesus, and perceiving Cerinthus within, rushed out of the bath-house without bathing, exclaiming, “Let us fly, lest even the bath-house fall down, because Cerinthus, the enemy of the truth, is within.”52)Irenaeus, Against Heresies, III.3.4.

It is traditionally believed that John was the youngest of the apostles and survived them. He is said to have lived to an old age, dying at Ephesus sometime after AD 98.53).Zahn, T. “John the Apostle”, in Schaff, Philip. The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Vol. VI: Innocents – Liudger, p.203.

An alternative account of John’s death, ascribed by later Christian writers to the early second-century bishop Papias of Hierapolis, claims that he was slain by the Jews.54)Cheyne, Thomas Kelly (1901). Encyclopaedia Biblica, Volume 2. Adam and Charles Black. pp. 2509–11. Although Papias’ works are no longer extant, the fifth century ecclesiastical historian Philip of Side and the ninth-century monk George Hamartolos both stated that Papias had written that John was “slain by the Jews.” , 55)Rasimus, Tuomas (2010). The Legacy of John: Second-Century Reception of the Fourth Gospel. BRILL. p. 5. ISBN 9789004176331.Rasimus finds corroborating evidence for this tradition in “two martyrologies from Edessa and Carthage” and writes that “Mark 10:35-40//Matt. 20:20-23 can be taken to portray Jesus predicting the martyrdom of both the sons of Zebedee.”  Most Johannine scholars doubt the reliability of its ascription to Papias, but a minority, including B.W. Bacon, Martin Hengel and Henry Barclay Swete, maintain that these references to Papias are credible.56)Culpepper, R. Alan (2000). John, the Son of Zebedee: The Life of A Legend. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 172. ISBN 9780567087423. , 57)Swete, Henry Barclay (1911). The Apocalypse of St. John (3 ed.). Macmillan. pp. 179–180.  Zahn argues that this reference is actually to John the Baptist.58).Zahn, T. “John the Apostle”, in Schaff, Philip. The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Vol. VI: Innocents – Liudger, p.203.  John’s traditional tomb is thought to be located at Selçuk, a small town in the vicinity of Ephesus.59)Procopius of Caesarea, On Buildings. General Index, trans. H. B. Dewing and Glanville Downey, vol. 7, Loeb Classical Library 343 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1940), 319

In art, John as the presumed author of the Gospel is often depicted with an eagle, which symbolizes the height he rose to in his gospel.60).Foley OFM, Leonard. “Saint of the Day: Lives, Lessons and Feast”, (revised by Pat McCloskey, OFM), American Catholic.org.  In Orthodox icons, he is often depicted looking up into heaven and dictating his Gospel (or the Book of Revelation) to his disciple, traditionally named Prochorus.

Liturgical commemoration:

The feast day of Saint John in the Roman Catholic Church, which calls him “Saint John, Apostle and Evangelist”, and in the Anglican Communion and Lutheran Calendars, which call him “Saint John the Apostle and Evangelist”, is on 27 December.61).http://prayerbook.ca/resources/bcponline/calendar/.  In the Tridentine Calendar he was commemorated also on each of the following days up to and including 3 January, the Octave of the 27 December feast. This Octave was abolished by Pope Pius XII in 1955.62)General Roman Calendar of Pope Pius XII  The traditional liturgical color is white.

Until 1960, another feast day which appeared in the General Roman Calendar is that of “Saint John Before the Latin Gate” on May 6, celebrating a tradition recounted by Jerome that St John was brought to Rome during the reign of the Emperor Domitian, and was thrown in a vat of boiling oil, from which he was miraculously preserved unharmed. A church (San Giovanni a Porta Latina) dedicated to him was built near the Latin gate of Rome, the traditional site of this event.63)Saint Andrew Daily Missal with Vespers for Sundays and Feasts by Dom. Gaspar LeFebvre, O.S.B., Saint Paul, MN: The E.M. Lohmann Co., 1952, p.1325-1326

The Orthodox Church and those Eastern Catholic Churches which follow the Byzantine Rite commemorate the “Repose of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian” on September 26. On May 8 they celebrate the “Feast of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian”, on which date Christians used to draw forth from his grave fine ashes which were believed to be effective for healing the sick.

Other Christians highly revere him but do not canonize or venerate saints.

St.John The Apostle Church, Muppathadam, India:

The St.John The Apostle Church at Muppathadam is believed to be the First Church in India with St.John The Apostle as the Patron Saint. This church is under Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Verapoly.

The First Church was build in 1951 by Very Rev. Msgr. Augustine Mavely and Rev. Fr. Joseph Parambaloth and it was renovated in 1991 by Augustine Issac Kurishingal.

On February 10, 2000 Dr.Daniel Acharuparambil, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Verapoly raised this church to independent Parish. The First Vicar of this Church was Rev. Fr. Sebastian Oliparambil. Present Parish Vicar is Rev. Fr.Glanson Aruja serving five and half years at this parish.

Novena of St.John The Apostle started at this Church in 2001 February commemorating the event of Golden Jubilee of this Church. The Novena of St.John The Apostle at this church is on every Thursday. Parish Feast is celebrated on third Sunday of January every year. Lot of devotees visit this church.


4.0 International Standard Bible Encyclopedia64)James Iverach http://www.biblestudytools.com/encyclopedias/isbe/john-the-apostle.html

JOHN, THE APOSTLE

Sources of the Life of John:

The sources for the life of the apostle John are of various kinds, and of different degrees of trustworthiness. There are the references in the Synoptic Gospels, which may be used simply and easily without any preliminary critical inquiry into their worth as sources; for these Gospels contain the common tradition of the early church, and for the present purpose may be accepted as trustworthy.

Further, there are the statements in Ac and in Galatians, which we may use without discussion as a source for the life of John. There is next the universal tradition of the 2nd century, which we may use, if we can show that the John of Ephesus, who bulks so largely in the Christian literature of the 2nd and 3rd centuries, is identical with the son of Zebedee.

Further, on the supposition that the son of Zebedee is the author of the Johannine writings of the New Testament, there is another source of unequaled value for the estimate of the life and character of the son of Zebedee in these writings.

Finally, there is the considerable volume of tradition which gathered around the name of John of Ephesus, of which, picturesque and interesting though the traditions be, only sparing use can be made.

I. WITNESS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT.

Addressing ourselves first to the Synoptic Gospels, to Ac and to Galatians, we ask, What, from these sources, can we know of the apostle John? A glance only need be taken at the Johannine writings, more fully discussed elsewhere in relation to their author.

1. The Synoptic Gospels:

That John was one of the two sons of Zebedee, that he became one of the disciples of Jesus, that at His call he forsook all and followed Jesus, and was thereafter continuously with Jesus to the end, are facts familiar to every reader of the Synoptic Gospels. The call was given to John and to his brother James at the Sea of Galilee, while in a boat with their father Zebedee, “mending their nets” (Matthew 4:21,22, and parallel passages). “Come ye after me,” said Jesus, “and I will make you to become fishers of men” (Mark 1:17; on the earlier call in Judea, John 1:35, see below).

That Zebedee was a man of considerable wealth may be inferred from the fact that he had “hired servants” with him (Mark 1:20), and that his wife was one of those women who ministered of their substance to Jesus and His disciples (Matthew 27:55,56). Comparison of the latter passage with Mark 15:40,41 identifies the wife of Zebedee, John’s mother, with Salome, and it seems a fair inference from John 19:25, though all do not accept it, that Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Salome, the wife of Zebedee, were sisters.

On this view, James and John were cousins of Jesus, and were also related to the family of John the Baptist. The name of John appears in all the lists of the apostles given in the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew 10:2 and parallels). While his name appears rarely in a position by itself, he is still one of the most prominent of the disciples. With Peter and James he is present at the raising of the daughter of Jairus (Mark 5:37; Luke 8:51).

These three were also present at the transfiguration (Matthew 17; Mark 9; Luke 9). They were nearest to the Lord at the agony of Gethsemane. In all these cases nothing characteristic of John is to be noted. He is simply present as one of the three, and therefore one of the most intimate of the disciples. But there is something characteristic in an incident recorded by Luke (9:54), in which James and John are represented as wishing to call down fire on a Sam village, which had refused them hospitality. From this can be inferred something of the earnestness, zeal, and enthusiasm of the brothers, and of their high sense of what was due to their Master. Peter, James, John, and Andrew are the four who asked Jesus about the prophecies He had uttered:

“Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when these things are all about to be accomplished?” (Mark 13:4). Then there is the request of their mother as to the place she desired for her sons in the coming kingdom (Mark 10:35). To Peter and John was entrusted the task of preparation for the keeping of the Passover (Luke 22:8).

Once John stands alone, and asks what we may consider a characteristic question: “Teacher, we saw one casting out demons in thy name; and we forbade him, because he followed not us” (Mark 9:38; Luke 9:49). From these notices we see that John was in the front rank of the disciples, and we see also that he was so far conscious of the position he held, and of the intimate connection he had with the Master. We note further that John was a young man of fiery zeal, and of a tendency toward intolerance and exclusiveness.

The zeal and the intolerance are in evidence in the desire to call down fire upon the Samaritan village, and the tendency toward exclusiveness is manifested in the request of his mother as to the place her sons were to occupy in the kingdom. They desire to have the highest positions.

These tendencies were not encouraged by Jesus. They were rebuked by Him once and again, but the tendencies reveal the men. In harmony with these notices of character and temperament is the name given to the brothers by Jesus, “Boanerges,” “Sons of thunder” (Mark 3:17), which, whatever else may be meant by it, means strength, unexpectedness, and zeal approaching to methods of violence.

2. Acts and Galatians:

John is found in company with Peter in the opening scenes in Acts. He is with Peter while the man at the gate was healed (Act 3:1). He is with Peter on the mission to Samaria (Act 8:14). He is with Peter and James, the Lord’s brother, at the interview with Paul recorded in Galatians 2, and the three are described by Paul as the pillar apostles (Galatians 2:9). This interview is of importance because it proves that John had survived his brother James, whose death is recorded in Acts 12; at all events that John and James were not killed by the Jews at the same time, as some now contend that they were. This contention is considered below.

3. The Johannine Writings:

Gospel and Revelation:

Much is to be learned of the apostle John from the Fourth Gospel, assuming the Gospel to have been written by him. We learn from it that he was a disciple of John the Baptist (John 1:35), that he was one of the first six disciples called by Jesus in His early ministry in Judea (John 1:37-51), and that he was present at all the scenes which he describes in the Gospel. We find later that he had a home in Jerusalem, and was acquainted with many there.

To that home he took Mary, the mother of Jesus, whom the dying Saviour entrusted to his care (John 19:26,27). Much more also we learn of him and of his history, for the Gospel is a spiritual biography, a record of the growth of faith on the part of the writer, and of the way in which his eyes were opened to see the glory of the Lord, until faith seems to have become vision.

He was in the inner circle of the disciples, indeed, nearest of all to Jesus, “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23; John 19:26; John 20:2; John 21:7,20), and, because of that love, became the apostle of love (see, further, JOHN, GOSPEL OF; JOHN, THE EPISTLES OF; JOHANNINE THEOLOGY).

The Book of Revelation, likewise traditionally ascribed to John, bears important witness to the apostle’s banishment in later life to the isle of Patmos in the Aegean (Revelation 1:9). There he received the visions recorded in the book. The banishment probably took place in the reign of Domitian (see REVELATION), with whose practice it was entirely in consonance (on the severity of such exile, compare Sir W.M. Ramsay, Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia, chapter viii). The testimony is of high importance in its bearing on the disputed question of John’s residence in Asia, a point now to be discussed.

II. ALLEGED EARLY MARTYRDOM OF JOHN:

Criticism of Evidence.

1. Recent Denial of John’s Residence in Ephesus:

The consentient testimony of the church of the 2nd century is that the later years of John were spent at Ephesus, where he wrote his Gospel, and gathered round him many disciples (see the evidence drawn out in detail in Godet, Commentary on Gospel of John, 4365)Commentary on the Gospel of St. John by Frederic Godet http://www.angusrobertson.com.au/books/commentary-on-the-gospel-of-st-john-frederic-godet/p/9781331746096 ; compare also Joseph Lightfoot, “The School of Ephesus,” in Essays on the Work Entitled “Supernatural Religion“). Before, however, we can use the traditions connected with this residence at Ephesus, it is needful to inquire into the statement alleged to be made by Papias that John, the son of Zebedee, was killed by the Jews at an early date. It is plain, that, if this statement is correct, the apostle could not be the author of the Johannine writings in the New Testament, universally dated near the end of the 1st century.

2. Grounds of Denial:

The evidence for the statement that John was early killed by the Jews is thus summed up by Dr. Moffatt:

“The evidence for the early martyrdom of John the son of Zebedee is, in fact, threefold:

(a) a prophecy of Jesus preserved in Mark 10:39 = Matthew 20:23,

(b) the witness of Papias, and

(c) the calendars of the church” (Intro to Lit. of New Testament, 602).

Our limits do not admit of an exhaustive examination of this so-called evidence, but, happily, an exhaustive examination is not needed.

(a) The first head proceeds on an assumption which is not warranted, namely, that a prophecy of Jesus would not be allowed to stand, if it were not evidently fulfilled. In the present instance, a literal fulfillment of the prophecy (“The cup that I drink ye shall drink,” etc.) is out of the question, for there is no hint that either James or John was crucified. We must therefore fall back on the primary meaning of martyrdom, and recognize a fulfillment of the prophecy in the sufferings John endured and the testimony he bore for the Master’s sake (thus Origen, etc.).

(b) Dr. Moffatt lays great stress on what he calls the testimony of Papias. But the alleged testimony of Papias is not found in any early authority, and then occurs in writers not of any great value from the point of view of critical investigation. It is found in a passage of Georgius Hamartolus (9th century), and is held to be corroborated by a fragment of an epitome (7th or 8th century) of the Chronicle of Philip Sidetes (5th century), a thoroughly untrustworthy writer.

The passage from Georgius may be seen in convenient form in Lightfoot’s Apostolic Fathers, 513-19. It tells that John survived to the time of Nerva, quotes a saying of Papias that he was killed by the Jews, states that this was in fulfillment of the prophecy of Jesus above referred to, and goes on to say, “So the learned Origen affirms in his interpretation of Matthew’s Gospel, that John was martyred, declaring that he had learnt the last from the successors of the apostles” (Lightfoot, op. cit., 531).

Fortunately, the statement of Origen can be tested, and it by no means, as Moffatt admits (op. cit., 604), bears out the meaning attached to it. Origen is of opinion that the prophecy of Jesus was sufficiently fulfilled by the fact of John’s banishment to Patmos and his sufferings there.

This, according to him, is what tradition taught and what the prophecy meant. From the whole statement of Georgius, which expressly declares that John survived till the time of Nerva, nothing can be inferred in support of the so-called quotation from Papias.

It is to be remembered that the writings of Papias were known to Irenaeus and to Eusebius, and it is inconceivable that, if such a statement was to be found in these, they would have ignored it, and have given currency to a statement contradictory to it. No stress, therefore, can be laid on the alleged quotation.

We do not know its context, nor is there anything in the literature of the first 3 centuries corroborative of it. In the citation in the epitome of Philip, Papias is made to speak of “John the divine” (ho theologos). This title is not applied to John till the close of the 4th century.

(c) As regards the 3rd line of evidence instanced by Dr. Moffatt–church calendars, in which James and John are commemorated together as martyrs–it is even more worthless than the other two. On the nature and origin of these martyrologies, Dr. J. Drummond may be quoted:

“They were constructed in process of time out of local calendars. At some period in the 2nd half of the 5th century, a martyrology was formed by welding together a number of provincial calendars, Roman, Italian, Spanish, and Gallic, into what was in effect a general martyrology of Western Europe.

At Nicomedia, about the year 350, a similar eastern martyrology was formed out of the local calendars, and this was translated with curtailments into Syriac at Edessa about the year 400. It is a copy of this, made in 411, which is now in the British Museum” (Inquiry into Character and Authorship of the Fourth Gospel, 232).

If this is a true account of the rise and origin of martyrologies we need not be surprised that Sir W. M. Ramsay speaks as follows:

“That James and John, who were not slain at the same time, should be commemorated together, is the flimsiest conceivable evidence that John was killed early in Jerusalem. The bracketing together of the memory of apostles who had some historical connection in life, but none in death, must be regarded as the worst side, historically speaking, of the martyrologies” (The First Christian Century, 49, note).

III. THE EPHESIAN TRADITIONS.

1. John the Apostle, and John the Presbyter:

Thus the early traditions of the churches are available for the life of John the son of Zebedee. But there still remain many blank spaces in that life. After the reference to the pillar apostles in Gal, silence falls on the life of John, and we know nothing of his life and activity until we read of his banishment to Patmos, and meet with those references to the old man at Ephesus, which occur in the Christian literature of the 2nd century. One point of interest relates to the (genuine) quotation from Papias, preserved by Eusebius (Historia Ecclesiastica, III, 39), regarding a “Presbyter John,” a disciple of the Lord, who was one of his living authorities.

Were there two Johns at Ephesus?

Or was there only one?

Or, if there was only one, was he John the Evangelist, or only John the Presbyter?

Here there is every possible variety of opinion. Many hold that there were two, and many that there was only one. Many who hold that there was only one, hold that the one was John the son of Zebedee; others hold, with equal assurance, that he was a distinct person. Obviously, it is impossible to discuss the question adequately here. After due consideration, we lean to the conclusion that there was only one John at Ephesus, and he the son of Zebedee. For the proof of this, impossible within our limits, we refer to the learned argument of John Chapman, in his work John the Presbyter and the Fourth Gospel (1911).

2. Characteristic Traditions:

Into the traditions which cluster round John in Ephesus it is not necessary to enter in detail (compare Godet, op. cit., 57). According to the tradition universally accepted in the church, John survived till the time of Trajan (98 AD). Striking and characteristic things are told of him in harmony with the touches we find in the Synoptic Gospels. The story of his rushing forth from the bath when Cerinthus, the heretic, entered it (Irenaeus, Adv. Haer., iii.3, 4) recalls the characteristics of him whom Jesus called “son of thunder.” The same tone of exclusiveness, modified by larger experience, is found in the 1st Epistle, which so frequently and so decisively discriminates between those who believe in Jesus and those who do not.

IV. THE CHARACTER OF JOHN.

The general character of this great apostle is already sufficiently apparent. While we recall the illustrative facts found in the Synoptics, that James and John were the two who wished to call down fire from heaven on the inhospitable village, that John was one of those who desired one of the chief places in the kingdom, that he it was who forbade the man to cast out demons in the name of Jesus because he followed not with them, we do not forget that on each of these occasions he was corrected and rebuked by the Master, and he was not the kind of man who could not profit by the rebuke of Jesus.

So that vehemence of disposition was held in check, and, while still in existence, was under control, and allowed to have vent only on occasions when it was permissible, and even necessary. So in his writings, and in the reflections in the Gospel, we note the vehemence displayed, but now directed only against those who refused to believe in, and to acknowledge, Jesus.

“A quiet and thoughtful temperament is by no means inconsistent with a certain vehemence, when, on occasions, the pent-up fire flashes forth; indeed, the very violence of feeling may help to foster an habitual quietude, lest word or deed should betray too deep an emotion.

Then it is not without significance that, in the three narratives which are cited from the Gospels to prove the overbearing temper of John, we are expressly told that Jesus corrected him. Are we to suppose that these rebukes made no impression? Is it not more likely that they sank deep into his heart, and that the agony of beholding his Master’s crucifixion made them ineffaceable? Then, if not before, began that long development which changed the youthful son of thunder into the aged apostle of love” (Drummond, op. cit, 410, 411).

But love itself has its side of vehemence, and the intensity of love toward a person or a cause may be measured by the intensity of aversion and of hatred toward their contradictories. There are many reflections in the Gospel and in the Epistles which display this energy of hatred toward the work of the devil, and toward those dispositions which are under the influence of the father of lies. We simply notice these, for they prove that the fervent youth who was devoted to his Master carried with him to the end the same disposition which was characteristic of him from the beginning.

LITERATURE.

In addition to books mentioned in article, see the list of works appended to article on JOHN, GOSPEL OF.


5.0 John: The Man and His Gospel66)https://bible.org/seriespage/1-john-man-and-his-gospel

Introduction

In some scholarly circles, this message would not be considered worthy of a hearing. Leon Morris cites A. M. Hunter, who says, “‘For these and other reasons, scarcely a reputable scholar in this country nowadays is prepared to affirm that the Fourth Gospel was written by John the Apostle.’”67)A. M. Hunter, Introducing the New Testament (London, 1945), p. 50, as cited by Leon Morris,The Gospel According to John (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1971), p. 9.

Liberal scholarship has tended to the view that this Gospel was not written by John the Apostle, but by some anonymous second century Christian who “never set eyes on Jesus.”68)See Morris in footnote 1, p. 8.  If this were true, of what value could a study of John the Apostle be to the study of this great Gospel? I would like to explain why I believe it is of great value.

To begin, I believe the Gospel of John was written by the Apostle John.69)Some evangelical scholars believe that John is the source of this Gospel, but that he may have had help writing it, something akin to Mark writing his Gospel, but with Peter as his source. I am not convinced of this view, but neither would I call it heretical.  There are a number of reasons we should accept the Johanine authorship of this Gospel.

This was the conviction of the second century church fathers, who first addressed this matter.70)“When we turn to the external evidence we are confronted by the fact that, while John the son of Zebedee is not named as the author of this Gospel in the earliest days, there is no other name in the tradition. The first person of whom we have record who definitely ascribes this Gospel to John appears to be Theophilus of Antioch (c. A.D. 180). Irenaeus also says it was written by John the Apostle, and his source appears to have been Polycarp, who knew John personally.” Leon Morris, p. 21.  

This has always been the view of truly evangelical scholarship.71)“The Fourth Gospel has been designated since the second century ‘according to John’; and this has been taken to imply in Christian tradition that the authority of the apostle John, the son of Zebedee, lies behind it, and that it embodies his testimony to the life and teaching of Jesus. The present commentator is in full agreement with the dictum of the late Archbishop William Temple, who wrote: ‘I regard as self-condemned any theory about the origin of the Gospel which fails to find a very close connection between it and John the son of Zebedee. The combination of internal and external evidence is overwhelming on this point.’” R. V. G. Tasker,The Gospel According to St. John: An Introduction and Commentary (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1980 [tenth printing]), p. 11.  Morris comments, “The basic reason for holding that the author was John the Apostle is that this appears to be what the Gospel itself teaches.”72)Morris, p. 9; see John 21:24.

In reading through the four Gospels, one finds that Matthew refers to the Apostle John by name three times; Mark ten times; Luke seven times, and John not at all. John does refer to the “sons of Zebedee” in John 21:2, and there are allusions to himself in John 13:23; John 18:15-16; John 19:26-27; John 20:1-10; John 21:7, 20-23, 24. It is not at all surprising that John would refrain from directly referring to himself by name.

Neither does he specifically refer to the “inner three” (Peter, James, and John—see Mark 5:37; Matthew 17:1; Mark 14:33) in his Gospel. Of the four authors of the New Testament Gospels, two (Mark and especially Luke) were not present with our Lord as one of His 12 disciples.

Matthew was not one of the inner three. And so while Matthew can write about our Lord’s ministry from the perspective of one of the nine “outside” disciples, it is only John who can describe certain critical events from the perspective of one of the inner three. Each Gospel thus has its own purpose, its own perspective, its own audience, and its own unique contribution.

John: The Man

The Gospels give us a fairly clear picture of the Apostle John. For us to understand John’s Gospel, we should consider the biographical sketch the Scriptures give us of this man.

Our first introduction to John may come in John 1:35-40. Here, John the Baptist looks upon Jesus and declares, “Look, the Lamb of God!” (John 1:36, NET). Immediately, two of John’s disciples leave him and attach themselves to Jesus. We are told that the name of one of these two men is Andrew (verse 40); the other disciple of John the Baptist is not named. I doubt that it was Peter, Andrew’s brother, because Andrew will find Peter and inform him that they have found the Messiah (verses 40-42). Since Peter and Andrew were partners of James and John, there is a fair chance that John the Apostle may be the second disciple of John the Baptist. It is interesting that John’s Gospel quickly turns our attention to “John the Baptist,” who is never called by this title in the Gospel of John; he is always referred to simply as “John.” This may be because the Apostle John knew him so well, as his former disciple.

Next, we read of the call of John and his brother James, right after the call of Peter and Andrew(Matthew 4:18-22; Mark 1:19). Jesus is walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee. He first comes to Peter and Andrew, to whom He says, “Follow Me,” Jesus said to them, “and I will have you fish for people” (Mark 1:17). Next, He comes to James and John, who were sitting in the boat with their father mending their nets. He called them, and these two brothers immediately left their nets to follow Him. This does not appear to be a permanent leaving and following, which will take place later. It is a calling to leave their occupation for a time so that they can be with Him. John appears to be one of the first to follow our Lord as a disciple. If so, he was with Him from the beginning.

John, along with his brother James, accompanied Jesus to the home of Simon Peter and Andrew, where Jesus healed Simon’s mother-in-law, and then many others (Mark 1:29-31f.). According to Mark, this happened after Jesus taught in the synagogue of Capernaum. The people who heard Jesus were amazed because He, unlike the scribes and Pharisees, taught with authority (verses 22, 27). The authority which Jesus possessed was demonstrated by His ability to heal and to cast out demons. If anyone was a witness to the authority of our Lord, it was John who, along with Peter and James, witnessed more miracles at the hand of our Lord than nearly anyone.

During the time he spent with the Lord, John became increasingly aware of just how great and awesome Jesus was. In Luke 5:1-11, John’s grasp of who Jesus was takes a quantum leap. Jesus had been teaching the crowds beside the lake of Gennesaret (the Sea of Galilee). Two boats were nearby; one belonged to Simon and Andrew and the other to James and John. As Jesus taught, these men were in their boats, washing their nets after having fished all night without success.

Jesus taught from one of the boats, and then instructed Peter to put out into deep water and to let down the nets for a catch. Peter momentarily protested, but then relented and let down the nets, which encompassed a very large catch. The catch was so large he had to call to his partners, James and John (verse 10), to help bring in the nets. They filled their boats until they began to sink. Seeing this, Peter fell trembling before our Lord with the words, “Go away from me, for I am a sinful man, Lord!” (verse 8). But the text also tells us that Peter’s partners, James and John, did likewise. Jesus’ words, “Do not be afraid, from now on you will be catching people,” were spoken to all three men, not just to Peter (see verse 10). John was on his way to understanding the majesty and power of the One he would follow.

John was chosen by our Lord to be numbered with the twelve (Matthew 10:1ff.; Mark 3:13-19;Luke 6:12-16). Mark informs us that at this time Jesus nicknamed James and John “sons of thunder” (Mark 3:17). This certainly squares with what we see of these two elsewhere. These two fellows were an ancient version of movie stars John Wayne and Clint Eastwood—they were a rough and tumble pair. John does not seem to have talked as much as Peter, but he was certainly one who could hold his own. He was the strong, silent type, the kind of fellow you would not want to make mad at you.

John was one of the “inner three” disciples of our Lord. Only Peter, James and John were allowed to accompany Jesus into the house of the synagogue official, whose daughter had already died before Jesus arrived (Mark 5:35-43; Luke 8:49-56). Here, apparently, John first witnessed our Lord’s power over death.

John was present at the transfiguration of Jesus, along with James and Peter (Matthew 17:1ff.;Mark 9:2ff.; Luke 9:28ff.). Here, John had a foretaste of the glory of our Lord and His kingdom. While Peter did not hesitate to speak on this occasion, John seems to have remained silent, perhaps having been dumbstruck by what he saw.

It was John who confessed that he and others had come across a man who was casting out demons in Jesus’ name and forbade him to do so again (Mark 9:38; Luke 9:49). John and others (which must have included at least Peter and James) had somehow concluded that they owned the “Jesus franchise,” and thus had the right to license or to prohibit others from acting in His name. Jesus did not agree, and He went on to warn them about causing “little ones to sin [stumble].”

It was James and John who asked Jesus for permission to call down fire from heaven and “torch the place” when some Samaritans did not want Jesus to come to their village (Luke 9:54). These two brothers were ready and willing to use God’s power to punish the pagans.

At a most inappropriate time, John, along with his brother James, asked Jesus for prominent positions in His coming kingdom (Mark 10:35). When Jesus was approaching Jerusalem, He told His disciples He was soon to be condemned to death there (Mark 10:32-34). As the time of our Lord’s death draws near, He takes His disciples into His confidence by telling them what is about to happen. It is as though James and John did not even hear what Jesus had just said. They took Jesus aside and asked Him privately to grant their request that they be given positions of prominence in the kingdom, above the other disciples. Naturally, the other disciples were incensed. James and John had no idea what they were asking, or what true discipleship really was.

Peter, James, and John, along with Andrew, privately asked Jesus to reveal to them details concerning the last days (Mark 13:1-4). Jesus and His disciples were in Jerusalem, and the disciples were awe-struck by the beauty of the temple. Jesus cautioned them not to become too attached to the temple since it was to be destroyed. The two sets of brothers waited until they could get Jesus alone, and then asked Him to tell them the “inside story” of what was going to happen and when. Actually, they were not so concerned with “what” would happen as “when” it would happen. They had the “what” figured out, they thought; they just needed to know “when.” Their seeking to obtain secret knowledge from Jesus, apart from the rest, was just another form of one-upmanship. There have always been—as there will always be—those who seek to obtain “inside” prophetic knowledge which is unknown by others. This inside knowledge enables some to think of themselves as superior to others.

When Jesus sent two of his disciples to make preparations for the Passover, one of these men was John and the other was Peter (Luke 22:8). Among other things, it seems these two (who would spend much time together in the Book of Acts) were the most trusted disciples. Judas could certainly not have been trusted to do this task. There was a certain mystery about the location of this meeting room, but these two were able to find it just as Jesus had indicated. There is an almost prophetic element in the way Jesus both informed and instructed these two, so that they could make preparations for celebrating the Passover, yet without allowing Judas to know where.

John seems to be the “disciple whom Jesus loved” in John 13:23, and the one who leaned on Jesus’ breast during the Passover celebration. Jesus and His disciples were in the upper room celebrating Passover. During the meal, Jesus told the disciples that one of them would betray Him. The disciples could hardly believe their ears. They had no idea whom He referred to as His betrayer. Peter was a close friend of John. They were not only partners in fishing but appear to have been close friends as well. It seems that John must be “the one Jesus loved” (verse 23), who was leaning on Jesus’ breast and to whom Peter signaled, hoping John would be able to press Jesus for more details.

John was there when our Lord agonized in the Garden of Gethsemane, along with Peter and James (Mark 14:33).

After our Lord was arrested, Peter followed Jesus, along with “another disciple” who appears to be John. It was this “other disciple” who was known to the high priest, and thus was able to enter the court of the high priest and bring Peter with him (John 18:15-16).

As our Lord was hanging on the cross, the “disciple whom Jesus loved” was there at the foot of the cross. From the cross, Jesus entrusted the care of His mother into this disciple’s hands. It seems that this man almost has to be John (see John 19:26-27).

John was one of the first to see the empty tomb and to believe that Jesus was indeed risen from the dead (John 20:1-10). After Jesus had been crucified, buried, and resurrected, Mary came to the tomb early in the morning on the first day of the week. When she found the stone already taken away, she ran to tell Peter and the “other disciple whom Jesus loved” about it. The “other disciple” (John) outran Peter, arriving first at the empty tomb. Looking in, he saw the linen wrappings, but he did not enter. When Peter arrived (huffing and puffing, I imagine), he barged right in and saw the grave clothes neatly arranged, but without the Lord’s body. John then entered the tomb, appraised the situation, and believed. John was not only one of the first to witness the resurrection, he was one of the very first to believe it.

John appears to be the “other disciple” about whose future Peter is inordinately concerned after our Lord’s resurrection (John 21:20-23). In John 21, we read of our Lord’s words to Peter, with the three-fold question, “Do you love Me?” After charging Peter to tend His sheep, our Lord informs Peter that he will be led away against his will, a veiled prophecy of his death as a martyr. Peter immediately looks in the direction of “the disciple whom Jesus loved” and asks, “What about him?” Our Lord replied that this was none of Peter’s business. Some seem to have mistakenly understood our Lord to mean that this “other disciple” would live until the Lord’s return. The Apostle John corrects this misconception, and then goes on to say that this same fellow is the one who witnessed the things recorded in his Gospel and who was the author of it (John 21:23-24). This “other apostle” is the one whom Jesus loved, the one who leaned on Jesus’ chest at the Passover meal, and who wrote the Book of John. This “other apostle” is almost certainly John.

We have not seen the last of John when we reach the end of the Gospels, for (apart from the Apostle Paul) John and Peter are the dominant apostles in the Book of Acts. John is one of the disciples gathered in the upper room (Acts 1:13). He accompanies Peter on his way to the temple at the hour of prayer and thus participates in the healing of the lame man (Acts 3:1ff.). John and Peter are arrested and instructed to cease preaching Christ by the Sadducees, but they refuse, insisting they must obey God rather than man by preaching that Jesus has been raised from the dead (Acts 4:1-22). When the Gospel is proclaimed in Samaria and many come to faith, Peter and John are sent there, and when they lay their hands on these new believers they receive the Holy Spirit, just as the apostles did at Pentecost (Acts 8:14-17). James, the brother of John, was killed by Herod, who intended to kill Peter as well, but God delivered Peter so that he could continue to preach the Gospel (Acts 12:1ff.).

In Galatians 2:9, Paul refers to John as one of the “reputed pillars” of the church in Jerusalem. John is, of course, the author of the Johanine Epistles (First, Second and Third John) and of the Book of Revelation. This one who once “leaned on Jesus’ chest” in the Gospel of John is also the one who “fell as a dead man” at the feet of his resurrected and glorified Lord in the Book of Revelation (Rev 1:17).

LESSONS WE LEARN FROM THE LIFE OF JOHN

The “John” of Acts and the epistles is a very different “John” from the Gospels. The changes we see are not a credit to John, but rather to his God. John’s life is applicable to us in some areas that we would do well to ponder. Allow me to share some lessons which can be learned from the life of John.

First, John’s life is an illustration of the grace of God. We can safely say from what we see of John in the Gospels that our Lord did not choose him for all the fine qualities he possessed. John had no status in life as a fisherman nor was he an educated man, even by the standards of that day (see Acts 4:13). He certainly did not possess any qualities or education that impressed the scribes and Pharisees. He was a volatile fellow, a “son of thunder.” He is not represented as a magnetic personality or charismatic leader. He was self-centered and self-serving, an opportunist who did not hesitate to get the jump on his peers. The fact that our Lord chose John is testimony to the grace of God. The Apostle Paul pretty well sums it up when he writes,

26 Think about the circumstances of your call, brothers and sisters. Not many were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were members of the upper class. 27 But God chose what the world thinks foolish to shame the wise, and God chose what the world thinks weak to shame the strong. 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, what is regarded as nothing, to set aside what is regarded as something, 29 so that no one can boast in his presence. 30 He is the reason you have a relationship with Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:26-31).

Who would ever have imagined that this rough and tumble fisherman would become the apostle of love? If God can change a man like the “John of the Gospels” into the “John” we see later in the New Testament, He can surely transform us as well.

Second, John’s life is an illustration of divine sovereignty. We see the sovereignty of God in choosing to save John, in making him one of the twelve, and selecting him to be one of the inner three (Peter, James, and John). We can especially see the sovereignty of God when we compare John with his brother, James. These two brothers grew up in the same home and had the same shaping experiences. Both brothers followed Jesus for the same length of time, and both were included in the inner circle of three. In spite of all these similarities, James was the first to die as a martyr for the cause of Christ; John seems to have been the last of the twelve to die. James did not write any New Testament books; John wrote five. How can this be explained? I am not sure it can be, but we can acknowledge this as an illustration of the sovereignty of God. God does not operate in the ways men expect. God raises up one and puts down another. God is sovereign.

Third, I see from the life of John an illustration of the love of God, a prominent theme in this Gospel,73)“It is interesting that John uses both verbs [for love] more than twice as often as anyone else. … Clearly love matters a good deal to this author.” Leon Morris, p. 229, fn. 71.  and in John’s Epistles. John frequently refers to himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23; John 20:2; John 21:7, 20). Believe it or not, some scholars feel this is one of the strongest arguments that can be made against John as the author of this Gospel. Morris writes, “The biggest objection to this identification, in my opinion, is the contention that a man is not likely to refer to himself as ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved.’ I agree.”74)Leon Morris, p. 12.  For some, this may be the biggest objection to John’s authorship of this Gospel, but in my estimation, it is a most noteworthy title, given himself by John. What better epitaph than to be known as a man whom Jesus loved? If David was a man after God’s heart, it was John who saw himself as a man after whom the heart of God sought.

“Love” is one of the great themes of the Bible and certainly the theme of the Gospel of John. In the New King James Version, some form of the word love appears 57 times in the Gospel of John. It is no wonder that men come from a study of John with an overwhelming sense of being “loved” of God: “In this Gospel the love of God is dramatically mediated through Jesus Christ—so much so that Karl Barth is alleged to have commented that the most profound truth he had ever heard was ‘Jesus loves me, this I know / For the Bible tells me so.’”75)D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1991), p. 21.

Some years ago I was actively involved in prison ministry with Prison Fellowship. One seminar I conducted was in a maximum-security prison in the State of Texas. It was a tough prison. During a break, one inmate came up to me and said he had heard that some of the volunteers at the seminar were themselves former offenders. He asked if it would be possible for some of these ex-offenders to share their testimony during the seminar. I thought it was a great idea and asked if any of the volunteers wished to share their testimony. One of them told this story, as best as I can remember the details:

I was an inmate in this prison some years ago. I was a member of a motorcycle gang, living in a house with other gang members. In fact, I served time for stealing a motorcycle. My life was not going well at all, and someone told me that I should read the Bible, so I got one—well, actually, I stole one. I began to read the Gospels. As I read of the person of Jesus Christ and His love, I was so overwhelmed that I began to weep. I wept so loud I had to go into the bathroom to read, where I could turn on the shower to cover the sounds of my crying. …

There is something about our Lord in the Gospels which draws men and women to Him. The disciples who heard Him say, “Follow Me,” could do nothing but follow Him. Men and women guilty of shameful sins drew near, somehow assured that He would not reject them, sensing that He had come to forgive them. I believe a significant part of that magnetism which drew men and women to our Lord was His love.

I believe one of the things about Jesus which overwhelmed John was the love which He had for him. Like Karl Barth, John believed, “Jesus loves me, this I know. …” This was also more than enough for John. And so John referred to himself in those terms which meant the most to him. John knew he was “the one whom Jesus loved,” and in this he reveled. What label would John rather have than this: “the one whom Jesus loved”? How could anyone view John’s referring to himself in this way as a problem? My mind is boggled by the possibility that anyone would think that referring to himself in this way could be an argument against his authorship of this Gospel.

There is a particular text I especially appreciate in the Gospel of John:

Just before the Passover feast, Jesus knew that his time had come for him to depart from this world to the Father. He had loved his own who were in the world, and now he loved them to the end (John 13:1).76)The translator’s note in the NET Bible reads: “Or ‘now he loved them completely,’ or ‘now he loved them to the uttermost’” (see John 19:30).

Some of the other versions read:

It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love (NIV).

It was before the Passover festival. Jesus knew that his hour had come and he must leave this world and go to the Father. He had always loved his own who were in the world, and now he was to show the full extent of his love (New English Bible).

It was before the festival of the Passover, and Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to pass from this world to the Father. He had always loved those who were his in the world, but now he showed how perfect his love was (New Jerusalem Bible).

The “full extent” of our Lord’s love was shown on the cross of Calvary. It was there that He took upon Himself the sins of the world. It was there that He bore the wrath of God for our sins. Have you experienced this love personally by accepting His sacrificial death for your sins? I urge you to simply sit down and read through this marvelous Gospel of John, and sense the love God has for you in Christ, and then to receive it by trusting in Him. There is no greater love. There is no greater gift than the gift of salvation in Jesus Christ.

JOHN: HIS GOSPEL

I played the trumpet in our high school band, which frequently marched in parades, and we had a trombone player named Pete who was painfully predictable. Whenever anyone took a picture of the band, Pete was out of step. He was always out of step. Now mind you, it wasn’t that he didn’t try. Not only did he know he was out of step, he constantly tried to get back in step. And so he was persistently doing a strange kind of shuffle, trying to synchronize his feet with the music and with the rest of the band members. By the time the shuffle was over, Pete was back out of step.

A number of scholars seem to look upon John and his Gospel like my friend Pete—out of step. Some scholars would say that the Gospel of John is out of step with the three other gospels—Matthew, Mark, and Luke. These three gospels are often referred to as the Synoptic Gospels, because these Gospels all tend to approach the life of Christ from the same perspective. John, on the other hand, approaches the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ quite differently. I would like to point out some of these differences and the impact this has on our study of the Gospel of John.

WHAT IS MISSING IN JOHN’S GOSPEL77)In dealing with the problem of the cleansing of the temple in chapter 2, Morris points out: “… nothing else in the first five chapters of this Gospel is to be found in any of the Synoptics.” Morris, p. 190.

It is possible to compare John’s Gospel with the synoptic Gospels by simply consulting any harmony of the Gospels. These “harmonies” place the events described in all four Gospels side-by-side. When you compare John with the other three (Synoptic) Gospels, you discover that John does not include many of the elements contained in the other Gospels.

Let me identify some of these “missing” items.

When compared with the Synoptic Gospels, John’s Gospel does not include …

• Jesus’ genealogy

• an account of our Lord’s birth

• any events in our Lord’s childhood

• our Lord’s baptism

• our Lord’s temptation

• the Sermon on the Mount

• the account of John the Baptist’s doubts

• any casting out of demons

• any healing of lepers

• any parables of our Lord

• an account of our Lord’s transfiguration

• the selection and sending out of the 12, or of the 70

• any eschatological (prophetic) address

• a pronouncement of woes on the religious leaders (e.g. Matthew 23)

• the institution of the Lord’s Supper

• an account of our Lord’s agony in the Garden of Gethsemane

• the giving of the Great Commission

• an account of our Lord’s ascension

WHAT IS FOUND ONLY IN JOHN’S GOSPEL?

Lest we feel short-changed by a reading of John’s Gospel, I should also point out that there is much in John which is not found in any of the other Gospels.

Allow me to identify some of the unique contributions of John’s Gospel.

In John’s Gospel only we find …

• Jesus as the Creator (John 1)

• Jesus as the “only begotten” of the Father (John 1)

• Jesus as the promised “Lamb of God” (John 1)

• Jesus revealed as the great “I Am” (see “I Am” texts on page 11)

• Jesus turning the water into wine (John 2)

• Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus (John 3)

• Jesus’ conversation with the woman at the well (John 4)

• Jesus and the woman caught in adultery (John 8)

• the raising of Lazarus from the dead (John 11)

• Jesus washing the disciples’ feet (John 13)

• the Upper Room Discourse of our Lord (John 14-17)

• Jesus’ teaching on the coming of the Holy Spirit (John 14-16)

• Jesus’ high priestly prayer (John 17)

In summation, over 90% of the material found in the Gospel of John is unique to his Gospel.78)“Thus John’s distinctive portrait of Jesus contains 93 percent original material in comparison to the Synoptics.” Walvoord, John F., and Zuck, Roy B., The Bible Knowledge Commentary (Wheaton, Illinois: Scripture Press Publications, Inc.), 1983, 1985. “John,” en loc.  

John has avoided the unnecessary repetition of those things the other Gospel writers have already told us, choosing to devote his attention to that which we have not yet been told. In the process of doing this, we find that the teaching of John’s Gospel provides us with much “inter-locking” truth, which not only goes beyond what we are told elsewhere, but which helps to make better sense of what we are told elsewhere in the Gospels.

THE EMPHASIS OF JOHN’S GOSPEL

There are certain points of emphasis in John’s Gospel which we should also keep in mind as we begin our study of this great Gospel.

John’s emphasis includes …

• the ministry of our Lord in Jerusalem and Judea, as opposed to His Galilean ministry

• more precise indications of time, especially in relationship to the Jewish feasts

• Christ’s teaching (though not in parables)

• emphasis on the “King,” rather than on “the Kingdom of God”

• Jesus’ private conversations with individuals (Nicodemus, woman at the well, Peter)

• Jesus’ ministry to His disciples

• Jesus’ teaching in the upper room, especially related to the coming of the Holy Spirit

• the last 24 hours of Jesus’ life

• belief79)The Greek verb for believe appears 98 times in John. Strangely, the noun form does not appear at all in John. and unbelief80)“No Gospel preserves more instances of misunderstanding and of failures to understand than does John.” Carson, p. 98.

• “My Father” occurs 35 times; “Verily, verily” (KJV) appears 25 times

There are several other areas of emphasis which require a little more discussion.

The first is John’s use of the Old Testament. It might appear that John places less emphasis on the Old Testament, since he quotes it less frequently than any other Gospel writer—a mere ten times. In fact, John’s Gospel is steeped in Old Testament allusions, as D. A. Carson points out:

Although John’s use of the Old Testament is not as frequent or as explicit as that of Matthew, it is not slight (despite charges to that effect), and it is enriched by an extraordinarily frequent and subtle number of allusions to the Old Testament. One of the features of these allusions is the manner in which Jesus is assumed to replace Old Testament figures and institutions. He is the new temple, the one of whom Moses wrote, the true bread from heaven, the true Son, the genuine vine, the tabernacle, the serpent in the wilderness, the Passover. Rarely articulated, there is nevertheless an underlying hermeneutic at work, a way of reading the Old Testament that goes back to Jesus himself.81)Carson, p. 98.

A second important emphasis of John is his highly developed theology. Ironically, some use this fact to argue against the Apostle John as the author of this Gospel:

The highly developed theology of John is thought by many to indicate a late date.82)Morris, p. 32

I am reminded of years ago when I was a sixth grade school teacher, and I showed a movie to my students. It has been awhile, but I believe the title of the movie was, “The Mystery of Stonehenge.” Those highly committed to the theory of evolution had presumed that ancient men had to be primitive, fresh from the cave, so to speak. When the amazing pattern of rocks was discovered at Stonehenge, some scientists adamantly refused to believe that there could be anything sophisticated here. Primitive men were incapable of such things. But the more Stonehenge was studied, the more men were amazed at the way in which these rocks related to the heavenly bodies and perhaps in a way that made it a very simple computer. Let us beware of letting our presuppositions cloud our vision. If John wrote by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, why should we expect his theology to be primitive and undeveloped?

The content of John’s theology is of interest as well. He certainly has certain doctrines that he wishes his reader to grasp. Christology is one major area of theological emphasis. In the Synoptic Gospels, we see our Lord’s deity gradually dawning upon the disciples. They begin wide-eyed at what Jesus says and does. In Luke 5 (see verses 1-11), Peter, James, and John marvel at the miracle of the great harvest of fish. In Luke 7, the widow’s deceased son is raised from the dead (see verses 11-17). In Luke 8, Jesus stills the storm on the Sea of Galilee, and the disciples marvel (see verses 22-25). The great watershed of the Synoptic Gospels is the great confession of Peter, followed by the transfiguration of our Lord.

In John, there is no suspense.

The reader had already been told, at the very outset of the book, who Jesus is …

• He is God, the Creator of the Universe, who has no beginning—1:1-3

• He is God come in human flesh—1:14

• He is vastly greater than John the Baptist, the greatest prophet—1:19-28

• He is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world—1:29-36

• He is the Son of God, the Messiah, the King of Israel—1:40-51

One of the other major theological thrusts of John is the doctrine of the sovereignty of God:

12 But to all who have received him—those who believe in his name—he has given the right to become God’s children 13—children not born by human parents or by human desire or a husband’s decision, but by God (John 1:12-13).

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:44).

So then they tried to seize Jesus, but no one laid a hand on him, because his time had not yet come (John 7:30).

27 “My sheep listen to my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; no one will snatch them from my hand. 29 My Father who has given them to me is greater than all, and no one can snatch them from my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one” (John 10:27-30).

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that continues to exist, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you” (John 15:16).

The doctrine of the Trinity is clearer in the Gospel of John than in any other Gospel.

Jesus often spoke of God the Father, of Himself as God, and of the Holy Spirit of God. The Trinity is everywhere you turn in John’s Gospel.

John makes a great contribution by the use of “signs” which attest to our Lord’s deity and claims to be Israel’s Messiah.

These signs are …

SIGNS

1. Turning water into wine in Cana (2:1-11)

2. Healing an official’s son in Capernaum (4:46-54)

3. Healing an invalid at the Pool of Bethesda (or Bethsaida) in Jerusalem (5:1-18)

4. Feeding the 5,000 near the Sea of Galilee (6:5-14)

5. Walking on the water of the Sea of Galilee (6:16-21)

6. Healing a blind man in Jerusalem (9:1-7)

7. Raising dead Lazarus in Bethany (11:1-45)

In addition, there are the “seven witnesses” of John …

SEVEN WITNESSES

#

WITNESS

STATEMENT 

1.

John the Baptist

This is the Chosen One [literally, “Son”] of God” (1:34)

2.

Nathaniel

You are the Son of God” (1:49)

3.

Peter

You are the Holy One of God!” (6:69)

4.

Martha

You are the Christ, the Son of God” (11:27)

5.

Thomas

My Lord and my God!” (20:28)

6.

John

Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God” (20:31)

7.

Jesus

I am the Son of God” (10:36; see also 4:26; 8:58)

Finally, there are the seven “I am’s” of John …

SEVEN “I AM’S”

1.I am the bread of life” (6:35)

2.I am the light of the world” (8:12)

3.I am the door for the sheep” (10:7; cf. v. 9)

4.I am the good shepherd” (10:11, 14)

5.I am the resurrection and the life” (11:25)

6.I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (14:6)

7.I am the true vine” (15:1; cf. v. 5)

THE GOSPEL OF JOHN AND JOHN’S OTHER WORKS

I have not seen this subject addressed to any great extent in any of the commentaries, and this may tell the reader all he or she needs to know. Yet one cannot overlook the fact that John was used of God to pen five books in all. These include this Gospel, the three Epistles of John (First, Second, and Third John), and his grand finale—the Book of Revelation. There is a certain sense of unity and of completeness in these five books. (This is not at all to imply that John’s works are all we need and that the other books of the Bible are unnecessary.) In the Gospel of John, for example, Jesus spoke to His disciples about loving one another and about the marks of a true disciple. In his Epistles, John has much to say about the outworking of love toward the brethren.

Summarizing some of the points of continuity between the Gospel of John and the Book of Revelation may be helpful:

  In the Gospel of John, John begins with Jesus at creation, as the Creator. He begins, as it were, in Genesis, at the beginning of recorded biblical history. In Revelation, John focuses on the close, the consummation of history.

  In Genesis, we have the fall; in the Gospels, we have a new Genesis, a new beginning, where a new faithful “son” comes in the image of God, and where sin is dealt with by His sacrificial death. In Revelation, this salvation is fully realized with a return to the Garden, but now it is a perfect Garden.

  In John, we have God coming down from heaven to earth, not to condemn, but to save men. In Revelation, we have God coming down from heaven, to bring heaven down for the saints, and to judge the wicked.

  In John, we have John leaning on Jesus’ breast; in Revelation, we have John fallen at the feet of Jesus as a dead man.

  In John, we have God tabernacling among men, with His glory veiled. In Revelation, we have God seen in Christ, unveiled, in all His glory and splendor, so great that the sun is no longer needed, for the light of the glory of the Father and the Son.

  In the Book of Revelation, John writes of the difficult times ahead and the need for perseverance and endurance, followed by a description of the blessings which come to those who overcome. There is a “river of the water of life” (Rev 22:1), and a “tree of life” (Rev 22:2). There is no temple, nor is there any sun or moon, because the Father and the Son are the temple, and the “Lamb” is its “light” (Rev 21:23). The very things John has highlighted in the first chapter of his Gospel are also highlighted in the closing chapters of his last work—Revelation. As you study through the Gospel of John, you may wish to think about how what is said in John’s Gospel is picked up elsewhere in John’s later writings.

JOHN: THE GOSPEL OF BELIEF

This Gospel of John is a marvelous work; it is a book to which some scholars have devoted much of their lives.

Listen to what some of them have written of about this Gospel:

William Hendriksen: The Gospel according to John is the most amazing book that was ever written. ‘Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.’ This may well be the attitude of anyone who steps upon the threshold of the study of this book; for if its testimony is true, the faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God has received glorious confirmation.83)William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Gospel According to John (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953), p. 3.

Philip Wesley Comfort: John was a poet; his Gospel, an elaborate poem. Its simplicity is deceptive. John specialized in double meaning, allusion, allegory, irony, and symbolism. His well-crafted work, like a symphony, advances new themes, drifts into others, then returns with similar sounds yet fresh and alluring. Most readings and commentators get lost in the sway. I have—again and again. It is difficult to step back and comprehend the greater movement of this work. But I am convinced that this book takes the reader on a designed journey led by Jesus himself and narrated by John. … And I am persuaded that this work was motivated by a writer who had been on a spiritual journey with Jesus all of his life, and was encouraging others to join him.84)Philip Wesley Comfort, I Am the Way: A Spiritual Journey Through the Gospel of John(Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1994), p. 11.

Leon Morris: The Gospel of John is deceptive in that it appears to be simple. When I was in seminary, John was the first New Testament book we were to translate because it was thought to be the simplest Greek. We often translate the Gospel of John into the language of an unreached people first, so that they will have access to the message of the Gospel. We encourage the lost and new Christians to read John first, because it is so clear and simple. In spite of this apparent simplicity, there is a depth of profound meaning that scholars note, even after years of study. I like the comparison of John’s Gospel to a pool in which a child may wade and an elephant can swim. It is both simple and profound. It is for the veriest beginner in the faith and for the mature Christian. Its appeal is immediate and never-failing.85)Leon Morris, The Gospel According to John (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1971), p. 7.

D. A. Carson: John was not written primarily for scholars; it was written for everyday men and women, in order to convince them that the Jesus of the New Testament is the promised Messiah of the Old Testament, the Savior of the world. By trusting in Him, men and women become God’s children, their sins are forgiven, and they come to possess eternal life. There is no more important question in all the world than this: “Who is Jesus Christ?” And there is no better place to find the answer than in the Gospel of John. John’s presentation of who Jesus is lies at the heart of all that is distinctive in this Gospel.86)The Gospel According to John D. A. Carson, p. 95.


genealogy-150-150

Father – Zebedee
Mother – Salome
Brother – James

Father – Zebedee
Mother – Salome
Brother – James


SOURCES

1.0) Source: http://christianity.about.com/od/newtestamentpeople/a/JZ-John-The-Apostle.htm (By Jack Zavada)

2.0) Source: http://www.gotquestions.org/life-John-Apostle.html

3.0) Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_the_Apostle

4.0) Source: http://www.biblestudytools.com/encyclopedias/isbe/john-the-apostle.html

5.0) Source: https://bible.org/seriespage/1-john-man-and-his-gospel

6.0) Source: bibleresources.americanbible.org | Tittle: “A Guide to Key Events, Characters and Themes of the Bible”


Related: Biblical Overviews List of Key Old Testament Characters

References

↑ 1. http://christianity.about.com/od/newtestamentpeople/a/JZ-John-The-Apostle.htm (By Jack Zavada).
↑ 2. http://www.gotquestions.org/life-John-Apostle.html
↑ 3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_the_Apostle
↑ 4. .Eusebius of Caesarea, Ecclesiastical History Book vi. Chapter xxv.
↑ 5. CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Apocalypse“.
↑ 6. The History of the Church by Eusibius. Book three, point 24.
↑ 7. Thomas Patrick Halton, On illustrious men, Volume 100 of The Fathers of the Church, CUA Press, 1999. P. 19.
↑ 8. Saint Sophronius of Jerusalem (2007) [c. 600], “The Life of the Evangelist John”, The Explanation of the Holy Gospel According to John,House Springs, Missouri, United States: Chrysostom Press, pp. 2–3, ISBN 1-889814-09-1
↑ 9. .Harris, Stephen L., Understanding the Bible (Palo Alto: Mayfield, 1985) p. 355
↑ 10. .Foley OFM, Leonard. “Saint of the Day: Lives, Lessons and Feast”, (revised by Pat McCloskey, OFM), American Catholic.org.
↑ 11. Harris, Stephen L., Understanding the Bible. McGraw-Hill, 2006. ISBN 978-0-07-296548-3
↑ 12. Robinson, John A.T. (1977). Redating the New Testament. SCM Press. ISBN 978-0-334-02300-5.
↑ 13. Mark Allan Powell. Jesus as a figure in history. Westminster John Knox Press, 1998. ISBN 0-664-25703-8 / 978-0664257033
↑ 14. Gail R O’Day, introduction to the Gospel of John in New Revised Standard Translation of the Bible, Abingdon Press, Nashville, 2003, p.1906
↑ 15. Reading John, Francis J. Moloney, SDB, Dove Press, 1995
↑ 16. Kruse, Colin G.The Gospel According to John: An Introduction and Commentary, Eerdmans, 2004, ISBN 0-8028-2771-3, p. 28.
↑ 17. E P Sanders, The Historical Figure of Jesus, (Penguin, 1995) page 63 – 64.
↑ 18. Bart D. Ehrman (2000:43) The New Testament: a historical introduction to early Christian writings. Oxford University Press.
↑ 19. Bart D. Ehrman (2005:235) Lost Christianities: the battles for scripture and the faiths we never knew Oxford University Press, New York.
↑ 20. Geoffrey W. Bromiley (1995:287) International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: K-P MATTHEW, GOSPEL ACCORDING TO. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. Quote: „Matthew, like the other three Gospels is an anonymous document.”
↑ 21. Donald Senior, Paul J. Achtemeier, Robert J. Karris (2002:328) Invitation to the Gospels Paulist Press.
↑ 22. Keith Fullerton Nickle (2001:43) The Synoptic Gospels: an introduction Westminster John Knox Press.
↑ 23. Ben Witherington (2004:44) The Gospel code: novel claims about Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and Da Vinci InterVarsity Press.
↑ 24. F.F. Bruce (1994:1) The Gospel of John Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing.
↑ 25. Patrick J. Flannagan (1997:16) The Gospel of Mark Made Easy Paulist Press
↑ 26. Paul N. Anderson, The Riddles of the Fourth Gospel, p. 48.
↑ 27. F. F. Bruce, The Gospel of John, p. 3.
↑ 28. Bart D. Ehrman (2005:235) Lost Christianities: the battles for scripture and the faiths we never knew Oxford University Press, New York.
↑ 29. Bart D. Ehrman (2004:110) Truth and Fiction in The Da Vinci Code: A Historian Reveals What We Really Know about Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and Constantine. Oxford University Press.
↑ 30. Bart D. Ehrman(2006:143) The lost Gospel of Judas Iscariot: a new look at betrayer and betrayed. Oxford University Press.
↑ 31. “Revelation, Book of.” Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford dictionary of the Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005
↑ 32. Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, 81.4
↑ 33. .Harris, Stephen L., Understanding the Bible (Palo Alto: Mayfield, 1985) p. 355
↑ 34. .Ehrman, Bart D. (2004). The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings. New York: Oxford. p. 468. ISBN 0-19-515462-2.
↑ 35. Church History, Book III, Chapter 39″. The Fathers of the Church. NewAdvent.org. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
↑ 36. saint, Jerome. “De Viris Illustribus (On Illustrious Men) Chapter 9 & 18”. newadvent.org. Retrieved 2 June 2015.
↑ 37. Adela Collins. “Patmos.” Harper’s Bible Dictionary. Paul J. Achtemeier, gen. ed. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1985. p755.
↑ 38. .Griggs, C. Wilfred. “John the Beloved” in Ludlow, Daniel H., ed. Selections from the Encyclopedia of Mormonism: Scriptures of the Church(Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book, 1992) p. 379. Griggs favors the “one John” theory but mentions that some modern scholars have hypothesized that there are multiple Johns.
↑ 39. Introduction. Saint Joseph Edition of the New American Bible: Translated from the Original Languages with Critical Use of All the Ancient Sources : including the Revised New Testament and the Revised Psalms. New York: Catholic Book Pub., 1992. 386. Print.
↑ 40. By comparing ‹ The template below (Nkjv) is being considered for deletion. See templates for discussion to help reach a consensus.› Matthew 27:56 to ‹ The template below (Nkjv) is being considered for deletion. See templates for discussion to help reach a consensus.› Mark 15:40
↑ 41. .Foley OFM, Leonard. “Saint of the Day: Lives, Lessons and Feast”, (revised by Pat McCloskey, OFM), American Catholic.org.
↑ 42. Fonck, Leopold. “St. John the Evangelist.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 8. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 6 Feb. 2013″. Newadvent.org. 1910-10-01. Retrieved 2013-05-03.
↑ 43. .Butler, Alban. The Lives or the Fathers, Martyrs and Other Principal Saints, Vol.IV.
↑ 44. Luke 9:49-50 NKJV
↑ 45. .Butler, Alban. The Lives or the Fathers, Martyrs and Other Principal Saints, Vol.IV.
↑ 46. .Butler, Alban. The Lives or the Fathers, Martyrs and Other Principal Saints, Vol.IV.
↑ 47. Fonck, Leopold. “St. John the Evangelist.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 8. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 6 Feb. 2013″. Newadvent.org. 1910-10-01. Retrieved 2013-05-03.
↑ 48. John 13:23, John 19:26, John 20:2, John 21:7, John 21:20
↑ 49. James D. G. Dunn and John William Rogerson, Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2003, p. 1210, ISBN 0-8028-3711-5.
↑ 50. Brown, Raymond E. 1970. “The Gospel According to John (xiii-xxi)”. New York: Doubleday & Co. Pages 922, 955.
↑ 51. Vailhé, Siméon. “Ephesus.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 5. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909. 6 Feb. 2013″. Newadvent.org. 1909-05-01. Retrieved 2013-05-03.
↑ 52. Irenaeus, Against Heresies, III.3.4.
↑ 53. .Zahn, T. “John the Apostle”, in Schaff, Philip. The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Vol. VI: Innocents – Liudger, p.203.
↑ 54. Cheyne, Thomas Kelly (1901). Encyclopaedia Biblica, Volume 2. Adam and Charles Black. pp. 2509–11. Although Papias’ works are no longer extant, the fifth century ecclesiastical historian Philip of Side and the ninth-century monk George Hamartolos both stated that Papias had written that John was “slain by the Jews.”
↑ 55. Rasimus, Tuomas (2010). The Legacy of John: Second-Century Reception of the Fourth Gospel. BRILL. p. 5. ISBN 9789004176331.Rasimus finds corroborating evidence for this tradition in “two martyrologies from Edessa and Carthage” and writes that “Mark 10:35-40//Matt. 20:20-23 can be taken to portray Jesus predicting the martyrdom of both the sons of Zebedee.”
↑ 56. Culpepper, R. Alan (2000). John, the Son of Zebedee: The Life of A Legend. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 172. ISBN 9780567087423.
↑ 57. Swete, Henry Barclay (1911). The Apocalypse of St. John (3 ed.). Macmillan. pp. 179–180.
↑ 58. .Zahn, T. “John the Apostle”, in Schaff, Philip. The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Vol. VI: Innocents – Liudger, p.203.
↑ 59. Procopius of Caesarea, On Buildings. General Index, trans. H. B. Dewing and Glanville Downey, vol. 7, Loeb Classical Library 343 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1940), 319
↑ 60. .Foley OFM, Leonard. “Saint of the Day: Lives, Lessons and Feast”, (revised by Pat McCloskey, OFM), American Catholic.org.
↑ 61. .http://prayerbook.ca/resources/bcponline/calendar/.
↑ 62. General Roman Calendar of Pope Pius XII
↑ 63. Saint Andrew Daily Missal with Vespers for Sundays and Feasts by Dom. Gaspar LeFebvre, O.S.B., Saint Paul, MN: The E.M. Lohmann Co., 1952, p.1325-1326
↑ 64. James Iverach http://www.biblestudytools.com/encyclopedias/isbe/john-the-apostle.html
↑ 65. Commentary on the Gospel of St. John by Frederic Godet http://www.angusrobertson.com.au/books/commentary-on-the-gospel-of-st-john-frederic-godet/p/9781331746096
↑ 66. https://bible.org/seriespage/1-john-man-and-his-gospel
↑ 67. A. M. Hunter, Introducing the New Testament (London, 1945), p. 50, as cited by Leon Morris,The Gospel According to John (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1971), p. 9.
↑ 68. See Morris in footnote 1, p. 8.
↑ 69. Some evangelical scholars believe that John is the source of this Gospel, but that he may have had help writing it, something akin to Mark writing his Gospel, but with Peter as his source. I am not convinced of this view, but neither would I call it heretical.
↑ 70. “When we turn to the external evidence we are confronted by the fact that, while John the son of Zebedee is not named as the author of this Gospel in the earliest days, there is no other name in the tradition. The first person of whom we have record who definitely ascribes this Gospel to John appears to be Theophilus of Antioch (c. A.D. 180). Irenaeus also says it was written by John the Apostle, and his source appears to have been Polycarp, who knew John personally.” Leon Morris, p. 21.
↑ 71. “The Fourth Gospel has been designated since the second century ‘according to John’; and this has been taken to imply in Christian tradition that the authority of the apostle John, the son of Zebedee, lies behind it, and that it embodies his testimony to the life and teaching of Jesus. The present commentator is in full agreement with the dictum of the late Archbishop William Temple, who wrote: ‘I regard as self-condemned any theory about the origin of the Gospel which fails to find a very close connection between it and John the son of Zebedee. The combination of internal and external evidence is overwhelming on this point.’” R. V. G. Tasker,The Gospel According to St. John: An Introduction and Commentary (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1980 [tenth printing]), p. 11.
↑ 72. Morris, p. 9; see John 21:24.
↑ 73. “It is interesting that John uses both verbs [for love] more than twice as often as anyone else. … Clearly love matters a good deal to this author.” Leon Morris, p. 229, fn. 71.
↑ 74. Leon Morris, p. 12.
↑ 75. D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1991), p. 21.
↑ 76. The translator’s note in the NET Bible reads: “Or ‘now he loved them completely,’ or ‘now he loved them to the uttermost’” (see John 19:30).
↑ 77. In dealing with the problem of the cleansing of the temple in chapter 2, Morris points out: “… nothing else in the first five chapters of this Gospel is to be found in any of the Synoptics.” Morris, p. 190.
↑ 78. “Thus John’s distinctive portrait of Jesus contains 93 percent original material in comparison to the Synoptics.” Walvoord, John F., and Zuck, Roy B., The Bible Knowledge Commentary (Wheaton, Illinois: Scripture Press Publications, Inc.), 1983, 1985. “John,” en loc.
↑ 79. The Greek verb for believe appears 98 times in John. Strangely, the noun form does not appear at all in John.
↑ 80. “No Gospel preserves more instances of misunderstanding and of failures to understand than does John.” Carson, p. 98.
↑ 81. Carson, p. 98.
↑ 82. Morris, p. 32
↑ 83. William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Gospel According to John (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953), p. 3.
↑ 84. Philip Wesley Comfort, I Am the Way: A Spiritual Journey Through the Gospel of John(Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1994), p. 11.
↑ 85. Leon Morris, The Gospel According to John (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1971), p. 7.
↑ 86. The Gospel According to John D. A. Carson, p. 95.

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