Who was the apostle John?

John was one of the twelve disciples of Jesus. He was the son of Zebedee, Salome (Joanna), and the brother of James, ( one of the Twelve disciples). He is also known as John the Evangelist, John of Patmos, John the Elder, and the Beloved Disciple.

John grew up in Bethsaida, a fishing community on the northern shore of the Lake of Galilee. It seemed that his father was a man of some means and social position, and his mother joined the group of devout women who served Jesus and the Twelve in Galilee and in Palestine.

When John and his brother James first came to Christ, they were named the “sons of thunder” (Mark 3:17). They were proud, self-confident, striving for honor, impulsive, indignant under injury; they often had the desire for retaliation, and took it when there was an opportunity. But below this hostile exterior, Jesus saw a zealous, honest, and a loving heart. At first, John was a slow pupil but later on, he carried the yoke of Christ, and as a result his whole life and personality were changed.

He was ever close by the side of his Master (John 13:23), submitting his mind to the influence of that perfect life, and as a result came to replicate it more fully than did his fellow disciples. His was the most open and the most teachable soul. Divine mercy and grace converted him as he yielded his life to the Savior’s touch.

John the apostle is known more than the rest of the Twelve as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 21:20). He was a one of the inner circle of three whom Jesus made His most close friends (Matthew 17:1). And Christ entrusted His own mother to His beloved disciple as He hung upon the cross (John 19:25-27). Early Christian tradition tells us that many years later, Mary escorted John to Ephesus, where he oversaw the Christian churches of the region.

John was the first of the disciples at the tomb on the resurrection day, and the first to know the glorious truth that the Lord had risen (John 20:8). Thereafter, he dedicated his life to the declaration of a crucified, risen, and returning Savior, witnessing to what he had heard, seen, and experienced “of the Word of life” (1 John 1:1, 2).

As Christ alone could flawlessly reflect the Father, being the only One who knew Him perfectly, so John was highly qualified apostle to present, in his Gospel, the beautiful truths about Jesus the Son of God that loved mankind to death (John 3:16). He also wrote four other books of the New Testament — the three Epistles of John and the Book of Revelation.

According to tradition, John and the other Apostles remained ministering to the believers in Judea about 12 years. The persecution of Christians under Herod Agrippa I scattered the Apostles through the Roman Empire (Acts 12:1-17). It is believed that John was the youngest of the disciples and survived them. He is said to have lived to an old age, dying at Ephesus sometime after AD 98.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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