John, the Apostle

By Mary Jane Chaignot

Categories: Jesus' Apostles

  • John, the apostle, was the son of Zebedee and the brother of James.
  • He was called to be a disciple while he was fishing with his brother.
  • John, therefore, was a fisherman on the Sea of Galilee.
  • The text reads that when he and his brother left their boats to follow Jesus, “hired servants” remained with their father. Most people think that is an indication of some wealth.
  • It is possible that they all lived in Capernaum.
  • He is on all the lists of the disciples.
  • But his brother is usually mentioned first, which might indicate that John was the younger of the brothers.
  • Jesus nicknamed him (and his brother) “Boanerges,” which means “sons of thunder.” Some scholars think, at best, they had a “thunderous” (short tempered) personality; others think they might have been brash and aggressive.
  • John, James, and Peter comprised Jesus’ most inner circle and accompanied him when Jairus’ daughter was raised and at the Transfiguration.
  • These three also were with Jesus in the garden at Gethsemane.
  • John accompanied Jesus to the house of Peter when Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law.
  • John complained to Jesus about an individual who was casting out demons in Jesus’ name but was not part of their group. He wanted Jesus to put a stop to it, but Jesus rebuked John for the request.
  • John, along with his brother, asked to sit at Jesus’ right and left hand in his time of glory. These would have been the highest ranking positions among his followers.
  • Needless to say, this greatly displeased the other disciples.
  • Jesus asked if they were ready to drink of his cup and receive his baptism. They, of course, assured him that they were ready and able to do both.
  • John also wanted to call down fire upon the Samaritan village that refused hospitality to them.
  • John and Peter were sent to prepare the Passover for their last meal together.
  • The sons of Zebedee were among those to whom Jesus appeared for the early morning meal by the Sea of Tiberias.
  • John appears in a list of those present in the “upper room” on the Day of Pentecost.
  • After Pentecost, John and Peter went daily to the temple to pray.
  • Together, they healed the man who was lame from birth and both were arrested for the stir created by this incident.
  • After spending the night in prison, John and Peter baffled the high priests with their boldness, even though they were “ignorant men.”
  • John and Peter went to Samaria where they prayed for the Samaritans. The Holy Spirit came upon the Samaritans and Simon, the sorcerer, was so impressed he tried to “buy” their power.
  • Paul claimed that James, John, and Peter were “pillars” of the church in Jerusalem.
  • John is associated with Peter in all the accounts of him in the apostolic age.
  • The last we hear of John is that he was living in Jerusalem, engaged in the Christian ministry to the Jews.
  • Traditionally, John was thought to be the author of the Fourth Gospel as well as the three letters of John, but this is by no means certain.
  • Attempts to link John with the “beloved disciple” are also questionable.
  • A quote from Irenaeus (mid second century) has been instrumental in promoting this theory, despite the lack of any internal evidence from the gospel itself.
  • It is also unlikely that John, the apostle, was the author of the book of Revelation.

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