JOHN THE APOSTLE (SON OF ZEBEDEE)



(John 13:23-25) 23 One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. 24 Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, “Ask him which one he means.” 25 Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?”


JOHN, BROTHER OF JAMES AND SON OF ZEBEDEE, WAS ONE OF THE TWELVE APOSTLES; EARLY TRADITION IDENTIFIES HIM AS THE AUTHOR OF THE GOSPEL OF JOHN AND THE BOOK OF REVELATION.

JOHN AND HIS BROTHER JAMES WERE AMONG THOSE CLOSET TO JESUS (MARK 5:37;9:2; 13:3; 14:33). HIS MOTHER, SALOME, MIGHT HAVE BEEN A SISTER OF MARY, THE MOTHER OF JESUS. JOHN'S NAME USUALLY OCCURS AFTER JAME'S, WHICH SUGGESTS THAT JOHN WAS YOUNGER, JAMES AND JOHN WERE FISHERMAN LIKE THEIR FATHER. THEY FISHED WITH HIS PETER AND ANDREW, ANOTHER PAIR OF BROTHERS WHO BECAME DISCIPLES (LUKE 5:10). THEY WERE AMONG THE FIRST WHOM JESUS CALLED AS DISCIPLES, AND THEY LEFT EVERYTHING TO FOLLOW HIM. JESUS NAMED THEM "SONS OF THUNDER" (MARK 3:17), WHICH MIGHT IMPLY THAT THEY WERE LOUD OR SHORT- TEMPERED. AT ONE POINT, TWO BROTHERS EVOKEDNTHE INDIGNATION OF THE OTHER DISCIPLES WHEN THEY ASKED FOR SPECIAL POSITIONS OF PRIVILEGE IN THE COMING KINGDOM (MARK 20:20-28).

EARLY TRADITION LINKS JOHN TO FIVE NEW TESTAMENT BOOKS: THE GOSPEL OF JOHN, THREE LETTERS OF JOHN, AND THE BOOK OF REVELATION. JOHN IS UNDERSTOOD TO BE THE UNNAMED "DISCIPLE JESUS LOVED" AND "ANOTHER DISCIPLE ". HE IS POSSIBLY THE UNNAMED DISCIPLE OF JOHN THE BAPTIST, WHO, TOGETHER WITH ANDREW, BECAME AN EARLY FOLLOWER OF JESUS.

JOHN'S NAME OCCURS THREE TIMES IN ACTS; EACH TIME HE WAS WORKING WITH PETER (Acts 3:1-11). PAUL REFERRED TO HIM AS ONE OF THE 'PILLARS' OF CHURCH IN JERUSALEM (GAL 2:9).

THE MOST WIDESPREAD TRADITION ABOUT JOHN'S LATER LIFE IS THAT HE MOVED TO EPHESUS, WHERE HE EVENTUALLY BECAME BISHOP OF ASIA MINOR, LIVED TO AN OLD AGE, AND DIED PEACEFULLY IN THE COMPANY OF FRIENDS. HIS GOSPEL PROVIDES THE MOST PROFOUND PORTRAIT THAT WE HAVE OF JESUS, AND HIS LETTERS PROVIDE ONE OF THE FINEST DEPICTIONS OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE (1 JOHN).

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