The Apostle John
Did you know…?
- John was among the first of Jesus’ disciples.
- Jesus rebuked the apostle John on several occasions.
- John played a leading role with Peter in the life of the earliest community of believers.
- According to tradition, John was the only apostle not to die a martyr’s death.
Who was John the Apostle, according to the Gospels?
The Synoptic Gospels report that among his earliest disciples Jesus called two Galilean fishermen, the sons of Zebedee, James and John (
James and John regularly appear among the “Twelve” (
What was John’s distinctive role among Jesus’ followers?
The Acts of the Apostles hints at John’s role among Jesus’ followers after his resurrection. Peter and John, paired as agents before Jesus’ death (
During the second century, when %%writings by early Christians were more likely to be deemed authoritative (or even canonical) if they could be connected with one of the apostles, traditions linking John to certain writings developed. Most influential was his association with the Fourth Gospel and its “beloved disciple” (
The New Testament mentions other Johns, including the visionary who authored the Book of Revelation (
Irenaeus (Against Heresies 2.22.5, 3.1.1, 3.3.4) reported that John lived in Ephesus until the time of Trajan and interacted with the heretic Cerinthus. Clement of Alexandria (What Rich Man Can be Saved 13) recounts John’s efforts to save a youthful robber. Tertullian (On the Prescription of Heresies 36) tells of the Roman attempt to boil John alive in oil. The Acts of John, from the late second century, describes miracles in Ephesus and offers a testimony to the “spiritual” character of Jesus’ passion.
However much his legend developed, the apostle John played an important role in the early Jesus movement.