John "The Apostle"

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John Boanerges, Apostle 4

Immediate Family:

Son of Zebedee and Salomé
Brother of James, the Apostle Boanerges

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Immediate Family

About John "The Apostle"

John the Apostle, also known as John the Beloved Disciple, (Ancient Greek: Ἰωάννης)

Born: c. 6 Died: c. 100

Father: Zebedee Mother: Unknown Spouse: None Issue: None

John the Apostle was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He was the son of Zebedee and Salome, and brother of James, another of the Twelve Apostles. Christian tradition holds he was the last surviving of the Twelve Apostles and died around the age of 94—the only apostle to die naturally. Christian tradition identifies him as the author of several New Testament works: the Gospel of John, the Epistles of John, and the Book of Revelation. Some modern scholars believe that John the Apostle, John the Evangelist, and John of Patmos were three separate individuals. Certain lines of evidence suggest that John of Patmos wrote only Revelation, 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. Roman 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."

In the Bible

John the Apostle was the son of Zebedee, and the brother of St. James the Greater. The Eastern Orthodox tradition gives his mother's name as Salome. They originally were fishermen and fished with their father in the Lake of Genesareth. He was first a disciple of John the Baptist and later one of the twelve apostles of Jesus. John held a prominent position in the Apostolic body. Peter, James and John were the only witnesses of the raising of Jairus' daughter,[Mk. 5:37] of the Transfiguration[Mt. 17:1] and of the Agony in Gethsemane.[Mt 26:37] Only he and Peter were sent into the city to make the preparation for the final Passover meal (the Last Supper).[Lk 22:8] [4] At the meal itself, his place may have been next to Jesus on whose chest he leaned if he is indeed the "disciple whom Jesus loved." However, this can not be concluded with certainty.[Jn 13:23-25] According to the general interpretation, John was also that "other disciple" who with Peter followed Jesus after the arrest into the palace of the high-priest.[Jn 18:15] John alone remained near Jesus at the foot of the cross on Calvary with Jesus’ mother, Mary, and the pious women and took Mary into his care as the last legacy of Jesus.[Jn 19:25-27]

According to the Bible, after the Resurrection, John and Peter were the first of the disciples to run towards the tomb and John was the first of the apostles to believe that Jesus had truly risen.[John 20:2-10] The author of the Gospel of John was accustomed to identifying himself as "the disciple whom Jesus loved". After Jesus’ Ascension and the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, John, together with Peter, took a prominent part in the founding and guidance of the church. He is with Peter at the healing of the lame man in the Temple.[Ac 3:1 et seq.] With Peter he is also thrown into prison.[Acts 4:3] He is also with Peter visiting the newly converted in Samaria.[Acts 8:14]

There is no positive information in the Bible (or elsewhere) concerning the duration of this activity in Judea. Apparently, John in common with the other Apostles remained some 12 years in this first field of labor, until the persecution of Herod Agrippa I led to the scattering of the Apostles through the various provinces of the Roman Empire. [cf. Ac 12:1-17] It does not appear improbable that John then went for the first time into Asia Minor . In any case a messianic community was already in existence at Ephesus before Paul's first labors there (cf. "the brethren"),[Acts 18:27][citation needed] in addition to Priscilla and Aquila. Such a sojourn by John in Asia in this first period was neither long nor uninterrupted. He returned with the other disciples to Jerusalem for the Apostolic Council (about A.D. 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.[Gal 2:9] Of the other New Testament writings, it is only from the three Letters of John and the Book of Revelation that anything further is learned about John. Both the Letters and Revelation presuppose that John belonged to the multitude of personal eyewitnesses of the life and work of Jesus (cf. especially 1 Jn 1:1-5; 4:14), that he had lived for a long time in Asia Minor, was thoroughly acquainted with the conditions existing in the various messianic communities there, and that he had a position of authority recognized by all messianic communities as leader of this part of the church. Moreover, the Book of Revelation says that its author was on the island of Patmos "for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus", when he was honored with the vision contained in Revelation.[Rev. 1:9] John, like his Old Testament counterpart Daniel, was kept alive to receive the prophetic vision. Though most scholars agree in placing the Gospel of John somewhere between AD 65 and 85, John A.T. Robinson proposes an initial edition by 50–55 and then a final edition by 65 due to narrative similarities with Paul.:pp.284,307 Other critical scholars are of the opinion that John was composed in stages (probably two or three).:p.43 Until the 19th century, the authorship of the Gospel of John had universally been attributed to the Apostle John. However, critical scholars since then have had their doubts. The Gospel does not make that attribution. Instead, authorship is internally credited to the disciple whom Jesus loved ("ο μαθητης ον ηγαπα ο Ιησους") in John 20:2. The term the Beloved Disciple ("ον εφιλει ο Ιησους") is used five times in the Gospel of John to indicate authorship.[9] John 21:24 claims that the Gospel of John is based on the written testimony of the "Beloved Disciple".

Extrabiblical traditions

Roman Catholic tradition states that after the Assumption, John went to Ephesus and from there wrote the three epistles traditionally attributed to him. John was allegedly banished by the Roman authorities to the Greek island of Patmos, where some believe that 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 entire Colosseum audience were converted to Christianity upon witnessing this miracle. This event would have occurred during the reign of Domitian, a Roman emperor who was known for his persecution of Christians in the late 1st century. 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, and passed on to him stories about John. 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.” It is traditionally believed that John survived his contemporary apostles and lived to an extreme old age, dying naturally at Ephesus in about A.D. 100. John's traditional tomb is thought to be located at Selçuk, a small town in the vicinity of Ephesus. In art, John as the presumed author of the Gospel is often depicted with an eagle, which symbolizes the height he rose to in the first chapter of his gospel. 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

He is venerated as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion who commemorate him as "John, Apostle and Evangelist" on December 27. Other Christians highly revere him but do not canonize or venerate saints. Another feast day, which appeared in the General Roman Calendar until 1960, is that of "St 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 scene of this event. The Eastern 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.

Latter-Day Saint view

Followers of the Latter Day Saint movement believe that John was immortalized and he, along with the Three Nephites, will live to see the Second Coming of Christ.

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John "The Apostle"'s Timeline