John was the youngest apostle and the only one to live to old age becoming the oldest apostle in the Bible. History records that the Roman Emperor Domitian tried to kill John by boiling him in oil and also made other attempts at executing a death sentence upon him, but he would not die. Like the prophet Daniel who survived a flaming furnace and a lion’s den, both men had the task of reporting the prophecies of the end of the world. Both messengers could not die until their job was accomplished; an indicator of the critical importance of the prophecy.
The emperor ended up banishing John to the Isle of Patmos, where Rome sent their political prisoners. There he could not speak to the multitudes about Jesus, but he would be given a message that he would record and would reach many more than he could have ever relayed to outside of Patmos. When John was released from exile, he returned to Ephesus and lived till the time of the Roman Emperor Trajan.
John was the younger brother of the apostle James. The Bible refers to them as the sons of Zebedee, who was a fisherman and had a fishing business. They worked for their father. When Jesus walked by and saw James and John, He called to them, and they immediately jumped off the boat, and left their father with his servants. In following Jesus, they left their dad and the fishing business they would most likely inherit from him behind.
John and James’s mother was Salome Mary’s sister. They were Jesus’s cousins. James and John were disciples of John the Baptist, their second cousin. They were the first apostles Jesus called. Jesus referred to them as Boanerges translated sons of thunder for their fiery zeal. When a Samaritan town would not receive Jesus or his messengers, James and John asked Jesus “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just a Elijah did?” Jesus told them that the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them (Luke 9:54-55).
Peter James and John were the only witnesses of the raising of the daughter of Jarius. All three also observed the transfiguration, where Jesus appeared on the mount talking to Moses and Elijah in a brightest of white light and transfigured before their eyes. Jesus sent John and Peter into the city to make preparation for the final Passover meal-the last supper. Jesus took John, Peter and James and asked them to watch for Him as He went ahead and prayed in agony prior to his arrest. His despair was so great his sweat appeared as drops of blood. After the arrest of Jesus, Peter and John followed Jesus into the palace of the high-priest .
John alone among the Apostles remained near Jesus at the cross. He stayed close to Jesus’s mother and His mother’s sister who stood along with Mary the wife of Clopas and Mary Magdalene. Jesus instructed John from the cross to take Mary into his care as his own mother. Likewise, he told Mary to care for John if he was her son. In addition to witnessing most of the life of Jesus, After Pentecost, John and Peter, took a major part in preaching the Gospel and building and guiding the church. John is with Peter at the healing of the lame man in the Temple and was thrown into prison with him. He is also with Peter visiting the newly converted in Samaria. John’s brother James became the first apostle to die a martyr’s death (Acts 12:2).
Second to Paul’s contribution to the New Testament who wrote 13 possibly 14 of the epistles, with the book of Hebrews in question, John authored five books of the Bible. These include one of the gospels, three of the epistles and the book of Revelation.
Although John does not mention himself by name in his own gospel, he refers to himself four times as “the disciple Jesus loved.” He is pictured as the Apostle who leaned on Jesus, and his kindness and gentle spirit emanate from his writings. He is the love apostle who spoke more of God’s love than any other. In 1John 4:8 it was John, who stated, “God is love.”