The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved
Today in our series on the New Testament writers we focus on the Apostle John, the man who referred to himself as the “disciple whom Jesus loved.” The truth is that anyone of the disciples could have said this about themselves. Jesus did (and does) love all of them, but I think this statement tells a little bit about John’s relationship with Jesus. John knew He was loved. And when we know we are loved by someone, doesn’t that make us want to love that person back?
We love Him because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19
John’s keen awareness of Christ’s love may have been the reason John stood by Him at the Cross. John was the only apostle, by the way, who did not run when Jesus was arrested. He was the only one standing at the foot of the cross when Jesus died. It really is no wonder that John wrote so extensively about the love of God in his epistles.
Not every detail we believe to be fact about John comes from the Bible. Yes, we do get clues from the writings of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, but much of our general knowledge about John comes from church tradition. Here are some things worth remembering when you read books written by John’s.
- The Gospel According to John
- 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Epistles of John
- The Book of Revelation
Details & Events of John’s Life:
- Not the same person as John the Baptist
- Son of Zebedee, a Galilean fisherman, and Salome
- Salome may have been Mary’s sister, which would make John a cousin of Jesus
- Only apostle who did not forsake or deny Jesus before He was crucified.
- At the cross Jesus charged John with the care of His mother Mary (John 19:26-27).
- John referred to himself as the “disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23, 19:26)
- Pastored the church at Ephesus and had influence on other churches in the area
- Was banished by the Romans to the Greek Island Patmos, where he wrote the Book of Revelation (Revelation 1:9)
- Believed to have been boiled in oil by Roman authorities, yet remained unharmed
- Oldest living apostle and only one to die of old age (the rest died violent deaths)
Themes in His Writing
- The Deity of Jesus – the “I Am” statements (John 6:35, 48; 8:12; 9:5; 10:7-14; 11:25; 14:6, 15:1)
- Jesus is the Word who became flesh (John 1:1-5; 1 John 1:1-2)
- Jesus is the Light (John 1:5-13, 12:42-50 1 John 1:1-2)
- Abiding in Christ (John 8:31, 15:1-11)
- Fellowship with the Father, the Son, and Other Believers (1 John 1:5-2:2)
- Light and darkness cannot mix (1John 1:5-10)
- Beware of false teachers (1 John 2:18-23, 3:24-4:6; 2 John 1:7-11)
- God is Love (John 13:34-35, 15:12-17; 1 John 3)