St. John, the Apostle is one of the most interesting and intense people in the Bible. He is also known as St. John the Evangelist, John of Patmos and the Beloved Disciple. His feast is celebrated on 27th December. He was the son of Zebedee and Salome, and the brother of St. James ‘The Great‘. St. John was called to be an apostle by Jesus in the first year of His ministry and was the closest to Him during that time. It is said that St. John along with St. Peter and St. James formed the inner circle of Jesus. These three were the only witnesses of the raising of Jairus’ daughter from the dead.
Most importantly they closely witnessed the Agony of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus gave St. John and St. Peter the responsibility of preparing the final Passover meal (Last Supper). St. John is one of Christianity’s founding fathers, as well as a prominent leader of the churches in Jerusalem and Ephesus. He is the author of the Gospel of John and four other books in the New Testament: the three Epistles of John and the Book of Revelation. He really loved the church and always encouraged everyone to love each other and so he is known as the “Apostle of Love“. He was one of the first disciples to follow Jesus, he overheard John the Baptist talking about Jesus and he went after him (John 1: 35). John was brave and stood at the foot of the cross when all the other disciples were still in hiding. He was the only disciple who had not forsaken Jesus during His sorrowful passion. He was the one to whom Jesus had given the exquisite honour, of taking care of His mother. Walking in a close relationship with God is what I learnt from the life of St. John. One thing that really touches me the most is that St. John never left Jesus at the time of His passion. He was the only disciple who did not forsake Jesus during that time. This makes me ponder on the love he had for Jesus, the loyalty toward Him and his friendship. I want to love Jesus the way he did and strive to have a similar relationship with Jesus.
John was humble, in his writings (John 21:20) he called himself the ‘disciple whom Jesus loved‘. He was a man who studied and knew the scriptures. Throughout his gospel he says how Jesus fulfilled certain scriptures. John was so in tune with the scriptures that he was able to call Jesus the Word and the Word was God (John 1:1). Later after the Assumption of Mama Mary into Heaven, St. John travelled to Ephesus proclaiming Christ for which he was banished by the Roman authorities to the Greek Island of Patmos. There, they tried to kill St. John by plunging him into a hot boiling pot of oil but miraculously he didn’t get burned and was completely unaffected. All those who witnessed the miracle in the Colosseum converted to Christianity. When he was exiled on the Isle of Patmos, he wrote the Book of Revelations.
St. John through his letters encourages us to live in fellowship with Jesus and to love one another. One of my favourite verse is
“The way we came to know love was that he laid down his life for us; so we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers” (1 John 3:16).
By this, St. John clearly tells us how he learnt what love is and why and how we need to love each other. For me, St. John is a witness of Jesus’ love. After reading about St. John it has always been my prayer, asking him to help me love Jesus the way he did and also to love the people around me.
Acts chapter 4:13 says, “The members of the Council were amazed to see how bold Peter and John were and to learn that they were ordinary men of no education. They realised then that they had been companions of Jesus”.
This verse again teaches me how St. John’s accomplishments are the direct result of his close fellowship with God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Even though he was just an ordinary and an uneducated man, people recognised him to be a follower of Jesus only because of his love for Jesus which was seen through his boldness and confidence in Him, with the help of the Holy Spirit.
St. John’s life in particular taught me that it is not about religion; rather it is all about relationship, a relationship with Jesus Christ.