December 26, 2017

St. John "the Beloved Disciple", Apostle and Evangelist

St. John next to our Lord at the Last Supper

Feast Day - December 27th 

Saint John the Apostle, the son of Zebedee and Salome, was one of the twelve Apostles of Jesus. John was called by our Lord in the first year of His ministry. He is also known as John the Evangelist, John of Patmos and the Beloved Disciple. John's older brother and fellow Apostle was Saint James the Great. Jesus referred to the brothers as "Boanerges," meaning "sons of thunder." John was the longest living Apostle and the only one that did not receive the crown of martyrdom.

Together with Peter and James, John witnessed the raising Jairus’ Daughter, the Transfiguration of Christ, the Olivet Discourse and the Agony of our Lord in the Garden of Gethsemane. John was the disciple who reported to Jesus that they had "'forbidden' a non-disciple from casting out demons in Jesus' name." Jesus stated in reply, "There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me. He who is not against us is on our side."

John and Peter were the only two apostles sent by Jesus to make preparations for the final Passover meal, the Last Supper. During the meal, John sat next to Jesus, leaning on him rather than lying along the couches. John was the only one of the Apostles who did not forsake the Savior in the hour of His Passion. He stood faithfully at the cross when the Savior made him the guardian of His Mother.

After the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, John spread the Good News of Christ. His authoritative position in the Church is evidenced by his visit with Saint Peter to Samaria to lay hands on the new converts there. John was banished sometime in the late 1st century, during the reign of Emperor Domitian, after being plunged into boiling oil in Rome and suffering neither death nor ill effects. It was said that all those present who witnessed the miracle were converted to Christianity.

John authored the Gospel bearing his name as well as the three Epistles of John and the Book of Revelation. In his Gospel, the phrase "the disciple whom Jesus loved," or "the Beloved Disciple" is used five times, but is not used in any other New Testament accounts of Jesus. In his Eclesiastical History, Eusebius states that the First Epistle of John and the Gospel of John are agreed upon as John's, but that the authorship of John’s second and third epistles are uncertain.

During a wave of Christian persecution, John was exiled to the island of Patmos. There, he wrote the Book of Apocalypse, but afterward returned to Ephesus. In his extreme old age, he continued to visit the churches of Asia. Saint Jerome relates that when John unable to preach, he was carried to the assembly of the faithful by his disciples, addressing them, "My dear children, love one another."

St. John died in peace at Ephesus in the third year of Trajan, the hundredth of the Christian era, or the sixty-sixth from the crucifixion of Christ. According to Saint Epiphanus, John was born into eternal life at ninety-four years of age. He is the patron of love and authors. He is often depicted in art as the author of the Gospel with an eagle, symbolizing "the height he rose to in his Gospel." In other icons, he is shown gazing up into heaven and dictating his Gospel to his disciple.

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