1 John

The apostle John is the author of the gospel of John, 1, 2, and 3 John and Revelation. “Dionysius noted that John did not name himself in his epistles, ‘not even in the Second and Third Epistles, although they are short Epistles, but simply calls himself a presbyter.’ (Eusebius, H.e. VII, xxv.).” 1 John was the brother of James (Acts 12:2), son of Zebedee (Mark 1:20; Luke 5:10) and Salome (Matthew 27:56; Mark 15:40).

John was called to be an apostle by Jesus (Matthew 4:21) and became known as the disciple whom the Lord loved (John 13:23; 20:2; 21:20). John was one of three with Peter and James whom the Lord allowed to be on the mountain when He was transfigured (Matthew 17:1). The same three were allowed to go with Jesus into the house of Jairus to raise his daughter from the dead (Mark 5:37). Again the same three were asked to pray with Jesus at Gethsemane (Matthew 26:37). John leaned on the Lord’s breast at the last supper (John 13:23). Jesus' love and trust in John was illustrated as the Lord entrusts the care of His mother to John when hanging upon the cross (John 19:26).

John exhibited great zeal for Jesus and His teachings. Jesus noted the zeal when calling John and his brother James the “sons of thunder” (Mark 3:17). On one occasion, John “forbade” a man from performing an exorcism in the name of Jesus, likely out of fear that Jesus had not permitted this (Luke 9:49). On another occasion, John and James were ready to call down “fire” from heaven when a village of Samaritans refused to receive Jesus (Luke 9:54). Those who exhibited a love for Jesus and His commands were equally loved by the apostle John (1 John 1:4; 2 John 4; 3 John 4). Interestingly, verse four of all three epistles deals with this joy.

Later in life, John was known as a “pillar” in the church (Galatians 2:9). He was eventually exiled to the island of Patmos “for the word of God and the testimony of Jesus” (Revelation 1:9). Tradition reveals that John lived to an old age and died in Ephesus. 

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