The Impact of Religion and Faith on the Life of Apostle John

In the Life of Apostle John who was initially a fisherman before God called him to be a disciple. He was a son to Zebedee from the town of Galilea and a brother to Mark.

His mother’s name was Salome, the sister to Mary, the mother of Jesus. His father was a military man who died early, and Salome, the mother, was left a widow with her two sons, John and James.

John was born at a place called Bethsaida in the town of Galilea. Of the two, John was the youngest son probably his name comes rightly second just after his brother St. James son of Zebedee also called St. James the Greater.

He was among the first disciples called by Jesus to the ministry, including his brother St James.

He was also the youngest among the twelve disciples of Jesus.

frans hals dutch saint john the evangelist
Frans Hals Dutch Saint John the Evangelist

The Call of John

As Jesus was passing by, three people were sitting by the shores of Lake Genesareth, also called the sea of Galilea.

The three were John, Andrew, and Peter.

They had cast their fishing nets in the lake over a long period with the expectations of making a catch of fish but to no vain.

Immediately, Peter rose his head, and he watched over a multitude of individuals that had surrounded Jesus.

Peter drew their boats near the group astonishingly; the one John had termed “the lamb of God” got into the boat.

He ordered the men to cast their nets.

Unfortunately, they were reluctant as they had done it several times over the day but had harvested nothing.

Peter became spiritually challenged; he was moved by Jesus’ words to cast the nets again.

A miraculous catch was testified; John, Peter, and Andrew left their nets and followed Jesus.

John had been sitting with the other two disciples, Andrew and Peter. 

He saw Jesus passing by and said,” Look, the lamb of  God is passing.”

The disciples, who heard Jesus say these words, stood up and followed Him.

saint john
Lorenzo D'Alessandro: Saint John the Apostle exhibited at the Great Masters Renaissance in Croatia, opened December 12, 2011. in Zagreb, Croatia

John was an apostle, and he was also called the Divine John; some people called him John, the son of Zebedee.

He is termed as the author of the most gospels found in the New Testament.

As stated in the bible, specifically the New Testament, it is pretty clear that John’s father was a military man who died young.

He was one of the members of the first three disciples who witnessed the miraculous events during the ministry of Jesus.

John had a deep love for Jesus, according to the bible narrations, with a gifted spiritual faith and immense loyalty as a disciple of Jesus.

Despite the considerable commitment John had to Jesus, Peter James, and John could not look at Jesus and safeguard him during the prayer moments at the Garden of Gethsemane.

However, he was the only disciple who could stand by Jesus while on the cross.

From the book of Acts, John was such an influential leader in the early church; Paul significantly uses John as a pillar of the Jerusalem church in the second book of Galatians.

He is believed to have founded many churches in Asia Minor when he went to Ephesus accompanied by Virgin Mary.

According to the Christianity customs and beliefs about the holy persons, he is pronounced as St John. It is believed that John died and was buried at Ephesus.

oh teach me then, dear saint: an invocation of saint john, beloved apostle and evangelist
OH TEACH ME THEN, DEAR SAINT: AN INVOCATION OF SAINT JOHN, BELOVED APOSTLE AND EVANGELIST Saint of the Sacred Heart, Sweet Teacher of the Word, Partner of Mary’s woes And Favorite of thy Lord! O teach me then, Dear Saint, The secrets Christ taught thee: The beatings of His Heart, And how it beat for me! We know not all thy gifts But this Christ bids us see: That He Who so loved all Found more to love in thee. When the last evening came, Thy head was on His breast, Pillowed here on earth where now In Heaven the Saints find rest. Dear Saint! I stand far off With my sad sins oppressed. O may I dare, like thee, To lean upon His Breast? His Touch could heal the sick, His Voice could raise the dead, O that my soul might be Where He allows thy head. The gifts He gave to thee He gave thee to impart, And I, too, claim with thee His Mother and His Heart!

John was one of the highest-positioned followers of Jesus and the most trusted among the three.

The first three apostles were the only people who witnessed the raising of the Jairus daughter (Mark 5:37).

During the transfiguration of Jesus, an event where Jesus became transfigured, John was among the disciples who Jesus took up the mountain where Moses and Elijah, who were the earliest prophets, appeared.

He witnessed the dazzling clothes and face of Jesus shown bright (Matthew 17:1) and Jesus’ pain in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:37).

His position was paramount during the messianic kingdom.

His mother perceived it was appropriate to question whether he was the suitable successor of Jesus sitting at Jesus’ right hand after establishing the messianic kingdom (Matthew 20:20).

Jesus ordered Peter and him to go into the city and prepare for the last Passover meal, also called the “Last Supper” (Luke 22:8).

From (John 13:23), it was evident that following the love between Jesus and him, John’s place was right next to Jesus, on whose chest he leaned.

Jesus went to pray in the garden of Gethsemane alongside the three disciples.

However, John failed an essential duty.

There, he and the other disciples were informed by Jesus to keep watch when the Messiah prayed, and they all fell asleep three times.

They did not make it to tell Jesus of the impending danger; they all failed to warn Jesus of the approach of Judas Iscariot coming with the temple guards to arrest Him.

John, however, and Peter did not completely dissert Jesus he and Peter are confirmed that after the guards had left, followed Jesus to the palace where the guards had been ordered to take him.

The castle was the high priest’s place in terms of ruling and the dwelling place (John 18:15).

St John’s gospel mentions the twelve disciples that only one remained at Jesus’ feet while he was on the cross at a place called Calvary.

He did not remain alone, but he was with Mary Magdalene and other pious women.

It is vital to note that Jesus gave John instructions to take care of His mother (John 19:25; John 19:26; John 19:27)

After Jesus was resurrected, John was one of the two disciples who ran to the tomb of Jesus to witness and did have a belief that he had risen from the dead (John 20:2; John 20:3; John 20:4; John 20:5; John 20:6; John 20:7; John 20:8; John 20:9; John 20:10).

Just after His ascension and descending of the Holy Spirit.

John and Peter took the initiative of founding, leading, and guiding the church.

Everywhere Peter stepped, John followed him as they were together during the healing of the lame man at the temple (Acts 3:1).

They were thrown in prison together (Acts 4:3).

John accompanied Peter on a visit to Samaria, and many people had accepted to be converted to Christians (Acts 8:14).

In Acts 12:1; Acts 12:2; Acts 12:3; Acts 12:4; Acts 12:5; Acts 12:6; Acts 12:7; Acts 12:8; Acts 12:9; Acts 12:10; Acts 12:11; Acts 12:12; Acts 12:13; Acts 12:14; Acts 12:15; Acts 12:16; Acts 12:17), Peter, John, and James had left for Judea for an unknown period to spread the gospel.

The spread continued until they were persecuted by Herod Agrippa 1; the persecution led to the scattering of the apostles to different places to spread the gospel through the provinces of the Roman Empire.

The book of Acts regarding (Acts18:27) relates Apostolic Paul to John’s activities, such as embracing Jesus’ teachings on brotherhood, forgiveness, and deliverance.

Therefore, John went to Rome, where he was the first to practice the apostolic mission in different provinces.

In addition, the compliment that the Holy Spirit did not allow Paul on his apostolic journey to spread the gospel in Asia, Mysia, and Bithynia could refer to John’s previous missionary activity in those lands (Acts 16:6).

In Revelation 1:10, we know the author of Revelation as John the elder, which confirms that John the Apostle wrote the book.

The information in Revelation 1:10 identifies that the book of Revelation was authored in 96 CE within Asia Minor, where the author was identified as a Christian from Ephesus called John, the Elder.

Therefore, according to the book, the recognized John was on the Patmos Island near the coast of Asian Minor because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus confirming that the writer was among Jesus’s chosen disciples.

More information from the book of Revelation states the author was on the island of Patmos “for the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.”

He was a confessor who had been exiled because of his strong belief in Jesus.

The Roman Catholics and the Orthodox admit that John and Virgin Mary went to Ephesus and died there.

Regarding information from Tertullian, John was exiled to Patmos.

st john boiled in oil
St John boiled in oil

He was tortured and plunged into boiling oil in Rome, and miraculously the oil did not affect him as a sign of God’s protection.

Some people believe his burial place is at Selcuk, a small town in the vicinity of Ephesus.

A missionary named Justin Martyr aimed and referred to John the Apostle as an eyewitness and a visionary person during the ministry of Jesus.

He used to stay with the disciples at Ephesus.

Irenaeus indicated that he wrote his gospel book at Ephesus, and he used to dwell there till the reign of the leader called Trajan.

Eusebius, the bishop of Caesarea, and Jerome, a priest, confirmed that John was the leading spiritual leader of Hierapolis in Syria, and he taught in Papias.

As he was old, it is believed to have led the future of Saint Polycarp, the head bishop of Smyrna, current Turkey, to salvation.

Individuals thought that it carried John’s message and the apostolic rule to the future generation until he became a martyr of the faith.    

John is considered a saint by Christians as the saint’s role in the Orthodox Church is more prominent than that of the Catholic Church.

The Orthodox Church looks at Peter as their first saint and is considered the first pope of the Orthodox churches.

The Roman Catholic Church remembers St. Paul on 31 December, and then on 3 January, he is put under commemoration.

The Eastern Orthodox Church remembers Saint John on 26 September and on 8 May.

On 26 September and 8th, May Christians believe the ash drawn from John’s grave heals the sick.

John has been directly linked to the New Testament Apocrypha books the Acts of John and John the Apocryphal.

The characteristics of John, the apostle, were visible by the church members and understood vividly according to the scripture.

Illustrations have been extracted from his books; James and John wished to call fire from heaven to consume the hostile village.

John desired that the palace chief who denied the casting out of the demons through the gospel of the lord was to be rebuked.

John stated that he was not going to benefit from the rebuking of the demons through Jesus.

Therefore, the rebuking of demons frustrated other people, such as the palace Chief leading to force.

Great forcefulness is shown in his writings and understanding of the gospel; however, the forcefulness is mainly based on those who fail to have faith and trust in Jesus.

It stands as pronounced in the books that John was a brave man with his act of plainly speaking without fear, the scripture identifying him as a challenging and volatile man.

John openly spoke whenever he saw a need to express himself in defense of his strong faith and belief in Jesus.

A perfect example of such a case is a young lady who confronted Peter and accused him of being one of Jesus’ followers as she lapsed into cursing and swearing.

Jesus informed his disciples of the coming messianic kingdom; He gave them the light on inheriting the kingdom of heaven.

His message was quite clear on the conditions he mentioned to inherit the greatness in the kingdom; one should be ready to serve others.

The words deeply enriched the disciples despite the fact the lengthy period they had been with Jesus.

Nevertheless, on the last day Jesus was carrying out his earthly duties, neither of the disciples had humility and could carry out duties as a servant (John 13:1-7).

Jesus had to perform the duties by Himself.

On that day, John learns the virtues of having ambitions and humility.

It is proven from his book (John) that the apostle John never mentioned Jesus’ name in his writings throughout the book.

He was selfless in that he never wanted to speak of himself in his book of the apostle, although he spoke of himself on behalf of Jesus.

He values much the honoring of Christ most than himself and even refers to himself as the follower who the Lamb of God loves most. (John 13:23, 20:2). He also glorified Jesus for the love he had accorded him.

He also does give information on the activity of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet.

Based on this statement, it remains firm that the humility of Jesus marked a strong impression on John.

The humility of John comes from the way he addresses his readers and the way he speaks in the book of epistles.

He terms his readers “little children” he calls them the “beloved” and the way he includes himself as the brother of the fellow sons or children of God (1 John 3:2).

He is compassionate in the way he presents his humility and tenderness.

The temperament of the apostle John was evident in stressing the issue of Christianity.

He was aware of the Jewish Traditions and customs in the Old and the New Testament from the book of acts.

His ability to carry out things keenly and his spiritual understanding included him in all the activities.

It is evident through the special affection John had for Jesus during his ministry while on earth.

the impact of religion and faith on the life of apostle john
The Apocalypse: The Angel Shows St. John the New Jerusalem, 1546-1556. Jean Duvet (French, 1485-1561). Engraving; The Cleveland Museum of Art, Gift of the Hanna Fund 1953.213.28

He is referred to as the apostle of love; in the first epistle that John wrote, there is an emphasis on the issue of love and life; he also goes ahead to warn on the matters of sin and heresy.

John is termed as the son of thunder in the Apocalypse, dwelling in the two worlds, the world of the righteous who are stacked with the testimony and the world of the wicked those marked by the disbelief.

They were persistent in their action of not believing even under affliction.

He passionately insisted on the act of walking in the light and abiding by the laws of love and the affection embedded within the entire community.

He is attributed to be someone with very many facets according to Hebrew, as he was a person who was eligible to speak out his mind in the medium and visions in Revelation.

He could speak in the simplest form that everyone could understand better, for example, water, light, and darkness.

John was a fisherman before Jesus called him to be His follower.

John wrote several books, including the gospel of John, first, second and third John; he was also the author of the last book of the New Testament, the book of Revelation.

Most of John’s history is noted in his four gospel books.

From this aspect, Christians are expected to take a lot from the entire life of the apostle John.

He was a fisherman, and the leaders and other seniors in the ruling sector got informed that he was primitive; simply, he had not attended school.

However, Jesus selected a man who had no idea about anything, clearly showing that God does not choose anyone regardless of their background.

Therefore, it is exemplary that God has a purpose for each life and can choose to use anyone.

Jesus named James and John the “sons of thunder” from the book of Mark 13:7; it is believed that Jesus gave the two brothers the name “sons of thunder” because of the anger John had; he was such temperament.

During the teachings of Jesus, John was by his side, calmed by His teachings, and seemed to have a change of behavior impacted with positive minds towards other disciples.

He molded into a spiritual man of good heart, and goodwill and had the knowledge of understanding above all.

There is an establishment of humility throughout his writings.

He seems selfless, and it is not relatively easy to note him as “the disciple who Jesus loved,” he does not mention himself showing the act of selflessness.

On Jesus’ crucifixion, John was asked by Jesus to take care of Mary, the mother of Jesus; it demonstrates how important it is to be trustworthy and have fair dealings with people.

It was such a pleasure for John to be asked by Jesus to take care of His mother.

On the crucifixion of Jesus, John was quite loyal and demonstrated fearlessness while other disciples succumbed to fear.

John 13; 1 states the closeness of Jesus and John; John was leaning on Jesus’ chest.

Christians tend to isolate themselves a lot, and they would never let anyone ever get close to them; it is time we ought to reconstruct our relationship with others and God.

The relationship between Jesus and John was a loving relationship that Christians should emulate, especially today, where technology has created various cults and dominions.

The apostle John’s life indicates that he was an intimate friend to Jesus; there’s the admiration for this friendship, and the closeness of John and Jesus pushes for the Christian reconstruction of a closer relationship with the lamb of God with whom John referred to as Jesus.

John’s humility changes the view of which people perceive they should be talking or speaking to themselves.

At times the disciple calls himself the apostle of John, “the disciple who Jesus loved“.

He was not able to be in search of credentials as the one who was with Jesus and the period and writing the book.

It makes us think that we do not need to greed ourselves high at times but should remain humbled under differentiated circumstances or occasions.

Individuals should define themselves as lowly and not be so proud to lose whatever is meant for them.

1 John 4:18 John becomes a perfect example of who modeled what he authored.

He wrote that their love had no fear; simply perfect love drives out fear because fear goes hand in hand with punishment.

He also added that the one who fears is not perfect in love.

John confirms his statement through action that from the time Jesus was arrested, crucified, and the time Jesus was buried till the time of His resurrection, John was by His side without fear.

The other disciples were cowards and stayed away since they thought they would be harmed.

John went stuck with Jesus through unfavorable times, the most challenging times in the life of Jesus without getting fear that the soldiers would punish him from the palace.

It is an admiration occasion that everyone may want to give their whole lives to Jesus without fear of what people may say.

Jesus called the apostle John the son of thunder.

He knew how temperamental John was, together with the fundamental flaws that John possessed.

However, Jesus knew this, but he could not stop using him in his mission.

Jesus was the reason John changed, the change of heart, body, and soul.

The mission of John to Jesus was to get devoted to the ministry and get changed.

Christians sticking their life to Jesus illustrates their devotion and need to transform their lives by surrendering to him fully.

John requested Jesus to make him sit on his right and his brother James on his left.

The reason was that John was close to Jesus and baring that their mother had made a similar command; however, Jesus put it that whoever was to sit on his left and right was not his job, but it was for those who are prepared.

By this, he meant that whoever wanted to sit on the throne should be in preparation to serve others. Mark 10:43; Mark 10:44; Mark 10:45 says Jesus gathered them together and said,

“For even the son of man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give out his life a ransom for many”.

He said to them that whoever desires to be great of you should be your servant. The disciples did not expect such a great answer.

Right before John became a follower of Jesus, he was moving around with other fellow fishers.

He was also a follower of John the Baptist before becoming a follower of Jesus (John 1:35).

When John the Baptist saw Jesus, John said, “Behold the lamb of God, “the two disciples heard that they followed Jesus (John 1:36; John 1:37; John 1:38).

The valuable and interesting theme about John the Baptist is that he sent his followers to Jesus Christ. At times we tend to look at someone who we see.

John was quick on articulation to follow the Lamb of God the True Shepherd.

It is pretty symbolic that when it comes to matters who Christians should follow should be God instead of man.

saint john the beloved
Saint John the Beloved

Humility is God’s calling; God does not call those with too much pride, humbles the lowly, and exalts the poor.

If not humble, it would be challenging to undergo God’s invitation. Answering God’s call means surrendering your life fully to God.

According to John, God does not call the boastful and those with much pride since they would only glorify themselves, which is why God calls the lowly in his kingdom.

Matthew 4:18 Jesus looked for his disciples on the shore of the lake and not in the vast cities.

John was humble and enthusiastic among other disciples of Jesus when he was called; it is acknowledged that he did not hesitate to accept.

When Jesus called the two sons of Zebedee, they immediately left their boats and nets to follow Jesus.

God calls his people in the current day to follow him, God’s call is rare, and it needs a response immediately when called.

It is essential since it exempts one from the world’s pains and much suffering.

Following human nature is misleading and unfocused, I can say it is unidirectional too, as John presents it.

The scripture from the book of John is found interesting, especially the healing of a blind man by Jesus, which attracted many people to follow him and opposition from leaders such as Pharisees, Scribes, and tax collectors.

Immediately after Jesus had healed the man, he was asked oppositely by the leaders of the religion because they opposed the ministry of Jesus.

Pharisees and Scribes wanted the man to inform them about Jesus, whether he was a prophet or a wicked person just like others because he worked on the Sabbath, against the law.

In John 9:25, we discover that the man answered,

Saint John Quiz

#1. When did John write his gospel?

#2. Which other names was John known by?

#3. Which of these epithets has *not* traditionally been used to refer to St. John?

#4. Which of the following books in the Bible were written by Saint John the Apostle?

#5. What original language did John write his gospel in?

#6. Jesus Commanded John at the cross to take care of who?

#7. John was allegedly banished by what authority?

#8. What is John's gospel called?

#9. What was apostle John plunged into, which he miraculously escaped unscathed?

#10. Where did John write the three epistles attributed to him?

Finish

Results

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“Whether Jesus was a sinner, he did not know as long as he was able to get back his vision.”

John recorded this statement meaning that he was an eyewitness during this occasion.

Therefore, Christians are instructed to be the witness of others and bear the truth whenever the faithful witnesses are in demand.

Christians should not be in the position to give false information as witnesses of the current world.

As Christians, we are the same witnesses; we ought to ask ourselves questions, what did Jesus change in us?

We see the mercy and the grace together with his glory in daily lives.

He died for our sins on the cross to be forgiven.

We have the vision of hope, and we see peace prevailing; he also changed the Christians’ eternal destiny.

Therefore, John died as a Saint and is remembered by all Christians, especially the Roman Catholics.

Thus, the current world has despaired, but there is still love, peace, and hope.

John 12; 24-25 says, “Truly, truly I say to you unless a grain of wheat drops into the soil and dries finally dies, it remains alone, but if it dies, it bears many fruits. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates it lives to eternal life.”

The gospel is a frame of ideas and beliefs dealing with struggling for the best life where without getting attached to Jesus, the ideology becomes useless and not valuable.

Christians are on the way to knowing whatever God meant for them, and there would be a balance deficit in the heart of many, however good they are, but without Jesus, they are meaningless.

They may look everywhere, but the only correct answer would be from God through simply surrendering the Christian lives to God.

The human mind may get tired of ideas and plans; however, in Jesus, they discover a prosperous life.

Jesus’ death was caused by the opinions, people’s desires, and the set plans which give way to eternal life that starts immediately.

Thus, Christians get the fruit of eternal, abundant life undergone by those who dwell on this world and have built their dwelling places in heaven with Jesus.

On the night of Jesus’ betrayal, He gave his disciples the instruction they had to abide by and urged them to be loyal, patient, and stick by their faith. 

For example, it is written in John 15:4-5, which says,

“Abide in me and I will abide in you, a branch cannot bear fruit itself unless it abides the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and me in him, he will be fruitful because being away from me would be able to do nothing.”

John was able to abide by the word of Jesus till he died, becoming an example to many as Christians are expected to serve others.  

He was also persecuted while carrying out his duties and even exiled.

Christians need to follow John’s example when persecuted throughout their daily evangelistic work as they should persevere, and exercise patience in every hardship.  

In John 17:17, Jesus identifies one of the purposes of the disciples and His duty as the Messiah. It says,’` Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.

As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them, I sanctify myself, so that they too may be truly sanctified. that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.’’

Therefore, Christians discover that a feast on the word of God gives them knowledge and understanding; the word of God is thus robust and strengthens their faith.

Specifically, Jesus prayed to the father and asked God to set the disciples for a particular use and purpose, acknowledging God’s words as truth and power.

Obeying the word of the bible through the gospel of John clearly instructs the Christian followers to be obedient to God’s words, a good example; Jesus told them He was not the rightful person to choose who was to sit on His right and left-hand side.

John was obedient to the words of Jesus, which should reflect in Christian’s lives as they are advised to obey Jesus’ commands. 

References the Life of Apostle John

Kok, M. J. (2017). The Beloved Apostle?: The Transformation of the Apostle John Into the Fourth Evangelist. Wipf and Stock Publishers. Retrieved from; https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=RIU_DwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PR9&dq=john+the+apostle&ots=06BS8NsYo_&sig=IkolFtvBkHxvChR15XI7fw2qrMg

Sanders, D. (2018). From critical thinking to spiritual maturity: Connecting the apostle Paul and John Dewey. Christian Education Journal, 15(1), 90-104. Retrieved from; https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0739891318760617.

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