So who is John?
Who is this man that’s written the Gospel of John? Why is he different from the writers of the synoptic gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke? What in the world is a synoptic?
Before we begin our study on Monday, there may be a few of you who’d like a little extra background info. So, over the next couple days we’ll take a quick look at 1) who John is, and 2) why his gospel is so unique.
Part 1: Who Is John?
Out of the NLT Study Bible, John is described this way:
John, brother of James and son of Zebedee, was one of the twelve apostles. He has been identified as the author of the Gospel of John, the Letters of John, and the book of Revelation. John’s name ususally occurs after James’s, which suggests that John was younger. James and John were fishermen like their father and among the first whom Jesus called as disciples, and they left everything to follow him. Jesus named them “Sons of Thunder” (Mark 3:17), which might imply that they were loud or short-tempered.
John’s name occurs three times in Acts; each time he was working with Peter (Acts 3:1-11; 4:1-23; 8:14-25). Paul referred to him as one of the “pillars” of the church in Jerusalem (Galatians 2:9).
The most widespread tradition about John’s later life is that he moved to Ephesus, where he eventually became the bishop of Asia Minor, lived to an old age, and died peacefully in the company of friends. His Gospel provides the most profound portrait that we have of Jesus.
In her book The Beloved Disciple: Following John to the Heart of Jesus, Beth Moore writes:
John the apostle must have thought he had seen everything. Having been with Jesus all the years of his ministry, John witnessed more miracles than he could count, saw more displays of power than he could comprehend, and experienced more love than he could fathom. And one unforgettable morning young John outran Peter to his Savior’s empty tomb. …Christ took John on a lifelong journey into the depths of His love.
John saw Jesus like no one else. Still a young man, John saw Jesus as a teacher and miraculous healer. He saw Him as the Lamb who was slain, on a cross, crucified. He witnessed Him as the resurrected Messiah. But beyond that, as the author of the book of Revelation, a now seasoned John was given a new vision of Jesus, as the coming Lord of lords, riding in triumph on a white horse, as the holy warrior and conquering King of kings (Revelation 19:11-16).
John was witness to it all. What an anointed life. And just as John knew Jesus personally, let us do the same. Let’s not just know more about Him, let’s truly know Him.
Stay tuned for a look at what makes John’s Gospel so unique…