Saint John


Saint John as depicted in
the stain glass window
at the altar of SMSJ church

John was one of the twelve Apostles of Jesus.

He was the son of Zebedee and Salome and younger brother of James, son of Zebedee, another of the Twelve Apostles.

James and John were the cousins of Jesus and their mother Salome was the younger sister of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Zebedee and his sons fished in the Lake of Genesareth.  James and John were first disciples of Saint John the Baptist, their second cousin. Jesus then called Saint Peter and Saint Andrew, and these two sons of Zebedee to follow him.  James and John did so and thus rank high among the Twelve Apostles of Jesus.  James and John both held prominent positions for not only being the first of the disciples to be called but also because of their relationship to Jesus among the Apostles. Jesus referred to the pair collectively as “Boanerges” (translated “sons of thunder”) [Mk 3:17] being that although their nature was of a calm and gentle manner, when their patience was pushed to its limits their anger became wild, fierce and thunderous causing them to speak out like an untamed storm. At one point John and his brother James wanted to call down fire on a Samaritan town, but Jesus rebuked them. [Lk 9:51-6]  John survived James by more than half a century after James became the first Apostle to die a martyr’s death.

Christian tradition holds that he outlived the remaining apostles—all of whom suffered martyrdom (except Judas Iscariot) and ultimately died of natural causes “in great old age in Ephesus” at the beginning of the second century.

The Church Fathers generally identify him as the author of five books in the New Testament: the Gospel of John, three Epistles of John, and the Book of Revelation.


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