The Gospels succinctly describe the calling of John and his brother James by Jesus. Their immediate response to Jesus’ call is highlighted by them leaving their boat and their father Zebedee to follow Him, as narrated in Matthew 4:21-22.
Peter, James, and John, former fishermen, shared a special bond with Jesus. They were the only disciples present at pivotal events like the Transfiguration, the resurrection of Jairus’s daughter, and Jesus’ agony in Gethsemane. John’s relationship with Jesus was particularly profound. He is referred to as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” in his own Gospel (John 13:23; 19:26; 20:2), and he held the unique honor of being entrusted with the care of Jesus’ mother as per John 19:26-27.
Traditionally, John is credited with authoring the Fourth Gospel, three epistles, and the Book of Revelation. However, modern scholars often question whether the apostle and the evangelist are the same person. John’s Gospel is known for its theological depth, earning him the metaphorical title ‘the eagle of theology.’ This Gospel presents a divine perspective of Jesus, even in the accounts of His earthly life.
Despite their close association with Jesus, the Gospels also reveal the human side of John and James, who were nicknamed by Jesus as “sons of thunder.” This nickname is reflected in two notable incidents. The first incident involves their mother’s request for them to have places of honor in Jesus’ kingdom, to which Jesus teaches about true authority and service (Matthew 20:27-28). The second incident is their suggestion to call down fire from heaven on inhospitable Samaritans, which Jesus rebukes (Luke 9:51-55).
John also plays a crucial role in the events following Jesus’ resurrection. He is one of the first to reach the empty tomb, as described in John 20:2-8. Along with Peter, John witnesses and participates in early miracles after the Resurrection, such as the healing of a man born crippled. Their boldness and unmistakable association with Jesus leave a significant impression, as noted in Acts 4:13.
In summary, the Apostle John emerges as a pivotal figure in the New Testament, not just for his close relationship with Jesus but also for his human qualities and his significant contributions to early Christian teachings and literature.
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