Today, I’m writing a story.
The Beautiful Story of John The Beloved!!
He had a thriving fishing business, which he was running with his brother James and their father Pa Zebedee.
He had a sweet Mother Mrs Zebedee – who was traditionally believed to be Salome who was traditionally believed to be Mary’s sister, leading to the assumption that James and John could have been Jesus’ first cousin. (John the Baptist too was a cousin to the Lord). Interesting Family Tree, right?
John and James had partners in the business, also two brothers named Andrew and Peter. But it appeared Andrew had other priorities (him being a “peoples’ person”), thereby leaving the other three young men to their close friendship.
The trio of Peter, James and John would later become Jesus’ inner circle
Jesus had other siblings, 4 brothers, and also sisters. The most popular of his siblings was his immediate younger brother James. But they were not that close. In fact, when Jesus started his ministry, his brother James believed he was crazy and antagonized him on several occasions, thus severing the expected bond between them and leaving Jesus in the company of his friends / followers. At a point, even Jesus denied his biological family and siblings publicly.
Jesus found a new brother in John, and loved him like he would have loved his own siblings.
One day, Jesus was going to die. He was arrested and was going to be executed like a criminal.
Five prominent people were present on that walk through the long winding path to the Cross where He was crucified:
There was Judas who betrayed him.
There was Peter who was busy denying him and shifting position.
There was his own brother James, who was nowhere to be found. (But who knew? He could be following secretly from a distance).
There was John, Jesus’ BFF, who used all his power and connection to stay close to Jesus through it all. (Apparently, he led a fairly comfortable life, and knew many important people)
And there was Mary, the grieving Mum, in the company of other women including Salome, and Mary from Magda
Jesus had to hand over the care of his Mother to someone. She couldn’t just be an old widow… And his siblings had been unreliable. Especially James whose silence was deafening!! He could not even make time to stand beside their Mum!! That was a mean thing to do! Jesus could not trust his own brother.
Shortly before his death, Jesus looked down from the Cross to his most trusted friend – John. And said “John, you just got a new Mum!! She’s your Mum now!!”
That same day, John took Mary to his own house and cared for her for a good while….. Some say until her death.
Fast-forward… Pentecost came and the Church was born. And in the early days of the Church, Haters started doing their job. Persecutions arose. And just like that, John lost his dear brother James who was beheaded by the wicked King Herod…
Did I remember to mention that Jesus did not give up on his brother James???
After his resurrection, he visited all the likely people, such as the disciples… But guess the most unlikely person whom He also visited?? JAMES!! They finally reconciled and James believed him .
James would later become the General Overseer of the Church in headquarters at Jerusalem!!! He even wrote a book in the Bible – the Book of James!!
Fast, fast, fast forward… There was the great tribulation started by a terrorist named Saul (later Apostle Paul). The Church moved from Jerusalem to all Asia Minor / Middle East.
John found his place. In Ephesus (modern day Turkey). He ministered there until he became a very old man, hence the name “The Elder”, and the regular use of the phrase “my children” in the Books of John.
One day, the Roman Emperor Domitian banished him to the Freezing Islands called Patmos.
Now, Patmos was a small, rocky and barren area where many criminals of Rome were sent to serve out their prison terms in harsh conditions.
His accusers thought John would die cruelly in that Island – from harsh weather or killed by a bear or die from starvation or what not.
But they forgot that John had a friend named Jesus.
One day, on the Lord’s day, John was in the Spirit and he saw his old friend!!! Jesus.
Not as the ruggedly handsome guy he used to know, but John saw Jesus in His Glorified Body, full of light… And just like that, the Book of Revelation was born!!!
The Book of Revelation ended with a deep longing in John’s heart. He said and wrote: Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!!
Eventually he was rescued from the Island. And as a very very very old man, he died Peacefully in Ephesus and was buried there in Ephesus.
All the other Apostles died violent death, but our dear John died peacefully. Ironically, his brother James was the first apostle to die.
Our Beloved John was the last man Standing!!