St. John can be found in many parts of the New Testament and to his pen is attributed the Gospel of John, Revelation and three Letters. He is the “beloved disciple” of the Gospel of John and is the reason for Catholic devotions to Mary.
John 19: 25-27
25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen. 26 When Jesus therefore had seen his mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, he saith to his mother: Woman, behold thy son. 27 After that, he saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own.
In the following passage the beloved disciple is sitting as close to Jesus as was likely possible and so is asking the question for Peter. John is the conduit for the admonitions to avoid receiving communion unworthily.
23 Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved. 24 Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, and said to him: Who is it of whom he speaketh? 25 He therefore, leaning on the breast of Jesus, saith to him: Lord, who is it? 26 Jesus answered: He it is to whom I shall reach bread dipped. And when he had dipped the bread, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. 27 And after the morsel, Satan entered into him. And Jesus said to him: That which thou dost, do quickly.
The CALL of John to discipleship and apostleship with Jesus:
21 And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets: and he called them. 22 And they forthwith left their nets and father, and followed him.
4 Now when he had ceased to speak, he said to Simon: Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. 5 And Simon answering said to him: Master, we have labored all the night, and have taken nothing: but at thy word I will let down the net. 6 And when they had done this, they enclosed a very great multitude of fishes, and their net broke. 7 And they beckoned to their partners that were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they were almost sinking. 8 Which when Simon Peter saw, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying: Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord. 9 For he was wholly astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken. 10 And so were also James and John the sons of Zebedee, who were Simon’s partners. And Jesus saith to Simon: Fear not: from henceforth thou shalt catch men. 11 And having brought their ships to land, leaving all things, they followed him.
An interesting story that shows that the mother of St. John was rather ambitious for her sons! Made another opportunity for the beloved disciple to be given the example of service and love that marked all his writings.
Matthew 20: 20-28
20 Then came to him the mother of the sons of Zebedee with her sons, adoring and asking something of him. 21 Who said to her: What wilt thou? She saith to him: Say that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left, in thy kingdom. 22 And Jesus answering, said: You know not what you ask. Can you drink the chalice that I shall drink? They say to him: We can. 23 He saith to them: My chalice indeed you shall drink; but to sit on my right or left hand, is not mine to give to you, but to them for whom it is prepared by my Father.
24 And the ten hearing it, were moved with indignation against the two brethren. 25 But Jesus called them to him, and said: You know that the princes of the Gentiles lord it over them; and they that are the greater, exercise power upon them. 26 It shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be the greater among you, let him be your minister: 27 And he that will be first among you, shall be your servant. 28 Even as the Son of man is not come to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a redemption for many.
The special commission given to the 12 to preach and names given. John and his brother James were called by Jesus, “Sons of Thunder” for the passion and zeal within them.
13 And going up into a mountain, he called unto him whom he would himself: and they came to him. 14 And he made that twelve should be with him, and that he might send them to preach. 15 And he gave them power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils. 16 And to Simon he gave the name Peter: 17 And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he named them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder: 18 And Andrew and Philip, and Bartholomew and Matthew, and Thomas and James of Alpheus, and Thaddeus, and Simon the Cananean: 19 And Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.
Another story from the New Testament. This one relating how John, one of the “sons of thunder” and Peter, rock on which the Church is built, were preaching and FIVE THOUSAND were converted to the consternation of the authorities. (Remember! these 5,000 converts were made without violence or coercion–just speaking!) John stood witness to Peter’s authoritative words about the name of Jesus from Acts 4:12, “Neither is there salvation in any other. For there is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved.” Remember this testimony when false teachers come to say there are others to whom one should look for salvation. “NO OTHER NAME…WHEREBY WE MUST BE SAVED.”
1 AND as they were speaking to the people, the priests, and the officer of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, 2 Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead: 3 And they laid hands upon them, and put them in hold till the next day; for it was now evening. 4 But many of them who had heard the word, believed; and the number of the men was made five thousand.
5 And it came to pass on the morrow, that their princes, and ancients, and scribes, were gathered together in Jerusalem; 6 And Annas the high priest, and Caiphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest. 7 And setting them in the midst, they asked: By what power, or by what name, have you done this? 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said to them: Ye princes of the people, and ancients, hear: 9 If we this day are examined concerning the good deed done to the infirm man, by what means he hath been made whole: 10 Be it known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God hath raised from the dead, even by him this man standeth here before you whole. 11 This is the stone which was rejected by you the builders, which is become the head of the corner. 12 Neither is there salvation in any other. For there is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved.
13 Now seeing the constancy of Peter and of John, understanding that they were illiterate and ignorant men, they wondered; and they knew them that they had been with Jesus. 14 Seeing the man also who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. 15 But they commanded them to go aside out of the council; and they conferred among themselves, 16 Saying: What shall we do to these men? for indeed a known miracle hath been done by them, to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem: it is manifest, and we cannot deny it. 17 But that it may be no farther spread among the people, let us threaten them that they speak no more in this name to any man. 18 And calling them, they charged them not to speak at all, nor teach in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John answering, said to them: If it be just in the sight of God, to hear you rather than God, judge ye. 20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. 21 But they threatening, sent them away, not finding how they might punish them, because of the people; for all men glorified what had been done, in that which had come to pass. 22 For the man was above forty years old, in whom that miraculous cure had been wrought.
23 And being let go, they came to their own company, and related all that the chief priests and ancients had said to them.
The Apostles witness to how we are to be as Catholics when the authorities, of ANY sort, order us to violate God’s teachings. “We ought to obey God, rather than men.” said Peter. And so the Apostles witnessed even before those who could order them put to death.
Acts 5:27-31, 41
27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest asked them, 28 Saying: Commanding we commanded you, that you should not teach in this name; and behold, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and you have a mind to bring the blood of this man upon us. 29 But Peter and the apostles answering, said: We ought to obey God, rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers hath raised up Jesus, whom you put to death, hanging him upon a tree. 31 Him hath God exalted with his right hand, to be Prince and Saviour, to give repentance to Israel, and remission of sins. 32 And we are witnesses of these things and the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to all that obey him…. 41 And they indeed went from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were accounted worthy to suffer reproach for the name of Jesus.
Again we see that Peter and John were working together to preach Jesus. We also see that there is a scriptural basis for the Sacrament of Confirmation following Baptism.
14 Now when the apostles, who were in Jerusalem, had heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John. 15 Who, when they were come, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost. 16 For he was not as yet come upon any of them; but they were only baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then they laid their hands upon them, and they received the Holy Ghost.
The Apostles had the authority to approve the work of Paul and so he traveled to Jerusalem to consult with them. Having approved his theology, James, Cephas (Peter) and John gave formal approval to his work.
9 And when they had known the grace that was given to me, James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship: that we should go unto the Gentiles, and they unto the circumcision”
John’s testimony to Jesus as only begotten son of God and his warnings against false prophets and how to recognize them is very timely for us today!!
1 John 4:1-15
1 Dearly beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits if they be of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 2 By this is the spirit of God known. Every spirit which confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is of God: 3 And every spirit that dissolveth Jesus, is not of God: and this is Antichrist, of whom you have heard that he cometh, and he is now already in the world. 4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome him. Because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. 5 They are of the world: therefore of the world they speak, and the world heareth them. 6 We are of God. He that knoweth God, heareth us. He that is not of God, heareth us not. By this we know the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.
7 Dearly beloved, let us love one another, for charity is of God. And every one that loveth, is born of God, and knoweth God. 8 He that loveth not, knoweth not God: for God is charity. 9 By this hath the charity of God appeared towards us, because God hath sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we may live by him. 10 In this is charity: not as though we had loved God, but because he hath first loved us, and sent his Son to be a propitiation for our sins. 11 My dearest, if God hath so loved us; we also ought to love one another. 12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abideth in us, and his charity is perfected in us. 13 In this we know that we abide in him, and he in us: because he hath given us of his spirit. 14 And we have seen, and do testify, that the Father hath sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world.
15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God abideth in him, and he in God.
In this day in which our Faith is under attack by our own government and by false teachers both within and without we come to the Feast of St. John, son of thunder, beloved disciple, apostle and evangelist, and New Testament writer whose writings were aimed at the ideas being used to attack the Church, Body of Christ, of which we are parts.