Bible Reading: Acts 3:1-9; 4:13-22
John would have been just a young man when Jesus called him, and said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” He was probably in his early to mid twenties.
John spent nearly three years in close association with Jesus and, together with Peter and his brother James, belonged to the “inner circle” of Jesus’ close friends. They were together when Jesus raised Jairus’ daughter from the dead [Mark 5:37], when Jesus was transfigured [Matthew 17:1], and in the Garden of Gethsemane, when Jesus went through His deep struggle before going to the cross.
John is mentioned three times in the Book of Acts, and was clearly a man of authority in the early church. He was with Peter when the lame man was healed [Acts 3:1], addressing the Sanhedrin [Acts 4:13], and together with Peter was sent by the Church in Jerusalem to pray for people in Samaria to receive the Holy Spirit [Acts 8:14]. Seventeen years after his conversion, the apostle Paul met with Peter and John in what became known as the Council of Jerusalem. John, who would have been in his early forties by that time, was, together with Peter, recognised as a pillar in the church at Jerusalem [Galatians 1:18; 2:1 and 2:9].
Little is known of the middle period of John’s life, but when he was in his mid-sixties, and shortly before the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD, John moved to Ephesus. He became the pastor of the church in Ephesus, in what is modern-day Turkey, and had a special relationship with the other churches in that area. There is a church tradition, which says, that Mary, the mother of Jesus, lived in Ephesus with John for several years. It was whilst living in Ephesus that John wrote his gospel, sometime after 80 AD, and following this wrote his three epistles.
Whilst living in Ephesus John was arrested and sentenced to death. Tertullian, the 2nd-century North African theologian, reported that John was plunged into boiling oil from which he miraculously escaped unscathed. Following this escape the Roman emperor Domitian ordered that he should be exiled to an island called Patmos. It was while on Patmos that Jesus revealed to John what we have today in the Book of Revelation. John is referred to by name four times in the Book of Revelation [Rev. 1:1,4,9; 22:8].
When he was released from exile John returned to Ephesus. John’s brother
James was the first of the apostles to die; on the other hand, John was the last. John died peacefully in Ephesus in old age around the year 100 AD and was the only one of the apostles who did not die as a martyr for his faith.
If someone wrote your biography would it be, like that of John, the story of someone who fully followed the Lord? Why not look back at the time when Jesus called you to follow Him? What have been the key moments in your journey with Jesus since He called you to follow Him?