|Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also
leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee? (21) Peter
seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?
(22) Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow
(23) Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die:
yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is
that to thee?
(24) This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we
know that his testimony is true. (25) And there are also many other things which Jesus
did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could
not contain the books that should be written. Amen.
John, The Apostle
John, The Apostle. John the Apostle was the son of Zebedee, a fisherman on the Lake of
Galilee, and of Salome, and brother of James, also an apostle. Peter and James and John
come within the innermost circle of their Lord's friends; but to John belongs the distinction of
being the disciple whom Jesus loved. He hardly sustains the popular notion, fostered by the
received types of Christian art, of a nature gentle, yielding, feminine. The name Boanerges,
Mar_3:17, implies a vehemence, zeal, intensity, which gave to those who had it the might of
Sons of Thunder. See James.
The three are with our Lord when none else are, in the chamber of death, Mar_5:37, in the
glory of the transfiguration, Mat_17:1, when he forewarns them, of the destruction of the Holy
City, Mar_13:3, in the agony of Gethsemane. When the betrayal is accomplished, Peter and
John follow afar off. Joh_18:15.
The personal acquaintance which existed between John and Caiaphas, enables him to gain
access to the council chamber, praetorium of the Roman procurator. Joh_18:16; Joh_18:19;
Joh_18:28. Thence, he follows to the place of crucifixion, and the Teacher leaves to him, the
duty of becoming a son to the mother, who is left desolate. Joh_19:26-27.
It is to Peter and John that Mary Magdalene first runs, with the tidings of the emptied
sepulchre, Joh_20:2, they are the first to go together, to see what the strange words meant,
John running on most eagerly to the rock-tomb; Peter, the least restrained by awe, the first to
enter in and look. Joh_20:4-6. For at least eight days, they continue in Jerusalem. Joh_20:26.
Later, on the Sea of Galilee, John is the first to recognize, in the dim form seen in the morning
twilight, the presence of his risen Lord; Peter, the first to plunge into the water, and swim
toward the shore, where he stood calling to them. Joh_21:7.
The last words of John's Gospel reveal to us, the deep affection which united the two friends.
The history of the Acts shows the same union. They are together at the ascension on the Day
of Pentecost. Together, they enter the Temple as worshippers, Act_3:1, and protest against
the threats of the Sanhedrin. Act_4:13. The persecution which was pushed on, by Saul of
Tarsus did not drive John from his post. Act_8:1.
Fifteen years after St. Paul's first visit, he was still at Jerusalem, and helped to take part in the
settlement of the great controversy, between the Jewish and the Gentile Christians. Act_15:6.
His subsequent history, we know only by tradition. There can be no doubt that he removed
from Jerusalem, and settled at Ephesus, though at what time is uncertain.
Tradition goes on to relate that, in the persecution under Domitian, he is taken to Rome, and
there, by his boldness, though not by death, gains the crown of martyrdom. The boiling oil into
which he is thrown has no power to hurt him. He is then sent to labor in the mines, and Patmos
is the place of his exile.
The accession of Nerva frees him from danger, and he returns to Ephesus. Heresies continue
to show themselves, but he meets them with the strongest possible protest. The very time of
his death lies within the region of conjecture, rather than of history, and the dates that have
been assigned for it, range from A.D. 89 to A.D. 120.
Smith’s Bible Dictionary
His Testimony is True
1 John 1:1-4 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen
with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;
(2) (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you
that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) (3) That which we
have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly
our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. (4) And these things write we
unto you, that your joy may be full.
How do you establish the validity of historical testimony?
The Canons of historical criticism were first formulated by George Rawlinson in his Bampton
Lectures of 1859 (Lecture First), and published in his work entitled Historical Evidences.
Abbreviated and otherwise modified, they are as follows:
CANON I. The writings of a contemporary, who is credible, and who has had opportunity for
personal knowledge of the facts recorded, have the highest degree of credibility. Under this
head must be included public records, monuments and inscriptions, made by persons who are
contemporary with the events. (1)
CANON II. Those of a writer who may be reasonably supposed to have obtained his information
from eye witnesses possess the second degree of credibility.
CANON III. Those of a writer who lived in an age later than the events, whose source of
information was oral tradition, have the third and least degree of credibility. But if, in this case,
the vents are of public notoriety, and of such importance as to have affected national life, or to
have been commemorated by some public observance, their credibility is greatly enhance by
CANON IV. When the traditions of one people are corroborated by those of another, especially
by those of a distant and hostile people, this greatly increases the probability of the events.
The value of such evidence depends on the improbability of accidental agreement, and the
impossibility of collusion.
CANON V. The concurrent testimony of independent writers greatly increases the probability of
an event; and their agreement has the greater force when it I incidental, as when one only
alludes to an event which the other narrates, or mentions a circumstance incidentally
explained by another. The probability in this case is increased in a geometrical ratio to the
number of witnesses. That is, the testimony of two is not twice as strong, but four times as
strong as that of one. (1)
Evidences of Christianity, J.W. McGarvey; PART III. The Credibility of the New Testament Books
Many Other Things
As for modern biographies and biographies that have been written throughout history (ie the
last 2000 years) about Jesus, these are far too many to be listed. They run into tens of
thousands. To give some comparison, there have been about 15,000 volumes written about
Abraham Lincoln – more than about any other person except Jesus. What we have in the
Gospels is the definitive story of Jesus’ birth, life, death, burial, resurrection and ascension. It
is the official, eye-witness story from four different viewpoints. But, it has never claimed to be
comprehensive. It is, however, most adequate for its purpose.
To be adequate, it must be accurate. Inspiration guaranteed that.
This gospel contains in itself the clearest proof of inspiration. It is the work of a fisherman of
Galilee, without any proof that he had any unusual advantages. It is a connected, clear, and
satisfactory argument to establish the great truth that Jesus was the Messiah. It was written
many years after the ascension of Jesus. It contains the record of the Saviour’s profoundest
discourses, of his most convincing arguments with the Jews, and of his declarations
respecting himself and God. It contains the purest and most elevated views of God to be found
anywhere, as far exceeding all the speculations of philosophers as the sun does the blaze of a
taper. It is in the highest degree absurd to suppose that an unlettered fisherman could have
originated this book. Anyone may be convinced of this by comparing it with what would be the
production of a man in that rank of life now. But if John has preserved the record of what has
occurred so many years before, then it shows that he was under the divine guidance, and is
himself a proof, a full and standing proof, of the fulfillment of the promise which he has
recorded that the Holy Spirit would guide the apostles into all truth, Joh_14:26. Of this book we
may, in conclusion, apply the words spoken by John respecting his vision of the future events
of the church: “Blessed is he that readeth and they that hear the words of this” book, “and
keep those things which are written therein, for the time is at hand,” Rev_1:3.
The rumor was circulated that John would not die. They listened to what they thought Jesus
said, rather that listening to what Jesus actually said. They did not pay attention to the IF. It is
the same problem that people have today, when either listening or reading. We have a
tendency to hear what we think someone is saying rather than listening to what they are
actually saying. We read what we think should be there rather than what is actually there.
Jesus’ statement was directed toward Peter’s concern about someone else. Rather than
concerning himself with what was going to happen to others, he needed concern himself with
Too many people are more concerned with others’ conduct and rewards, and fail to
concentrate on what they are to be doing – following Jesus. What are you concentrating on?