John was known as the Beloved Disciple because of his close relationship with Jesus. Jesus selected him to be the caretaker of his mother Mary, while Jesus was on the cross. John wrote the fourth gospel, three epistles, and the Book of Revelation. His ministry was in Asia Minor, and he took diligent care of Mother Mary in Ephesus. While preaching in Ephesus, the Roman authorities took John to Rome for trial. They sentenced him to death in boiled oil. God miraculously saved him from it and so the emperor nullified his death sentence. The Emperor Domitian expelled him to the island of Patmos, where he had a vision and authored the book of Revelation. After the death of Domitian, the Romans freed John. He returned to Ephesus, where he served the churches in Asia Minor, until his death around 100 A.D. when he was 88 years old. He was the only apostle who died of natural causes.
DISCIPLE WHOM JESUS LOVED
Only John the Evangelist has this usage in the gospel. From the early church onwards, it is believed to be a reference to John himself. There are five occasions when John uses this phrase in his gospel:
1. John 13:23. At the last supper when John was reclining with Jesus along with other apostles.
2. John 19:26. When Jesus entrusted his mother to John while on the cross.
3. John 20:2. When Mary Magdalene reported the empty tomb to Peter and John.
4. John 21:7. When John identified to Peter that Jesus was on the shore directing them for the miraculous catch of fish.
5. John 21:20. Peter asking of John’s end of life to Jesus after Jesus talked about how Peter would die.
The author, out of his modesty, was not using his name or “I” at these places. Another reasoning is that because of the persecution when the gospel was published, the author was concealing his identity for security reasons while his readers would recognize who he was.
Like John, let us have an intimate relationship with Jesus and his mother, Mary. John is a model for us to take the risk in our lives for evangelization as living martyrs.