The First Disciples of Jesus
December 27, 2017
35 “The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, ‘Look, here is the Lamb of God!’ 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.” ~ John 1:35-37 (NRSVACE)
At first glance, John the Apostle of Christ is a very interesting character. I mean I had to read and re-read this scripture before I figured out that John in writing this Gospel had chosen to leave his own name out opting instead to mention other disciples first, namely his brother James. This makes for quite a read to figure out which John is being mentioned let alone trying to determine who is actually the first disciple. So here is the story of Apostle John, the humble disciple; the Apostle that Jesus loved much.
It is assumed by biblical scholars, (of which I am not), that Apostle John and his brother James were both disciples of John the Baptist first and as such they would have been present and seen Jesus be baptized in the Jordan. It is also believed that both brothers would have been baptized before meeting Jesus. They both deliver to us first-hand accounts of the ministry of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ. Next, it is believed that both men were related to Jesus as their mother was the sister of Our Blessed Mother Mary, who is mentioned in the Bible as being named Salome. But let’s go back to the scripture above,
‘The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples.’
The immediate question that arises is, ‘Which John is being talked about here?’ Answer – John the Baptist. The second question that comes to mind is, ‘Which two of his disciples?’ Answer – The sons of Zebedee (a fisherman of Galilee) John and his brother James. The Gospel states that they were curious and followed Jesus and was invited to stay with Him. The other very interesting note is that James is always mentioned before John leading many to believe that James is John’s older brother.
40 “One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.” ~ John 1:40 (NRSVACE)
As the story develops we read that Andrew and his brother Simon Peter also heard and followed Christ, so in this it appears that James and John with Andrew and Simon Peter also knew one another, they all left their craft of fishing and chose to follow John the Baptist, excited about the coming of the Lord. This is such an important point because these men are the foundation of Christianity after Christ died and was resurrected and ascended into Heaven. It is what these men wrote, what they preached, and what they staked their lives on in the years after Christ. But, it was the Apostle John who would go on the write the Book of John, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John, and Revelations. During the three years of Christ’s ministry, John is the faithful disciple, the reflective disciple, and the classic servant. John got it from day one, and his own ministry reflected many of these qualities. John was a brave leader as he helped preach the Pentecost sermon. John with Simon Peter healed the lame man, was jailed together for their faith and preachings. Both men were sent by the other apostles to investigate the Samaritan revival. This reflects leadership and fortitude in preaching about Jesus and the Kingdom of Heaven. Apostle John traveled prolifically throughout the Mediterranean starting churches where ever he went. His writing and authorship became the bedrock of Christian doctrine and how we view Christ today. According to David Peach who writes, “Tradition holds that John was sentenced to death in a boiling vat of oil. Yet he emerged unharmed from the experience. Again tradition tells us that John lived into old age dying sometime after AD 98. He is thought to have died in Ephesus.” ~ John the Apostle: Bible Biography Facts and Death (2014).
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