There was a bunch of chin-wagging going on after the other disciples caught wind of the conversations involving Jesus, Peter and John. Jesus had basically told Peter to mind his own business in respect to whatever plans heaven had in mind for John: “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” ~John 21:22 This triggered an uproar of unenlightened speculation: Because of this, the rumor spread among the believers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?” John 21:23
John would die – eventually. According to church tradition John would live out the length of his days as an exile on the Isle of Patmos. Tertullian, writing around 200 a.d. tells us that John was sent into exile as a result of an extraordinary miracle that took place within the Roman Colosseum under the Emperor Domitian. According to Tertullian, John had been plunged into boiling oil in front of the lusty roar of the crowd and survived the experience with nary a blister. Supposedly everyone in the audience was astonished and immediately converted to Christ as they witnessed this miracle. That would certainly do it for me. It didn’t do it for old Domitian. Whatever happened, he was highly annoyed with John and sent him packing. This event would have occurred in the late 1st century – just a few decades shy of when it was included in Tertullian’s work entitled: The Prescription of Heretics.
John winds down this glorious, incredible and accessible gospel with a few closing remarks: This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true. Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written. ~John 21:24,25
Indeed. We know John’s testimony is true because his own humanity has shown through from the first chapter. He has revealed Christ in a way no other gospel writer quite matches. He has had an eye for the stories of individuals caught in the confusion of life and who were set free by the touch of the Master’s hand. It’s been quite a ride. I hope you’ve enjoyed our time together in the Gospel of John.
(Up next….I have recently been teaching a series at church entitled: Benedictus, which is the Latin word for Blessing. In the acrimonious times in which we live I thought it might be helpful to bring a few of those thoughts to this wider audience. Read on!)