John, son of Zebedee, was one of the twelve apostles of Our Lord. Together with his brother James and with Simon Peter, he formed a kind of inner circle of Three among the Twelve, in that those three were privileged to behold the miracle of the Great Catch of Fish (L 5:10), the healing of Peter's mother-in-law (P 1:29), the raising of the daughter of Jairus (P 5:37 = L 8:51), the Transfiguration (M 17:1 = P 9:2 = L 9:28), and the Agony in Gethsemane (M 26:37 = P 14:33). He expressed a willingness to undergo martyrdom (M 20:22 = P 10:39) -- as did the other apostles (M 26:35 = P 14:31) -- and is accordingly called a martyr in intention. However, we have ancient testimony that, although imprisoned and exiled for his testimony to the Gospel, he was eventually released and died a natural death in Ephesus: "a martyr in will but not in deed."
John is credited with the authorship of three epistles and one Gospel, although many scholars believe that the final editing of the Gospel was done by others shortly after his death. He is also supposed by many to be the author of the book of Revelation, also called the Apocalypse, although this identification is less certain. For a discussion of the authorship of the Gospel of John, send the messages Get John Part1 and Get John Part2 to Listserv@asuacad.bitnet or LISTSERV@ASU.EDU.
Merciful Lord, we beseech thee to cast thy bright beams of Light upon thy Church, that we, being illumined by the teaching of thine apostle and evangelist John, may so walk in the light of thy truth, that we may at length attain to the fullness of life everlasting; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Shed upon your Church, O Lord, the brightness of your light; That we, being illumined by the teaching of your apostle and evangelist John, may so walk in the light of your truth, that at length we may attain to the fullness of eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.