John and his Gospel
John of course was a Jew. He was a native of the northern province of Israel called Galilee. The Galileans were more receptive to new ideas than the Jews of Judea in the south, who were oppressed by the strict religious authority of the Jerusalem based teachers of the law and the Pharisees.
The greater period of Jesus’ ministry was spent in this area.
We know that John had a brother James who was probably older then he was because James is mentioned first in the Bible. He had a father, Zebedee and a mother, Salome. Salome also followed Jesus. Matthew 27:56 tells us she was at the cross.
It’s thought that the family was somewhat affluent because Mark 1:20 refers to Zebedee’s hired men. And there are several places in the gospels that infer Salome had resources that she used to minister to the Lord.
John had a house of his own to which he took Jesus’ mother after the crucifixion and his family had some connection with the wealthy and influential high priest, according to John 18:16.
John became one of 3 disciples who were closest to Jesus: James, Peter and John were the 3 who witnessed the transfiguration, the raising of Jairus’ daughter and were at Gethsemane.
John called himself the disciple that Jesus loved. He wasn’t bragging, he was in awe of the fact that Jesus, the Son of God, loved him! And hung out with him! Just as today we should be in awe that He loves us and hangs out with us!
John had no recognized education, but his intimate relationship with the person in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge qualified him to write one of the most philosophical and mature books in existence.
The earlier 3 gospels simply recorded what Jesus did and what He said. John gives, in addition, a special emphasis on what Jesus meant. While the first 3 gospels recorded the miracles of Jesus and the effects of those miracles upon the people, John calls the miracles signs because each miracle had a spiritual significance and was in itself an outward sign of an inward truth.
John wrote his gospel after a lifetime of meditation. For nearly 70 years John had thought and taught Jesus, the Son of God. And day after day the Holy Spirit revealed to him the meaning of the words and deeds he remembered.