The writings attributed to John the Apostle have a lot to do with love and spiritual matters. There is one particular matter that has many wondering what Jesus meant. It comes from John 21:22 which states, “Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!”. This verse has been taken out of context throughout history as some believe Jesus was saying that John would live and never die until He returns. But why was this statement even made by Jesus? Peter had just been forgiven for his denial and was told how he would die. My guess is that John was present and basically asked Jesus to tell of the others. When Jesus told Peter the above verse, it was not to tell of John’s future but to tell Peter to basically mind his own because at that point he had just been renewed into the family and that he was to follow Jesus.
John was the only Apostle to die of old age
The Apostles went into the world only to be killed by the world while speaking of Jesus. This was showing us how much devotion is necessary to share the Word even unto death. Why was John’s situation different?
One theory is that because John stayed by Mary while the others ran, he would be granted a long life never tasting the blade, noose, or nail. It works because the others left out of fear but John’s Love for the Savior was stronger than any fear the devil could put in his path. John was the first to see the joy in the suffering and while Paul talked about counting all sufferings as joy, John lived in Love and suffering to the fullest.
John might still be alive
This theory has very few if any legs to stand on. Jesus did not say that John would not die but alluded to His power over creation saying that He could decide to keep John alive if He wanted. The believers of this theory often quote passages from Revelation only to realize that John’s long life was attributed to his faith and the great care of those who supported him. John will share the Word again just not as some people believe that it will be an earthly, physical form. John is alive in our memories through reading the Scriptures but so are other Apostles.
John’s body is not in stasis
He is not frozen and hidden somewhere awaiting the return. He died of old age and was buried. He was not physically transformed into a younger version of himself. Why would people even think that God would do that. John is a witness to the end of the age through his writing. He saw Christ’s return and was allowed to write about it. John gave us insight to recognizing the end times but did not specifically give the five W’s. We know only what God needs us to know, the rest will be revealed on His time.
John was the only Apostle to live a full life giving him the ability to share God’s Love with at least four generations of people. He fulfilled the words of Jesus to Peter by living a long and joyfully suffering life and is now part of the Great Counsel of the Twelve with his brethren seated with Jesus. John, the Beloved lived to show and share God’s Love. He is alive in us through the Bible. Thanks be to God that we have discernment to be able to seek the truth of the Word.
Rob, Servant of God