John the Apostle was the son of Zebedee and the younger brother of James (the Greater). Tradition, based on Sacred Scripture, considers Salome their mother. James and John were the cousins of Jesus - their mother Salome was the younger sister of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Zebedee and his sons fished in the Lake of Genesareth. James and John first were disciples of John the Baptist, their second cousin. Jesus called Peter, Andrew, James, and John to follow Him. James and John did so and thus rank high among the Twelve Apostles of Jesus.
James and John both held prominent positions for not only being the first of the disciples to be called but also because of their relationship to Jesus among the Apostles. Jesus referred to the pair collectively as "Boanerges" (translated "sons of thunder") (Mk 3:17) being that although their nature was of a calm and gentle manner, when their patience was pushed to its limits their anger became wild, fierce and thunderous causing them to speak out like an untamed storm.
The fourth Gospel, three epistles (1 John, 2 John, 3 John), and the Book of Revelation are attributed to John. Some modern scholars have raised the possibility that John the Apostle, John the Evangelist, and John of Patmos were three separate individuals. Certain lines of evidence suggest that John of Patmos wrote Revelation but neither the Gospel of John nor the Epistles of John. For one, the author of Revelation identifies himself as "John" several times, but the author of the Gospel of John never identifies himself directly. Some Catholic scholars state that "vocabulary, grammar, and style make it doubtful that the book could have been put into its present form by the same person(s) responsible for the fourth gospel".
John was not only the last of the apostles to die, he was also the last writer of any of the books of the New Testament. His book was probably written last, as John seems to have already read the other Gospels before he wrote his own book. Often, instead of telling his version of an event or parable the others had already written about, he writes about things the other writers did not include. Also, John’s Gospel includes the testimony of John the Baptist. It seems likely that he had some of the writings of John the Baptist.
John, along with Peter and James were the only witnesses of the raising of Jairus's daughter (Mark 5:37), of the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1), and of the Agony in Gethsemane (Matthew 26:37). Only he and Peter were sent into the city to make the preparation for the Last Supper (Luke 22:8). Jesus sent only John and Peter into the city to make the preparation for the final Passover meal (the Last Supper). At the meal itself, the "disciple whom Jesus loved" sat next to Jesus and leaned onto His chest. Tradition identifies this disciple as Saint John (Jn 13:23-25). According to the general interpretation John was also that "other disciple" who with Peter followed Christ after the arrest into the palace of the high-priest (John 18:15). John alone remained near his beloved Master at the foot of the Cross on Calvary with the Mother of Jesus and the pious women, and took the desolate Mother into his care as the last legacy of Christ (John 19:25-27). After the Resurrection John with Peter was the first of the disciples to hasten to the grave and he was the first to believe that Christ had truly risen (John 20:2-10).
Christian tradition says that John the Evangelist was the only one to live into old age; and not killed for his faith. John ended up living in the city of Ephesus (coloured green on map) in Asia Minor (modern Turkey), where it is said he is buried (AD 97). It is also believed that he was exiled to Patmos (coloured purple on map) during the reign of the Roman Emperor Domitian (A.D. 81–96), where he wrote the Book of Revelation, however this is a matter of debate.