St. John the “Beloved”


It was almost sickeningly warm as desert crickets chirped mindlessly on a quiet April evening. As palm leaves brushed together and flowers bent under an invisible weight, it seemed even the natural world was mourning.

John had been sitting outside a small house as the woman inside slowly packed her things, the small flame in his lamp wavering, about to give up.

His clothes were torn and there was blood, not his own, in dried tracks on his face and his hands.
He wasn’t sure if he was hurt or not—he hadn’t exactly been able to feel anything for the past three hours. If it even had been three hours. Or if it had been more.

Time was warped. He was tired. Jesus had died however many hours ago it was, and now the stars didn’t shine anymore.

Everything was too loud, not to mention the sense of urgency that rapped mercilessly on the back of his pounding head.

The Gentiles were out looking for all of the Twelve, John included, and here he was, sitting in open moonlight as if it were any other regular night.

Despite how badly it hurt, he couldn’t help but remember how he got here.

Two years ago, he’d been an annoying teenager hanging off the end of his older brother James’s tunic, begging to be part of anything he was, soaking in everything their father Zebedee, a fisherman, had to teach them.

He was now the youngest of the Twelve Jesus had chosen, but he always had a nagging feeling that he was the favorite. Or at least one of the favorites.

But he would never exactly ask, probably because he knew that he would never get an answer, which was maybe for the best.

He would have followed Jesus to the ends of the earth. He was going to do just that. He expected to do just that . . . until now.

John had never met anybody like Jesus, anybody who seemed so serene, so understanding, so otherworldly, almost.

John believed everything he said, even if he didn’t understand. He wrote it down, every word.

He promised, if anything terrible ever happened—like it did tonight—that he would be stay right there. And he did. Out of everybody else, all the Twelve, he stayed.

The wooden door shut and John struggled to stand.

“Ready to go?”

Mary’s eyes were dull as she nodded. She was even more heartbroken than he was.

The pair disappeared into the hazy darkness.