John, The Beloved Disciple

John, The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved
By Fr. George T. Montague, S.M.

In the gospel of John there are five explicit references to “the disciple whom Jesus loved.”

He leaned on the breast of Jesus at the last supper (13:23),

stood with the Mother of Jesus at the foot of the cross (19:25-27),

ran with Peter to the tomb after Mary Magdalen told them it was empty and was the first to believe that Jesus had risen on the basis of the “sign” of the headpiece rolled up (20:2-8),

was the first to recognize Jesus on the shore of the sea of Galilee (21:7)

and hears Jesus contrast the Beloved Disciple’s future with Peter’s at the very end of the gospel (21:20).

Tradition has identified the Beloved Disciple with John the Apostle, the brother of James, one of the original twelve who were called by Jesus early in his ministry. Saint Irenaeus toward the end of the second century says that the Beloved Disciple was the one who published the gospel while living in Ephesus.

Thus John the Apostle, the Evangelist, and the Beloved Disciple have traditionally been thought to be the same person. Scholars have questioned whether this is so (see Fr. Montague’s discussion in his book “The Vision of the Beloved Disciple”, reviewed below). 

The Beloved Disciple never gives us his name. Neither does he tell us the name of “the mother of Jesus!” For him, the fact that Jesus loves him is the only relevant fact about his identity just as for Mary her importance is that she is the mother of Jesus. The Muratorian Fragment, a partial list of canonical books dated about 170 AD, says that John “related all things in his own name, aided by the revision of all.”

This seems to indicate that the Beloved Disciple’s memories of Jesus were cherished by a community of disciples, who adapted them to their emerging pastoral needs, There are some indications that the Fourth Gospel was edited in its final form by a close disciple of the original disciple.

This indicates that John’s testimony has inspired a community that sought to live and keep alive for succeeding generations the “Vision of the Beloved Disciple”.

It is this vision that has inspired the “Brothers of the Beloved Disciple”. Our Rule of Life seeks to implement that vision in the context of today’s world.

The Vision of the Beloved Disciple 
Meeting Jesus in the Gospel of John

Imagine being able to sit at the feet of the Beloved Disciple and to learn from him all that he had come to understand about the mystery of Jesus, having lived so closely with the Lord during his life and having pondered the wonder of it all for many years after. John’s portrait of Jesus is an exalted one, revealing fascinating facets of his life and ministry very gradually, each element cryptically containing and pointing to the central mystery of the passion, death, resurrection of the Lord and his giving of the Holy Spirit. In this remarkable work Father Montague revisits many of the most familiar passages from the Gospel of John and, with rare and surprising insights, helps us to see in depth much of what is hidden under the surface of these popular texts in a way that enables us to experience the impact of John’s unique vision of Jesus.

About Fr. George T. Montague, S.M. as Author

Fr. Montague is author of more than thirty scholarly titles in the area of biblical and pastoral theology, received his doctorate in Sacred Theology at the University of Fribourg,Switzerland. Among his many other duties as a Marianist priest, he served as director of novices for six years in Kathmandu, Nepal and now serves as Superior of the Brothers of the Beloved Disciple, in San Antonio, Texas.

Reviews of The Vision of the Beloved Disciple 

“Designed for those who desire spiritual nourishment from the Gospels, this book probes the beauty and power of John’s portrayal of Jesus in the Fourth Gospel. Montague’s approach is to view Jesus from the perspective of the “Beloved Disciple,” who he presumes is the key source for this Gospel’s unique presentation of Jesus. Each segment closes with evocative questions for meditation or discussion.”

-- Donald Senior, C.P. in The Bible Today, May/June, 2000

“The Vision of the Beloved Disciple: Meeting Jesus in the Gospel of John by Marianist Fr. George T. Montague, is an insightful look at John’s Gospel. He notes that the ‘disciple whom Jesus loved’ has no name, and thus we are invited to put our own name there, confident that each of us is that disciple.”

-- Fr. William C. Graham in National Catholic Reporter “Bookshelf”, September 1, 2000

Originally printed by the Alba House, it is now available in reprint from:

Fr. George Montague
1701 Alametos
San Antonio, TX 78201
(210) 667-6751

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