The collect for today, the Feast of St John the Evangelist, from The Book of Common Prayer (Canadian, 1962):
MERCIFUL Lord, we beseech thee to cast thy bright beams of light upon thy Church, that it being enlightened by the doctrine of thy blessed Apostle and Evangelist Saint John may so walk in the light of thy truth, that it may at length attain to the light of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Epistle: 1 St John 1:1-5
The Gospel: St John 21:19-25
John and his brother James (St James the Greater) were Galilean fishermen and sons of Zebedee. Jesus called the two brothers Boanerges (“sons of thunder”), apparently because of their zealous character; for example, they wanted to call down fire from heaven on the inhospitable Samaritans. John and James, together with Peter, belonged to the inner group of the apostles who witnessed the Transfiguration and the agony in Gethsemane. It was John and Peter whom Jesus sent to prepare the final Passover meal.
In the lists of disciples, John always appears among the first four, but usually after his brother, which may indicate that John was the younger of the two.
According to ancient church tradition, St John the Evangelist was the author of the New Testament documents that bear his name: the fourth gospel, the three epistles of John, and Revelation. John’s name is not mentioned in the fourth gospel (but 21:2 refers to “the sons of Zebedee”), but he is usually if not always identified as the beloved disciple. It is also generally believed that John was the “other disciple” who, with Peter, followed Jesus after his arrest. John was the only disciple at the foot of the cross and was entrusted by Christ with the care of his mother Mary.
After Christ’s resurrection and ascension, John, together with Peter, took a leading role in the formation and guidance of the early church. John was present when Peter healed the lame beggar, following which both apostles were arrested. After reports reached Jerusalem that Samaria was receiving the word of God, the apostles sent Peter and John to visit the new Samaritan converts. Presumably, John was at the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15). He is not mentioned later in the Acts of the Apostles, so he appears to have left Palestine.