Mystery:Was John a Child?

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John, the favored Apostle of Jesus and the eventual author of the fourth Gospel, is widely viewed as having been an adult like Peter and Jesus Himself.

But was John actually a child during Jesus's ministry, and did Jesus homeschool John with his mother's permission? Subtle indications include:

  • John was not required to pay taxes, as a child would not be. Peter and Jesus, as adults, were required to pay taxes.[1]
  • John reacted as a child might to a town that refused to welcome Jesus, "Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?"[2]
  • Jesus then reacted as an adult would to children: he "turned and rebuked" John (and James).[3]
  • John ran like a child to the empty tomb and took pride in arriving first, but then waited before entering as a child would do in deference to adult supervision
  • John was not identified and interrogated, as Peter was, during the Passion
  • John, though obviously very bright, had no known commitments yet at the time he followed Jesus, just as a youngster would not
  • John believed more quickly than Peter, as age and experience can be detriments to accepting new ideas
  • Jesus "loved" John much as a teacher can have a platonic love for a special student
  • John once rested his head on Jesus's breast, much as a boy would do with a guardian
  • John lived a very long time after Jesus and much longer than the other Apostles
  • John understood Jesus's teachings better than anyone else, perhaps again aided by his young age and lack of conflicting, incorrect views
  • Jesus assigned John to take care of Jesus's mother, Mary, a duty more appropriately given to a boy than to a grown man.
  • John was typically accompanied by his brother James, just as childhood brothers would be and not as adult brothers typically act.
  • John's mother accompanied him as though he were a child, and asked that he and her other son James be placed at Jesus's side in heaven, which is a request a mother would more likely make about children than adults.
  • John was the only Apostle to stay with Jesus during the Crucifixion, suggesting that John was too young to be at risk of being arrested.
  • John understood Jesus's teachings better than others, but was never given a position of leadership, most likely due to his youth.
  • John understood the Resurrection, yet did not think of securing a tomb for Jesus's body; an inexperienced youth is less likely to realize the need for burial.
  • John wrote the Book of Revelation while exiled to Patmos during A.D. 95, during the reign of the Roman Emperor Domition. Yet the Jesus's Crucifixion was as early as A.D. 29. If John were older than 14 at the time of the Crucifixion, then John would have had an unlikely age of being older than 80 when he wrote the Book of Revelation.
  • The New Testament books written by John emphasize the concept of "children" with greater frequency than the other books.
  • Jesus responded to one request by John as an adult would respond to a child: "You don't know what you're asking. ..." (Mark 10:38 (CBP)).

One commentator suggests an age of 12 or 13 for John, and further suggests that the remainder of the Apostles, other than the adult Peter, were teenagers.[4]

References

  1. Matthew 17:24-27 [1]
  2. Luke 9:54 (along with James) [2]
  3. Luke 9:55
  4. http://christianresearchnetwork.info/2008/02/27/jesus-as-rabbi-6-bringing-up-talmidim/
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