The Apostle John was one of the first disciples of the Lord, and there is a tradition that he was the youngest of the Apostles. He was a virgin when the Faith of Christ found him, and he hath remained a virgin for ever. This is why he was the disciple whom Jesus loved more than any of the others, and why he leaned on Jesus' breast. When Peter, who had been married, wished to ask the Lord who it was that was about to betray him, he dared not ask for himself, but beckoned to John, that he should ask it. After the resurrection, when Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that the Lord was risen, Peter and John ran both together to the sepulchre, but John did outrun Peter. Later on, when the Apostles were on the Sea of Galilee, in a ship, fishing, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus, till virgin knew Virgin, and that disciple whom Jesus loved said unto Peter: It is the Lord.
John was both an Apostle and an Evangelist, and also a Prophet. He was an Apostle, in that he wrote to the Churches, as their Teacher. He was an Evangelist, in that he wrote one of the Gospels, the like whereunto was not done by any other of the twelve Apostles save Matthew. He was a Prophet, in that when he was in the Isle of Patmos, whither he had been banished by Domitian on account of his uplifting of his testimony for the Lord, he saw there that Apocalypse which contains such unfathomable mysteries concerning things which shall be hereafter. Also Tertullian said that when he was at Rome, he was put into a vessel of boiling oil, but that he came out cleaner and healthier than he went in.
There is a great difference between his Gospel and the three others. Matthew begins to write as of a man: The Book of the Generation of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the son of Abraham. Luke's first words of history relate to the priesthood of Zacharias. Mark commenceth with the prophecies of Malachi and Isaiah. The first hath the face of a man, in that it giveth the human genealogy; the second hath the face of a calf, in that it setteth forth the victim offered by priests; the third hath the face of a lion, in that we hear therefrom the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight; but the John of whom I write is like a flying eagle, whose kingly flight beareth him up above earth-gathered clouds; yea, an eagle that wingeth his way toward the Father himself, and which crieth: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.