Two disciples with an amazing friendship

I don’t think it is difficult for us to imagine that the twelve disciples chosen by Jesus had a very special bond.  They spent almost every hour of every day for several years together.  They would have cared for each other, helped each other.  Even when Jesus told them that one of the twelve would betray Him, the disciples couldn’t even imagine this.  “His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them He meant.” (John 13: 22)  But, knowing the way people are, it wouldn’t be a surprise if some relationships among the twelve were stronger than others.  In my mind, Peter and John had that special friendship.  Whenever you read of one, the other is close by.  When Jesus told them there was a traitor in their midst, “Simon Peter motioned to this disciple (John) and said, ‘ask Him which one He means.” (John 13: 24)  {It should be noted that John never mentions his own name in his Gospel.  He refers to himself as ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved’ (13: 23, 19: 26, etc.), or ‘another disciple’ or just ‘disciple’ (18: 15, 19: 27)}

At the Transfiguration, it was these two along with James who accompanied Jesus.  “About eight days after Jesus said this, He took Peter, John and James with Him and went up onto a mountain to pray.” (Luke 9: 28)  When the time came for the Last Supper:  “Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, ‘go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.’” (Luke 22: 8)  It was Peter who John turned to when they saw the stranger on the shore, who turned out to be Jesus.  “Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘it is the Lord!’…” (John 21: 7)  When Jesus told Peter what was going to happen to him, Peter’s only question was to inquire of the Lord what was going to become of his good friend, John.  (read John 21: 17-22).

When the women went to the tomb where Jesus had been placed, and found it empty, they ran to report their finding.  “So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, ‘they have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put Him!” (John 20: 2)  So the two men raced to the tomb to see for themselves.  John arrived first.  (Early church leaders tell us John was the youngest of the disciples.  He lived a considerable amount of time after Peter’s death.)   But, notice when John arrived at the tomb, he did not go in.  He waited for his friend to catch up.

When we turn to the Book of Acts, Luke gives us a history of the early church, and we can still find Peter and John often together.  “One day, Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon.”  (Acts 3: 1)  Here they saw a crippled man begging for money.  Peter told him to “look at us”, and he was healed.  Peter and John were imprisoned together, and later spoke before the Sanhedrin.  “When they (Sanhedrin) saw the courage of Peter and John and realized they were unschooled ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4: 13)  “When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the Word of God, they sent Peter and John to them.” (Acts 8: 14)

I really like thinking about the relationship between Peter and John.  We know from history of the difficulties and persecution of the early church.  I just imagine these two men holding each other up in time of need.  “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work; If one falls down, his friend can help him up.  But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!  Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.  But how can one keep warm alone?  Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.  A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”  (Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12)

I hope everyone has a good, loving friend they can trust and rely on.  I am fortunate to have such a person.  In fact, I married her.  (Part 2, next blog)


Dan Porte

Originally from Erie, Pennsylvania, Dan is a graduate of Otterbein College (now University). He graduated with a degree in education. From time to time Dan still substitute teaches. His interest in history led him to investigate the historical accuracy of the Bible. This, in turn, led to a full investigation of Apologetics.

  1. February 12, 2021

    Thank you for your great input on this contagious relationship. It was a great read of a great friendship, even brotherhood.

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