THE AUTHOR'S TESTIMONY TO HIMSELF
the disciple standing by whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour the disciple took her unto his own home" (19:25-27). A comparison of the lists of these women given by Matthew (27:55) and Mark (15:40- 41) indicates that the sister of Jesus' mother was Salome, wife of Zebedee, and the mother of his sons. If this equation is correct, the presence of John the son of Zebedee would be naturally explained, for he was related to Jesus' family. If he were the sole male relative present, he would be the logical person to assume the care of Mary, whose distress at that time would be overpowering. He would also presumably be acquainted with Jesus' background and associates, so that his understanding of Jesus' person and work would be more acute than that of the other disciples.
The account of the crucifixion stresses the reaction of this "witness" to the blood and water that flowed from Jesus' pierced side (John 10:32-35). According to a note in the postscript, the beloved disciple is "the disciple that beareth witness of these things, and wrote these things" (21:24). If the phrase "bear witness" is taken in a technical sense, the various allusions to the unnamed disciple and the beloved disciple must refer to the same person. If the question be raised how this disciple could take Mary to his own home (19:27) and also witness the piercing of Jesus' side, it is not impossible that he could have escorted Jesus' mother back to a dwelling in the city, and then have returned to the scene of Calvary in ample time to see His death.
The record of the resurrection couples him again with Simon Peter. They must have been staying together in the same place, since Mary Magdalene appealed to them in her haste when she found the tomb empty. Both he and Peter ran to investigate the sepulcher, and the "other disciple . . . saw and believed" (20:8). This belief was the motivation for his record, for it compelled him to interpret the person whose life concluded so tragically and yet so victoriously. His inter- pretation, according to his own words, was intended to lead his readers into the same faith.