The penman of this Gospel is generally taken to have been John the son of Zebedee, Mat_10:2, not either John the Baptist, or John surnamed Mark, Act_15:37. He was a person mightily honoured by Christ's personal favours, and therefore often called the beloveddisciple; you may read of these favours in these scriptures following, Mat_17:1 Luk_9:28Luk_22:8 Joh_13:23Joh_19:26-27 Joh_20:2 Act_3:3Act_4:13 Gal_2:9. Thus far the Scripture guides us. He is thought to have gone to and continued in Asia till the third of the ten persecutions in the time of Trajan. He was by Domitian banished into Patmos, where he wrote the Revelation.
The time when he wrote this Gospel is uncertain; some think about the latter part of his life: he died the last of all the apostles, judged about a hundred years after the birth of Christ. It is said that the heresies of Ebion and Cerinthus, who denied Christ's Divinity, and of the Nicolaitanes, who held many absurd things about his person, gave occasion to the writing of this Gospel; himself mentions the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, Rev_2:6; and Ebion and Cerinthus are thought to be those antichrists which he in his Epistles reflects upon.
Two things are observed of him:
1. That he insists more on the proof of Christ's Divinity, than any of the evangelists; producing his miracles most evidently to prove it.
2. That he mentions very little reported by the other evangelists:
to which I think may be added, that he delivereth the history of the gospel after Christ's resurrection more fully than any of them; he gives us also a more distinct account of the four passovers happening after Christ's baptism; the necessity of faith in Christ, and regeneration; the doctrine of our mystical union with Christ; the sending of the Holy Spirit, and end of his mission, and the advantage that the apostles and others should receive from it. His Gospel is most particularly remarkable for the sublimeness and mysteriousness of the matter, and sweetness of the phrase.