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My book The Mantle is based on the Gospel of John the Evangelist. In the book, John began the lore of the mantle by taking the cloth that covered the head of Jesus from the empty tomb. John is one of the first four Apostles called by Jesus, along with his older brother James. He is also the youngest Apostle, as scholars believe he was perhaps 17 years old. John’s parents are Zebedee and Salome. Salome is also, interestingly, the half-sister of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Jesus and John were cousins. Zebedee and Salome ran a successful fishing business; as tradition states, they caught, shipped, and sold fish packed in salt from saline tributaries of Lake Galilee. John and James most likely attended synagogue school until the age of 12, where they learned to write and read scripture in Hebrew and possibly Greek and Aramaic, common languages at that time.

From the intricate details of his Gospel, John is no ordinary fisherman or apostle. His writing is articulate. His Gospel format is like an ancient Greek play, with characters appearing and engaging in detailed dialogue with Jesus.

This level of detail lets us know that John is an eye-witness apostle. John’s Gospel contains seven famous “I Am” phrases of Jesus. These phrases are important as when Moses asked God for His name, God answered, “I Am” (Exodus 3:14). John tells us through these I Am phrases that Jesus is God. The seven phrases are:

  1. I am the bread of life (John 6:35)
  2. I am the light of the world (John 8:12)
  3. I am the door of the sheep (John 10:7)
  4. I am the good shepherd (John 10:11, 14)
  5. I am the resurrection and life (John 11:25)
  6. I am the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6)
  7. I am the true vine (John 15:1)

Through these sayings, Jesus tells His followers, “I am whatever you need.”

Two other unique aspects of John’s Gospel are the use of the Greek term “Logos” or Word of God and the term “My hour.” Logos is introduced in Chapter 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Again, John is reinforcing that Jesus is God and, therefore, empowered to speak as God to His people. This term also sets John’s Gospel apart from Matthew, Mark, and Luke, as Jesus appears as a Stoic philosopher who teaches ethics and wisdom beyond the current standard of Jewish scribes of that time. Secondly, only in John does Jesus speak of “his hour” to begin and fulfill His mission. Jesus first uses this term with his mother, Mary, in the Wedding of Cana story. In the story, Mary tells Jesus the wedding couple embarrassingly ran out of wine on day three of their seven-day wedding celebration. Jesus responds to Mary, “Woman, why do you involve me? My hour has not yet come.” For John, Jesus consciously knew when He completed the first miracle, which John calls “signs,” His ministry would begin, leading to the arrest, torture, and crucifixion in Jerusalem. In John’s Gospel, Jesus uses the term “my hour” another 17 times in the Gospel, each time referring to the culmination of His ministry.

Finally, I chose John’s Gospel as the basis for The Mantle because Jesus chose John to be the guardian of Mary after his death. From the excruciating pain of the cross, Jesus said, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home” (John 19:26-27). This disciple is John. Jesus loved his mother greatly. He knew his earthly father Joseph had passed. If Jesus had earthly brothers, they would be bound by Jewish law and tradition to take care of their mother. Therefore, the tradition that Mary was a virgin before and after the birth of Jesus appears accurate. Jesus knew no siblings who would take care of his mother. Jesus loved John so much that he gave His mother’s safekeeping to the care of this remarkable apostle who now possesses the power of His mantle.

Dr. Mark F. Hobson, Ph.D., is an ordained priest and prominent educator with an education, theology, and business background. His outstanding contributions to education, as well as his nationally acclaimed work on the Master of Business Administration program at Southern New Hampshire University, have gained him recognition. Dr. Hobson’s neuroeducation study digs into the relationship between religion and learning, providing useful insights published in higher education publications.

If you’re captivated by the connection between The Mantle and the Gospel of John, delve deeper into Dr. Mark F. Hobson’s exploration. Discover how this rich narrative unfolds and gain insights into the profound significance of John’s writings. Visit Dr. Mark F. Hobson’s website at to explore more about his work and the spiritual connections that inspire his writings. Join us on a unique journey that links faith, history, and the power of storytelling.

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