John 21:22-23 Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.” Then this saying went out among the brethren that this disciple would not die…
It is amazing what kind of rumors will pass around, even for generations. As a boy I remember someone preaching that they thought that it was possible that John was still alive even today.
I really think that that is a long stretched rumor. But there may be something to this rumor.
The “he” in this verse is John himself, the author of the book. It was something that he did throughout his book, referring to himself as the other disciple, always nameless.
What is interesting is that John did outlive all of the other disciples. It would seem that they had all be killed by 74 A.D. and only John remained. By 90 A.D., according to Tertullian, Rome tried to boil John in oil but he would not die nor had any burns. But still convinced of his guilt as a Christian they sentenced him to a prison camp on the Island of Patmos.
It is here that John saw Jesus. What Jesus had said in John 21 now has been fulfilled. John experienced the return of Jesus in the book of Revelation, whether we see that the return was to John himself or that he actually was allowed to travel through time and experience it. Can we say for sure? Nevertheless, it was fulfilled.