Some right now might consider me a heretic and want to stone me for even asking such a question. However there are those within the gay community who would insist they were (lovers), and this can be proven from the Bible. So who's right?
There are only five scriptures that speak of any special love between Jesus and the Apostle John. They are as follows:
"Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved." (John 13:23 NKJV)
"When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, 'Woman, behold your son!'" (John 19:26)
"Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, 'It is the Lord!' Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment (for he had removed it), and plunged into the sea." (John 20:7)
"Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said, 'Lord, who is the one who betrays You?'" (John 21:20)
The Greek word here is agapao which is to love in a social or moral sense. So there was definitely a strong feeling for each other. However it was not necessarily a sexual relationship, except for one thing. The word agapao comes from a Hebrew root agab meaning have an inordinate affection or lust, to love sensually. Given that possibility it leaves an outside chance that they may have been lovers. I leave you to decide.
A fifth verse on the subject is as follows:
"Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, 'They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him'" (John 20:2)
In this verse the word used for loved is phileos and refers to a brotherly love.
In summation then I would say there is a remote chance that Jesus and the Apostle John were lovers, however I don't believe it can proven, either biblically or historically. History has always maintained that Jesus never married and was single all his life. This, I believe, opens three possibilities, all controversial, and in my opinion, not provable.
1. Jesus was a born eunuch, meaning he was gay. If that is the case then it would be a good possibility that he and the Apostle John may have been lovers. However, as I have said, I consider the evidence weak at best for this idea.
2. Jesus was a eunuch who chose to refrain from sex for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. We know that he wasn't castrated, as that would have barred him from any form of ministry, as well as from entering the temple. However we have ample proof throughout the Gospels that indicate he did not engage in sex, and therefore abstained voluntarily.
3. Jesus was asexual, meaning he had no interest in sex at all. There is no mention that Jesus ever had sex, married, had children, or did anything in that way. We know, however, that he was not anti-sex, as he went to weddings, and nowhere in Scripture is celibacy taught as the norm for Christians or priests (in spite of the Catholic tradition).
In summation I believe the overwhelming evidence would probably be that Jesus and John were not lovers. That would be consistent with church teaching, as well as Christian thought from the earliest days of the church. However, the possibility that they were lovers cant' be ruled out entirely either. So the controversy goes on.
Any feedback would be appreciated.
Rev. John W. Brown