Depending on your age, this column is either a walk down memory lane or a “history” lesson — 50 years in the making. So, if you look over at someone reading this column and nodding their head up and down in phantom agreement, you can take a guess at their age.
The Year 1968 was a year in which a manned spacecraft first orbited the moon, the Boeing 747 made its first commercial flight, average monthly house rent was $130, gas was $0.34/gallon, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy were assassinated, Intel Corporation was founded, the Beatles released the “White Album,” the first Big Mac went on sale (…for $0.49), Ziplock sandwich bags were introduced, the “hip” products of the year were bean-bag chairs and lava lamps, and you will want to burn any remaining Polaroid pictures of what you thought was high fashion. Continue reading
Verses 17-18 form the conclusion to the discourse. In these verses, the shepherd metaphor is abandoned completely and Jesus speaks directly about his death and relationship with God. These verses focus on three theological themes that are essential to understanding the death of Jesus in John.
First, these verses place Jesus’ death fully in the context of his relationship with God. Verse 17 contains the first linkage of “love” (agapaō) with Jesus’ death in the Fourth Gospel. God’s love for the world (3:16) and for Jesus (3:35) are already known to the reader, and this verse adds a new dimension to that love. God loves Jesus because Jesus lives out God’s commandment fully (v.18). In the Fourth Gospel, the core commandment that Jesus gives his disciples is that they love one another just as he has loved them (13:34). The sign of Jesus’ love for them is that he is willing to lay down his life for them (cf. 13:1; 15:13). Jesus thus obeys the same commandment from God that he passes on to his disciples, to live fully in love. It is wrong to read the these verses as saying that Jesus wins the Father’s love through his death; rather, his death is the ultimate expression of the love relationship that already exists and defines who he is and how he enacts God’s will for the world. Continue reading