This coming Sunday is the 6th Sunday of Easter in lectionary Year C. On the 2nd and 3rd Sundays after Easter, the gospel was taken from the end of the Gospel of John – all post-Resurrection scenes. And then we jumped back to John 10 for Good Shepherd Sunday (4th Sunday after Easter), a scene that occurs well before Jesus’ final week in Jerusalem. Last week and this Sunday coming, we are in the middle of Jesus’ farewell discourse from John 13-17, a scene immediately following the Last Supper. We have but a few verses which are an integral part of a much larger passage. Accordingly, the Discourse can be outlined in a number of ways, though three main parts are fairly clear:
- The first part (13:31-14:31) focuses on Jesus’ departure and discusses the disciples’ relation to Jesus and their conflict with the world. Our gospel passage is from John 14:23-29.
- The second part (15:1-16:33) develops these same themes, moving from the relationship of Jesus to the disciples, using the figure of the vine and the branches (15:1-17), to the conflict between the disciples and the world (15:18-16:15), and on to a promise to the disciples of joy in the future after the sorrow of this time of separation (16:16-33).
- In the third major part Jesus prays to his Father (17:1-26).
Throughout, the overall theme is the Father’s presence with the disciples and the Son’s and Spirit’s roles in mediating his presence.
Later today, I will provide more detail for those who want to dig in a little deeper. It will provide a wider view of our gospel passage by considering the text surrounding Jesus’ departure (13:31-14:31).