Being Reminded

Spirit-n-CommandmentsThe gospel for today is part of a longer section of John’s Gospel known by various names, but is easily understood and seen as a final farewell to his disciples as his arrest in Gethsemane is lingering on the horizon. It has formed the daily gospels for a while now. This “Farewell Discourse” has distinct components. First, Jesus tells the disciples that he will be going away to the Father, that he will send the Holy Spirit to guide the disciples. Jesus bestows peace on the disciples and commands them to love one another. The expression of the unity of love between Jesus and his Father, in the Spirit, as it applies to his disciples in the love of Christ, is a key theme in the discourse, manifested by several reiterations of the New Commandment: “love one another as I have loved you.”

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Keeping the Word: introduction

farewell-discourse23 Jesus answered and said to him, “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me. 25“I have told you this while I am with you. 26 The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name—he will teach you everything and remind you of all that (I) told you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. 28 You heard me tell you, ‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you this before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe.
(John 14:23-29)

Introduction. Our passage today is taken from the “Farewell Discourse” of Jesus contained in five chapters of John (13:1-17:56). In other words, 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: Continue reading

Love and Commandments

gospel_of_john_logo1Commentary. Jesus’ discourse (at this point) begins to move in a new direction by focusing on the ways in which belief in Jesus empowers the believing community (v.12 ff). Jesus has emphasized that the works he does are not his own but are the Father’s; now Jesus begins to emphasize the link between his works that of the believing community. Our gospel text describes two dimensions of the believer’s relationship with Jesus: (1) the inseparability of one’s love of Jesus and the keeping of his commandments (vv.15, 21, 23-24) and (2) the abiding and indwelling of the presence of God, even after Jesus’ death and departure with those who love him (vv.16-20, 22-23). Continue reading

Pericopes and Context

Gospel-of-John-logo2One of the topics most (if not all) students of the Bible should be familiar with is exegesis. Simply put, it means to give your best effort to let the text tell you what it had to say without trying to place your meaning on top of the words. Part of that training is to begin to gain a sense of when the context changes – e.g., when has Jesus changed locations, changed audiences, or perhaps has begun to specifically address a small group within the larger group of people. You have to know when one pericope (pe-ric-o-pe) ends and the next one begins; pericope being a section, a part of the larger narrative. [Sorry, I just had to use the word. It is from the Greek peri- + kopē, the act of cutting.] Continue reading

Farewell: context

John 14:1–12 1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me.2 In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. 4 Where (I) am going you know the way.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” 8 Philip said to him, “Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else, believe because of the works themselves. 12 Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father. Continue reading