You will find and introduction and outline to John, here
A prayer from the Book of Common Worship to use before you read.
God, source of all light, by your Word you give light to the soul. Pour out upon us the spirit of wisdom and understanding that, being taught by you in Holy Scripture, our hearts and minds may be opened to know the things that pertain to life and holiness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
11. Book of Glory chapters 13-21
A. The Farewell Meal and Words of Jesus 13:1-17:26
a. The Last Supper 13:1-38
b.The Farewell Discourse and Prayer 14:1-17:26
B. “The Hour Has Come” Jesus Arrest, Trial and Death 18:1-19:42: Note the similarities and differences between John’s gospel and the synoptic gospels. John’s story is the story of Jesus’ hour, which the entire gospel has been moving toward. Notice how John presents Jesus’ hour as the time of his glorification and exaltation. Jesus goes to his death willingly and in control of the situation. In chapters 13-17 John’s telling of the story slows, so Jesus can explain his death. Now the pace quickens and there is little overt theological reflection. Events in chapters 18 and 19 are told by changes in Jesus’ location. There are five “units” in these chapters the arrest, Jesus before Annas, Jesus before Pilate, crucifixion and death, and resurrection. Jesus before Pilate is the longest scene and the center part of these chapters.
a. Jesus’ Arrest 18:1-11: A detachment of soldiers was somewhere between 200-600 soldiers. Notice that both Roman and Jewish officials are present. In verse 4 Jesus goes out to them, “knowing all that was to happen”. Jesus’ question echos his question to John’s disciples in chapter 1. Verse 6 another “I Am” statement. Look at the soldiers response to it! Falling on the ground is what people do when face to face with God.
Judas presentation is different in John than in the other gospels. What is missing? Judas is present in three scenes in John’s gospel, 12:1-18; 13:1-30; and 18:1-12. What does this tell us about Judas?
b. Jesus Before the High Priest and Peter’s Denial 18:12-27: Watch how John interweaves Jesus before Annas and Peter’s denial, inviting us to compare their responses. Verse 17, 25 Peter says “I am not” the reverse of Jesus “I Am”. Verse 18 Peter stands with the officials, similar to Judas in verse 5. How are Judas’ betrayal and Peter’s betrayal the same, how are they different?
c. Jesus before Pilate 18:28-19:16: Notice how Pilate moves back and forth between “the Jews” outside and Jesus, undermining Pilate’s authority as judge. Notice how often “King” occurs. Notice also the repeated disrespect at the Jews by Pilate. Verse 36 Jesus origin and his kingdoms origin (vs location). 9:1-5 notice Jesus remains wearing the crown and purple robe. What the soldiers intended as mockery becomes a visible expression of Jesus’ kingship. Pilate’s words are intended to mock and taunt the Jewish leaders. Verse 11 Jesus is in control not the victim of circumstances. Remember sin in John’s gospel is not about breaking rules but rather defined by whether one recognizes who Jesus is.
d. The Execution of Jesus 19:17-37: Notice there is no mocking of Jesus on the cross. The focus is on Jesus and he is in control. Notice the irony in Pilate’s notice in verse 19. Pilate is not recognizing who Jesus is, Pilate is mocking Jewish leaders and exerting his power over them. Ironically, of course, the shows that Pilate is not actually in power, he just doesn’t realize it. Verses 25-27 what does this story about Jesus’ mother say about the new family of God? Verses 28-30 See Psalm 69:22. The word “to finish” can also mean “to complete”. “I am thirsty” recalls 18:11 and the sour wine contrasts with the wine at Cana and the living water Jesus offers. Verse 30 literally reads “he handed over his spirit” (O’Day,833). Verse 37 see Zech 12:10.
e. The Burial 19:38-40: Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea stop hiding their discipleship to bury Jesus. Notice the excessive amount of burial spices which recalls Mary’s excess of perfume for anointing (12:3).
C. The First Resurrection Appearances 20:1-31:
a. The Empty Tomb 20:1-10: Mary’s worry,”we do not know where they have laid him” is yet another misunderstanding about who Jesus is. Verse 6 Peter is characteristically plunges ahead. The presence of burial clothes suggest the body has not been stolen. Also recall the story of Lazarus, who comes out of the tomb wrapped in grave cloths. What does this say about Jesus and his death? Verse 8 the disciples believe without seeing the risen Jesus- but incompletely.
b. Mary at the Tomb 20:11-18: The angels do not make an announcement. Why are they present? Verse 15 another misunderstanding. Jesus question, “who are you looking for?” works on two levels and recalls his question (and his first words in the gospel) of 1:38. Verse 16 Mary knows his voice, recall the sheep know the voice of the good shepherd (chapter 10). Verse 17 the accension is an important part of John’s understanding of Jesus. “My Father and your Father…” what is true for Jesus is true for his disciples.
c. Appearances to the Disciples and Thomas 20:19-29: Is the peace of verse 19 different than the peace of verse 21? What is the relationship between the gift of the Spirit and continuing Jesus’ work? What other Biblical passages is breath central? (see Gen 2:7 and Ezek 37:9) Is John suggesting this is a new creation? Recall that in John’s gospel, sin is not a moral problem but a theological issue which involves not recognizing who Jesus truly is. What does it mean to forgive sins in this context? Verses 24-31 the disciples announcement to Thomas is similar to Mary’s announcement to the disciples. Are the responses different? A literal translation of verse 27b is “Do not be unbelieving, but believing”. Does this alter your understanding of what is happening in these verses?
d. The Purpose of the Gospel 20:30-32: These verses suggest that the resurrection is one of Jesus’ signs. (see 2:18-20). In John’s gospel, signs are not about the event itself but rather to the theological truth to which the sign points. What does that say about the resurrection? What does the resurrection reveal? What does the resurrection tell us about Jesus and God?
D. Jesus’ Resurrection Appearance at the Sea of Tiberius 21:1-25 :
a. The Appearance by the Sea 21:1-14: The miraculous catch of fish reveals Jesus, similar to the miraculous appearance of wine at Cana. The Sea of Tiberias is near the site of the feeding story in John 6:1-14. Verse 2 Nathaniel has not appeared in the gospel since 1:45-50 when he is called and Jesus promises he will see “greater things”. Why do you think the disciples go fishing? Why don’t the disciples catch anything? Notice what happens during the night (dark) and during the day (light). As at the empty tomb, the “beloved” disciple recognizes what is happening, and Peter acts. Notice the humor, Peter dresses to jump in the water even though he is only 100 yards away from Jesus. Verse 9 this is similar to the meal of chapter 6.
b. Peter and the Beloved Disciples 21:15-25: The three questions to Peter echo Peter’s three denials. What actions result from loving Jesus? What does it mean to care/feed Jesus’ sheep? Re read 13:36-37. How do those verses influence your reading of these verses? Verses 21-23 do these verses suggest there is a diversity in the paths that faithful disciples follow?
Read More About It
Carter, Warren John: Storyteller, Interpreter, Evangelist, (Peabody, MA:Hendrickson Publishers) 2006.
Johnson, Luke Timothy, The Writings of the New Testament: An Interpretation, rev. ed. (Minneapolis:Fortress Press) 1999. Chapter 24 “The Gospel of John”
Miller, Donald G. and Bruce M. Metzger “The Gospel According to John” in The New Oxford Annotated Bible, Bruce M. Metzger, Roland E. Murphy eds. (New York: Oxford University Press) 1994.
O’Day, Gail R. “The Gospel of John” in The New Interpreter’s Bible Volume IX, Leander Kirk,eds. (Nashville: Abingdon Press) 1995.
Smith, D. Moody “John” in HarperCollins Bible Commentary, rev. ed.James L Mays, ed. (New York: Society of Bible Literature) 2000.