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In the beginning was the Word
This word had a wide usage in the first century world, touching a range of cultural and philosophical contexts. In using it John would have made chords resonate in the minds of his readers. Possible sources for the logos concept have been debated. The primary reference point is likely to be the OT and Jewish religion. John assumes a working knowledge of the OT on the part of his readers from the very opening of his gospel (cf. Ge 1:1. Jewish readers referred to the Bible books by their opening words). 'The Word of God' appears in Ge 1 as the means by which God accomplishes his acts of creation: God himself in creative action (cf. also Ps 33:6 and note the Word of God in deliverance (Ps 107:20), judgement (Ps 29:3; Is 55:11), understanding (Is 38:4; Je 1:4; Ezk 1:3). The thought of God's illumination is developed and personified in the concept of wisdom (cf. Pr 8:22-23, 27, 30, 31). Generally in the OT logos refers to an action rather than an idea. The Word of God served as a substitute for the unmentionable divine name when the LXX was read in the synagogue. Logos also had a long history in Greek philosophy going back at least to Heraclitus (c.500 BC), for whom logos was the shaping, ordering and directing principle in the universe. Philo (first century CE), the renowned Jewish teacher in North Africa, who had imbibed much of the Greek philosophical outlook, often referred to the logos under a wide variety of images, many of which personalized the action of the logos (cf. 'the Logos is the captain and pilot of the universe'; 'the Father's elder son'). Greeks tended to view the logos as a participant in the divine order and distinct from the material and historical world. Here John's presentation is in sharp distinction: 'the logos became flesh'. This consideration is more important for an understanding of logos than any historical or philosophical foundation.
, and the Word
Lit. 'towards' but the Word is no mere 'emanation from God' as in much first-century thinking.
God, and the Word
There are many places in the NT where the noun has no article but remains specific, e.g., 1:49 has no article before 'King'; see also 8:39; 17:17; Ro 14:17; Gal 4:25; Rev 1:20. Had John included the article he would have so identified the Word with God that no divine being could exist apart from the Word, a denial of the immediately preceding phrase.
The same was in the beginning with God. 3
All things were made through him. Without him was not anything made that has been made
The repetition in the negative is to correct some first-century notions of the origin of the universe which taught that it was shaped by God out of some pre-existing primeval 'stuff', which was in turn the explanation of the presence of evil in the universe. Consequently, God's sovereignty was reduced since by this view there are two determining forces in the universe, God and primary matter.
In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness hasn't overcome
There came a man, sent from God, whose name was John. 7
The same came as a witness
In John's society witness-bearing was a serious matter and the means of establishing the truth. It involved a commitment to stake everything on the truth of what is said - otherwise the witness could not be credible. 'Martyr' is derived from the Greek word for 'witness'.
, that he might testify
about the light, that all
through him. 8
He was not the light, but was sent that he might testify about the light. 9
The true light that enlightens everyone was coming into the world
He was in the world
, and the world
was made through him, and the world
He came to his own, and those who were his own didn't receive
But as many as received
John in habited a world which confined its proffered 'salvation' to specific groups. Salvation could be had through philosophy, if one was intelligent; from the mystery cults, if one was among the initiated; by Jewish religion, if one had the right racial pedigree. By contrast, Christianity entered first-century society as a faith for everyone, irrespective of intelligence quotient, age, gender, race or religious background.
him, to them he gave the right
In a world where rank counted for everything, and the majority of the population were slaves without rights or freedoms (or any prospect of ever acquiring them), the gospel carried immense appeal as a message which promised to all people, irrespective of rank, nothing less than personal membership within the family circle of God.
to become God's children, to those who believe
in his name: 13
who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh
, nor of the will
of man, but of God. 14
This verb expresses that a person or thing changes its property and enters into a new condition, something that it was not previously. The aorist tense indicates a definite and completed action on which there is no going back.
, and lived
Lit. 'pitched his tent among us'. The word for 'dwell' and 'tent' are cognates of the Hebrew term shekinah, which commonly refers to the revealed glory of God. Just as the people in the OT revelation had seen God's glory manifested in tabernacle and temple, so now God's glory is revealed in his coming in person to live among us.
among us. We saw
[doxan; Heb. Sh'khinah]
, such glory
as of the one and only
Son of the Father, full of grace
and truth. 15
about him. He cried out, saying, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me has surpassed me, for he was before me.'"
From his fullness
we all received grace
[charin anti charitos]
Anti, 'instead', can be taken in its more straightforward meaning of 'replacing one thing by another' so the coming of God in his grace in Christ supercedes the grace of the 'old covenant' revelation, cf. v17.
For the law
[nomos; Heb. Torah]
was given through Moses. Grace
and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. 18
No one has seen
God at any time. The one and only
Son, who is in the bosom
of the Father, he has declared
From which is derived the technical theological word 'exegesis'.
This is John's testimony
, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, "Who are you?" 20
He declared, and didn't deny
, but he declared
, "I am not the Christ
The early decades of the first century was a time of intense speculation about the Messiah, lit. 'anointed one', reflected the designated means of appointing people to special tasks in the OT period (cf. Ex 29:7; Lv 8:30f; 1 Sa 16:13; 1 Ki 19:16). Anointing implied that the appointee was endowed with a special portion of God's Spirit for the task in question. There was no single ruling view of the Messiah in Jesus' day. Some thought he would bring peace, others stressed righteousness. Due to the Roman occupation many cast him in a military role and saw him as leading the overthrow of the Roman yoke and, beyond that, securing the world-wide prominence of the Jewish nation. For some he would be a clearly supernatural visitant from God, for others a human prince from David's line. There was considerable anticipation at that time that the promised Messiah might soon appear. If John wasn't he, where did he see himself among OT figures expected to appear at the end of history? Elijah was anticipated in some form (Mal 4:5). There was also the 'prophet like Moses' (21, cf. Dt 18:15-18). John disavows these and points to the wilderness cry (cf. also Is 40:3), who is seen as the precursor of the promised Messiah.
They asked him, "What then? Are you Elijah?" He said, "I am not." "Are you the prophet?" He answered, "No." 22
They said therefore to him, "Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?" 23
He said, "I am the voice of one crying
in the wilderness
, 'Make straight
the way of the Lord,' as Isaiah the prophet said." 24
The ones who had been sent were from the Pharisees. 25
They asked him, "Why then do you baptize
The word used for baptism throughout the NT, baptizein, normally meant to dip, or drown. The river (v28) seems to be preferred to a douching from the village well. Proselyte baptism was by immersion; cf. Ac 2:5-11.
, if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?" 26
John answered them, "I baptize in water, but among you stands one whom you don't know. 27
He is the one who comes after me, who is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I'm not worthy
The one specified limitation on the service of slaves was the removal of the master's shoes.
These things were done in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing. 29
The next day, he saw Jesus coming to him, and said, "Look
, the Lamb
It has been suggested that John had in mind the warrior lamb of first-century Jewish apocalyptic writing, a figure of immense strength, who in Revelation 5:6 (cf. 17:14) is an image of the Lord Jesus Christ. This would accord with John's anticipation of the Messiah's function as judge (Mt 3:7-12). The sacrificial aspects of the 'Lamb' title must have been in John's mind, for with his call to repentance he must have anticipated the messianic provision of a more profound atonement for sin. For readers of the OT a number of pictures would have come to mind; cf. Gn 22:8,13; Is 53; and most importantly, Ex 12.
of God, who takes away
the sin of the world
This is he of whom I said, 'After me comes a man who is preferred before me, for he was before
I didn't know him, but for this reason I came baptizing in water: that he would be revealed
, saying, "I have seen the Spirit descending like a dove out of heaven, and it remained
on him. 33
I didn't recognize him, but he who sent me to baptize in water, he said to me, 'On whomever you will see the Spirit descending, and remaining
on him, the same is he who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.' 34
I have seen, and have testified
that this is the Son of God." 35
Again, the next day, John was standing with two of his disciples
According to Jewish rabbinical models of discipleship teachers were traditionally surrounded by 'learners', the meaning of 'disciple'. The difference is that in Judaism the student was left to find a teacher for himself, whereas here, Jesus took the initiative.
and he looked at Jesus as he walked, and said, "See
, the Lamb of God!" 37
The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. 38
Jesus turned, and saw them following, and said to them, "What are you looking for?" They said to him, "Rabbi
" (which is to say, being interpreted, Teacher
), "where are you staying?" 39
He said to them, "Come, and see." They came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day. It was about the tenth hour. 40
One of the two who heard John, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. 41
He first found his own brother, Simon, and said to him, "We have found the Messiah
!" (which is, being interpreted, Christ). 42
He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him, and said, "You are Simon the son of Jonah
[Iōna; Heb. Shim 'on Bar-Yochanan]
. You shall be called Cephas
" (which is by interpretation, Peter
On the next day, he was determined
to go out into Galilee, and he found Philip
. Jesus said to him, "Follow me." 44
was from Bethsaida
[Bēsa7#239da; Heb. Beit-Tzaidah]
, of the city of Andrew and Peter. 45
found Nathanael, and said to him, "We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, wrote: Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph
[Iōsēph; Heb. Yeshua Ben-Yosef from Natzeret]
Nathanael said to him, "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" Philip
said to him, "Come and see
Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and said about him, "Look
, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit
Nathanael said to him, "How do you know me?" Jesus answered him, "Before Philip
called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you." 49
Nathanael answered him, "Rabbi
, you are the Son of God! You are King of Israel!" 50
Jesus answered him, "Because I told you, 'I saw you underneath the fig tree,' do you believe
? You will see greater
things than these!" 51
He said to him, "Most certainly
[amēn, amēn legō humin]
, I tell you, hereafter you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man."
The third day, there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee. Jesus' mother was there. 2
Jesus also was invited, with his disciples, to the marriage. 3
When the wine
The depletion of the supply of wine is most likely because of the duration of the Jewish wedding celebration; it could last for a week. It was, however, a serious social faux pas and reflected poorly on the bridegroom. Lawsuits were not unknown in such events. Perhaps Mary's question was borne out of years of dependence, in the apparent absence of Joseph (Mk 6:3).
ran out, Jesus' mother said to him, "They have no wine." 4
Jesus said to her, "Woman
The identical word is used in a deeply caring moment at the cross: 19:26.
, what does that have to do with you and me
[Ti emoi kai soi]
? My hour has not yet come." 5
His mother said to the servants
, "Whatever he says to you, do it." 6
Now there were six water pots of stone
Jewish law required that hands be ceremonially washed before meals and the vessels to be used also be cleansed (cf. Mk 7:3-4). Stone jars, being more impervious than earthenware, would be less likely to contract uncleanness (cf. Lv 11:29-38).
set there after the Jews' manner of purifying, containing
two or three metretes
Jesus said to them, "Fill the water pots
with water." They filled them up to the brim. 8
He said to them, "Now draw some out, and take it to the ruler of the feast
Among the Greeks, at all formal feasts, there was a symposiarch who was one of the guests, and selected to take charge of the feast. It was up to him to preserve order, maintain liveliness, assign appropriate seating and decide on the proportion of water to wine and approve it by tasting. The Romans employed a rex convivii or arbiter bibendi who undertook these tasks as a hired servant and ensured that the other servants performed their tasks.
." So they took it. 9
When the ruler of the feast
tasted the water now become wine, and didn't know where it came from (but the servants
who had drawn the water knew), the ruler of the feast called the bridegroom, 10
and said to him, "Everyone serves the good wine first, and when the guests have drunk freely, then that which is worse. You have kept the good wine until now!" 11
This beginning of his signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed
in him. 12
After this, he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, his brothers, and his disciples; and they stayed there a few days. 13
[pascha; Heb. Pesach]
of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14
He found in the temple those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves, and the changers of money
The actual temple tax was paid in Tyrian shekels, used because of the high purity of their silver. The money changers charged a percentage for their service.
Pilgrims from all over Palestine and the diaspora, converging on the city in hundreds of thousands for the great feasts, ascended the platform from the city by a fast staircase and the main bridge. The outer courtyard, within the walls, was open to everyone, and in its gates and cloisters money-changers swapped coins from all over the world for the 'Holy Shekels' used to pay temple fees. Within this, a wall and gate with stone- carved warnings in Greek and Latin, forbidding non-Jews to proceed any further on pain of death, enclosed the Court of the Women, with special corners for Nazarites and lepers, and within this was the Court of the Israelites for male Jews. Each of the inner courts was raised up, and entered by steps, and a higher flight of steps led up to the sacrificial area or Court of the Priests, and the sanctuary within it.
Each pilgrim offered at least one individual sacrifice - hence the vast number of animals - and this privilege was opened to Gentiles also. Herod's temple was world-famous and greatly esteemed, according to Josephus, and important Gentiles offered sacrifices for pious reasons as well as to conciliate Jewish opinion. In 15 BC, for instance, Marcus Agrippa made the grand gesture of offering a hecatomb (100 beasts).
The temple was a prodigiously wealthy, at any rate in between times of pilgrimage. Foreign kings and statesmen presented it with vast quantities of golden vessels which were stored in special strong-rooms. Jews from all over the diaspora poured money and plate into it, and Josephus says that it became the general treasury of all Jewish wealth. But the main regular source of income was a half shekel tax on all male Jews over 20 years of age.
He made a whip of cords, and threw all out of the temple, both the sheep and the oxen; and he poured out the changers' money, and overthrew their tables. 16
To those who sold the doves, he said, "Take these things out of here! Don't make my Father's house a marketplace!"
His disciples remembered that it was written, "Zeal for your house will eat me up
The Jews therefore answered him, "What sign do you show us, seeing that you do these things?" 19
Jesus answered them, "Destroy
this temple, and in three days I will raise it up
The Jews therefore said, "Forty-six years was this temple in building, and will you raise it up in three days?" 21
But he spoke of the temple of his body. 22
When therefore he was raised
from the dead, his disciples remembered that he said this, and they believed
the Scripture, and the word
which Jesus had said. 23
Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed
in his name, observing his signs which he did. 24
But Jesus didn't trust
This section has been translated: 'they trusted in his name but he did not entrust himself to them'.
himself to them, because he knew everyone, 25
and because he didn't need for anyone to testify
concerning man; for he himself knew what was in man.
Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews
[archōn tōn Ioudaiōn]
As a devout, orthodox Jew Nicodemus presumed that his place in the coming kingdom was assured, by virtue of his race and circumcision. Besides that, he was a leading religious professional, and moreover, a Pharisee and a member of the ruling council. There were few Jews, if any, in the city that night with credentials to match as far as acceptance with God was concerned.
The same came to him by night, and said to him, "Rabbi
, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do, unless God is with him." 3
Jesus answered him, "Most certainly, I tell you, unless one is born anew, he can't see the Kingdom
OT readers would have been familiar with the effects of the kingdom's coming: Is 11:1-10; 32:14-18; 42:1-4; 44:1-5: Ezk 11:17-20; 36:24-27; 37:1-14; Joel 2:28-32.
of God unless he is born again
Anōthen can also mean 'from above'.
of God." 4
Nicodemus said to him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb, and be born?" 5
Jesus answered, "Most certainly I tell you, unless one is born of water and spirit
A clear OT reference to a birth associated with water and Spirit is Ezekiel 36:25-27, which refers to the new order of the messianic age in which there will be a new experience of cleansing.
, he can't enter into the Kingdom of God! 6
That which is born of the flesh
. That which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7
Don't marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born anew
blows where it wants to, and you hear its sound, but don't know where it comes from and where it is going. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit
Nicodemus answered him, "How can these things be?" 10
Jesus answered him, "Are you the teacher
Lit. 'The teacher of Israel', perhaps implying that Nicodemus was the leading theologian of his day.
of Israel, and don't understand these things? 11
Most certainly I tell you, we speak that which we know, and testify
of that which we have seen, and you don't receive our witness
If I told you earthly things and you don't believe
, how will you believe
if I tell you heavenly things? 13
No one has ascended into heaven, but he who descended out of heaven, the Son of Man, who is in heaven. 14
As Moses lifted up
the serpent in the wilderness
, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up
that whoever believes
in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16
For God so loved
, that he gave his one and only
Son, that whoever believes
in him should not perish
, but have eternal life.
For God didn't send his Son into the world
, but that the world
should be saved
through him. 18
He who believes
in him is not judged
. He who doesn't believe
has been judged
already, because he has not believed
in the name of the one and only Son of God. 19
This is the judgment
, that the light has come into the world
, and men loved
the darkness rather than the light; for their works
For everyone who does evil hates the light, and doesn't come to the light, lest his works
would be exposed. 21
But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his works may be revealed
, that they have been done in God." 22
After these things, Jesus came with his disciples into the land of Judea. He stayed there with them, and baptized. 23
John also was baptizing in Enon near Salim, because there was much water there. They came, and were baptized. 24
For John was not yet thrown into prison. 25
There arose therefore a questioning on the part of John's disciples with some Jews about purification. 26
They came to John, and said to him, "Rabbi
, he who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified
, the same baptizes, and everyone is coming to him." 27
John answered, "A man can receive nothing, unless it has been given him from heaven. 28
You yourselves testify
that I said, 'I am not the Christ,' but, 'I have been sent before him.' 29
He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend
of the bridegroom
This was the person who was selected by the groom to conduct the marriage negotiations on his part. He carried messages between bride and groom during the betrothal. The role of best man may be loosely based upon this tradition.
, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly
because of the bridegroom's voice. This, my joy
, therefore is made full
He must increase
, but I must decrease
He who comes from above is above all. He who is from the Earth belongs to the Earth, and speaks of the Earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. 32
What he has seen and heard, of that he testifies
; and no one receives his witness
He who has received his witness
has set his seal
to this, that God is true. 34
For he whom God has sent speaks the words
of God; for God gives the Spirit without measure
The Father loves
the Son, and has given
all things into his hand. 36
One who believes
in the Son has eternal life, but one who disobeys
the Son won't see life, but the wrath
of God remains on him."
Therefore when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John 2(although Jesus himself didn't baptize, but his disciples), 3
he left Judea, and departed into Galilee. 4
He needed to pass through Samaria. 5
So he came to a city of Samaria, called Sychar, near the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son, Joseph. 6
Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being tired from his journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour. 7
A woman of Samaria
This woman was illiterate since women were shut out from educational opportunities. She was publicly despised and ostracized because her lifestyle was in flagrant contradiction to the law. Male Jewish attitudes at the time are reflected in the following rabbinic citations: 'One should not talk with a woman on the street, not even with his own wife, and certainly not with somebody else's wife, because of the gossip of men,' and 'It is forbidden to give a woman any greeting'.
came to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give me a drink." 8
For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. 9
The Samaritan woman therefore said to him, "How is it that you, being a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?" (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans
The reasons were historical, dating from the division of the kingdom after the death of Solomon (1 Ki 12:1-24) and the annexation of the northern territory by the Assyrians in 722-721 BC. The Assyrians resettled the area with foreigners (2 Ki 17:24-41) with the subsequent loss of both racial and religious purity from the viewpoint of the Judaeans in the south. The religious divide was deepened when the Samaritans built their own temple at Mount Gerizim around 400 BC.
Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift
of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give me a drink,' you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water." 11
The woman said to him, "Sir
, you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. From where then have you that living water? 12
Are you greater
than our father, Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself, as did his children, and his livestock?" 13
Jesus answered her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again, 14
but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never thirst again; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well
of water springing up to eternal life." 15
The woman said to him, "Sir
, give me this water, so that I don't get thirsty, neither come all the way here to draw." 16
Jesus said to her, "Go, call your husband, and come here." 17
The woman answered, "I have no husband
Jewish law did not recognize a common-law arrangement. Serial marriage was not altogether frowned upon, though the rabbis generally taught that three marriages were the maximum allowed.
." Jesus said to her, "You said well, 'I have no husband,' 18
for you have had five husbands; and he whom you now have is not your husband. This you have said truly." 19
The woman said to him, "Sir
, I perceive that you are a prophet. 20
Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship
The Samaritans confined 'Scripture' to the Pentateuch, which gave them no loyalty to the account of David's decision to build a temple for the Lord in Jerusalem (1 Ch 17:1-15). The Samaritans had a messianic anticipation based on the Pentateuch, so they anticipated the Taheb (meaning 'converter'), who, in the terms of Deuteronomy 18:15-18, would be a second Moses, revealing the truth, restoring true belief and renewing true worship.
Jesus said to her, "Woman
me, the hour comes, when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, will you worship the Father. 22
You worship that which you don't know. We worship that which we know; for salvation is from the Jews. 23
But the hour
comes, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such to be his worshippers. 24
God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth." 25
The woman said to him, "I know that Messiah
comes," (he who is called Christ
). "When he has come, he will declare to us all things." 26
Jesus said to her, "I am he, the one who speaks to you
[Egō eimi, ho laleō soi]
At this, his disciples came. They marveled
that he was speaking with a woman
It was unusual for a Jewish teacher to talk with a woman in public. Women were not to be saluted or spoken to in the street and they were not to be instructed in the law.
; yet no one said, "What are you looking for?" or, "Why do you speak with her?" 28
So the woman left her water pot
, and went away into the city, and said to the people, 29
"Come, see a man who told me everything that I did. Can this be the Christ?" 30
They went out of the city, and were coming to him. 31
In the meanwhile, the disciples urged him, saying, "Rabbi
, eat." 32
But he said to them, "I have food to eat that you don't know about." 33
The disciples therefore said one to another, "Has anyone brought him something to eat?" 34
Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will
of him who sent me, and to accomplish
his work. 35
Don't you say, 'There are yet four months until the harvest
Probably a proverb. For biblical references to the motif of harvest in relation to the kingdom of God, see Is 27:12; Joel 3:13; Mt 4:19; 7:16-19; 13:24-30; Rev 14:14-16.
, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and look at the fields, that they are white for harvest already. 36
He who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit to eternal life; that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice
For in this the saying is true, 'One sows, and another reaps.' 38
I sent you to reap that for which you haven't laboured. Others have laboured, and you have entered into their labour." 39
From that city many of the Samaritans believed
in him because of the word of the woman, who testified, "He told me everything that I did." 40
So when the Samaritans came to him, they begged him to stay with them. He stayed there two days.
Many more believed
because of his word
They said to the woman, "Now we believe
, not because of your speaking; for we have heard for ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world
The title 'Saviour of the world' is a great and stirring one. Known in the pagan world of the first century, it was given to various Greek gods, and the emperor in Rome was likewise acclaimed. Philo in North Africa spoke of God as 'Saviour of the universe'; cf. Is 45:22; 43:3, 11; 63:8-9. On the lips of the Samaritans, however, this title had its own special nuance. For centuries they had been told they were shut out from God's mercy, second-class people in the eyes of the Jewish leadership down in Jerusalem. Now the purposes of God encompassed them too.
After the two days he went out from there and went into Galilee. 44
For Jesus himself testified that a prophet has no honour in his own country. 45
So when he came into Galilee, the Galileans received
him, having seen all the things that he did in Jerusalem at the feast, for they also went to the feast. 46
Jesus came therefore again to Cana of Galilee, where he made the water into wine. There was a certain nobleman
This high-ranking individual was probably on Herod's payroll. His son is dangerously ill at home in Capernaum, some twenty miles away. Jesus' earlier miracle at Cana is quite probably known to the father. The journey would have required a night stop, so it is not until the following day that he encounters his servants on the way.
whose son was sick at Capernaum. 47
When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to him, and begged him that he would come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. 48
Jesus therefore said to him, "Unless you see signs
A favourite word of the synoptic evangelists for the miracles together with dynameis, 'acts of power'. This is the only occurrence in John of terata and dynameis is absent from his gospel.
, you will in no way believe
said to him, "Sir
, come down before my child dies." 50
Jesus said to him, "Go your way. Your son lives." The man believed
the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way. 51
As he was now going down, his servants
met him and reported, saying "Your child lives!" 52
So he inquired of them the hour when he began to get better. They said therefore to him, "Yesterday at the seventh hour, the fever left him." 53
So the father knew that it was at that hour in which Jesus said to him, "Your son lives." He believed
, as did his whole house
This is again the second sign that Jesus did, having come out of Judea into Galilee.
After these things, there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2
Now in Jerusalem by the sheep gate, there is a pool, which is called in Hebrew
[Bēthesda; Heb. Beit-Zata]
," having five porches. 3
In these lay a great multitude
of those who were sick, blind, lame, or paralyzed
, waiting for the moving of the water; 4
for an angel of the Lord went down at certain times into the pool, and stirred up the water. Whoever stepped in first after the stirring of the water was made whole of whatever disease he had. 5
A certain man was there, who had been sick
for thirty-eight years. 6
When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had been sick for a long time, he asked him, "Do you want to be made well
man answered him, "Sir
, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I'm coming, another steps down before me." 8
Jesus said to him, "Arise
Used for the life-bringing effect of Jesus' call at the last day (28-29).
, take up your mat
, and walk." 9
Immediately, the man was made well
, and took up his mat
and walked. Now it was the Sabbath on that day. 10
So the Jews said to him who was cured
, "It is the Sabbath
Strictly, there was no contravention of the written commandment (cf. Ex.20:8-11), which was generally interpreted as a prohibition of performing one's daily occupation on the Sabbath. But the oral traditions, which the Pharisees cherished, amplified the written law into an elaborate jurisprudence which significantly extended its range. With respect to the Sabbath, thirty-nine categories of work were identified which breached the Sabbath law.
. It is not lawful
for you to carry the mat
He answered them, "He who made me well, the same said to me, 'Take up your mat, and walk.'" 12
Then they asked him, "Who is the man who said to you, 'Take up your mat, and walk'?" 13
But he who was healed
didn't know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a crowd being in the place. 14
Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, "See
, you are made well. Sin no more, so that nothing worse happens to you." 15
The man went away, and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well
For this cause the Jews persecuted
Jesus, and sought to kill him, because he did these things on the Sabbath. 17
But Jesus answered them, "My Father is still working, so I am working, too." 18
For this cause therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill him, because he not only broke
the Sabbath, but also called God his own Father, making himself equal with God. 19
Jesus therefore answered them, "Most certainly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing of himself, but what he sees the Father doing. For whatever things he does, these the Son also does likewise. 20
For the Father has affection
for the Son, and shows him all things that he himself does. He will show him greater
works than these, that you may marvel
For as the Father raises
the dead and gives them life
, even so the Son also gives life
to whom he desires
For the Father judges
no one, but he has given
to the Son, 23
that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who doesn't honor the Son doesn't honor the Father who sent him. 24
"Most certainly I tell you, he who hears my word, and believes
him who sent me, has eternal life, and doesn't come into judgment
[eis krisin ouk erchomai]
, but has passed out of death into life. 25
Most certainly, I tell you, the hour comes, and now is, when the dead will hear the Son of God's voice; and those who hear will live. 26
For as the Father has life in himself, even so he gave to the Son also to have life in himself. 27
He also gave him authority
to execute judgment
, because he is a son of man. 28
Don't marvel at this, for the hour comes, in which all that are in the tombs will hear his voice, 29
and will come out; those who have done good
, to the resurrection of life
; and those who have done evil
, to the resurrection of judgment
I can of myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge
, and my judgment
; because I don't seek my own will
[thelēma to emon]
, but the will of my Father who sent me.
"If I testify
about myself, my witness
is not valid. 32
It is another who testifies about me
[martyreō peri emou]
. I know that the testimony
which he testifies about me is true
You have sent to John, and he has testified to the truth. 34
But the testimony which I receive is not from man. However, I say these things that you may be saved
He was the burning and shining lamp
, and you were willing to rejoice
for a while in his light. 36
But the testimony which I have is greater than that of John, for the works which the Father gave me to accomplish, the very works that I do, testify about me, that the Father has sent me. 37
The Father himself, who sent me, has testified about me. You have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his form. 38
You don't have his word living in you; because you don't believe
him whom he sent. 39
the Scriptures, because you think
that in them you have eternal life; and these are they which testify about me. 40
Yet you will not come to me, that you may have life. 41
I don't receive glory
from men. 42
But I know you, that you don't have God's love
in yourselves. 43
I have come in my Father's name, and you don't receive
me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive
How can you believe
, who receive glory
from one another, and you don't seek the glory
that comes from the only God? 45
that I will accuse
you to the Father. There is one who accuses
you, even Moses, on whom you have set
your hope. 46
For if you believed
Moses, you would believe
me; for he wrote about me. 47
But if you don't believe
his writings, how will you believe
After these things, Jesus went away to the other side of the sea of Galilee
The Galileans were a distinctive type, peasants living close to the soil and labouring hard for a subsistence wage. The primary issues for them are the down-to-earth matters of food and the means of livelihood. This was in contrast to the more sophisticated audiences Jesus had encountered in the south, whose concerns were more theoretical: the fulfilment of scriptural prophecies, wrangling about the law and the theological implications of Jesus' claim. But like the audiences in the south, the Galileans are also attracted by Jesus' miracles (cf. 2:23f; 4:48).
, which is also called the Sea of Tiberias
A great multitude followed him, because they saw his signs which he did on those who were sick. 3
Jesus went up into the mountain, and he sat there with his disciples. 4
Now the Passover
The Passover was a great patriotic festival which stirred the Jews' sense of national identity.
, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. 5
Jesus therefore lifting up his eyes, and seeing that a great multitude was coming to him, said to Philip
, "Where are we to buy bread, that these may eat?" 6
This he said to test
him, for he himself knew what he would do. 7
answered him, "Two hundred denarii
NIV: eight months' wages.
worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that everyone of them may receive a little." 8
One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to him, 9
"There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are these among so many?" 10
Jesus said, "Have the people sit down
." Now there was much grass in that place. So the men sat down
, in number about five thousand. 11
Jesus took the loaves; and having given thanks
Although this is the word from which 'Eucharist' is derived, too much should not be read into that, as it is a fairly common word and John uses terms with some freedom.
, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to those who were sitting down; likewise also of the fish as much as they desired. 12
When they were filled, he said to his disciples, "Gather up the broken pieces which are left over, that nothing be lost
Preservation of this kind of leftovers was a Jewish custom.
So they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets
with broken pieces from the five barley loaves, which were left over by those who had eaten. 14
When therefore the people saw the sign which Jesus did, they said, "This is truly
the prophet who comes into the world
Jesus therefore, perceiving that they were about to come and take him by force, to make him king, withdrew
Some MMS read 'fled back' which could be authentic, later copyists arguably making the change to tone down the embarrassing picture of Jesus in flight. It was the custom of Messianic pretenders in Jesus' time to seek credibility by either re-enacting or matching OT miracles. Jesus would have none of this.
again to the mountain by himself.
When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, 17
and they entered into the boat, and were going over the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not come to them. 18
The sea was tossed by a great wind
Storms commonly blew up on the Sea of Galilee.
When therefore they had rowed about twenty-five or thirty stadia, they saw Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing near to the boat; and they were afraid. 20
But he said to them, "It is I
This is the divine self-affirmation often reproduced in this gospel (cf. 6:35; 8:24, 58; 10:14; 15:1; 18:5), 'I am' or, from the Hebrew of Exodus 3:14: Ehyeh-asher-ehyeh, 'I am who I am'. This is a stilted translation for the name which moves towards the future: 'I will be who I will be'; 'I will become with you'; 'I am there, wherever it may be … I am really there!'. The name is not explained but found in experience.
. Don't be afraid." 21
They were willing therefore to receive him into the boat. Immediately the boat was at the land where they were going. 22
On the next day, the multitude that stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was no other boat there, except the one in which his disciples had embarked, and that Jesus hadn't entered with his disciples into the boat, but his disciples had gone away alone. 23
However boats from Tiberias came near to the place where they ate the bread after the Lord had given thanks
When the multitude therefore saw that Jesus wasn't there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats, and came to Capernaum, seeking Jesus. 25
When they found him on the other side of the sea, they asked him, "Rabbi
, when did you come here?" 26
Jesus answered them, "Most certainly I tell you, you seek me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves, and were filled
for the food which perishes, but for the food which remains to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For God the Father has sealed
According to Herodotus, writing on the subject of animal sacrifice among the ancient Egyptians, if an animal was found without blemish, the priest bound a label to his horns, applied wax to the label, and sealed it with his ring. This set it apart for sacrifice, and no animal could be offered unless it bore this seal, cf. 2 Cor 1:22; Eph 1:13; 4:30; Rev 7:2.
They said therefore to him, "What must we do, that we may work the works of God?" 29
Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe
in him whom he has sent." 30
They said therefore to him, "What then do you do for a sign, that we may see, and believe
you? What work do you do?
Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness. As it is written, 'He gave them bread out of heaven to eat.'" 32
Jesus therefore said to them, "Most certainly, I tell you, it wasn't Moses who gave you the bread out of heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread out of heaven. 33
For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world
They said therefore to him, "Lord
, always give us this bread." 35
Jesus said to them, "I am
the bread of life. He who comes to me will not be hungry, and he who believes
in me will never be thirsty. 36
But I told you that you have seen me, and yet you don't believe
All those who the Father gives me will come to me. Him who comes to me I will in no way throw out. 38
For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. 39
This is the will of my Father who sent me, that of all he has given to me I should lose
nothing, but should raise him up
at the last day. 40
This is the will of the one who sent me, that everyone who sees the Son, and believes
in him, should have eternal life; and I will raise him up
at the last day." 41
The Jews therefore murmured
concerning him, because he said, "I am
the bread which came down out of heaven." 42
They said, "Isn't this Jesus, the son of Joseph
[Iōsēph; Heb. Yeshua Ben-Yosef]
, whose father and mother we know? How then does he say, 'I have come down out of heaven?'" 43
Therefore Jesus answered them, "Don't murmur
among yourselves. 44
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up
in the last day.
It is written in the prophets, 'They will all be taught by God
[theou; Heb. Adonai]
' Therefore everyone who hears from the Father, and has learned, comes to me. 46
Not that anyone has seen the Father, except he who is from God. He has seen the Father. 47
Most certainly, I tell you, he who believes
in me has eternal life. 48
the bread of life. 49
Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50
This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, that anyone may eat of it and not die. 51
the living bread which came down out of heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. Yes, the bread which I will give for the life of the world
is my flesh
The Jews therefore contended
with one another, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh
to eat?" 53
Jesus therefore said to them, "Most certainly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh
of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you don't have life in yourselves. 54
He who eats my flesh
and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up
at the last day. 55
For my flesh
is food indeed
, and my blood is drink indeed
He who eats my flesh
and drinks my blood lives in me, and I in him. 57
As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father; so he who feeds on me, he will also live because of me. 58
This is the bread which came down out of heaven--not as our fathers ate the manna, and died. He who eats this bread will live forever." 59
He said these things in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum. 60
Therefore many of his disciples, when they heard this, said, "This is a hard
saying! Who can listen
But Jesus knowing in himself that his disciples murmured
at this, said to them, "Does this cause you to stumble
Then what if you would see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63
It is the spirit who gives life. The flesh
. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and are life. 64
But there are some of you who don't believe
." For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who didn't believe
, and who it was who would betray
He said, "For this cause have I said to you that no one can come to me, unless it is given to him by my Father." 66
At this, many of his disciples went back
[aperchomai eis ta opisō]
, and walked no more with him
Jesus said therefore to the twelve, "You don't also want to go away, do you?" 68
Simon Peter answered him, "Lord
, to whom would we go? You have the words
of eternal life. 69
We have come to believe
and know that you are the Christ, the Son of the living God." 70
Jesus answered them, "Didn't I choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil
Now he spoke of Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot
[Simōnos Iskariōtēn; Heb. Y'hudah Ben-Shim on or from K'riot]
, for it was he who would betray
him, being one of the twelve.
After these things, Jesus was walking in Galilee, for he wouldn't walk in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill him. 2
Now the feast of the Jews, the Feast of Booths
[skēnopēgia; Heb. Sukkot]
Feast of Tabernacles. This feast was instituted in the OT and associated with the ingathering of harvest (Ex 23:16; Lv 23:33-43; Dt 16:13-15). The feast ran for seven days and was reputedly the most popular of all the annual festivals. It commemorated the provision of God for his people in the wilderness, and the celebrants were required to recall that historical period by living during the feast in temporary structures of leaves and branches. A special feature was the water-drawing and lamp-lighting rite, which was performed each day in the temple and upon which, as we shall see, Jesus drew in his teaching. During the festival the people gave thanks for the rainfall which nourished the harvest, but also looked forward to that coming day when God's Spirit would be poured out at the coming of the kingdom of God.
, was at hand. 3
His brothers therefore said to him, "Depart from here, and go into Judea, that your disciples also may see your works which you do. 4
For no one does anything in secret, and himself seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, reveal yourself to the world
For even his brothers didn't believe
in him. 6
Jesus therefore said to them, "My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready
can't hate you, but it hates me, because I testify about it, that its works are evil
You go up to the feast. I am not yet going up to this feast, because my time is not yet fulfilled
Having said these things to them, he stayed in Galilee. 10
But when his brothers had gone up to the feast, then he also went up, not publicly, but as it were in secret. 11
The Jews therefore sought him at the feast, and said, "Where is he?" 12
There was much murmuring
among the multitudes concerning him. Some said, "He is a good
man." Others said, "Not so, but he leads the multitude astray
This echoes the charge of Deuteronomy 13:1-6 and was a capital offence if proven. It was typical of the later view of Jesus held by the Jews, and John would be aware that some of his readers had been influenced by it.
Yet no one spoke openly of him for fear of the Jews. 14
But when it was now the midst of the feast, Jesus went up into the temple and taught. 15
The Jews therefore marveled, saying, "How does this man know letters
, having never been educated
Jesus was not known at the rabbinic centres of learning. The evangelist would be aware of the irony of the Incarnate Logos being seen as an uneducated outsider.
Jesus therefore answered them, "My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me.
If anyone desires
to do his will
, he will know about the teaching, whether it is from God, or if I am speaking from myself. 18
He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory, but he who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and no unrighteousness
is in him. 19
Didn't Moses give you the law
, and yet none of you keeps the law
Jesus accuses the Jews of breaking the law themselves by their plots to kill him, a clear breach of the commandment not to murder (19; cf. Ex 20:13).
? Why do you seek to kill me?" 20
The multitude answered, "You have a demon! Who seeks to kill you?" 21
Jesus answered them, "I did one work
, and you all marvel because of it. 22
Moses has given you circumcision (not that it is of Moses, but of the fathers), and on the Sabbath you circumcise a boy. 23
If a boy receives circumcision on the Sabbath
Heb. 'do a boy's b'rit-milah on Shabbat'.
, that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry
with me, because I made a man completely healthy
on the Sabbath? 24
according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment
[dikaian krisin krinō]
Therefore some of them of Jerusalem said, "Isn't this he whom they seek to kill? 26
, he speaks openly, and they say nothing to him. Can it be that the rulers
indeed know that this is truly the Christ? 27
However we know
where this man comes from, but when the Christ comes, no one will know
where he comes from." 28
Jesus therefore cried out in the temple, teaching and saying, "You both know
me, and know where I am from. I have not come of myself, but he who sent me is true
, whom you don't know. 29
I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me." 30
They sought therefore to take him; but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour
had not yet come. 31
But of the multitude, many believed
in him. They said, "When the Christ comes, he won't do more signs than those which this man has done, will he?" 32
The chief priests and Pharisees were not always the best of friends but here they unite to dispatch the temple police to arrest Jesus.
heard the multitude murmuring
these things concerning him, and the chief priests and the Pharisees sent officers
to arrest him.
Then Jesus said, "I will be with you a little while longer, then I go to him who sent me. 34
You will seek me, and won't find me; and where I am, you can't come." 35
The Jews therefore said among themselves, "Where will this man go that we won't find him? Will he go to the Dispersion
At the time of the Claudian census in 48 AD there were believed to be some 6,944,000 Jews, both born and converts, within the empire, plus what Josephus calls the 'myriads and myriads' in Babylonia and elsewhere beyond it. One calculation is that during the Herodian period there were about 8 million Jews in three World, of whom 2,350,000 to 2,500,000 lived in Palestine, so choose thus constituting about 10 per cent of the Roman Empire. This expanding nation and teeming diaspora were the sources of Herod's wealth and influence.
among the Greeks
, and teach the Greeks
What is this word that he said, 'You will seek me, and won't find me; and where I am, you can't come'?" 37
Now on the last and greatest day of the feast
[heortēs; Heb. of Hoshana Rabbah]
Temple sacrifices and feasts
Several ceremonies were added to the prescribed institution of the Feast in Ex 23:16. Among these was the daily drawing of water from the pool of Siloam. A priest, accompanied by a procession of people and musicians at daybreak, approached the pool and drew off a golden pitcher of water. On returning to the temple he was heralded with three trumpet blasts and, going to the west side of the great altar, he poured the water into a perforated silver basin. This ceremony was accompanied by songs, shouts and sound of trumpet. It represented a memorial of the water provided for their ancestors in the desert, a symbol of the 'latter rain', the outpouring of God's Spirit at the coming of the Messiah. Jesus can be visualised standing in the temple among the crowds of pilgrims, probably in the proximity of the altar where the water from the Pool of Siloam was poured each morning, calling on all who would to come to him and to receive the life-giving blessing of the Spirit. The imagery picks up on that used in 4:13-14.
Many thousands of priests, Levites, scribes and pious Jews worked in and around the temple area. The priests were responsible for the rituals and ceremonies, the Levites were the choristers, musicians, cleaners and engineers. They were divided into 24 watches or shifts, and during the frantic activity of the big feasts were reinforced by men of priestly or Levitical birth from all over Palestine and the diaspora. The primary priestly duty was the care of the sanctuary. The Jews had taken from the Egyptians the notion of the perpetual altar fire, and this meant keeping alight and constantly filling the many sanctuary lamps. Also from Egypt came the custom of regular incensing of the darkest and most secret parts. The temple consumed 600 pounds of costly incense a year, made from a secret recipe by the priestly Avtina family, whose womenfolk were banned and from using scent to avoid accusations of corruption. it was in fact made from ground-up seashells, Sodom salt, a special cyclamen, myrrh (camphor gum resin), frankincense (terebinth gum resin), cinnamon, cassium, spikenard gum balm and a mysterious substance called maalah ashan, which made the smoke rise impressively.
Then there were the normal sacrifices, two lambs at dawn each day and another two at sunset, with thirteen priests needed for each. Ordinary male Jews could not enter the sanctuary, of course, but its stores were kept open during the service so they could see. Each service ended with a ritual drinking of wine, the reading of scripture, and the singing of hymns and Psalms. The choristers were accompanied by an orchestra of a double-pipe, twelve-stringed harp, ten-stringed lyre, and bronze cymbals, while both the silver trumpet and the 'shofar' or Ram's horn emitted blasts to mark stages in the liturgy. The sacrifice rituals struck visitors as exotic, even barbarous, for most strangers came at feast times when the quantities of sacrifices were enormous. At such times, the Inner Temple was an awesome place - the screams and bellows of terrified cattle, blending with ritual cries and chants and tremendous blasts of horn and trumpet, and blood everywhere.
Because of the huge number of animals, the slaughter, bloodying and carving up of the carcasses had to be done quickly; and to get rid of the copious quantities of blood, the platform was not solid but hollow, a gigantic cleansing system. It contained thirty-four cisterns, the largest, or Great Sea, holding over 2 million gallons. In winter, they stored the rainfall and in summer additional suppliers were brought by aqueduct from the pool of Siloam to the south. Innumerable pipes conveyed water up to the platform surface, and a multitude of drains, unseen to the visitors below, carried off the torrents of blood.
, Jesus stood and cried out, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink! 38
He who believes
Since the original MMS contained no punctuation there is room in a few instances, as here, for some ambiguity. The traditional reading implies that Jesus is promising that whoever comes to him (believes in him) will be given a drink to quench his or her thirst. But an alternative reading could be, If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me. And let him drink, who believes in me. As the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him. The difference concerns whom him refers to: Christ or the believer. Ultimately Jesus is the source of the Spirit by either interpretation.
in me, as the Scripture has said, from within him
[ek tēs koilias]
Lit. 'out of his belly'. The metaphor of water is a striking one in an arid country where rivers were the very source of life.
rivers of living water." 39
But he said this about the Spirit, which those believing
in him were to receive. For the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus wasn't yet glorified
Many of the multitude therefore, when they heard these words, said, "This is truly the prophet." 41
Others said, "This is the Christ." But some said, "What, does the Christ come out of Galilee? 42
Hasn't the Scripture said that the Christ comes of the seed of David, and from Bethlehem, the village where David was?" 43
So there arose a division
in the multitude because of him. 44
Some of them would have arrested him, but no one laid hands on him. 45
Unlike the Roman soldiers who could be counted upon to carry out orders, with physical brutality if necessary, these were basically peaceable men, more an order of stewards than law enforcers.
therefore came to the chief priests and Pharisees, and they said to them, "Why didn't you bring him?" 46
answered, "No man ever spoke like this man!" 47
The Pharisees therefore answered them, "You aren't also led astray
, are you? 48
Have any of the rulers
in him, or of the Pharisees? 49
But this multitude that doesn't know the law is accursed
They are cursed because they do not follow or study the law like the Pharisees. They are an ignorant rabble whose views are to be discounted. Contemporary sources confirm this contempt for the common people on the part of these first-century Jewish leaders. Nicodemus, finding the courage to challenge their dismissal of Jesus, cites the widely acknowledged right of the accused to make due representation but is dismissed himself with another appeal to Jesus' Galilean origin (v52).
Nicodemus (he who came to him by night, being one of them) said to them, 51
"Does our law judge
a man, unless it first hears from him personally and knows what he does?" 52
They answered him, "Are you also from Galilee? Search
, and see that no prophet has arisen out of Galilee." 53
Everyone went to his own house,
[The earliest and most reliable manuscripts and other ancient witnesses do not have John 7:53-8:11.]
Virtually all Greek MMS and many in the other language groups have no reference to the account of the woman caught in adultery. None of the early church fathers who wrote commentaries on John's gospel include it. One or two MMS include it in Luke after 21:38. However, the spirit of the passage is such that its place within the gospel corpus has been universally accepted.
but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2
Now very early in the morning, he came again into the temple, and all the people came to him. He sat down, and taught them. 3
and the Pharisees brought a woman taken in adultery. Having set her in the midst, 4
they told him, "Teacher, we found this woman in adultery, in the very act. 5
Now in our law, Moses commanded us to stone such. What then do you say about her?" 6
They said this testing
The trap is a clever one. To refuse to uphold the stoning would clearly confirm the authorities' suspicions, already aroused by matters like his attitude to the Sabbath, that Jesus stood light to the law. If that were established, then he is a self-proclaimed heretic and their rejection of him is clearly justified. On the other hand, his compassion for the downtrodden and the lawless is known. A hard-line judgement in this case would have discredited him in the eyes of the common people. There may also have been another hook on their line, in that advocating stoning, in strict conformity with the Jewish law, might have brought down on Jesus' head the wrath of the Roman authorities because of their jealous retention of the right to execute. The male adulterer's absence from the story is critical. Male chauvinism was reflected widely in practice in the application of the law. It has been speculated whether the religious leaders colluded with this man to set up the woman as a test for Jesus. Two or more witnesses must have been hanging around the house spying through the windows before the moment came when they had collected enough evidence. In any case, the man slips away while the woman is disgracefully condemned. Jesus consistently refuses to allow the woman concerned to be disadvantaged (cf. Mt 19:1-10).
him, that they might have something to accuse
him of. But Jesus stooped down, and wrote
Jesus elsewhere uses the image of 'the finger of God' (Lk 11:20) to refer to his exercise of divine authority. It was with 'God's finger' that the law had been written on the tablets of stone at Sinai (cf. Ex 32:16) and the writing on the wall convicted Belshazzar (Dan 5:5).
on the ground with his finger. 7
But when they continued asking
him, he looked up and said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him throw the first stone at her." 8
Again he stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground. 9
They, when they heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning from the oldest, even to the last. Jesus was left alone with the woman where she was, in the middle. 10
Jesus, standing up, saw her and said, "Woman, where are your accusers
? Did no one condemn
She said, "No one, Lord
." Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn
you. Go your way. From now on, sin no more." 12
Again, therefore, Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am
For background references to light as a rich OT symbol see Ex 13:21-22; Ps 27:1; Is 49:6; Is 60:19-22; (cf Rev 21:3-4); and Zc 14:5b-7, which may have formed part of the liturgical readings during the feast.
of the world
. He who follows me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the light of life." 13
The Pharisees therefore said to him, "You testify about yourself. Your testimony is not valid
Jesus answered them, "Even if I testify about myself, my testimony is true
, for I know where I came from, and where I am going; but you don't know where I came from, or where I am going. 15
according to the flesh
. I judge
Even if I do judge
, my judgment
, for I am not alone, but I am with the Father who sent me. 17
It's also written in your law that the testimony of two people is valid
one who testifies
about myself, and the Father who sent me testifies
about me." 19
They said therefore to him, "Where is your Father?" Jesus answered, "You know neither me, nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also." 20
Jesus spoke these words
in the treasury
The probable location is the 'court of women'. Here, at the end of the first day, four golden lamps were lit amid great rejoicing. Singing and celebration with music and dancing continued through the nights of the feast, with the light in the temple illuminating the entire city, cf. v12.
, as he taught in the temple. Yet no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come. 21
Jesus said therefore again to them, "I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sins. Where I go, you can't come." 22
The Jews therefore said, "Will he kill himself, that he says, 'Where I am going, you can't come?'" 23
He said to them, "You are from beneath. I am from above. You are of this world
. I am not of this world
I said therefore to you that you will die
in your sins; for unless you believe
that I am
Also in vv28, 58; 6:35; 13:19 and possibly 18:6. With the Mosaic and exodus setting for this discourse it is difficult not to see here an allusion to Ex 3:14, the self-definition of God, LXX: egō eimi ho ōn, I am the one who is. Many have identified Is 41:4; 43:10, 13 as further background to Jesus' claim.
he, you will die
in your sins." 25
They said therefore to him, "Who are you?" Jesus said to them, "Just what I have been saying to you from the beginning. 26
I have many things to speak and to judge
concerning you. However he who sent me is true
; and the things which I heard from him, these I say to the world
They didn't understand that he spoke to them about the Father. 28
Jesus therefore said to them, "When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am
he, and I do nothing of myself, but as my Father taught me, I say these things. 29
He who sent me is with me. The Father hasn't left
me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing
to him." 30
As he spoke these things, many believed
Jesus therefore said to those Jews who had believed
him, "If you remain
Commonly rendered 'remain'. Cf. ch15, passim.
in my word, then you are truly my disciples. 32
You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free
They answered him, "We are Abraham's seed, and have never been in bondage
to anyone. How do you say, 'You will be made free
Jesus answered them, "Most certainly I tell you
, everyone who commits sin is the bondservant
of sin. 35
A bondservant doesn't live in the house
forever. A son remains forever. 36
If therefore the Son makes you free
, you will be free
I know that you are Abraham's seed, yet you seek to kill me, because my word
finds no place
in you. 38
I say the things which I have seen with my Father; and you also do the things which you have seen with your father." 39
They answered him, "Our father is Abraham." Jesus said to them, "If you were Abraham's children, you would do the works of Abraham. 40
But now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God. Abraham didn't do this. 41
You do the works of your father." They said to him, "We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father, God." 42
Therefore Jesus said to them, "If God were your father, you would love
me, for I came out and have come from God. For I haven't come of myself, but he sent me. 43
Why don't you understand my speech? Because you can't hear my word. 44
You are of your father, the devil
, and you want to do the desires
of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and doesn't stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks on his own; for he is a liar, and its father.
But because I tell the truth, you don't believe
Which of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe
He who is of God hears the words of God
[ta rhēmata tou theou]
. For this cause you don't hear, because you are not of God
[ek tou theou]
Then the Jews answered him, "Don't we say well that you are a Samaritan
A Samaritan would be forbidden in the temple treasury; here it was synonymous with anything that was vile and contemptible. 'Samaritan' was a name that was originally identified with the Israelites of the Northern Kingdom (2 Ki 17:29). When the Assyrians conquered Israel most were exiled but a remnant remained and mixed with Assyrian captives (2 Ki 17:24), following their gods. The Samaritans identified Mount Gerizim as the chosen place of God and the only centre of worship, calling it the 'navel of the earth' because of a tradition that Adam sacrificed there. Their Scriptures were limited to the Pentateuch. Moses was regarded as the only prophet and intercessor in the final judgement. They also believed that 6, 000 years after creation, a restorer would arise and live on the earth for 110 years.
, and have a demon?" 49
Jesus answered, "I don't have a demon, but I honor
my Father, and you dishonor
But I don't seek my own glory
. There is one who seeks and judges
, I tell you, if a person keeps
, he will never see
Then the Jews said to him, "Now we know that you have a demon. Abraham died, and the prophets; and you say, 'If a man keeps
, he will never taste
of death.' 53
Are you greater
than our father, Abraham, who died? The prophets died. Who do you make yourself out to be?" 54
Jesus answered, "If I glorify
myself, my glory
is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies
me, of whom you say that he is our God. 55
You have not known
him, but I know
him. If I said, 'I don't know
him,' I would be like you, a liar. But I know
him, and keep
Your father Abraham rejoiced
to see my day. He saw it, and was glad
The Jews therefore said to him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?" 58
Jesus said to them, "Most certainly
, I tell you, before Abraham came into existence, I AM
Therefore they took up stones to throw at him, but Jesus was hidden, and went out of the temple, having gone through the midst of them, and so passed by.
As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2
His disciples asked him, "Rabbi
, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" 3
Jesus answered, "Neither did this man sin, nor his parents; but, that the works of God might be revealed
in him. 4
I must work the works of him who sent me, while it is day. The night is coming, when no one can work. 5
While I am in the world
, I am the light of the world
When he had said this, he spat on the ground, made mud with the saliva
There were primitive beliefs in the first century concerning the magical powers of the saliva of heroic figures. In previous acts of healing, Jesus simply said the word. Early writers saw a link between the ground used in the mudpack and the dust from which Adam was formed (Gn 2:7).
, anointed the blind man's eyes with the mud, 7
and said to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam
[kolumbēthran tou Silōam]
(which means "Sent
The Pool's meaning (Siloam - Sent), is surely not coincidental from John's perspective. Consistently in this gospel Jesus is the 'sent one' of the Father.
"). So he went away, washed, and came back seeing. 8
The neighbours therefore, and those who saw that he was blind before, said, "Isn't this he who sat and begged?" 9
Others were saying, "It is he." Still others were saying, "He looks like him." He said, "I am he." 10
They therefore were asking him, "How were your eyes opened?" 11
He answered, "A man called Jesus made mud, anointed my eyes, and said to me, 'Go to the pool of Siloam
, and wash.' So I went away and washed, and I received sight." 12
Then they asked him, "Where is he?" He said, "I don't know." 13
They brought him who had been blind to the Pharisees
From the strictest Pharisaical position, Jesus had infringed the Sabbath tradition (not Scripture!) at two, probably three, points. First, he healed on the Sabbath, which was permissible only when life was in danger. Second, in making the mud he had kneaded on the Sabbath, which was specifically forbidden. Third, he had anointed the man's eyes, which the stricter teachers also proscribed.
It was a Sabbath when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. 15
Again therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he received his sight. He said to them, "He put mud on my eyes, I washed, and I see." 16
Some therefore of the Pharisees said, "This man is not from God, because he doesn't keep the Sabbath." Others said, "How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?" There was division among them. 17
Therefore they asked the blind man again, "What do you say about him, because he opened your eyes?" He said, "He is a prophet." 18
The Jews therefore did not believe
concerning him, that he had been blind, and had received his sight, until they called the parents
For the parent's the implications of having a 'seeing son' could have meant the loss of a fairly lucrative source of income, especially for such a man who comes across as a person of considerable initiative. Secondly, excommunication from the synagogue was an extremely serious penalty in that fiercely religious culture which had far-reaching social as well as religious ramifications. In their eyes it probably amounted to forfeiture of standing with God, a price the seeing man was prepared to pay (cf. v34).
of him who had received his sight, 19
and asked them, "Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?" 20
His parents answered them, "We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind;
but how he now sees, we don't know; or who opened his eyes, we don't know. He is of age. Ask him. He will speak for himself." 22
His parents said these things because they feared the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that if any man would confess him as Christ
, he would be put out of the synagogue
According to the Talmud there were three grades of excommunication among the Jews. The first was called niddin, and those on whom it was pronounced were not permitted for thirty days to have any communication with any person unless at a distance over four cubits (about 6 feet). They were not prohibited from attending public worship, though they could not, during the thirty days, enter the temple by the ordinary gate. They were not allowed to shave during that time, and were required to wear garments of mourning. The second was called cherim, and was pronounced on those who remained openly disobedient under the first. It was of greater severity than the other, and required the presence of at least ten members of the congregation to make it valid. The offender was formally cursed, was excluded from all social interaction, and was prohibited from entering the temple or synagogue. The third was shammatha, and was inflicted on those who persisted in their stubborn resistance to authority. By this they were cut off from all connection with the Jewish people, and were consigned to utter perdition. The Talmud assigns as the two general causes for excommunication, money (by refusing to pay the moneys that the court directed them to pay) and epicurism (referring to those who despised the Word of God or the word of the scribes). Cf. Mt 18:17; Jn 9:34; 12:42; 16:2; Lk 6:22.
Therefore his parents said, "He is of age. Ask him." 24
So they called the man who was blind a second time, and said to him, "Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner
He therefore answered, "I don't know if he is a sinner. One thing I do know: that though I was blind, now I see." 26
They said to him again, "What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?" 27
He answered them, "I told you already, and you didn't listen. Why do you want to hear it again? You don't also want to become his disciples, do you?" 28
him and said, "You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. 29
We know that God has spoken to Moses. But as for this man, we don't know where he comes from." 30
The man answered them, "How amazing! You don't know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. 31
We know that God doesn't listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshipper of God, and does his will
, he listens to him. 32
Since the world began it has never been heard of that anyone opened the eyes of someone born blind. 33
If this man were not from God, he could do nothing." 34
They answered him, "You were altogether born in sins, and do you teach us?" They threw him out. 35
Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and finding him, he said, "Do you believe
in the Son of God?" 36
He answered, "Who is he, Lord
, that I may believe
in him?" 37
Jesus said to him, "You have both seen him, and it is he who speaks with you." 38
He said, "Lord, I believe
!" and he worshiped
More accurately, he 'prostrated himself' but worship must be implied. Jesus certainly does not disavow it, in complete contrast to his followers under similar circumstances (Ac 3:12; 10;26; 14:14-15).
Jesus said, "I came into this world
, that those who don't see may see; and that those who see may become blind." 40
Those of the Pharisees who were with him heard these things, and said to him, "Are we also blind?" 41
Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, 'We see.' Therefore your sin remains.
, I tell you, one who doesn't enter by the door into the sheep fold
Jesus' imagery would have been familiar in a society where sheep-farming was a staple of the economy. For the OT background to this imagery, cf. Ez 34:1-31. The 'fold' or pen was probably a large, communal enclosure where several flocks were herded for safety at night.
, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber
But one who enters in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3
The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls
The calling of the sheep in the morning would be crucial as each shepherd assembled his own flock from the larger herd in the fold. Eastern shepherds to this day often name a sheep according to a particular characteristic or trait. During the night a guard (watchman) would be hired who would remain at the only door to the enclosure. Robbers could enter only by scaling the enclosure - security was provided by proximity to the shepherd, not by the walls of the enclosure.
his own sheep by name, and leads them out. 4
Whenever he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5
They will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him; for they don't know the voice of strangers." 6
Jesus spoke this parable to them, but they didn't understand what he was telling them. 7
Jesus therefore said to them again, "Most certainly
, I tell you, I am
the sheep's door. 8
All who came before me are thieves and robbers
This does not mean burglars, highwaymen or cutpurses but those who took the role of Messiah in earlier days who had been political revolutionaries, prepared to go to any lengths of violence and outrage to secure a political end, cf. Ac 5:36-7.
, but the sheep didn't listen to them. 9
I am the door. If anyone enters in by me, he will be saved
, and will go in and go out, and will find pasture. 10
only comes to steal, kill, and destroy
. I came that they may have
life, and may have it abundantly
Has overtones of beauty, hence: 'noble shepherd', 'worthy', or 'model'.
shepherd. The good shepherd lays down
for the sheep. 12
He who is a hired hand
, and not a shepherd, who doesn't own the sheep, sees the wolf coming, leaves the sheep, and flees. The wolf snatches the sheep, and scatters them. 13
The hired hand flees because he is a hired hand
, and doesn't care for the sheep. 14
the good shepherd. I know my own, and I'm known by my own; 15
even as the Father knows me, and I know the Father. I lay down
for the sheep. 16
I have other sheep, which are not of this fold. I must bring
them also, and they will hear my voice. They will become one flock with one shepherd.
Therefore the Father loves
me, because I lay down
, that I may take it again. 18
No one takes it away from me, but I lay it down
by myself. I have power
to lay it down
, and I have power
to take it again. I received this commandment from my Father." 19
Therefore a division
arose again among the Jews because of these words. 20
Many of them said, "He has a demon, and is insane! Why do you listen to him?" 21
Others said, "These are not the sayings of one possessed by a demon. It isn't possible for a demon to open the eyes of the blind, is it?" 22
It was the Feast of the Dedication
[egkainia; Heb. Chanukkah]
Unlike the other feasts which had ancient biblical roots, this particular feast had its origin in comparatively recent history. In 167 BC, when the Syrian Emperor, Antiochus Epiphanes, was attempting to establish uniformity of worship throughout his empire, he desecrated the temple in Jerusalem by setting up an altar to Zeus; cf. 1 Macc 4:52-59. In a heroic struggle, Judas Maccabaeus led a successful revolt against the Syrians, and in December 164 BC the temple was reconsecrated in an eight-day celebration. This became an annual, joyous commemoration of the victory and the restored freedom of worship. Unlike the other feasts it did not involve pilgrimage but could be celebrated at home. Held during December (beginning on the 25 of Kislev), it was about three months after the tabernacles feast, but often associated with it in the popular mind. One specific overlap was the use of lights, in this case the restoration of the light of freedom. The freedom fighters had only found a single bottle of oil to light the sacred lamps (the 'eternal flame') in the temple but it miraculously lasted eight days. This became the duration of the feast known as Hannukah (from the Hebrew 'to dedicate').
at Jerusalem. 23
It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in Solomon's porch
Surrounded by arched pillars on four sides and providing shelter from the cold winter winds. It would be the scene of the meetings of the earliest Christian believers a few months hence (Ac 5:12).
The Jews therefore came around him and said to him, "How long will you hold us in suspense
[tēn psychēn hymōn airō]
? If you are the Christ
[christos; Heb. Messiah]
, tell us plainly." 25
Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you don't believe
. The works that I do in my Father's name, these testify about me. 26
But you don't believe
, because you are not of my sheep
The shepherd imagery is recalled here in response to a question about Jesus' messiahship. One of the supreme OT images of the Messiah was David, the shepherd king of Israel.
, as I told you. 27
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28
I give eternal life
to them. They will never perish
, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29
My Father, who has given them to me, is greater
than all. No one is able to snatch them out of my Father's hand. 30
I and the Father are one." 31
Therefore Jews took up stones again to stone him. 32
Jesus answered them, "I have shown you many good works
'Fine, noble, beautiful' works.
from my Father. For which of those works do you stone me?" 33
The Jews answered him, "We don't stone you for a good work
, but for blasphemy
: because you, being a man, make yourself God
[theon; Heb. Elohim]
Jesus answered them, "Isn't it written in your law, 'I said, you are gods
Three main identifications of the 'gods' have been put forward: the judges of Israel, the angels of God, or the Israelite recipients of the Word of God addressed in the Psalm. In the case of the third meaning, Jesus may be hinting that since the receiving of the 'Word of God' through the prophets was sufficient to ennoble the recipients to the rank of 'sons of God', how much more appropriately is that title referred to him who is 'the Word of God' in the flesh?.
If he called them gods, to whom the word
of God came (and the Scripture
[graphē Heb. Tanakh]
can't be broken
do you say of him whom the Father sanctified
The root of the verb is the idea of holiness, or dedication.
and sent into the world
, 'You blaspheme
,' because I said, 'I am the Son of God?' 37
If I don't do the works of my Father, don't believe
But if I do them, though you don't believe
me, believe the works
; that you may know and believe
that the Father is in me, and I in the Father." 39
They sought again to seize him, and he went out of their hand. 40
He went away again beyond the Jordan into the place where John was baptizing at first, and there he stayed. 41
Many came to him. They said, "John indeed did no sign, but everything that John said about this man is true." 42
in him there.
Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus
[Bēanias; Heb. Beit-Anyah]
, of the village of Mary and her sister, Martha. 2
It was that Mary
who had anointed
the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother, Lazarus
, was sick. 3
The sisters therefore sent to him, saying, "Lord
Probably renders the Aramaic for 'rabbi', cf. 28; 20:16.
, he for whom you have great affection
is sick." 4
But when Jesus heard it, he said, "This sickness is not to death, but for the glory
of God, that God's Son may be glorified
by it." 5
Now Jesus loved
, and her sister, and Lazarus. 6
When therefore he heard that he was sick, he stayed two days in the place where he was. 7
Then after this he said to the disciples, "Let's go into Judea again." 8
The disciples told him, "Rabbi
, the Jews were just trying
to stone you, and are you going there again?" 9
Jesus answered, "Aren't there twelve hours of daylight? If a man walks in the day, he doesn't stumble
, because he sees the light of this world
But if a man walks in the night, he stumbles
, because the light isn't in him." 11
He said these things, and after that, he said to them, "Our friend
, Lazarus, has fallen asleep
'Sleep', while used of death in the OT, e.g., 2 Ki 14:22, was not a common way of referring to death. The use of this metaphor and in Mk 5:39 may have set the trend for later Christian usage (cf. Ac 7:60; 1 Thes 4:13). As a metaphor for death it need not imply the end of all consciousness following the moment of death. In Scripture, sleep is regularly a very 'active' experience (cf. Gn 28:11-15; Dn 7:1f; Mt 1:20). Primarily, 'sleep' implied the truth of the recovery of consciousness after death.
, but I am going so that I may awake
him out of sleep." 12
The disciples therefore said, "Lord, if he has fallen asleep
, he will recover
Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he spoke of taking rest in sleep. 14
So Jesus said to them plainly then, "Lazarus is dead
I am glad
for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe
. Nevertheless, let's go to him." 16
therefore, who is called Didymus
Thomas is Aramaic, Didymus Greek. It was customary for Jews when travelling into foreign countries, or when talking with Greeks to Romans, to assume a Greek or Latin name of similar meaning to their own.
, said to his fellow disciples, "Let's go also, that we may die
with him." 17
So when Jesus came, he found that he had been in the tomb four days
The three days after death were called 'days of weeping', which were followed by four 'days of lamentation'. According to third century rabbinical thought, the spirit wanders about the sepulchre for three days seeking an opportunity to return into the body. On the fourth day, upon seeing that the colour of the face has changed, it goes away and leaves it. There is a similar conviction in the ancient Persian religion, Zoroastrianism, that on the morning of the fourth day after death the soul finally abandons the body. Jewish mourning customs viewed the first three days after death as being the most intense, during which the deceased was still present to witness the grief. There is cultural support for the fourth day threshold: hospitality in the East allowed visitors a stay of three days' duration and staying on was a serious breach of etiquette. Some Christians in this way discerned true from false prophets: those outstaying their welcome were spongers (The Didache, 12).
was near Jerusalem
, about fifteen stadia
Stadion, or furlong; 606 feet 9 inches.
Many of the Jews had joined the women around Martha and Mary, to console
Jewish custom required the presence of mourners, and Rabbis taught the solemn duty of comforting mourners; the sisters clearly had a significant company of friends in the nearby city, indicating that theirs was a family of some means, cf. 12:3.
them concerning their brother. 20
Then when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary stayed in the house.
Therefore Martha said to Jesus, "Lord
, if you would have been here, my brother wouldn't have died
Even now I know that, whatever you ask of God, God will give you." 23
Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again
Martha said to him, "I know that he will rise again
in the resurrection
at the last day." 25
Jesus said to her, "I am
and the life. He who believes
in me will still live, even if he dies
Whoever lives and believes
in me will never die
. Do you believe
She said to him, "Yes, Lord
. I have come to believe
that you are the Christ
[christos; Heb. Messiah]
, God's Son, he who comes into the world
When she had said this, she went away, and called Mary, her sister, secretly, saying, "The Teacher is here, and is calling you." 29
When she heard this, she arose quickly, and went to him. 30
Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was in the place where Martha met him. 31
Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and were consoling
her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up quickly and went out, followed her, saying, "She is going to the tomb to weep there." 32
Therefore when Mary came to where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying to him, "Lord, if you would have been here, my brother wouldn't have died
When Jesus therefore saw her weeping
, and the Jews weeping
who came with her, he groaned in the spirit
To 'groan inwardly in spirit'. When used outside the Bible, this word can refer to the snorting of horses. The Greek poets used this word to describe a war-horse rearing on its hind legs, nostrils flared, charging into battle. Applied to human emotion it invariably speaks not of uncontrollable sorrow but of an outburst of anger, inexpressible anger or rage, in fact. Tears of sympathy are incidental; in Calvin's words, Jesus advances to the tomb, 'as a champion who prepares for conflict', raging against the enemy. God is angered by death.
, and was troubled
and said, "Where have you laid him?" They told him, "Lord, come and see." 35
The tense of the verb may imply: 'Jesus burst into tears'.
The Jews therefore said, "See how much affection
he had for him!" 37
Some of them said, "Couldn't this man, who opened the eyes of him who was blind, have also kept this man from dying?" 38
Jesus therefore, again groaning in himself
, came to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39
Jesus said, "Take away the stone." Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to him, "Lord, by this time there is a stench
Lit., 'he stinks', i.e., 'the soul'; the Greek lacks a masculine reference.
, for he has been dead four days." 40
Jesus said to her, "Didn't I tell you that if you believed
, you would see God's glory?" 41
So they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, "Father, I thank you
that you listened to me. 42
I know that you always listen to me, but because of the multitude that stands around I said this, that they may believe
that you sent
When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" 44
He who was dead came out, bound hand and foot with wrappings
According to Jewish burial custom, the body would not have been fully mummified, but rather wrapped round with a large linen cloth and tied at hands and feet with further strips. So bound, a living person could shuffle forward.
, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth
A separate wrapping around the face kept the jaw in place.
. Jesus said to them, "Free him
, and let him go
[aphiēmi auton hupagō]
Therefore many of the Jews, who came to Mary and saw what Jesus did, believed
in him. 46
But some of them went away to the Pharisees, and told them the things which Jesus had done. 47
The chief priests therefore and the Pharisees gathered a council
The Sanhedrin was the central court of the Jewish people at the time, operating under Roman jurisdiction. It was concerned with the political and religious life of Israel on a day-to-day basis and had absolute authority within the limits permitted by Rome. Chaired by the high priest, it consisted of seventy or so members. It mainly comprised the Sadducean party, though the Pharisees were an important minority group. Various shades of theological opinion were reflected within it. Some of the more socially influential members were not especially religious.
, and said, "What are we doing? For this man does many signs. 48
If we leave him alone like this, everyone will believe
in him, and the Romans will come and take away
It was an article of faith to the Romans that they were the most morally upright people in the world. How else was the size of their empire to be explained? Yet they also knew that the Republic's greatness carried its own risks. To abuse it would be to court divine anger. Hence the Romans' concern to refute all charges of bullying, and to insist that they had won their empire purely in self-defence. And Romans believed that they had a civilising mission; that because her values and institutions were self-evidently superior to those of barbarians, she had a duty to propagate them; that only once the whole globe had been subjected to her rule could there be a universal peace.
The Roman Empire could be thought of in apposition to the rest of the world. Liberty verses despotism, anarchy verses order, republic verses autocracy.
Rome's system of government had endured for almost five hundred years. It had won her a greatness so surpassing that not a king in the world had been able to withstand her. Above all, it gave to every citizen the measurement of himself, the reassurance that he was not a subject or a slave, but a man. A Roman could no more conceive of the Republic's collapse than he could imagine himself an Egyptian or a Gaul.
both our place and our nation
The cunning should take one's breath away. In one act they would destroy Jesus, put the blame on Rome, pretend to those who followed Jesus that Jesus was martyred by Rome and yet, by handing him over, pretend their own loyalty to Roman authority and their support of law and order. Or, according to another scenario, they may have feared an abortive popular rising in support of Jesus which the Romans would speedily and ruthlessly put down, and in the process impose direct rule, with possible further desecration, if not destruction, of the temple. Whatever the case, the Sanhedrin feared the loss of the status quo by which they had power and privilege within the state.
But a certain one of them, Caiaphas
Caiaphas was son-in-law of the still widely influential Annas. Appointed to office in AD 18, Caiaphas continued until AD 36, when he was deposed at the same time as Pilate, the Roman procurator. Though John refers to his office 'that year' he, like any other Jew of the time, was well aware that Caiaphas was in office for much longer than a single year.
, being high priest that year, said to them, "You know nothing at all, 50
nor do you consider
that it is advantageous
for us that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish
Now he didn't say this of himself, but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, 52
and not for the nation only, but that he might also gather together
into one the children of God who are scattered
So from that day forward they took counsel that they might put him to death. 54
Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews, but departed from there into the country near the wilderness
, to a city called Ephraim
Twelve miles north of Jerusalem, probably the modern village of Et-Taiyibeh.
. He stayed there with his disciples. 55
Now the Passover
of the Jews was at hand. Many went up from the country to Jerusalem before the Passover
, to purify
Then they sought for Jesus and spoke one with another, as they stood in the temple, "What do you think--that he isn't coming to the feast at all?" 57
Now the chief priests
and the Pharisees
had commanded that if anyone knew where he was, he should report it, that they might seize him.
Then six days before the Passover
, Jesus came to Bethany
, where Lazarus
It is usually presumed that Lazarus and his sisters lived in the same household, but if he was a man of mature years he would almost certainly have been married and living in his own home, though within the village. This may explain why Lazarus is identified among the guests, an unnecessary detail if the dinner was being served in his own home.
was, who had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. 2
So they made him a supper there. Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table
Reclining in the customary manner, the head was held close to the low central table where the food was laid.
with him. 3
Mary, therefore, took a pound of ointment of pure nard
An oil-like perfume extracted from the root and spike of the nard plant, grown in India. The quantity was more than enough for Jesus head or feet (cf. Mt 26:12; Mk 14:8).
, very precious, and anointed
the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair
This was an extraordinary act. It was also an improper act. Mary interrupted the dinner, approached a male guest, she let down her hair in the manner of an immoral woman, and she did the work of a slave. In short, she had transgressed the bounds of propriety. A woman unbinding her hair was regarded as most unseemly, so Mary is clearly moved by deepest feelings of loyalty in being willing to brave the inevitable social disapproval.
. The house was filled with the fragrance of the ointment. 4
Then Judas Iscariot
son, one of his disciples, who would betray
him, said, 5
"Why wasn't this ointment sold for three hundred denarii
NIV 'a year's wages'. The value was equivalent to the total annual salary of an average or above-average wage-earner and now it was all gone, in a society where the evidences of abject poverty were on every hand and starvation never far from the door for most households. Judas recognises that the value of this perfume would have given him rich pickings. John's implication is that pilfering had become a settled trait in Judas and perhaps throws light on his betrayal of Jesus which, after all, was for a significant monetary price. Avarice had already, apparently, invaded his soul. Before ever there was a betrayal of Jesus' person there was a betrayal of Jesus' trust. Judas' acting as treasurer would certainly have been with the approval of Jesus, if not by his direct appointment. Presumably he had some aptitude in this area, since clearly others might have been chosen, like Matthew, with a proven experience of monetary affairs behind him.
, and given to the poor?" 6
Now he said this, not because he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief
, and having the money box
It is believed that Jesus was maintained by the contributions of a committee in Jerusalem which disbursed sums of money, mainly contributed by wealthy widows, for the use of any travelling rabbi whose credentials were in order. That necessitated the keeping of a purse.
, used to steal what was put into it. 7
But Jesus said, "Leave
her alone. She has kept
this for the day of my burial. 8
For you always have the poor with you, but you don't always have me." 9
A large crowd therefore of the Jews learned that he was there, and they came, not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead. 10
But the chief priests conspired to put Lazarus to death also, 11
because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed
in Jesus. 12
On the next day a great multitude
The Passover crowds were enormous by any standards, as pilgrims gathered from all over Israel and from every corner of the Mediterranean world. Josephus gives an attendance figure for a Passover of over two and a half million, some thirty years later.
had come to the feast. When they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, 13
they took the branches of the palm trees
From the time of the Maccabees, palms had been a recognized symbol of the Jewish state. They appear both on the coins struck by the Jews during their revolutionary struggle against the Romans, and in the coinage struck by the Romans after the revolution was put down. The action of the crowd therefore testifies to deep nationalistic fervour among the pilgrims.
, and went out to meet him, and cried out, "Hosanna
Lit. 'give salvation now!', a quotation from Ps 118:25, part of the Hallel, the section of Psalms (113-118 in our Psalter) sung daily during the feast of tabernacles (Sukkot). When 'Hosanna' was reached during the singing of the Hallel, every male worshipper waved his 'lulah' (a bunch of willow and myrtle tied with palm).
These words were widely understood as a reference to the Coming One, the Messiah. This messianic meaning is explicit in the phrase following this one, which is not part of the Psalm, but show how the crowd were understanding it.
is he who comes in the name of the Lord, the King of Israel!" 14
Jesus, having found a young donkey
, sat on it. As it is written, 15
"Don't be afraid, daughter of Zion. See
, your King comes, sitting on a donkey's colt
His disciples didn't understand
these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified
, then they remembered that these things were written about him, and that they had done these things to him. 17
The multitude therefore that was with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb, and raised him from
the dead, was testifying
Evidently the nationalistic and messianic fervour was fuelled by the raising of Lazarus which was widely reported to the crowd coming out from the city by those travelling with Jesus. Jesus is hailed as the 'King who is conqueror of death'. Faced with the nationalistic politicization of the messianic title, Jesus mounts a donkey (cf. 6:15). He is not like Judas Maccabaeus who entered the city on a war-horse (Is 31:1-3), nor like Solomon (1 Ki 4:26). After the tone of Zc 9:9-10, Jesus deliberately de-militarizes the crowd's vision: nothing further from a Zealot view of the Messiah could be imagined.
about it. 18
For this cause also the multitude went and met him, because they heard that he had done this sign. 19
The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, "See how you accomplish nothing. Look
, the world
has gone after him." 20
Now there were certain Greeks
The Greeks represent the many sensitive and thoughtful non-Jews in the first century who were attracted to Judaism. They were drawn by the simplicity and credibility of its theology. Compared with the multiple deities of Greek and pagan religion the monotheism of Israel was attractive and persuasive. Judaism also appealed at the moral level, where its strong ethical emphasis on obedience to the law of God, centred in the great moral imperatives of the Decalogue, was clearly superior to the often questionable behaviour of the Greek deities, and the general tendency in popular religion to separate religion from morality. The Greeks are possibly uncertain about Jesus' attitude to Gentiles and so approach him through Philip who was from Galilee and probably spoke Greek.
among those that went up to worship
Jewish pilgrims from the diaspora
When Herod first took the city in 37 BC he had to persuade the Roman allies not to expel all the inhabitants of Jerusalem and pull it down, for it was an ungovernable place. Herod proposed to internationalise the city, to bring in new Jewry to redress the failings of the old, and to make the city the capital not just of the Judea but of the whole Jewish race. He appointed to Diaspora Jews to public offices in the capital and he wanted to bolster their authority by encouraging other Diaspora Jews to come there regularly. In theory the Law demanded that Jews make pilgrimage to the temple three times a year, for Passover, the feast of weeks and Tabernacles. Herod decided to encourage this practice, especially from the diaspora, by providing Jerusalem with all the facilities of a modern Romano - Greek city and above all by rebuilding the temple itself as a monument-spectacle worth coming to see.
at the feast.
These, therefore, came to Philip
, who was from Bethsaida
, and asked him, saying, "Sir
, we want to see Jesus." 22
came and told Andrew
, and in turn, Andrew
came with Philip
, and they told Jesus. 23
Jesus answered them, "The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified
Most certainly I tell you
, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone. But if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25
He who loves
it. He who hates
The strong word here draws upon a Hebrew idiom which contrasts by expressing the most extreme instance, cf. Gn 29:30-31; Dt 21:15; Mt 10:37; Lk 14:26; Ro 9:13.
in this world
will keep it to eternal life. 26
If anyone serves
me, let him follow me. Where I am, there will my servant
also be. If anyone serves
me, the Father will honor him. 27
"Now my soul
This strong verb signifies shock, agitation, even revulsion, cf. Heb 5:7; Lk 22:44. The parallel to Gethsemene is strengthened if the words Father, save me from this hour do not form a question but a direct petition, which the Greek allows. In contrast to Socrates who, faced with death in Athens because of his teaching, spent his last moments before drinking the hemlock in convivial conversation with his friends, Jesus faces death with extreme agitation and revulsion.
. What shall I say? 'Father, save
me from this time?' But for this cause I came to this time. 28
your name!" Then there came a voice out of the sky, saying, "I have both glorified
it, and will glorify
it again." 29
The multitude therefore, who stood by and heard it, said that it had thundered. Others said, "An angel has spoken to him." 30
Jesus answered, "This voice hasn't come for my sake, but for your sakes. 31
Now is the judgment
of this world
. Now the prince of this world
[archōn tou kosmou]
will be cast out
And I, if I am lifted up
This verb is ambiguous and can mean exultation or crucifixion (cf. 33).
from the earth, will draw
all people to myself." 33
But he said this, signifying by what kind of death he should die. 34
The multitude answered him, "We have heard out of the law that the Christ remains forever. How do you say, 'The Son of Man must be lifted up
?' Who is this Son of Man?" 35
Jesus therefore said to them, "Yet a little while the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, that darkness doesn't overtake
you. He who walks in the darkness doesn't know where he is going. 36
While you have the light, believe
in the light, that you may become children of light." Jesus said these things, and he departed and hid himself from them. 37
But though he had done so many signs before them, yet they didn't believe
in him, 38
that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke, "Lord, who has believed
? To whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed
For this cause they couldn't believe
, for Isaiah said again, 40
"He has blinded their eyes and he hardened
their heart, lest they should see with their eyes, and perceive
with their heart, and would turn
, and I would heal
Isaiah said these things when he saw his glory
[doxan; Heb. Sh'khinah]
, and spoke of him. 42
Nevertheless even of the rulers
in him, but because of the Pharisees they didn't confess
it, so that they wouldn't be put out of the synagogue
for they loved
more than God's praise
Jesus cried out and said, "Whoever believes
in me, believes
not in me, but in him who sent me. 45
He who sees me sees him who sent me. 46
I have come as a light into the world
, that whoever believes
in me may not remain in the darkness. 47
If anyone listens to my sayings
, and doesn't believe, I don't judge
him. For I came not to judge
, but to save
the world. 48
He who rejects
me, and doesn't receive my sayings
, has one who judges
him. The word
that I spoke, the same will judge
him in the last day
For I spoke not from myself, but the Father who sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say
, and what I should speak
I know that his commandment is eternal life. The things therefore which I speak, even as the Father has said to me, so I speak."
Now before the feast of the Passover
The question of different chronologies for the last supper arises because John appears to set the supper meal before the Passover began (on Wednesday evening) with the crucifixion set on Thursday to coincide with the slaughter of the Passover lambs in the temple, cf. 19:36. However, it is not proved that John alters the date of the crucifixion to serve his theological purposes. The Passover ritual, rooted back in the deliverance from Egypt, called for each worshipper to bring a lamb 'without blemish' or broken bones, and present it to the priest to be slain and for its blood to be dashed against the base of the altar. This recalled the slaughter of the Passover lambs in the lintels of their houses, by which the people's escape from judgment and their liberation from bondage were won.
, Jesus, knowing that his time had come that he would
depart from this world to the Father, having loved
his own who were in the world
, he loved them to the end
[eis telos agapaō autous]
During supper, the devil
having already put into the heart
[ballō eis tēn kardian]
of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray
Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he came forth from God, and was going to God, 4
arose from supper, and laid aside
The verbs are identical to those in 10:18 where Jesus describes the authority that is his to lay down.
his outer garments
. He took a towel, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5
Then he poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet
Etiquette was more important in the East and led to the expectation that a slave would rinse travel-dirty feet on arrival. This was a particularly humble task, included in a list of works which a Jewish slave should not be required to perform (Midrash Mekilta on Ex 21:2. The disciples apparently commenced the meal with unwashed feet, none of them being prepared to fulfil the duty (one does not wash the feet of peers!).
, and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. 6
Then he came to Simon Peter. He said to him, "Lord, do you wash my feet?" 7
Jesus answered him, "You don't know what I am doing now, but you will understand later." 8
Peter said to him, "You will never wash my feet!" Jesus answered him, "If I don't wash you, you have no part with me." 9
Simon Peter said to him, "Lord
Although a term of supreme authority, for some of the disciples at this point the title may have not meant much more than 'master'.
, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!" 10
Jesus said to him, "Someone who has bathed only needs to have his feet washed, but is completely clean
. You are clean
, but not all of you." 11
For he knew him who would betray
him, therefore he said, "You are not all clean
So when he had washed their feet, put his outer garment back on, and sat down again, he said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you? 13
You call me, 'Teacher
' and 'Lord
.' You say so correctly
, for so I am. 14
If I then, the Lord
and the Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought
to wash one another's feet. 15
For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. 16
I tell you, a servant
is not greater
than his lord
, neither one who is sent
than he who sent
If you know these things, blessed
are you if you do them. 18
I don't speak concerning all of you. I know whom I have chosen
. But that the Scripture may be fulfilled, 'He who eats bread with me has lifted up his heel
Showing the bottom of a shoe is to show great offence in the Near East. It is associated with the kick of a horse, vicious and unexpected.
From now on, I tell you before it happens, that when it happens, you may believe
that I am
I tell you, he who receives whomever I send
The analogy here is not of a final farewell meeting between Jesus and his friends with his famous last words. Instead, the picture which emerges over the coming chapters is of a commanding officer giving his troops final instructions and encouragement on the eve of a most dangerous mission into which he will lead them.
, receives me; and he who receives me, receives him who sent me." 21
When Jesus had said this, he was troubled
Same verb as in 11:33; 5:7 of turbulent water and Ac 17:8, 13 of a volatile crowd.
in spirit, and testified, "Most certainly
I tell you that one of you will betray
The disciples looked at one another, perplexed
about whom he spoke. 23
One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved
, was at the table, leaning against
Jews in the first century generally ate seated at a table. For special meals, however, the Greek custom of reclining had been adopted. A number of couches, probably three in a 'U' shape, would have been drawn around a low central table. It was the custom to lie on one's left side, head inwards, resting on the left elbow and eating with the right hand. The 'beloved disciple', on Jesus' right, leaned back to ask Jesus a question.
Jesus' breast. 24
Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, and said to him, "Tell us who it is of whom he speaks." 25
He, leaning back, as he was, on Jesus' breast, asked him, "Lord, who is it?" 26
Jesus therefore answered, "It is he to whom I will give this piece of bread
[psōmion; Heb. matzah]
Lit. 'morsel'. Being offered a titbit a such a meal was a mark of special favour. Jesus reaches out in a final astonishing act of loving friendship and appeal, a gesture which is further augmented by Judas' position on Jesus' left, the place of special honour.
when I have dipped it." So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27
After the piece of bread, then Satan entered into him. Then Jesus said to him, "What you do, do quickly
Cups, similar to those used at the Last Supper and of the same period, have been unearthed with an inscription on their base reading, 'Do what you came to do,' which might have been a motto of the time. Perhaps the Master made one last appeal to Judas by quoting to him the motto on the cup from which they had both drunk.
Now no man at the table knew why he said this to him. 29
For some thought, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus said to him, "Buy what things we need for the feast," or that he should give something to the poor. 30
Therefore, having received that morsel, he went out immediately. It was night.
When he had gone out, Jesus said, "Now the Son of Man has been glorified
, and God has been glorified
in him. 32
If God has been glorified
in him, God will also glorify
him in himself, and he will glorify
him immediately. 33
'Dear little children' (cf. 1 Jn 2:1; 2:18' 2:28; etc.) was appropriate to the Passover meal setting, which was celebrated according to the law, en famille.
, I will be with you a little while longer. You will seek me, and as I said to the Jews, 'Where I am going, you can't come,' so now I tell you. 34
A new commandment I give to you, that you love
one another, just like I have loved
you; that you also love
one another. 35
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love
Tertullian reported in the late second century the comment of the pagans in his day: 'Look, how these Christians love each other! How ready they are to die for each other!'.
for one another." 36
Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, where are you going?" Jesus answered, "Where I am going, you can't follow now, but you will follow afterwards." 37
Peter said to him, "Lord, why can't I follow you now? I will lay down
for you." 38
Jesus answered him, "Will you lay down
for me? Most certainly
I tell you, the rooster won't crow until you have denied
me three times.
"Don't let your heart be troubled
'Believe', 'have faith in'.
in God. Believe also in me. 2
In my Father's house
are many homes
Lit. 'dwelling-place(s)' (pl.). Since the picture is of a house it is natural to think of rooms within a house. 'Mansion' is a mistranslation sparked by the Latin Vulgate rendering mansions. A paraphrase could be, 'In my Father's apartment block are many apartments'.
. If it weren't so, I would have told you. I am going to prepare a place for you. 3
If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and will receive you to myself; that where I am, you may be there also. 4
Where I go, you know, and you know the way." 5
Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don't know where you are going. How can we know the way?" 6
Jesus said to him, "I am
the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me. 7
If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on, you know him, and have seen him." 8
said to him, "Lord
us the Father, and that will be enough for us." 9
Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you such a long time, and do you not know me, Philip
? He who has seen me has seen the Father. How do you say, 'Show
us the Father?' 10
Don't you believe
that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words
that I tell you, I speak not from myself; but the Father who lives in me does his works. 11
me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me; or else believe
me for the very works'
I tell you, he who believes
in me, the works that I do, he will do also; and he will do greater
works than these, because I am going to my Father. 13
Whatever you will ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14
If you will ask anything in my name, I will do it. 15
If you love
me, keep my commandments.
I will pray to the Father, and he will give you another Counselor
Lit. 'one called alongside (to help)'. It has a legal context outside the NT and is used in that sense in 1 Jn 2:1. The meaning in the farewell discourses is wider and the verbal form conveys the sense of 'exhort', 'comfort', 'entreat' and 'encourage'.
, that he may be with you forever,--17
the Spirit of truth, whom the world
can't receive; for it doesn't see
him, neither knows him. You know him, for he lives with you, and will be in you. 18
I will not leave
you orphans. I will come to you. 19
Yet a little while, and the world
me no more; but you will see me. Because I live, you will live also. 20
In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21
One who has my commandments, and keeps them, that person is one who loves
me. One who loves
me will be loved
by my Father, and I will love
him, and will reveal
myself to him." 22
Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, "Lord
, what has happened that you are about to reveal
yourself to us, and not to the world
Jesus answered him, "If a man loves
me, he will keep my word
. My Father will love
him, and we will come to him, and make our home
with him. 24
He who doesn't love
me doesn't keep my words
. The word
which you hear isn't mine, but the Father's who sent me. 25
I have said these things to you, while still living with you. 26
But the Counselor
, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and will remind you of all that I said to you. 27
Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world
In the first century the pax Romana was widely heralded, but it was a peace won and maintained by the brutal force of the sword, typifying the peace that the world gives.
gives, give I to you. Don't let your heart be troubled
, neither let it be fearful
You heard how I told you, 'I go away, and I come to you.' If you loved
me, you would have rejoiced
, because I said 'I am going to my Father;' for the Father is greater
than I. 29
Now I have told you before it happens so that, when it happens, you may believe
I will no more speak much with you, for the prince of the world
comes, and he has nothing in me. 31
But that the world
may know that I love
the Father, and as the Father commanded me, even so I do. Arise, let us go from here
In normal Greek usage this phrase implied, 'Let us go to meet the advancing enemy. It is a call to arms.
"I am the true vine
The vine was the supreme symbol of Israel. A great golden vine trailed over the temple porch, and the coinage minted in Israel during the revolt against Rome (AD 68-70) also bore a vine symbol. The OT has many allusions (cf. Ps 80:8-16; Is 5:1-7; 27:2f; Je 2:21; 12:10f; Ezk 15:1-8; 17:1-6; Ho 10:1-2). Psalm 80 blends talk of Israel as 'the vine out of Egypt (v8) with 'the son of man you have raised up for yourself' (v17).
, and my Father is the farmer
The vine-dresser does two things to ensure that there will be as much fruit as possible - in the winter, he cuts off the dry and withered branches and in the spring he removes the rank and useless growths from the branches.
Every branch in me that doesn't bear fruit, he takes away
. Every branch that bears fruit, he prunes
The Greek plays on similar-sounding verbs for the two functions: some branches he 'clears off'; some he 'cleans up'.
, that it may bear more fruit. 3
You are already pruned clean
because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4
Remain in me, and I in you. As the branch can't bear fruit by itself, unless it remains in the vine, so neither can you, unless you remain in me. 5
I am the vine. You are the branches. He who remains in me, and I in him, the same bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6
If a man doesn't remain in me, he is thrown out as a branch, and is withered; and they gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7
If you remain in me, and my words
remain in you, you will ask whatever you desire, and it will be done for you. 8
"In this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit; and so you will be my disciples. 9
Even as the Father has loved
me, I also have loved
you. Remain in my love
If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love
; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and remain in his love
I have spoken these things to you, that my joy
may remain in you, and that your joy
may be made full
"This is my commandment, that you love
one another, even as I have loved
has no one than this, that someone lay down
for his friends. 14
You are my friends, if you do whatever I command you. 15
No longer do I call you servants
, for the servant
doesn't know what his lord
does. But I have called you friends, for everything that I heard
from my Father, I have made known to you. 16
You didn't choose
me, but I chose
The Greek has a distinct verb for being 'set apart' in addition to the verb for choose, which is not simply a repetition. It is used in v13 and elsewhere in the NT of people being set apart for special service within the church (Ac 13:46-47; 1 Tim 1:12).
you, and appointed
you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain
; that whatever you will ask of the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17
"I command these things to you, that you may love
one another. 18
If the world hates
you, you know that it has hated me before it hated you.
If you were of the world
, the world would love
its own. But because you are not of the world
, since I chose
you out of the world
[ek tou kosmou]
, therefore the world
hates you. 20
Remember the word
that I said to you: 'A servant
is not greater
than his lord
.' If they persecuted
me, they will also persecute
you. If they kept my word, they will keep yours also. 21
But all these things will they do to you for my name's sake, because they don't know him who sent me. 22
If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have had sin; but now they have no excuse
for their sin. 23
He who hates me, hates my Father also. 24
If I hadn't done among them the works which no one else did, they wouldn't have had sin. But now have they seen and also hated both me and my Father. 25
But this happened so that the word may be fulfilled which was written in their law, 'They hated me without a cause
"When the Counselor
has come, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will testify
about me. 27
You will also testify
, because you have been with me from the beginning.
"These things have I spoken to you, so that you wouldn't be caused to stumble
They will put you out of the synagogues
. Yes, the time comes that whoever kills
During the succeeding years of the Roman empire, men, women and even children would at different times be hounded, abused, beaten, tortured in the most appalling ways and slaughtered by the thousand, at times with a refinement of cruelty which numbs the mind.
you will think
that he offers
to God. 3
They will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. 4
But I have told you these things, so that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you about them. I didn't tell you these things from the beginning, because I was with you. 5
But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, 'Where are you going?' 6
But because I have told you these things, sorrow has filled your heart. 7
Nevertheless I tell you the truth: It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I don't go away, the Counselor
won't come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 8
When he has come, he will convict
Lit. 'show someone his sin and summon him to repentance'; 'expose'; cf. 3:20.
about sin, about righteousness
, and about judgment
about sin, because they don't believe
in me; 10
, because I am going to my Father, and you won't see
me any more; 11
, because the prince
of this world
has been judged
"I have yet many things to tell you, but you can't bear
them now. 13
However when he, the Spirit of truth, has come, he will guide
you into all truth, for he will not speak from himself; but whatever he hears, he will speak. He will declare to you things that are coming. 14
He will glorify me, for he will take from
what is mine, and will declare
it to you. 15
All things whatever the Father has are mine; therefore I said that he takes of mine, and will declare
it to you.
A little while, and you will not see
me. Again a little while, and you will see
Some of his disciples therefore said to one another, "What is this that he says to us, 'A little while, and you won't see
me, and again a little while, and you will see
me;' and, 'Because I go to the Father?'" 18
They said therefore, "What is this that he says, 'A little while?' We don't know what he is saying." 19
Therefore Jesus perceived that they wanted to ask him, and he said to them, "Do you inquire among yourselves concerning this, that I said, 'A little while, and you won't see me, and again a little while, and you will see me?' 20
I tell you, that you will weep
and lament, but the world
. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy
A woman, when she gives birth, has sorrow
, because her time has come. But when she has delivered the child, she doesn't remember the anguish
any more, for the joy
that a human being is born into the world
Therefore you now have sorrow
, but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice
[chairō hymōn hē kardia]
, and no one will take your joy
away from you. 23
"In that day you will ask me no questions. Most certainly
I tell you, whatever you may ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. 24
Until now, you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive
, that your joy
may be made full
I have spoken these things to you in figures of speech
. But the time is coming when I will no more speak to you in figures of speech
, but will tell
about the Father.
In that day you will ask in my name; and I don't say to you, that I will pray to the Father for you, 27
for the Father himself loves
you, because you have loved
me, and have believed
that I came forth from God. 28
I came out from the Father, and have come into the world
. Again, I leave
, and go to the Father." 29
His disciples said to him, "See
, now you speak plainly
, and speak no figures of speech
Now we know that you know all things, and don't need for anyone to question you. By this we believe
that you came forth from God." 31
Jesus answered them, "Do you now believe
, the time is coming, yes, and has now come, that you will be scattered
, everyone to his own place, and you will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. 33
I have told you these things, that in me you may have peace. In the world
you have oppression
; but cheer up
! I have overcome
Jesus said these things, and lifting up his eyes to heaven, he said, "Father
Underlying the Greek is the Aramaic word Abba (cf. Ro 8:15; Gal 4:6). Of the 21 prayers of Jesus recorded in the gospels this is Jesus' characteristic word of address. The one exception, significantly, is Mt 27:46. There is no real precedent for the use of this word in addressing the Godhead, whether in OT prayers, or in the extensive liturgies which have come down to us from first-century Judaism, or at Qumran because Abba means 'daddy' or 'my own dear father'; 'dadda'.
, the time has come. Glorify
your Son, that your Son may also glorify
even as you gave him authority
over all flesh
, he will give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3
This is eternal life, that they should know you, the only
true God, and him whom you sent, Jesus Christ. 4
I glorified you on the earth. I have accomplished
the work which you have given me to do. 5
Now, Father, glorify me with your own self with the glory which I had with you before the world
I revealed your name to the people whom you have given me out of the world
. They were yours, and you have given them to me. They have kept
Now they have known that all things whatever you have given me are from you, 8
for the words which you have given me I have given to them, and they received them, and knew for sure that I came forth from you, and they have believed
that you sent me. 9
I pray for them. I don't pray for the world
, but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. 10
All things that are mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. 11
I am no more in the world
, but these are in the world
, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep
Lit. 'in'. NIV 'the power of'.
In the OT God represents himself to the people of Israel under a variety of names, each of which teaches something important about who he is. Jesus has brought the disciples a whole new understanding of God. In a sense he has given God a new name.
which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are. 12
While I was with them in the world, I kept
them in your name. Those whom you have given me I have kept
. None of them is lost
, except the son of destruction
[ho huios tēs apōleias]
Lit. 'son of perdition/destruction'. May refer to Judas' character or his destiny.
, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13
But now I come to you, and I say these things in the world
, that they may have my joy
Joy is a mark of the kingdom in OT prophecy (cf. Is 35:1; 55:11-12).
made full in themselves. 14
I have given them your word
. The world
hated them, because they are not of the world
, even as I am not of the world
I pray not that you would take them from the world
, but that you would keep
them from the evil one
They are not of the world
even as I am not of the world. 17
them in your truth. Your word
is truth. 18
As you sent me into the world
, even so I have sent them into the world
For their sakes I sanctify
myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified
in truth. 20
Not for these only do I pray, but for those also who believe
in me through their word
that they may all be one
; even as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us; that the world
that you sent me. 22
The glory which you have given me, I have given to them; that they may be one
, even as we are one; 23
I in them, and you in me, that they may be perfected
into one; that the world
may know that you sent me, and loved them, even as you loved
, I desire
that they also whom you have given me be with me where I am, that they may see
, which you have given me, for you loved
me before the foundation
of the world
, the world
hasn't known you, but I knew you; and these knew that you sent me. 26
I made known to them your name, and will make it known; that the love with which you loved
[agapē hēn ēgapēsas]
me may be in them, and I in them."
When Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples over the brook Kidron
If the traditional sites are to be relied upon there was a journey of about a mile, first northwards and then east past the great looming shadow of the temple. As they passed along the streets they would have glimpsed, through lighted windows, groups of pilgrims celebrating the feast, just as they had done a few minutes before. Jerusalem was teeming with visitors, and it would have been a relief to find themselves at last at the city gate and able to move out into the fresher air beyond. Their track led first downwards and then across the low valley of the Kidron stream, rising gently upwards as they ascended the lower slopes of the Mount of Olives. A short climb would have brought them to their destination, an olive grove which was part of the garden area of the city. Passover law forbade a journey of any length on that evening, but this was permissible. Besides, it was a familiar spot (cf. v2). Jesus seems to have had a rich benefactor who made his garden available on such occasions. On this particular night it was where Judas would know where to find him.
, where there was a garden, into which he and his disciples entered. 2
Now Judas, who betrayed
him, also knew the place, for Jesus often met there with his disciples. 3
Judas then, having taken
Could mean a force of a thousand though such is unlikely here. Probably it was still a considerable number. Jesus' popularity with the crowds was known and the Palm Sunday demonstrations would not have gone unnoticed by the Romans.
The Jewish temple police are prominent since they must make the arrest, but a Roman force has also been provided. Normally garrisoned at Caesarea on the coast, the Roman troops were brought up to the capital at feast times and stationed (where Jesus would meet them during his examination) in the fortress of Antonia to the north-west of the temple complex.
from the chief priests and the Pharisees, came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons. 4
Jesus therefore, knowing all the things that were happening to him, went forth
This may imply that the grove was walled and Jesus upon his own initiative emerged alone at the doorway.
, and said to them, "Who are you looking for
They answered him, "Jesus of Nazareth." Jesus said to them, "I am he
." Judas also, who betrayed
him, was standing with them. 6
When therefore he said to them, "I am he
The reader is invited to see a deeper meaning than an identification for the purposes of arrest: this is the sacred name for God in the LXX, with clear overtones of Ex 3:14 and Is 40-55.
," they went backward, and fell to the ground. 7
Again therefore he asked them, "Who are you looking for
?" They said, "Jesus of Nazareth." 8
Jesus answered, "I told you that I am he
. If therefore you seek me, let these go their way," 9
that the word
might be fulfilled which he spoke, "Of those whom you have given me, I have lost none." 10
Simon Peter therefore, having a sword
, drew it, and struck the high priest's servant
, and cut off his right ear
The Greek here and in Mark's account could imply that it was only the lobe of the ear that was cut off and not the whole organ.
. The servant's
name was Malchus. 11
Jesus therefore said to Peter, "Put the sword into its sheath
[machairan eis tēn thēkēn]
. The cup
The cup is a familiar OT image. It is the cup of God's wrath, hence Jesus' horror (Is 51:17-22; Je 25:15-28; Zc 12:2).
which the Father has given me, shall I not surely drink it?" 12
So the detachment
, the commanding officer
, and the officers
of the Jews, seized Jesus and bound him, 13
and led him to Annas
The official high priest at this point was Caiaphas; Annas was a former high priest, from AD 6-15, who had been deposed by Pilate's predecessor, to the chagrin of the Jews for whom the high priesthood was traditionally a lifetime appointment (cf. Ac 4:6). In the intervening years, no fewer than four of Annas' sons held the office, and Caiaphas, the current official appointee, was a son-in-law. But in every sense Annas was the power behind the throne and so claims 'first go' at Jesus (cf. Lk 3:2).
first, for he was father-in-law to Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. 14
Now it was Caiaphas who advised the Jews that it was expedient
that one man should perish for
the people. 15
Simon Peter followed Jesus, as did another disciple. Now that disciple
The unnamed disciple has ready access to the high priest's courtyard. Were this John, the idea of a humble fisherman's son from Galilee having this kind of familiarity with the centres of power in Jerusalem raises problems. There is a legend which identifies a house in Jerusalem as having once belonged to Zebedee, John's father. If so, it was arguably a 'branch office' for his Galilean fishing business, with the high priest as one of his clients. The salt-fish trade from Galilee was certainly important in Jerusalem at the time.
was known to the high priest, and entered in with Jesus into the court
of the high priest; 16
but Peter was standing at the door outside. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to her
Women were often employed as porters, cf. Ac 12:13. There are frequent allusions in classical writing to the custom of female doorkeepers.
who kept the door, and brought in Peter.
Then the maid who kept the door said to Peter, "Are you also one of this man's disciples?" He said, "I am not." 18
Now the servants
and the officers
were standing there, having made a fire of coals
Jerusalem, half a mile above sea-level, could be cold on spring nights.
, for it was cold. They were warming themselves. Peter was with them, standing and warming himself. 19
The high priest therefore asked Jesus about his disciples
'Disciples' probably alludes to the 'false prophet' figure of Dt 13:1-10, whose penalty was death.
, and about his teaching. 20
Jesus answered him, "I spoke openly
to the world
. I always taught in synagogues, and in the temple, where the Jews always meet
. I said nothing in secret. 21
Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me what I said to them. See
, these know the things which I said." 22
When he had said this, one of the officers
standing by slapped
Jesus with his hand, saying, "Do you answer the high priest like that?" 23
Jesus answered him, "If I have spoken evil
The essence of the Jewish legal process was the sworn testimony of witnesses. If two witnesses agreed in essentials, then the accused was doomed, no matter what he might say in his defence. Strict legal process therefore called for the interrogation of the witnesses rather than of the accused. Witnesses in fact should have figured in the arrest in the garden; but this is no time for the finer points of process.
of the evil
; but if well
[ei de kalōs]
, why do you beat
A sense of haste is conveyed. Because of the proximity of the Passover Sabbath, and the week of the feast of unleavened bread which followed, it would not be possible to crucify an offender during that entire period as it would infringe the holiness of these days. Perhaps the authorities had decided against taking Jesus before the feast until Judas unexpectedly provided the opportunity. But for Jesus' execution to be carried through they had to have him tried and formally condemned by the Sanhedrin early on the Friday, then get Pilate's confirmation by mid to late morning, so that he could be crucified by midday and dead and taken down before sundown inaugurated the Sabbath. Time was of the essence.
sent him bound to Caiaphas, the high priest. 25
Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They said therefore to him, "You aren't also one of his disciples, are you?" He denied
it, and said, "I am not." 26
One of the servants
of the high priest, being a relative of him whose ear Peter had cut off, said, "Didn't I see you in the garden with him?" 27
Peter therefore denied
it again, and immediately the rooster crowed. 28
They led Jesus therefore from Caiaphas into the Praetorium
Usually identified as the Herodian palace on the West Hill, dominating the city. Pilate would probably not have been inconvenienced by the early morning considering the fact that the day began early in the Empire. The Emperor Vespasian made such an early start that he commonly had his day's work completed by noon.
. It was early, and they themselves didn't enter into the Praetorium, that they might not be defiled, but might eat the Passover. 29
Appointed in AD26, Pilate showed unrelieved contempt for the Jews. When the mood seized him he was liable to order brutal acts of suppression, and predictably his proconsulate was a difficult one. He was recalled by the Emperor Tiberius in AD35.
therefore went out to them, and said, "What accusation
do you bring against this man?" 30
They answered him, "If this man weren't an evildoer
, we wouldn't have delivered him up
Pilate therefore said to them, "Take him yourselves, and judge
It is possible that Pilate doubted whether they would have had time to hold a meeting of the Sanhedrin by this hour in the morning. More probably Pilate is deliberately rubbing their noses in the dirt by this comment, since he and they knew that the Jewish leadership wanted Jesus dead and that they needed Pilate's approval for the death penalty. Pilate is therefore taking the opportunity to remind them yet again of their subjugation to Rome which had deprived them of the right to execute.
him according to your law." Therefore the Jews said to him, "It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death," 32
that the word
of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spoke, signifying by what kind of death he should die. 33
Pilate therefore entered again into the Praetorium
, called Jesus, and said to him, "Are you
The you is emphatic, coming at the beginning of the sentence, and expresses surprise.
the King of the Jews?" 34
Jesus answered him, "Do you say this by yourself, or did others tell you about me?" 35
Pilate answered, "I'm not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered you to me. What have you done?" 36
Jesus answered, "My Kingdom is not of this world. If my Kingdom were of this world
, then my servants
would fight, that I wouldn't be delivered
to the Jews. But now my Kingdom is not from here." 37
Pilate therefore said to him, "Are you a king then?" Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. For this reason I have been born, and for this reason I have come into the world
, that I should testify
to the truth
Truth here has a meaning close to 'reality'.
. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice." 38
Pilate said to him, "What is truth?" When he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, "I find no basis for a charge
against him. 39
But you have a custom, that I should release someone to you at the Passover. Therefore do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?" 40
Then they all shouted again, saying, "Not this man, but Barabbas
[Barabban; Heb. Bar-Abba]
i.e., 'Son of the Father'.
!" Now Barabbas was a robber
So Pilate then took Jesus, and flogged
The Romans had three levels of flogging: the fustigation, a lighter beating for lesser offences; the flogellatio, a brutal flogging for more serious crimes; and the verberatio, the most terrible of all, which was administered as part of the preliminary to crucifixion. In this, the worst degree, the victim was stripped, bound to a post or pillar, and beaten by a number of torturers until they flagged and the victim's flesh was torn and shredded. In the provinces such as Judea this was the task of soldiers. In the case of slaves or criminals such as Jesus, scourges or whips were used, the leather thongs often fitted with a spike or several pieces of bone or lead joined to form a chain. Prisoners often collapsed and died under this 'preliminary' treatment alone. Jesus received this worst infliction probably at Pilate's command. He may have received the fustigation in addition to the verberatio in an attempt by Pilate to appease the crowd. Pilate's cruelty is certainly borne out by contemporary Roman sources.
In all likelihood a large crowd participated in this refinement of cruelty as Jesus becomes for a time the plaything of Roman soldiery. Their natural contempt and hatred by the Jews knew few bounds and now here was the Jewish 'king' delivered into their hands. All their anger and frustration with a fanatical people in this outpost of civilisation is vented on Jesus.
twisted thorns into a crown
[stephanon ex akanthōn]
The jagged spikes from the date palm could be up to twelve inches in length. They were meshed together then rammed on Jesus' head.
, and put it on his head, and dressed him in a purple garment
Perhaps a box or bench served as a throne.
They kept saying, "Hail
The mocking homage is in deliberate parody of obeisance to the Emperor, 'Ave, Caesar!'.
, King of the Jews!" and they kept slapping
Then Pilate went out again, and said to them, "Look
, I bring him out to you, that you may know that I find no basis for a charge
against him." 5
Jesus therefore came out, wearing the crown of thorns
and the purple garment
. Pilate said to them, "Look upon him
, the man
[Idou ho anthrōpos]
If Pilate lapsed into his native Latin, his words, "Ecce homo," might just as truly be translated, "See, what a man!".
When therefore the chief priests and the officers
saw him, they shouted, saying, "Crucify! Crucify!" Pilate said to them, "Take him yourselves, and crucify him, for I find no basis for a charge
against him." 7
The Jews answered him, "We have a law
The 'law' is probably Leviticus 24:16 (cf. Jn 10:30f). Dt 13:1-6 may also be in the background.
, and by our law he ought to
The Jews were intent not just on Jesus' death but on having him formally executed. This would dampen any backlash provoked by his execution because of his popularity. The Jewish authorities would be able to say, 'He cannot have been a Messiah because according to Dt 21:23 crucifixion is a sign of God's curse.' The moral and spiritual impossibility of the situation is strengthened by that fact that it expressed submission to the Gentile power, a far cry from the outcome of the expected Messiah.
, because he made himself
the Son of God
The charge of blasphemy would not normally have meant as much to the Roman rulers as the political charge of Jesus' kingship. People claiming to be gods were commonplace in the Empire. However the title 'King of the Jews' was a format that spelled out revolutionary activity guilty of inciting rebellion against Rome. Pilate in this case appears to be unnerved by both claims.
When therefore Pilate heard this saying
, he was more afraid
Or 'was very much afraid'. As indicated by his following question, Pilate's superstitious mind could be thinking that perhaps Jesus was some other-worldly visitor who could return to haunt him with strange powers.
He entered into the Praetorium
again, and said to Jesus, "Where are you from?" But Jesus gave him no answer. 10
Pilate therefore said to him, "Aren't you speaking to me? Don't you know that I have power
Pilate's fear turns to exasperation and annoyance. He is supremely aware of wielding the authority of the most powerful man on earth, Tiberias Caesar in Rome.
to release you, and have power to crucify you?" 11
Jesus answered, "You would have no power
at all against me, unless it were given to you from above. Therefore he who delivered
me to you has greater
At this, Pilate was seeking to release him, but the Jews cried out, saying, "If you release this man, you aren't Caesar's friend
[philos tou Kaisaros]
This phrase could possibly be an allusion to an honorific imperial title awarded by the Emperor to senators and selected individuals. Roman sources inform us that Pilate had gained Tiberias' favour and become a 'Friend of Caesar' through the good graces of one Sejanus, a highly placed imperial official. Some months before the crucifixion, during a palace purge in Rome, Sejanus had been removed and executed, along with many of his supporters. Pilate was therefore conceivably in a highly precarious position at this point due to his known connections to Sejanus. His life may even have been in some danger when Jesus appeared before him. Furthermore he did not have a sound record as procurator in Judea. In dealing with the Jews he had made some costly blunders in sensitive and delicate situations which called for tact and subtle diplomacy. In these circumstances a show of disloyalty, by failing to deal firmly with a revolutionary leader implicitly challenging the rule of Caesar, might be the final nail in Pilate's coffin. A whisper in the right ears in Rome, and Pilate was a dead man. The Jewish leaders play their trump card and in doing so beat Pilate into submission.
! Everyone who makes himself a king
speaks against Caesar
[antilegō tō Kaisari]
When Pilate therefore heard these words
, he brought Jesus out, and sat down on the judgment seat
The judge's seat, the official symbol of the Roman judiciary, would have been brought out on to the terrace outside Pilate's residence. Pilate is seated as the official representative of the Roman power and the crowd hushes for the verdict.
at a place called "The Pavement
," but in Hebrew
Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, at about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, "See
, your King!" 15
They cried out, "Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!" Pilate said to them, "Shall I crucify your King?" The chief priests answered, "We have no king but Caesar
This fateful utterance on the part of these official representatives represents nothing less than the rending of the sacred covenant with God. Nothing was more fundamental to that covenant than the kingship of God, over the world in general, but in a special way over his chosen people, Israel. It was a conviction that no invading power could weaken or eradicate, whether Persian, Ptolemaic, Syrian, Greek or Roman (cf. Is 26:13). Secure in that conviction, they waited patiently through the long centuries for the appearing of his Messiah to vindicate Israel's faith and establish his rule visibly and powerfully over the whole world. But now, in a terrible moment of apostasy, that sacred tryst is violated and the holy place is desecrated as the centuries of anticipation are cast aside. The Messianic hope of Israel is cast aside.
So then he delivered
The trial of Jesus would have formally concluded with Pilate pronouncing the formula 'Ibis ad crucem' ('You will go to the cross'). Jesus now fell into the custody of the 'execution squad' of four Roman soldiers.
him to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus and led him away. 17
He went out, bearing
The condemned man was forced to carry, not the entire cross, but the horizontal crosspiece (patibulum). It is likely, since crucifixions were relatively common, that the upright posts were permanently in place at the execution site beside the main highway just outside the city. The Romans, never blind to the deterrent value of punishment, usually prescribed a circuitous route to the execution site, with a placard announcing the crime carried in front, but in Jesus' case the time before sundown inaugurated the Sabbath was short.
his cross, to the place called "The Place of a Skull
," which is called in Hebrew
[Golgotha; Heb. Gulgolta]
where they crucified
The victim was laid out on the crosspiece and fixed to it by iron nails driven through the top of the wrists; the crosspiece was then raised on a ladder or pulley and nailed or bound to the upright, and the feet, placed one over the other, nailed below. It could take days for the victim to die a slow agonizing descent into hell, ended finally by suffocation as the victim, unable any longer to relieve the constriction of the chest, mercifully expired. The torture was invented by the Persians, developed by the Carthaginians and perfected by the Romans. Josephus called it 'the most wretched of deaths', Cicero 'a most cruel and terrible penalty … incapable of description by any word, for there is none fit to describe it'. No Roman, however heinous his crime, was ever permitted to undergo crucifixion.
him, and with him two
Possibly henchmen of Barabbas.
others, on either side one, and Jesus in the middle.
Pilate wrote a title also, and put it on the cross. There was written, "JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS
[Iēsous ho Nazōraios ho basileus tōn Ioudaiōn]
In Hebrew (Yeshua Hanotzii Vemelech Hayehudim) the acrostic spells YHWH which affronted and incensed the Jews on account of Dt 21:23.
Therefore many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew
These were the three great tongues of the day. Aramaic was the local dialect of Hebrew. Hebrew was the language of religion.
, in Latin
Latin was the language of government, law and institutions; business, politics and power.
, and in Greek
Greek was the language associated historically with the development of culture, the pursuit of beauty of form and thought; the artistic and creative.
The chief priests of the Jews therefore said to Pilate, "Don't write, 'The King of the Jews,' but, 'he said, I am King of the Jews.'" 22
Pilate answered, "What I have written, I have written." 23
Then the soldiers
, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments
Customarily the victims were stripped naked for crucifying, the clothes becoming the perquisites of the execution squad. The items in Jesus' case would have consisted of an outer garment or robe, a head-covering or scarf, a belt, and sandals, leaving the fifth, a seamless undergarment to be gambled for.
and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also the coat. Now the coat
The tunic or undergarment was worn next to the skin. It usually had sleeves, was woven in one piece (the high priest's robe was similarly seamless). The significance of this is that the Scripture of Ps 22:18 is fulfilled. Wearing two was considered a luxury and excess, cf. Mt 10:10.
was without seam, woven from the top throughout. 24
Then they said to one another, "Let's not tear it, but cast lots for it to decide whose it will be," that the Scripture might be fulfilled, which says, "They parted my garments
among them. For my cloak
they cast lots." Therefore the soldiers
did these things. 25
But there were standing by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26
Therefore when Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved
Jesus does not put Mary in the care of his natural brothers, who at this point do not believe, but of the other side of the family, in the person of his cousin John.
standing there, he said to his mother, "Woman
, your son!" 27
Then he said to the disciple, "See
, your mother!" From that hour, the disciple took her to his own home
[eis ta idia]
After this, Jesus, seeing that all things were now finished
, that the Scripture might be fulfilled
, said, "I am thirsty." 29
Now a vessel full of vinegar
The soldiers brought a cheap vinegar wine to refresh themselves through the vigil.
was set there; so they put a sponge full of the vinegar on hyssop, and held it at his mouth. 30
When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, "It is finished
'Accomplished' is better; the same word is used in 17:4.
." He bowed his head, and gave up
his spirit. 31
Therefore the Jews, because it was the Preparation Day
, so that the bodies wouldn't remain on the cross on the Sabbath
(for that Sabbath
was a special
Special, because it fell during the Passover feast. They accordingly ask Pilate to have the crurifragium applied to Jesus and his fellow victims. This consisted in hastening the death of the crucified by smashing their legs with an iron mallet. As a result it was no longer possible to push up with the legs for air, and the victim quickly expired. Lest there be any lingering uncertainty, in an act of savage violence one of the soldiers launches his spear into Jesus' side but none of his bones are broken (cf. Ex 12:46; Ps 34:20; Zech 12:10).
one), asked of Pilate
that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. 32
Therefore the soldiers
came, and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who was crucified with him; 33
but when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was already dead, they didn't break his legs.
However one of the soldiers
pierced his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. 35
He who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, that you may believe
For these things happened, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, "A bone of him will not be broken." 37
Again another Scripture says, "They will look on him whom they pierced." 38
After these things, Joseph of Arimathaea
[Iōsēph ho apo Arimathaias]
, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly
Joseph was a rich Jewish councillor, a prominent member of the Sanhedrin. Had it been known that he was a disciple of Jesus, he would not only have been turned out of the Sanhedrin, but denied the fellowship of even the synagogue. So he was a secret disciple of Jesus but, forsaking his previous reservations, and with great daring, goes to Pilate and asks for Jesus' body, now the property of Rome, be released to him for burial. This was contrary to practice. In the case of criminals the remains normally ended up in a special criminals' burial plot outside the city. Pilate is prepared to make exception, a further expression of his truculence towards the chief-priestly clique.
of the Jews, asked of Pilate
that he might take away Jesus' body. Pilate
gave him permission
. He came therefore and took away his body. 39
Perhaps their sympathies with Jesus were already known so that these two were not informed when Jesus' trial was hurriedly arranged; a majority vote was required for sentencing.
, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred Roman pounds
Myrrh and aloes were used for embalming among the Egyptians about this time, cf. Mt 2:11; Ps 45:8. The body would have been wrapped in a number of cloths generously laced with the spices, according to the weight given. Seventy-five pounds (thirty-four kilos) was far more than normally used. The only occasion when such amounts were used was specifically at the burial of kings.
So they took Jesus' body, and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as the custom
But for Joseph's offering of his own tomb, the body of Jesus would have been flung out on to the refuse heaps in the valley of Gehenna. In the eyes of the law he defiled his own tomb by placing in it the body of Jesus.
of the Jews is to bury. 41
Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden. In the garden was a new tomb
Since Joseph was wealthy, it is likely to have been his family grave consisting of a cave hewn out of rock, with shelves in the side walls to accommodate the corpses. Jesus would have been laid there in some haste as the Sabbath will commence with sundown; cf. Is 53:9. In recording that Jesus dies and was laid in a tomb, John has an eye to the docetists in his day who denied the true humanity of Jesus, and the genuineness of his death. These errors arose from their dualistic philosophical world-view, which identified matter with evil and spirit with good. This framework, the assumption of much of the then current philosophy, could not accommodate the idea of incarnation. For God to unite himself with matter was philosophically impossible. That he should actually experience death was unimaginable. Accordingly, they, and others after them, argued that Jesus did not truly die on the cross, but was alive when he was taken down from it. This flies in the face of the evidence and in the skills of the Romans who were rather expert at recognizing the symptoms of death. Archaeological excavations indicates that as well as being quarried out of rock, expensive tombs like Joseph's would have been sealed with a disc-like stone which was rolled down a sloping groove across the door. Thus, while relatively easy to close, it would require several strong men to open.
in which no man had ever yet been laid. 42
Then because of the Jews' Preparation Day (for the tomb was near at hand) they laid Jesus there.
Now on the first day
The Sabbath imposed a limitation on travel and Jesus' bereaved and shattered followers would have spent the day in mourning. Jewish custom dictated a responsibility to mourn at the tomb during the first three days (cf. 11:17) as the soul of the deceased was thought to be still present. Sunday brought the friends of Jesus to the tomb to fulfil that sacred duty. Their visit is early; dawn would be between 3 and 6 am.
of the week, Mary Magdalene
The witness of Mary gives the account a historical authenticity as this alone would have discredited the story with the Jewish public (in Jesus' society, women were not even thought fit witnesses in court). Mary's message indicates her fears that the grave has been plundered, whether by the authorities (as an expression of malignity) or by grave robbers, the presence of which had led to the practice of sealing graves. A decree of the Emperor Claudius has been uncovered at Nazareth, dated some years later, prescribing execution for those removing bodies from graves. Upon arriving at the scene later, John and Peter find that the grave lacks evidence of any disturbance caused by malignant authorities or grave robbers.
went early, while it was still dark, to the tomb, and saw the stone taken away from the tomb. 2
Therefore 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 don't know where they have laid him!" 3
and the other disciple went out, and they went toward the tomb. 4
They both ran together. The other disciple outran Peter
, and came to the tomb first. 5
Stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths
lying, yet he didn't enter in. 6
Then Simon Peter
came, following him, and entered into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths
and the cloth
that had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths
, but rolled up
This verb can be translated 'twirled'.
in a place by itself. 8
So then the other disciple who came first to the tomb also entered in, and he saw and believed
For as yet they didn't know the Scripture
Perhaps in John's mind are passages such as Ps 16:9-11 as well as the OT witness to the triumph of the Messiah and the eternity of his reign.
, that he must rise from the dead. 10
So the disciples went away again to their own homes. 11
was standing outside at the tomb weeping
. So, as she wept
, she stooped and looked into the tomb, 12
and she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head, and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 13
They told her, "Woman
, why are you weeping
?" She said to them, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I don't know
where they have laid him." 14
When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, and didn't know
that it was Jesus. 15
Jesus said to her, "Woman
, why are you weeping
? Who are you looking
for?" She, supposing him to be the gardener, said to him, "Sir
, if you have carried
him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away." 16
Jesus said to her, "Mary
." She turned
and said to him, "Rabboni
'O My Great Master,' or 'My own dear teacher'.
!" which is to say, "Teacher
Jesus said to her, "Don't hold me, for I haven't yet ascended to my Father
; but go to my brothers
, and tell them, 'I am ascending
to my Father
and your Father
, to my God and your God.'" 18
[Maria hē Magdalēnē]
came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord
, and that he had said these things to her. 19
When therefore it was evening, on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were locked where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, "Peace
The Heb. 'Shalom' which implies more than the absence of stress. In its OT context, shalom basically means 'well-being'. It gathers up all the blessings of the kingdom of God: shalom is life at its best under the gracious hand of God. Alongside grace, it is included in the greeting of every epistle of Paul in the NT.
be to you." 20
When he had said this, he showed
them his hands and his side. The disciples therefore were glad
when they saw the Lord. 21
Jesus therefore said to them again, "Peace be to you. As the Father has sent
In Hebrew culture the messenger embodied the dignity and authority of the one who sends him. To slight the messenger is to slight his master; to respect the messenger is to show respect for his sender (cf. 13:16; Mt 21:33-41).
me, even so I send you." 22
When he had said this, he breathed
on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit! 23
Whoever's sins you forgive
, they are forgiven
them. Whoever's sins you retain
, they have been retained
, one of the twelve, called Didymus
According to fairly reliable tradition Thomas took the gospel eastwards as far as India and laid down his life there for Christ.
, wasn't with them when Jesus came. 25
The other disciples therefore said to him, "We have seen the Lord!" But he said to them, "Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe
[ou mē pisteuō]
This negative is emphatic and could mean 'I'll never believe it'.
After eight days again his disciples were inside, and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, the doors being locked, and stood in the midst, and said, "Peace be to you." 27
Then he said to Thomas
, "Reach here your finger, and see my hands. Reach here your hand, and put it into my side. Don't be unbelieving
, but believing
answered him, "My Lord
Lord carried definite overtones of deity for the first-century Jew. It was with this word that the LXX commonly rendered the holy name of the Creator and covenant partner of Israel. Thomas is demonstrating that Jesus is addressed in the same language in which Israel addressed YHWH. When John wrote his gospel the province he lived in was a centre for emperor-worship. It is likely that John and his readers were familiar with processions of devotees through the streets of Ephesus chanting their slogan, 'Caesar is Lord, Caesar is God!'.
and my God!" 29
Jesus said to him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed
are those who have not seen, and have believed
Therefore Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book; 31
but these are written, that you may believe
Could either be 'come to believe' (in which case John's purpose in writing is evangelistic) or 'so that you may go on believing' (in which John's purpose is discipling.
that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing
you may have life in his name.
After these things, Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias
Better known as the Sea of Galilee.
. He revealed
himself this way. 2
, and the sons of Zebedee
, and two others of his disciples were together. 3
said to them, "I'm going fishing." They told him, "We are also coming with you." They immediately went out, and entered into the boat. That night, they caught nothing. 4
But when day had already come, Jesus stood on the beach, yet the disciples didn't know that it was Jesus. 5
Jesus therefore said to them, "Children
The challenge set by Jesus is colloquial: 'Hey, lads, caught anything, have you?'.
, have you anything to eat?" They answered him, "No." 6
He said to them, "Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some." They cast it therefore, and now they weren't able to draw it in for the multitude of fish. 7
That disciple therefore whom Jesus loved
said to Peter
, "It's the Lord
!" So when Simon Peter
heard that it was the Lord, he wrapped his coat
Perhaps so that he could work more freely Peter had removed his outer garment. Now he tucks his garment up around him so as not to hinder his swimming to shore. There may be in the background here an oblique reference to modesty in worship (cf. Ex 20:26; 1 Cor 11:2ff).
around him (for he was naked), and threw himself into the sea. 8
But the other disciples came in the little boat (for they were not far from the land, but about two hundred cubits away), dragging the net full of fish. 9
So when they got out on the land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread. 10
Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish which you have just caught." 11
Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land, full of great fish, one hundred fifty-three; and even though there were so many, the net wasn't torn. 12
Jesus said to them, "Come and eat breakfast." None of the disciples dared inquire of him, "Who are you?" knowing that it was the Lord. 13
Then Jesus came and took the bread, gave it to them, and the fish likewise. 14
This is now the third time that Jesus was revealed
to his disciples, after he had risen from the dead. 15
So when they had eaten their breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter
, son of Jonah
, do you love
Attempts to identify subtle distinctions between the two verbs fail to carry conviction. John has a habit through his gospel of using pairs of terms interchangeably like, for example in this passage, 'take care of' and 'feed' (16-17); 'lambs' and 'sheep' (15-16) and for 'know' (17). Of these perhaps the only distinction of any significance is 'lambs/ sheep'. Classical studies have shown that the two Greek verbs for 'love' were used fairly interchangeably in most contexts. There is a lack of consensus among those today who wish to make a distinction between 'agapaō' and 'phileō'.
me more than these
?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I have affection
for you." He said to him, "Feed my lambs."
He said to him again a second time, "Simon
, son of Jonah
[Iōna; Heb. Shim 'on Bar-Yochanan]
, do you love
me?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I have affection
for you." He said to him, "Tend
Serve as shepherd, serve as pastor.
my sheep." 17
He said to him the third time, "Simon
, son of Jonah
, do you have affection
for me?" Peter
was grieved because he asked him the third time, "Do you have affection
for me?" He said to him, "Lord, you know
Different words for know.
everything. You know
that I have affection
for you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep. 18
I tell you, when you were young
, you dressed
yourself, and walked where you wanted to. But when you are old
, you will stretch out your hands
Here is a euphemism for crucifixion. According to tradition Peter followed his Lord in the form of his death, probably in Rome under the Emperor Nero in the early sixties of the first century, cf. 12:25-26' Mk 8:34-35.
, and another will dress
you, and carry you where you don't want to go." 19
Now he said this, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify
God. When he had said this, he said to him, "Follow me." 20
, turning around, saw a disciple following. This was the disciple whom Jesus sincerely loved
, the one who had also leaned on Jesus' breast at the supper and asked, "Lord, who is going to betray
seeing him, said to Jesus, "Lord, what about this man?" 22
Jesus said to him, "If I desire
that he stay
until I come, what is that to you? You follow me." 23
therefore went out among the brothers
, that this disciple wouldn't die. Yet Jesus didn't say to him that he wouldn't die, but, "If I desire
that he stay
until I come, what is that to you?" 24
This is the disciple who testifies
The author's Jewishness appears beyond serious question from the multiple allusions to Jewish customs, topography and history scattered throughout the gospel. It is also reflected in the style of Jesus' teaching. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran in 1947 uncovered a parallel, first-century, Palestinian thought-world. For example, the methods and forms of the Johannine discourses have been shown to be congruent with those of synagogue teaching, which could involve dialogue with the audience. There is also a conspicuous lack of the typical controversies which marked non-Jewish churches around the time the gospel was written. As for the authorship of the gospel, the first major witness is Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons in the latter part of the second century, who reports that John, the Lord's disciple, wrote the gospel and published it at Ephesus, and that he lived on until the time of the Emperor Trajan (AD 98). Eusebius reports that Irenaeus' authority for this information was the aged presbyter Polycarp, who had been a confidant of the apostles themselves, and had conversed with John in person. Irenaeus' testimony is the more impressive when we recall that he was in close contact with the major churches in Rome during his ministry in Lyons. That the gospel attained fullest acceptance in the churches from the second century onwards is the more striking considering the problems associated with it. One was that the gospel was quoted and used polemically by the heretical Gnostic teachers during the first half of the second century. Claiming to impart a secret knowledge of God they used its high Christological statements to support their denials of the true humanity of Jesus. This they held in common with the Docestists. What they failed to see was how extensively the gospel witnesses to Jesus' true humanity. It is likely that John being aware of the docetic tendencies in the Greaco-Roman culture within which he wrote, places a clear accent on the humanity of Jesus. The other difficulty was the distinctiveness of the gospel compared with the Synoptics. Amongst other differences of style and content, the synoptic writers concentrate on Jesus' ministry in the north, in the Galilean region of his upbringing. John's primary focus, was the more sophisticated, theologically aware milieu of Jerusalem.
about these things, and wrote these things. We know that his witness
The 'we' who pronounce this accreditation is conceivably a testimonial by the elders of the church in Ephesus where John was resident. Or it may be an editorial 'we' as in 1:14.
is true. 25
There are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they would all be written, I suppose that even the world
itself wouldn't have room for the books
that would be written.