1 1In the beginning was the Word [logos]

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 [logos] was with [pros]

Lit. 'towards' but the Word is no mere 'emanation from God' as in much first-century thinking.

God, and the Word [logos] was God [theon]

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.

. 2The same was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made through him. Without him was not anything made that has been made [ginomai]

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.

. 4In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness hasn't overcome [katalambanō] it. 6There came a man, sent from God, whose name was John. 7The same came as a witness [martyrian]

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 [martyreō] about the light, that all [pantes] might believe [pisteuō] through him. 8He was not the light, but was sent that he might testify about the light. 9The true light that enlightens everyone was coming into the world [kosmon]. 10He was in the world [kosmō], and the world [kosmos] was made through him, and the world [kosmos] didn't recognize [ginōskō] him. 11He came to his own, and those who were his own didn't receive [paralambanō] him. 12But as many as received [lambanō]

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 [exousian]

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 [pisteuō] in his name: 13who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh [thelēmatos sarkos], nor of the will [thelēmatos] of man, but of God. 14The Word [logos] became [ginomai]

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.

flesh [sarx], and lived [skēnoō]

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 [theaomai] his glory [doxan; Heb. Sh'khinah], such glory [doxan] as of the one and only [monogenous] Son of the Father, full of grace [charitos] and truth. 15John testified [martyreō] 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.'" 16From his fullness [plērōmatos] we all received grace [charin] upon 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.

. 17For the law [nomos; Heb. Torah] was given through Moses. Grace [charis] and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. 18No one has seen [horaō] God at any time. The one and only [monogenēs] Son, who is in the bosom [kolpon] of the Father, he has declared [exēgeomai]

From which is derived the technical theological word 'exegesis'.

him. 19This is John's testimony [martyria], when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, "Who are you?" 20He declared, and didn't deny [arneomai], but he declared [hōmologēsen], "I am not the Christ [christos]

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.

." 21They asked him, "What then? Are you Elijah?" He said, "I am not." "Are you the prophet?" He answered, "No." 22They 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?" 23He said, "I am the voice of one crying [boōntos] in the wilderness [erēmō], 'Make straight [euthunate] the way of the Lord,' as Isaiah the prophet said." 24The ones who had been sent were from the Pharisees. 25They asked him, "Why then do you baptize [baptizō]

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?" 26John answered them, "I baptize in water, but among you stands one whom you don't know. 27He is the one who comes after me, who is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I'm not worthy [axios] to loosen [luō]

The one specified limitation on the service of slaves was the removal of the master's shoes.

." 28These things were done in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing. 29The next day, he saw Jesus coming to him, and said, "Look [ide], the Lamb [amnos]

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 [airōn] the sin of the world [kosmou]! 30This is he of whom I said, 'After me comes a man who is preferred before me, for he was before [prōtos] me.' 31I didn't know him, but for this reason I came baptizing in water: that he would be revealed [phaneroō] to Israel." 32John testified [martyreō], saying, "I have seen the Spirit descending like a dove out of heaven, and it remained [menō] on him. 33I 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 [menō] on him, the same is he who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.' 34I have seen, and have testified [martyreō] that this is the Son of God." 35Again, the next day, John was standing with two of his disciples [mathēthōn]

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.

, 36and he looked at Jesus as he walked, and said, "See [ide], the Lamb of God!" 37The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. 38Jesus turned, and saw them following, and said to them, "What are you looking for?" They said to him, "Rabbi [Rhabbi]" (which is to say, being interpreted, Teacher [Didaskale]), "where are you staying?" 39He 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. 40One of the two who heard John, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. 41He first found his own brother, Simon, and said to him, "We have found the Messiah [Messian]!" (which is, being interpreted, Christ). 42He 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 [Kēphas]" (which is by interpretation, Peter [Petros]). 43On the next day, he was determined [thelō] to go out into Galilee, and he found Philip [Philippon]. Jesus said to him, "Follow me." 44Now Philip [Philippos] was from Bethsaida [Bēsa7#239da; Heb. Beit-Tzaidah], of the city of Andrew and Peter. 45Philip [Philippos] 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]." 46Nathanael said to him, "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" Philip [Philippos] said to him, "Come and see [horaō]." 47Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and said about him, "Look [ide], an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit [dolos]!" 48Nathanael said to him, "How do you know me?" Jesus answered him, "Before Philip [Philippon] called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you." 49Nathanael answered him, "Rabbi [Rhabbi], you are the Son of God! You are King of Israel!" 50Jesus answered him, "Because I told you, 'I saw you underneath the fig tree,' do you believe [pisteuō]? You will see greater [meizō] things than these!" 51He 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."

2 1The third day, there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee. Jesus' mother was there. 2Jesus also was invited, with his disciples, to the marriage. 3When the wine [oinou]

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." 4Jesus said to her, "Woman [gynai]

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." 5His mother said to the servants [diakonois], "Whatever he says to you, do it." 6Now there were six water pots of stone [lithinai hydriai]

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 [chōreō] two or three metretes [metrētas] apiece. 7Jesus said to them, "Fill the water pots [hydrias] with water." They filled them up to the brim. 8He said to them, "Now draw some out, and take it to the ruler of the feast [architriklinō]

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. 9When the ruler of the feast [architriklinos] tasted the water now become wine, and didn't know where it came from (but the servants [diakonoi] who had drawn the water knew), the ruler of the feast called the bridegroom, 10and 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!" 11This beginning of his signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed [pisteuō] in him. 12After this, he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, his brothers, and his disciples; and they stayed there a few days. 13The Passover [pascha; Heb. Pesach] of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14He found in the temple those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves, and the changers of money [kermatistas]

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.

sitting. 15He 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. 16To those who sold the doves, he said, "Take these things out of here! Don't make my Father's house a marketplace!" 17His disciples remembered that it was written, "Zeal for your house will eat me up [kataphagō]." 18The Jews therefore answered him, "What sign do you show us, seeing that you do these things?" 19Jesus answered them, "Destroy [luō] this temple, and in three days I will raise it up [egeirō]." 20The Jews therefore said, "Forty-six years was this temple in building, and will you raise it up in three days?" 21But he spoke of the temple of his body. 22When therefore he was raised [egeirō] from the dead, his disciples remembered that he said this, and they believed [pisteuō] the Scripture, and the word [logō] which Jesus had said. 23Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed [pisteuō] in his name, observing his signs which he did. 24But Jesus didn't trust [pisteuō]

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, 25and because he didn't need for anyone to testify [martyrēsē] concerning man; for he himself knew what was in man.

3 1Now 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.

. 2The same came to him by night, and said to him, "Rabbi [Rhabbi], 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." 3Jesus answered him, "Most certainly, I tell you, unless one is born anew, he can't see the Kingdom [basileian]

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 [gennaō anōthen]

Anōthen can also mean 'from above'.

of God." 4Nicodemus 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?" 5Jesus answered, "Most certainly I tell you, unless one is born of water and spirit [pneumatos]

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! 6That which is born of the flesh [sarkos] is flesh [sarx]. That which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7Don't marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born anew [gennaō anōthen].' 8The wind [pneuma] 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 [pneumatos]." 9Nicodemus answered him, "How can these things be?" 10Jesus answered him, "Are you the teacher [ho didaskalos]

Lit. 'The teacher of Israel', perhaps implying that Nicodemus was the leading theologian of his day.

of Israel, and don't understand these things? 11Most certainly I tell you, we speak that which we know, and testify [martyreō] of that which we have seen, and you don't receive our witness [martyrian]. 12If I told you earthly things and you don't believe [pisteuō], how will you believe [pisteuō] if I tell you heavenly things? 13No one has ascended into heaven, but he who descended out of heaven, the Son of Man, who is in heaven. 14As Moses lifted up [hypsoō] the serpent in the wilderness [erēmō], even so must the Son of Man be lifted up [hypsoō], 15that whoever believes [pisteuō] in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16For God so loved [agapaō] the world [kosmon], that he gave his one and only [mongenē] Son, that whoever believes [pisteuō] in him should not perish [apolētai], but have eternal life. 17For God didn't send his Son into the world [kosmon] to judge [krinō] the world [kosmon], but that the world [kosmos] should be saved [sōzō] through him. 18He who believes [pisteuō] in him is not judged [krinō]. He who doesn't believe [pisteuō] has been judged [krinō] already, because he has not believed [pisteuō] in the name of the one and only Son of God. 19This is the judgment [krisis], that the light has come into the world [kosmon], and men loved [agapaō] the darkness rather than the light; for their works [erga] were evil [ponēra]. 20For everyone who does evil hates the light, and doesn't come to the light, lest his works [erga] would be exposed. 21But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his works may be revealed [elegchō], that they have been done in God." 22After these things, Jesus came with his disciples into the land of Judea. He stayed there with them, and baptized. 23John also was baptizing in Enon near Salim, because there was much water there. They came, and were baptized. 24For John was not yet thrown into prison. 25There arose therefore a questioning on the part of John's disciples with some Jews about purification. 26They came to John, and said to him, "Rabbi [Rhabbi], he who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified [martyreō], see [ide], the same baptizes, and everyone is coming to him." 27John answered, "A man can receive nothing, unless it has been given him from heaven. 28You yourselves testify [martyreō] that I said, 'I am not the Christ,' but, 'I have been sent before him.' 29He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend [philos] of the bridegroom [nymphios]

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 [chara chairō] because of the bridegroom's voice. This, my joy [chara], therefore is made full [plēroō]. 30He must increase [auxanō], but I must decrease [elattoō]. 31He 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. 32What he has seen and heard, of that he testifies [martyreō]; and no one receives his witness [martyrian]. 33He who has received his witness [martyrian] has set his seal [sphragizō] to this, that God is true. 34For he whom God has sent speaks the words [rhēmata] of God; for God gives the Spirit without measure [ek metrou]. 35The Father loves [agapaō] the Son, and has given [didōmi] all things into his hand. 36One who believes [pisteuō] in the Son has eternal life, but one who disobeys [apeitheō] the Son won't see life, but the wrath [orgē] of God remains on him."

4 1Therefore 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), 3he left Judea, and departed into Galilee. 4He needed to pass through Samaria. 5So he came to a city of Samaria, called Sychar, near the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son, Joseph. 6Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being tired from his journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour. 7A woman of Samaria [Samareias]

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." 8For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. 9The 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 [Samareitais]

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.

.) 10Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift [dōrean] 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." 11The woman said to him, "Sir [Kyrie], you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. From where then have you that living water? 12Are you greater [meizōn] than our father, Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself, as did his children, and his livestock?" 13Jesus answered her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again, 14but 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 [hallomai] of water springing up to eternal life." 15The woman said to him, "Sir [Kyrie], give me this water, so that I don't get thirsty, neither come all the way here to draw." 16Jesus said to her, "Go, call your husband, and come here." 17The woman answered, "I have no husband [andra]

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,' 18for you have had five husbands; and he whom you now have is not your husband. This you have said truly." 19The woman said to him, "Sir [Kyrie], I perceive that you are a prophet. 20Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship [proskyneō]

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.

." 21Jesus said to her, "Woman [gynai], believe [pisteuō] me, the hour comes, when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, will you worship the Father. 22You worship that which you don't know. We worship that which we know; for salvation is from the Jews. 23But the hour [hōra] 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. 24God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth." 25The woman said to him, "I know that Messiah [Messias] comes," (he who is called Christ [christos]). "When he has come, he will declare to us all things." 26Jesus said to her, "I am he, the one who speaks to you [Egō eimi, ho laleō soi]." 27At this, his disciples came. They marveled [thaumazō] that he was speaking with a woman [gynaikos]

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?" 28So the woman left her water pot [hudrian], 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?" 30They went out of the city, and were coming to him. 31In the meanwhile, the disciples urged him, saying, "Rabbi [Rhabbi], eat." 32But he said to them, "I have food to eat that you don't know about." 33The disciples therefore said one to another, "Has anyone brought him something to eat?" 34Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will [thelēma] of him who sent me, and to accomplish [teleō] his work. 35Don't you say, 'There are yet four months until the harvest [therismon]

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.

?' Look [idou], I tell you, lift up your eyes, and look at the fields, that they are white for harvest already. 36He who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit to eternal life; that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice [chairō] together. 37For in this the saying is true, 'One sows, and another reaps.' 38I sent you to reap that for which you haven't laboured. Others have laboured, and you have entered into their labour." 39From that city many of the Samaritans believed [pisteuō] in him because of the word of the woman, who testified, "He told me everything that I did." 40So when the Samaritans came to him, they begged him to stay with them. He stayed there two days. 41Many more believed [pisteuō] because of his word [logon]. 42They said to the woman, "Now we believe [pisteuō], not because of your speaking; for we have heard for ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world [kosmou]

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.

." 43After the two days he went out from there and went into Galilee. 44For Jesus himself testified that a prophet has no honour in his own country. 45So when he came into Galilee, the Galileans received [dechomai] him, having seen all the things that he did in Jerusalem at the feast, for they also went to the feast. 46Jesus came therefore again to Cana of Galilee, where he made the water into wine. There was a certain nobleman [basilikos]

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. 47When 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. 48Jesus therefore said to him, "Unless you see signs [sēmeia] and wonders [terata]

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 [pisteuō]." 49The nobleman [basilikos] said to him, "Sir [Kyrie], come down before my child dies." 50Jesus said to him, "Go your way. Your son lives." The man believed [pisteuō] the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way. 51As he was now going down, his servants [douloi] met him and reported, saying "Your child lives!" 52So 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." 53So the father knew that it was at that hour in which Jesus said to him, "Your son lives." He believed [pisteuō], as did his whole house [oikia]. 54This is again the second sign that Jesus did, having come out of Judea into Galilee.

5 1After these things, there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2Now in Jerusalem by the sheep gate, there is a pool, which is called in Hebrew [Hebraïsti], "Bethesda [Bēthesda; Heb. Beit-Zata]," having five porches. 3In these lay a great multitude [plēthos] of those who were sick, blind, lame, or paralyzed [xērōn], waiting for the moving of the water; 4for 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. 5A certain man was there, who had been sick [astheneia] for thirty-eight years. 6When 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 [hygiainō]?" 7The sick [asthenōn] man answered him, "Sir [Kyrie], 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." 8Jesus said to him, "Arise [egeirō]

Used for the life-bringing effect of Jesus' call at the last day (28-29).

, take up your mat [krabatton], and walk." 9Immediately, the man was made well [hygiainō], and took up his mat [krabatton] and walked. Now it was the Sabbath on that day. 10So the Jews said to him who was cured [therapeuō], "It is the Sabbath [Sabbaton]

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 [ouk exestin] for you to carry the mat [krabatton]." 11He answered them, "He who made me well, the same said to me, 'Take up your mat, and walk.'" 12Then they asked him, "Who is the man who said to you, 'Take up your mat, and walk'?" 13But he who was healed [iaomai] didn't know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a crowd being in the place. 14Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, "See [ide], you are made well. Sin no more, so that nothing worse happens to you." 15The man went away, and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well [hygiainō]. 16For this cause the Jews persecuted [diōkō] Jesus, and sought to kill him, because he did these things on the Sabbath. 17But Jesus answered them, "My Father is still working, so I am working, too." 18For this cause therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill him, because he not only broke [luō] the Sabbath, but also called God his own Father, making himself equal with God. 19Jesus 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. 20For the Father has affection [phileō] for the Son, and shows him all things that he himself does. He will show him greater [meizona] works than these, that you may marvel [thaumazō]. 21For as the Father raises [egeirō] the dead and gives them life [zōopoieō], even so the Son also gives life [zōopoieō] to whom he desires [thelō]. 22For the Father judges [krinō] no one, but he has given [didōmi] all judgment [krisin] to the Son, 23that 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 [pisteuō] 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. 25Most 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. 26For as the Father has life in himself, even so he gave to the Son also to have life in himself. 27He also gave him authority [exousian] to execute judgment [krisin poieō], because he is a son of man. 28Don't marvel at this, for the hour comes, in which all that are in the tombs will hear his voice, 29and will come out; those who have done good [agatha], to the resurrection of life [anastasin zōēs] ; and those who have done evil [phaula], to the resurrection of judgment [anastasin kriseōs]. 30I can of myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge [krinō], and my judgment [krisis] is righteous [dikaia] ; because I don't seek my own will [thelēma to emon], but the will of my Father who sent me. 31"If I testify [martyreō] about myself, my witness [martyria] is not valid. 32It is another who testifies about me [martyreō peri emou]. I know that the testimony [martyria] which he testifies about me is true [alēthēs]. 33You have sent to John, and he has testified to the truth. 34But the testimony which I receive is not from man. However, I say these things that you may be saved [sōzō]. 35He was the burning and shining lamp [lychnos]

Cf. 1 Pet 1:19.

, and you were willing to rejoice [agalliaō] for a while in his light. 36But 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. 37The Father himself, who sent me, has testified about me. You have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his form. 38You don't have his word living in you; because you don't believe [pisteuō] him whom he sent. 39"You search [eraunaō] the Scriptures, because you think [dokeō] that in them you have eternal life; and these are they which testify about me. 40Yet you will not come to me, that you may have life. 41I don't receive glory [doxan] from men. 42But I know you, that you don't have God's love [agapēn] in yourselves. 43I have come in my Father's name, and you don't receive [lambanō] me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive [lambanō] him. 44How can you believe [pisteuō], who receive glory [doxan] from one another, and you don't seek the glory [doxan] that comes from the only God? 45"Don't think [dokeō] that I will accuse [katēgoreō] you to the Father. There is one who accuses [katēgorēsō] you, even Moses, on whom you have set [elpizō] your hope. 46For if you believed [pisteuō] Moses, you would believe [pisteuō] me; for he wrote about me. 47But if you don't believe [pisteuō] his writings, how will you believe [pisteuō] my words?"

6 1After these things, Jesus went away to the other side of the sea of Galilee [Galilaias]

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 [Tiberiados]. 2A great multitude followed him, because they saw his signs which he did on those who were sick. 3Jesus went up into the mountain, and he sat there with his disciples. 4Now the Passover [pascha]

The Passover was a great patriotic festival which stirred the Jews' sense of national identity.

, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. 5Jesus therefore lifting up his eyes, and seeing that a great multitude was coming to him, said to Philip [Philippon], "Where are we to buy bread, that these may eat?" 6This he said to test [peirazō] him, for he himself knew what he would do. 7Philip [Philippos] answered him, "Two hundred denarii [dēnariōn]

NIV: eight months' wages.

worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that everyone of them may receive a little." 8One 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?" 10Jesus said, "Have the people sit down [anapiptō]." Now there was much grass in that place. So the men sat down [anapiptō], in number about five thousand. 11Jesus took the loaves; and having given thanks [eucharisteō]

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. 12When they were filled, he said to his disciples, "Gather up the broken pieces which are left over, that nothing be lost [apollymi]

Preservation of this kind of leftovers was a Jewish custom.

." 13So they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets [kophinous] with broken pieces from the five barley loaves, which were left over by those who had eaten. 14When therefore the people saw the sign which Jesus did, they said, "This is truly [alēthōs] the prophet who comes into the world [kosmon]." 15Jesus therefore, perceiving that they were about to come and take him by force, to make him king, withdrew [anachōreō]

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. 16When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, 17and they entered into the boat, and were going over the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not come to them. 18The sea was tossed by a great wind [anemou megalou]

Storms commonly blew up on the Sea of Galilee.

blowing. 19When 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. 20But he said to them, "It is I [Egō eimi]

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." 21They were willing therefore to receive him into the boat. Immediately the boat was at the land where they were going. 22On 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. 23However boats from Tiberias came near to the place where they ate the bread after the Lord had given thanks [eucharisteō]. 24When the multitude therefore saw that Jesus wasn't there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats, and came to Capernaum, seeking Jesus. 25When they found him on the other side of the sea, they asked him, "Rabbi [Rhabbi], when did you come here?" 26Jesus 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 [chortazō]. 27Don't work [ergazomai] 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 [sphragizō]

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.

him." 28They said therefore to him, "What must we do, that we may work the works of God?" 29Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe [pisteuō] in him whom he has sent." 30They said therefore to him, "What then do you do for a sign, that we may see, and believe [pisteuō] you? What work do you do? 31Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness. As it is written, 'He gave them bread out of heaven to eat.'" 32Jesus 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. 33For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world [kosmō]." 34They said therefore to him, "Lord [Kyrie], always give us this bread." 35Jesus said to them, "I am [Egō eimi] the bread of life. He who comes to me will not be hungry, and he who believes [pisteuō] in me will never be thirsty. 36But I told you that you have seen me, and yet you don't believe [pisteuō]. 37All those who the Father gives me will come to me. Him who comes to me I will in no way throw out. 38For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. 39This is the will of my Father who sent me, that of all he has given to me I should lose [apollymi] nothing, but should raise him up [anistēmi] at the last day. 40This is the will of the one who sent me, that everyone who sees the Son, and believes [pisteuō] in him, should have eternal life; and I will raise him up [anistēmi] at the last day." 41The Jews therefore murmured [gongyzō] concerning him, because he said, "I am [Egō eimi] the bread which came down out of heaven." 42They 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?'" 43Therefore Jesus answered them, "Don't murmur [gongyzō] among yourselves. 44No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up [anistēmi] in the last day. 45It 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. 46Not that anyone has seen the Father, except he who is from God. He has seen the Father. 47Most certainly, I tell you, he who believes [pisteuō] in me has eternal life. 48I am [Egō eimi] the bread of life. 49Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, that anyone may eat of it and not die. 51I am [Egō eimi] 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 [kosmou] is my flesh [sarx]." 52The Jews therefore contended [machomai] with one another, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh [sarka] to eat?" 53Jesus therefore said to them, "Most certainly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh [sarka] of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you don't have life in yourselves. 54He who eats my flesh [sarka] and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up [anistēmi] at the last day. 55For my flesh [sarx] is food indeed [alēthēs], and my blood is drink indeed [alēthēs]. 56He who eats my flesh [sarka] and drinks my blood lives in me, and I in him. 57As 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. 58This 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." 59He said these things in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum. 60Therefore many of his disciples, when they heard this, said, "This is a hard [sklēros] saying! Who can listen [akouō] to it?" 61But Jesus knowing in himself that his disciples murmured [gongyzō] at this, said to them, "Does this cause you to stumble [skandalizō]? 62Then what if you would see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63It is the spirit who gives life. The flesh [sarx] profits nothing [ouk ōpheleō]. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and are life. 64But there are some of you who don't believe [pisteuō]." For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who didn't believe [pisteuō], and who it was who would betray [paradidōmi] him. 65He 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." 66At this, many of his disciples went back [aperchomai eis ta opisō], and walked no more with him [autou peripateō]. 67Jesus said therefore to the twelve, "You don't also want to go away, do you?" 68Simon Peter answered him, "Lord [Kyrie], to whom would we go? You have the words [rhēmata] of eternal life. 69We have come to believe [pisteuō] and know that you are the Christ, the Son of the living God." 70Jesus answered them, "Didn't I choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil [diabolos]?" 71Now 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 [paradidōmi] him, being one of the twelve.

7 1After these things, Jesus was walking in Galilee, for he wouldn't walk in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill him. 2Now 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. 3His brothers therefore said to him, "Depart from here, and go into Judea, that your disciples also may see your works which you do. 4For no one does anything in secret, and himself seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, reveal yourself to the world [kosmo]." 5For even his brothers didn't believe [pisteuō] in him. 6Jesus therefore said to them, "My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready [hetoimos]. 7The world [kosmos] can't hate you, but it hates me, because I testify about it, that its works are evil [ponēra]. 8You go up to the feast. I am not yet going up to this feast, because my time is not yet fulfilled [plēroō]." 9Having said these things to them, he stayed in Galilee. 10But when his brothers had gone up to the feast, then he also went up, not publicly, but as it were in secret. 11The Jews therefore sought him at the feast, and said, "Where is he?" 12There was much murmuring [gongyzō] among the multitudes concerning him. Some said, "He is a good [agathos] man." Others said, "Not so, but he leads the multitude astray [planaō]

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.

." 13Yet no one spoke openly of him for fear of the Jews. 14But when it was now the midst of the feast, Jesus went up into the temple and taught. 15The Jews therefore marveled, saying, "How does this man know letters [grammata], having never been educated [manthanō]

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.

?" 16Jesus therefore answered them, "My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. 17If anyone desires [thelō] to do his will [thelēma], he will know about the teaching, whether it is from God, or if I am speaking from myself. 18He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory, but he who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and no unrighteousness [adikia] is in him. 19Didn't Moses give you the law [Torah], and yet none of you keeps the law [nomon]

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?" 20The multitude answered, "You have a demon! Who seeks to kill you?" 21Jesus answered them, "I did one work [ergon], and you all marvel because of it. 22Moses has given you circumcision (not that it is of Moses, but of the fathers), and on the Sabbath you circumcise a boy. 23If a boy receives circumcision on the Sabbath [Sabbatō]

Heb. 'do a boy's b'rit-milah on Shabbat'.

, that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry [cholaō] with me, because I made a man completely healthy [hygiainō] on the Sabbath? 24Don't judge [krinō] according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment [dikaian krisin krinō]." 25Therefore some of them of Jerusalem said, "Isn't this he whom they seek to kill? 26Look [ide], he speaks openly, and they say nothing to him. Can it be that the rulers [archontes] indeed know that this is truly the Christ? 27However we know [oida] where this man comes from, but when the Christ comes, no one will know [ginōskō] where he comes from." 28Jesus therefore cried out in the temple, teaching and saying, "You both know [oida] me, and know where I am from. I have not come of myself, but he who sent me is true [alēthenos], whom you don't know. 29I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me." 30They sought therefore to take him; but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour [hōra] had not yet come. 31But of the multitude, many believed [pisteuō] in him. They said, "When the Christ comes, he won't do more signs than those which this man has done, will he?" 32The Pharisees [Pharisaioi]

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 [gongyzō] these things concerning him, and the chief priests and the Pharisees sent officers [hypēretas] to arrest him. 33Then Jesus said, "I will be with you a little while longer, then I go to him who sent me. 34You will seek me, and won't find me; and where I am, you can't come." 35The Jews therefore said among themselves, "Where will this man go that we won't find him? Will he go to the Dispersion [diaspeirō]


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 [Hellēnōn], and teach the Greeks [Hellēnas]? 36What is this word that he said, 'You will seek me, and won't find me; and where I am, you can't come'?" 37Now 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! 38He who believes [pisteuō]

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.

will flow [rheō] rivers of living water." 39But he said this about the Spirit, which those believing [pisteuō] in him were to receive. For the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus wasn't yet glorified [doxazō]. 40Many of the multitude therefore, when they heard these words, said, "This is truly the prophet." 41Others said, "This is the Christ." But some said, "What, does the Christ come out of Galilee? 42Hasn't the Scripture said that the Christ comes of the seed of David, and from Bethlehem, the village where David was?" 43So there arose a division [schisma] in the multitude because of him. 44Some of them would have arrested him, but no one laid hands on him. 45The officers [hypēretai]

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?" 46The officers [hypēretai] answered, "No man ever spoke like this man!" 47The Pharisees therefore answered them, "You aren't also led astray [planaō], are you? 48Have any of the rulers [archontōn] believed [pisteuō] in him, or of the Pharisees? 49But this multitude that doesn't know the law is accursed [eparatoi]

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).

." 50Nicodemus (he who came to him by night, being one of them) said to them, 51"Does our law judge [krinō] a man, unless it first hears from him personally and knows what he does?" 52They answered him, "Are you also from Galilee? Search [eraunaō], and see that no prophet has arisen out of Galilee." 53Everyone 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.

8 1but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2Now very early in the morning, he came again into the temple, and all the people came to him. He sat down, and taught them. 3The scribes [grammateis] and the Pharisees brought a woman taken in adultery. Having set her in the midst, 4they told him, "Teacher, we found this woman in adultery, in the very act. 5Now in our law, Moses commanded us to stone such. What then do you say about her?" 6They said this testing [peirazō]

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 [katēgoreō] him of. But Jesus stooped down, and wrote [graphō]

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. 7But when they continued asking [erōtaō] him, he looked up and said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him throw the first stone at her." 8Again he stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground. 9They, 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. 10Jesus, standing up, saw her and said, "Woman, where are your accusers [katēgoroi]? Did no one condemn [katakrinō] you?" 11She said, "No one, Lord [Kyrie]." Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn [katakrinō] you. Go your way. From now on, sin no more." 12Again, therefore, Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am [Egō eimi] the light [phōs]

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 [kosmou]. He who follows me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the light of life." 13The Pharisees therefore said to him, "You testify about yourself. Your testimony is not valid [alēthēs]." 14Jesus answered them, "Even if I testify about myself, my testimony is true [alēthēs], 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. 15You judge [krinō] according to the flesh [sarka]. I judge [krinō] no one. 16Even if I do judge [krinō], my judgment [krisis] is true [alēthinē], for I am not alone, but I am with the Father who sent me. 17It's also written in your law that the testimony of two people is valid [elēthēs]. 18I am [Egō eimi] one who testifies [martyreō] about myself, and the Father who sent me testifies [martyreō] about me." 19They 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." 20Jesus spoke these words [ta rhēmata] in the treasury [gazophulakiō]

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. 21Jesus 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." 22The Jews therefore said, "Will he kill himself, that he says, 'Where I am going, you can't come?'" 23He said to them, "You are from beneath. I am from above. You are of this world [kosmou]. I am not of this world [kosmou]. 24I said therefore to you that you will die [apothnēskō] in your sins; for unless you believe [pisteuō] that I am [egō eimi]

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 [apothnēskō] in your sins." 25They said therefore to him, "Who are you?" Jesus said to them, "Just what I have been saying to you from the beginning. 26I have many things to speak and to judge [krinein] concerning you. However he who sent me is true [alēthēs] ; and the things which I heard from him, these I say to the world [kosmon]." 27They didn't understand that he spoke to them about the Father. 28Jesus therefore said to them, "When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am [egō eimi] he, and I do nothing of myself, but as my Father taught me, I say these things. 29He who sent me is with me. The Father hasn't left [aphiēmi] me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing [areskō] to him." 30As he spoke these things, many believed [pisteuō] in him. 31Jesus therefore said to those Jews who had believed [pisteuō] him, "If you remain [menō]

Commonly rendered 'remain'. Cf. ch15, passim.

in my word, then you are truly my disciples. 32You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free [eleutheroō]." 33They answered him, "We are Abraham's seed, and have never been in bondage [douloō] to anyone. How do you say, 'You will be made free [eleutheroō]?'" 34Jesus answered them, "Most certainly I tell you [amēn, amēn], everyone who commits sin is the bondservant [doulos] of sin. 35A bondservant doesn't live in the house [oikia] forever. A son remains forever. 36If therefore the Son makes you free [eleutheroō], you will be free [eleutheroō] indeed. 37I know that you are Abraham's seed, yet you seek to kill me, because my word [logos] finds no place [chōreō] in you. 38I say the things which I have seen with my Father; and you also do the things which you have seen with your father." 39They answered him, "Our father is Abraham." Jesus said to them, "If you were Abraham's children, you would do the works of Abraham. 40But now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God. Abraham didn't do this. 41You do the works of your father." They said to him, "We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father, God." 42Therefore Jesus said to them, "If God were your father, you would love [agapaō] me, for I came out and have come from God. For I haven't come of myself, but he sent me. 43Why don't you understand my speech? Because you can't hear my word. 44You are of your father, the devil [diabolou], and you want to do the desires [thelete] 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. 45But because I tell the truth, you don't believe [pisteuō] me. 46Which of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe [pisteuō] me? 47He 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]." 48Then the Jews answered him, "Don't we say well that you are a Samaritan [Samareitēs]

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?" 49Jesus answered, "I don't have a demon, but I honor [timaō] my Father, and you dishonor [atimazō] me. 50But I don't seek my own glory [doxan]. There is one who seeks and judges [krinōn]. 51Most certainly [amēn, amēn], I tell you, if a person keeps [tēreō] my word [logon], he will never see [theōreō] death." 52Then 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 [tēreō] my word [logon], he will never taste [geuō] of death.' 53Are you greater [meizōn] than our father, Abraham, who died? The prophets died. Who do you make yourself out to be?" 54Jesus answered, "If I glorify [doxazō] myself, my glory [doxa] is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies [doxazō] me, of whom you say that he is our God. 55You have not known [ginōskō] him, but I know [oida] him. If I said, 'I don't know [oida] him,' I would be like you, a liar. But I know [oida] him, and keep [tēreō] his word [logon]. 56Your father Abraham rejoiced [agalliaō] to see my day. He saw it, and was glad [chairō]." 57The Jews therefore said to him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?" 58Jesus said to them, "Most certainly [amēn, amēn], I tell you, before Abraham came into existence, I AM [egō eimi]." 59Therefore 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.

9 1As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2His disciples asked him, "Rabbi [Rhabbi], who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" 3Jesus answered, "Neither did this man sin, nor his parents; but, that the works of God might be revealed [phaneroō] in him. 4I must work the works of him who sent me, while it is day. The night is coming, when no one can work. 5While I am in the world [kosmō], I am the light of the world [kosmou]." 6When he had said this, he spat on the ground, made mud with the saliva [ptysmatos]

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, 7and said to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam [kolumbēthran tou Silōam] (which means "Sent [Apestalmenos]

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. 8The neighbours therefore, and those who saw that he was blind before, said, "Isn't this he who sat and begged?" 9Others were saying, "It is he." Still others were saying, "He looks like him." He said, "I am he." 10They therefore were asking him, "How were your eyes opened?" 11He answered, "A man called Jesus made mud, anointed my eyes, and said to me, 'Go to the pool of Siloam [Silōam], and wash.' So I went away and washed, and I received sight." 12Then they asked him, "Where is he?" He said, "I don't know." 13They brought him who had been blind to the Pharisees [Pharisaious]

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.

. 14It was a Sabbath when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. 15Again 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." 16Some 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. 17Therefore they asked the blind man again, "What do you say about him, because he opened your eyes?" He said, "He is a prophet." 18The Jews therefore did not believe [pisteuō] concerning him, that he had been blind, and had received his sight, until they called the parents [goneis]

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, 19and asked them, "Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?" 20His parents answered them, "We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; 21but 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." 22His parents said these things because they feared the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that if any man would confess him as Christ [homologeō christon], he would be put out of the synagogue [aposynagōgos]

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.

. 23Therefore his parents said, "He is of age. Ask him." 24So 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 [harmartōlos]." 25He therefore answered, "I don't know if he is a sinner. One thing I do know: that though I was blind, now I see." 26They said to him again, "What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?" 27He 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?" 28They insulted [loidoreō] him and said, "You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. 29We know that God has spoken to Moses. But as for this man, we don't know where he comes from." 30The man answered them, "How amazing! You don't know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. 31We know that God doesn't listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshipper of God, and does his will [thelēma], he listens to him. 32Since the world began it has never been heard of that anyone opened the eyes of someone born blind. 33If this man were not from God, he could do nothing." 34They answered him, "You were altogether born in sins, and do you teach us?" They threw him out. 35Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and finding him, he said, "Do you believe [pisteuō] in the Son of God?" 36He answered, "Who is he, Lord [Kyrie], that I may believe [pisteuō] in him?" 37Jesus said to him, "You have both seen him, and it is he who speaks with you." 38He said, "Lord, I believe [pisteuō, Kyrie]!" and he worshiped [proskyneō]

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).

him. 39Jesus said, "I came into this world [kosmon] for judgment [krima], that those who don't see may see; and that those who see may become blind." 40Those of the Pharisees who were with him heard these things, and said to him, "Are we also blind?" 41Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, 'We see.' Therefore your sin remains.

10 1"Most certainly [amēn, amēn], I tell you, one who doesn't enter by the door into the sheep fold [aulēn]

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 [lēstēs]. 2But one who enters in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls [kaleō]

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. 4Whenever he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5They will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him; for they don't know the voice of strangers." 6Jesus spoke this parable to them, but they didn't understand what he was telling them. 7Jesus therefore said to them again, "Most certainly [amēn, amēn], I tell you, I am [egō eimi] the sheep's door. 8All who came before me are thieves and robbers [lēstai]

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. 9I am the door. If anyone enters in by me, he will be saved [sōzō], and will go in and go out, and will find pasture. 10The thief [kleptēs] only comes to steal, kill, and destroy [apollymi]. I came that they may have [echō] life, and may have it abundantly [perisson]. 11I am [Egō eimi] the good [kalos]

Has overtones of beauty, hence: 'noble shepherd', 'worthy', or 'model'.

shepherd. The good shepherd lays down [tithēmi] his life [psychēn] for the sheep. 12He who is a hired hand [misthōtos], 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. 13The hired hand flees because he is a hired hand [misthōtos], and doesn't care for the sheep. 14I am [egō eimi] the good shepherd. I know my own, and I'm known by my own; 15even as the Father knows me, and I know the Father. I lay down [tithēmi] my life [psychēn] for the sheep. 16I have other sheep, which are not of this fold. I must bring [agō] them also, and they will hear my voice. They will become one flock with one shepherd. 17Therefore the Father loves [agapaō] me, because I lay down [tithēmi] my life [psychēn], that I may take it again. 18No one takes it away from me, but I lay it down [tithēmi] by myself. I have power [exousian] to lay it down [tithēmi], and I have power [exousian] to take it again. I received this commandment from my Father." 19Therefore a division [skisma] arose again among the Jews because of these words. 20Many of them said, "He has a demon, and is insane! Why do you listen to him?" 21Others 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?" 22It 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. 23It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in Solomon's porch [Stoa]

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).

. 24The 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." 25Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you don't believe [pisteuō]. The works that I do in my Father's name, these testify about me. 26But you don't believe [pisteuō], because you are not of my sheep [probatōn]

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. 27My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28I give eternal life [zōēn aiōnion]

Lit. 'life of the age'.

to them. They will never perish [apollymi], and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29My Father, who has given them to me, is greater [meizon] than all. No one is able to snatch them out of my Father's hand. 30I and the Father are one." 31Therefore Jews took up stones again to stone him. 32Jesus answered them, "I have shown you many good works [erga kala]

'Fine, noble, beautiful' works.

from my Father. For which of those works do you stone me?" 33The Jews answered him, "We don't stone you for a good work [kalou ergou], but for blasphemy [blasphēmias] : because you, being a man, make yourself God [theon; Heb. Elohim]." 34Jesus answered them, "Isn't it written in your law, 'I said, you are gods [theoi]

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?.

?' 35If he called them gods, to whom the word [logos] of God came (and the Scripture [graphē Heb. Tanakh] can't be broken [luō]), 36do you say of him whom the Father sanctified [hagiazō]

The root of the verb is the idea of holiness, or dedication.

and sent into the world [kosmon], 'You blaspheme [blasphēmeis],' because I said, 'I am the Son of God?' 37If I don't do the works of my Father, don't believe [pisteuō] me. 38But if I do them, though you don't believe [pisteuō] me, believe the works [ergois] ; that you may know and believe [pisteuō] that the Father is in me, and I in the Father." 39They sought again to seize him, and he went out of their hand. 40He went away again beyond the Jordan into the place where John was baptizing at first, and there he stayed. 41Many came to him. They said, "John indeed did no sign, but everything that John said about this man is true." 42Many believed [pisteuō] in him there.

11 1Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus [Lazaros] from Bethany [Bēanias; Heb. Beit-Anyah], of the village of Mary and her sister, Martha. 2It was that Mary [Maria] who had anointed [aleiphō] the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother, Lazarus [Lazaros], was sick. 3The sisters therefore sent to him, saying, "Lord [Kyrie]

Probably renders the Aramaic for 'rabbi', cf. 28; 20:16.

, see [ide], he for whom you have great affection [phileō] is sick." 4But when Jesus heard it, he said, "This sickness is not to death, but for the glory [doxēs] of God, that God's Son may be glorified [doxazō] by it." 5Now Jesus loved [agapaō] Martha [Marthan], and her sister, and Lazarus. 6When therefore he heard that he was sick, he stayed two days in the place where he was. 7Then after this he said to the disciples, "Let's go into Judea again." 8The disciples told him, "Rabbi [Rhabbi], the Jews were just trying [zēteō] to stone you, and are you going there again?" 9Jesus answered, "Aren't there twelve hours of daylight? If a man walks in the day, he doesn't stumble [proskoptō], because he sees the light of this world [kosmou]. 10But if a man walks in the night, he stumbles [proskoptō], because the light isn't in him." 11He said these things, and after that, he said to them, "Our friend [philos], Lazarus, has fallen asleep [koimaō]

'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 [exupnizō] him out of sleep." 12The disciples therefore said, "Lord, if he has fallen asleep [koimaō], he will recover [sōzō]." 13Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he spoke of taking rest in sleep. 14So Jesus said to them plainly then, "Lazarus is dead [apothnēskō]. 15I am glad [chairō] for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe [pisteuō]. Nevertheless, let's go to him." 16Thomas [Thōmas] therefore, who is called Didymus [Didymos]

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 [apothnēskō] with him." 17So when Jesus came, he found that he had been in the tomb four days [hēmeras]

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).

already. 18Now Bethany [Bēthania] was near Jerusalem [Hierosolymōn], about fifteen stadia [stadiōn]

Stadion, or furlong; 606 feet 9 inches.

away. 19Many of the Jews had joined the women around Martha and Mary, to console [paramutheomai]

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. 20Then when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary stayed in the house. 21Therefore Martha said to Jesus, "Lord [Kyrie], if you would have been here, my brother wouldn't have died [apothnēskō]. 22Even now I know that, whatever you ask of God, God will give you." 23Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again [anistēmi]." 24Martha said to him, "I know that he will rise again [anistēmi] in the resurrection [anastasei] at the last day." 25Jesus said to her, "I am [Egō eimi] the resurrection [anastasis] and the life. He who believes [pisteuō] in me will still live, even if he dies [apothnēskō]. 26Whoever lives and believes [pisteuō] in me will never die [apothnēskō]. Do you believe [pisteuō] this?" 27She said to him, "Yes, Lord [Kyrie]. I have come to believe [pisteuō] that you are the Christ [christos; Heb. Messiah], God's Son, he who comes into the world [kosmon]." 28When she had said this, she went away, and called Mary, her sister, secretly, saying, "The Teacher is here, and is calling you." 29When she heard this, she arose quickly, and went to him. 30Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was in the place where Martha met him. 31Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and were consoling [paramutheomai] 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." 32Therefore 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 [apothnēskō]." 33When Jesus therefore saw her weeping [klaiō], and the Jews weeping [klaiō] who came with her, he groaned in the spirit [embrimaomai]

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 [tarassō], 34and said, "Where have you laid him?" They told him, "Lord, come and see." 35Jesus wept [dakryō]

The tense of the verb may imply: 'Jesus burst into tears'.

. 36The Jews therefore said, "See how much affection [phileō] he had for him!" 37Some of them said, "Couldn't this man, who opened the eyes of him who was blind, have also kept this man from dying?" 38Jesus therefore, again groaning in himself [embrimaomai], came to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39Jesus said, "Take away the stone." Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to him, "Lord, by this time there is a stench [ozō]

Lit., 'he stinks', i.e., 'the soul'; the Greek lacks a masculine reference.

, for he has been dead four days." 40Jesus said to her, "Didn't I tell you that if you believed [pisteuō], you would see God's glory?" 41So 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 [eucharisteō] that you listened to me. 42I know that you always listen to me, but because of the multitude that stands around I said this, that they may believe [pisteuō] that you sent [apostellō] me." 43When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" 44He who was dead came out, bound hand and foot with wrappings [keiriais]

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 [opsis]

A separate wrapping around the face kept the jaw in place.

. Jesus said to them, "Free him [luō], and let him go [aphiēmi auton hupagō]." 45Therefore many of the Jews, who came to Mary and saw what Jesus did, believed [pisteuō] in him. 46But some of them went away to the Pharisees, and told them the things which Jesus had done. 47The chief priests therefore and the Pharisees gathered a council [synedrion]

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. 48If we leave him alone like this, everyone will believe [pisteuō] in him, and the Romans will come and take away [airō]

Roman imperialism

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 [ethnos]

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.

." 49But a certain one of them, Caiaphas [Kaïaphas]

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, 50nor do you consider [logizomai] that it is advantageous [sympherō] for us that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish [apollymi]." 51Now he didn't say this of himself, but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, 52and not for the nation only, but that he might also gather together [synagō] into one the children of God who are scattered [diaskorpizō] abroad. 53So from that day forward they took counsel that they might put him to death. 54Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews, but departed from there into the country near the wilderness [erēmou], to a city called Ephraim [Ephraim]

Twelve miles north of Jerusalem, probably the modern village of Et-Taiyibeh.

. He stayed there with his disciples. 55Now the Passover [pascha] of the Jews was at hand. Many went up from the country to Jerusalem before the Passover [pascha], to purify [hagnisōsin] themselves. 56Then 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?" 57Now the chief priests [archiereis] and the Pharisees [Pharisaioi] had commanded that if anyone knew where he was, he should report it, that they might seize him.

12 1Then six days before the Passover [pascha], Jesus came to Bethany [Bēthanian], where Lazarus [Lazaros]

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. 2So they made him a supper there. Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table [anakeimai]

Reclining in the customary manner, the head was held close to the low central table where the food was laid.

with him. 3Mary, therefore, took a pound of ointment of pure nard [nardou]

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 [aleiphō] the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair [thrixin]

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. 4Then Judas Iscariot [Ioudas Simōnos], Simon's [Simōnos] son, one of his disciples, who would betray [paradidōmi] him, said, 5"Why wasn't this ointment sold for three hundred denarii [dōnariōn]

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?" 6Now he said this, not because he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief [kleptēs], and having the money box [glōssokomon]

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. 7But Jesus said, "Leave [aphiēmi] her alone. She has kept [tēreō] this for the day of my burial. 8For you always have the poor with you, but you don't always have me." 9A 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. 10But the chief priests conspired to put Lazarus to death also, 11because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed [pisteuō] in Jesus. 12On the next day a great multitude [ochlos]

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, 13they took the branches of the palm trees [phoinikōn]

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 [ōsanna]

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).

! Blessed [eulogēmenos]

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!" 14Jesus, having found a young donkey [onarion], sat on it. As it is written, 15"Don't be afraid, daughter of Zion. See [idou], your King comes, sitting on a donkey's colt [pōlon onou]." 16His disciples didn't understand [mnēmoneuō] these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified [doxazō], then they remembered that these things were written about him, and that they had done these things to him. 17The multitude therefore that was with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb, and raised him from [ek] the dead, was testifying [martyreō]

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. 18For this cause also the multitude went and met him, because they heard that he had done this sign. 19The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, "See how you accomplish nothing. Look [ide], the world [kosmos] has gone after him." 20Now there were certain Greeks [Hellēnes]

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 [proskyneō]

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. 21These, therefore, came to Philip [Philippō], who was from Bethsaida [Bēthsaïda] of Galilee [Galilaias], and asked him, saying, "Sir [Kyrie], we want to see Jesus." 22Philip [Philippos] came and told Andrew [Andrea], and in turn, Andrew [Andreas] came with Philip [Philippos], and they told Jesus. 23Jesus answered them, "The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified [doxazō]. 24Most certainly I tell you [amēn, amēn], unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone. But if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25He who loves [phileō] his life [psychēn] will lose [apollymi] it. He who hates [miseō]

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.

his life [psychēn] in this world [kosmō] will keep it to eternal life. 26If anyone serves [diakoneō] me, let him follow me. Where I am, there will my servant [diakonos] also be. If anyone serves [diakoneō] me, the Father will honor him. 27"Now my soul [psychē] is troubled [tarassō]

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 [sōzō] me from this time?' But for this cause I came to this time. 28Father, glorify [doxazō] your name!" Then there came a voice out of the sky, saying, "I have both glorified [doxazō] it, and will glorify [doxazō] it again." 29The multitude therefore, who stood by and heard it, said that it had thundered. Others said, "An angel has spoken to him." 30Jesus answered, "This voice hasn't come for my sake, but for your sakes. 31Now is the judgment [krisis] of this world [kosmou]. Now the prince of this world [archōn tou kosmou] will be cast out [ekballō]. 32And I, if I am lifted up [hypsoō]

This verb is ambiguous and can mean exultation or crucifixion (cf. 33).

from the earth, will draw [helkysō] all people to myself." 33But he said this, signifying by what kind of death he should die. 34The 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 [hupsoō]?' Who is this Son of Man?" 35Jesus therefore said to them, "Yet a little while the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, that darkness doesn't overtake [katalambanō] you. He who walks in the darkness doesn't know where he is going. 36While you have the light, believe [pisteuō] in the light, that you may become children of light." Jesus said these things, and he departed and hid himself from them. 37But though he had done so many signs before them, yet they didn't believe [pisteuō] in him, 38that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke, "Lord, who has believed [pisteuō] our report [akoē]? To whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed [apokalyptō]?" 39For this cause they couldn't believe [pisteuō], for Isaiah said again, 40"He has blinded their eyes and he hardened [pōroō] their heart, lest they should see with their eyes, and perceive [noeō] with their heart, and would turn [strephō], and I would heal [iaomai] them." 41Isaiah said these things when he saw his glory [doxan; Heb. Sh'khinah], and spoke of him. 42Nevertheless even of the rulers [archontōn] many believed [pisteuō] in him, but because of the Pharisees they didn't confess [homologeō] it, so that they wouldn't be put out of the synagogue [aposynagōgoi], 43for they loved [agapaō] men's praise [doxan] more than God's praise [doxan]. 44Jesus cried out and said, "Whoever believes [pisteuō] in me, believes [pisteuō] not in me, but in him who sent me. 45He who sees me sees him who sent me. 46I have come as a light into the world [kosmon], that whoever believes [pisteuō] in me may not remain in the darkness. 47If anyone listens to my sayings [rhēmatōn], and doesn't believe, I don't judge [krinō] him. For I came not to judge [krinō] the world [kosmon], but to save [sōzō] the world. 48He who rejects [atheteō] me, and doesn't receive my sayings [rhēmata], has one who judges [krinonta] him. The word [logos] that I spoke, the same will judge [krinō] him in the last day [eschatē]. 49For I spoke not from myself, but the Father who sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say [eirō], and what I should speak [laleō]. 50I know that his commandment is eternal life. The things therefore which I speak, even as the Father has said to me, so I speak."

13 1Now before the feast of the Passover [pascha]

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 [kosmou] depart from this world to the Father, having loved [agapaō] his own who were in the world [kosmō], he loved them to the end [eis telos agapaō autous]. 2During supper, the devil [diabolou] having already put into the heart [ballō eis tēn kardian] of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray [paradidōmi] him, 3Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he came forth from God, and was going to God, 4arose from supper, and laid aside [tithēmi]

The verbs are identical to those in 10:18 where Jesus describes the authority that is his to lay down.

his outer garments [himatia]. He took a towel, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5Then he poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet [podas]

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. 6Then he came to Simon Peter. He said to him, "Lord, do you wash my feet?" 7Jesus answered him, "You don't know what I am doing now, but you will understand later." 8Peter said to him, "You will never wash my feet!" Jesus answered him, "If I don't wash you, you have no part with me." 9Simon Peter said to him, "Lord [kyrie]

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!" 10Jesus said to him, "Someone who has bathed only needs to have his feet washed, but is completely clean [katharos]. You are clean [katharoi], but not all of you." 11For he knew him who would betray [paradidōmi] him, therefore he said, "You are not all clean [katharoi]." 12So 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? 13You call me, 'Teacher [didaskalos] ' and 'Lord [kyrios].' You say so correctly [kalōs], for so I am. 14If I then, the Lord [kyrios] and the Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought [opheilō] to wash one another's feet. 15For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. 16Most certainly [amēn amēn] I tell you, a servant [doulos] is not greater [meizōn] than his lord [kyriou], neither one who is sent [apostolos] greater [meizōn] than he who sent [pempō] him. 17If you know these things, blessed [makarioi] are you if you do them. 18I don't speak concerning all of you. I know whom I have chosen [eklegō]. But that the Scripture may be fulfilled, 'He who eats bread with me has lifted up his heel [pternan]

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.

against me.' 19From now on, I tell you before it happens, that when it happens, you may believe [pisteuō] that I am [egō eimi] he. 20Most certainly [amēn, amēn] I tell you, he who receives whomever I send [pempō]

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." 21When Jesus had said this, he was troubled [tarassō]

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 [amēn, amēn] I tell you that one of you will betray [paradidōmi] me." 22The disciples looked at one another, perplexed [aporeō] about whom he spoke. 23One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved [agapaō], was at the table, leaning against [anakeimai]

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. 24Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, and said to him, "Tell us who it is of whom he speaks." 25He, leaning back, as he was, on Jesus' breast, asked him, "Lord, who is it?" 26Jesus 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. 27After the piece of bread, then Satan entered into him. Then Jesus said to him, "What you do, do quickly [tachyon]

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.

." 28Now no man at the table knew why he said this to him. 29For 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. 30Therefore, having received that morsel, he went out immediately. It was night. 31When he had gone out, Jesus said, "Now the Son of Man has been glorified [doxazō], and God has been glorified [doxazō] in him. 32If God has been glorified [doxazō] in him, God will also glorify [doxazō] him in himself, and he will glorify [doxazō] him immediately. 33Little children [teknia]

'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. 34A new commandment I give to you, that you love [agapaō] one another, just like I have loved [agapaō] you; that you also love [agapaō] one another. 35By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love [agapaō]

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." 36Simon 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." 37Peter said to him, "Lord, why can't I follow you now? I will lay down [tithēmi] my life [psychēn] for you." 38Jesus answered him, "Will you lay down [tithēmi] your life [psychēn] for me? Most certainly [amēn, amēn] I tell you, the rooster won't crow until you have denied [arneomai] me three times.

14 1"Don't let your heart be troubled [tarassō]. Believe [pisteuō]

'Believe', 'have faith in'.

in God. Believe also in me. 2In my Father's house [oikia] are many homes [monai]

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. 3If 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. 4Where I go, you know, and you know the way." 5Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don't know where you are going. How can we know the way?" 6Jesus said to him, "I am [Egō eimi] the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me. 7If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on, you know him, and have seen him." 8Philip [Philippos] said to him, "Lord [Kyrie], show [deiknymi] us the Father, and that will be enough for us." 9Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you such a long time, and do you not know me, Philip [Philippe]? He who has seen me has seen the Father. How do you say, 'Show [deiknymi] us the Father?' 10Don't you believe [pisteuō] that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words [rhēmata] that I tell you, I speak not from myself; but the Father who lives in me does his works. 11Believe [pisteuō] me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me; or else believe [pisteuō] me for the very works' [erga] sake. 12Most certainly [amēn, amēn] I tell you, he who believes [pisteuōn] in me, the works that I do, he will do also; and he will do greater [meizona] works than these, because I am going to my Father. 13Whatever you will ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14If you will ask anything in my name, I will do it. 15If you love [agapaō] me, keep my commandments. 16I will pray to the Father, and he will give you another Counselor [paraklēton]

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,--17the Spirit of truth, whom the world [kosmos] can't receive; for it doesn't see [theōreō] him, neither knows him. You know him, for he lives with you, and will be in you. 18I will not leave [aphiēmi] you orphans. I will come to you. 19Yet a little while, and the world [kosmos] will see [theōreō] me no more; but you will see me. Because I live, you will live also. 20In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21One who has my commandments, and keeps them, that person is one who loves [agapaō] me. One who loves [agapaō] me will be loved [agapaō] by my Father, and I will love [agapaō] him, and will reveal [emphanizō] myself to him." 22Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, "Lord [Kyrie], what has happened that you are about to reveal [emphanizō] yourself to us, and not to the world [kosmō]?" 23Jesus answered him, "If a man loves [agapaō] me, he will keep my word [logon]. My Father will love [agapaō] him, and we will come to him, and make our home [monēn] with him. 24He who doesn't love [agapaō] me doesn't keep my words [logous]. The word [logos] which you hear isn't mine, but the Father's who sent me. 25I have said these things to you, while still living with you. 26But the Counselor [paraklētos], 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. 27Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world [kosmos]

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 [tarassō], neither let it be fearful [deiliaō]. 28You heard how I told you, 'I go away, and I come to you.' If you loved [agapaō] me, you would have rejoiced [chairō], because I said 'I am going to my Father;' for the Father is greater [meizōn] than I. 29Now I have told you before it happens so that, when it happens, you may believe [pisteuō]. 30I will no more speak much with you, for the prince of the world [kosmou archōn] comes, and he has nothing in me. 31But that the world [kosmos] may know that I love [agapaō] the Father, and as the Father commanded me, even so I do. Arise, let us go from here [egeirō]

In normal Greek usage this phrase implied, 'Let us go to meet the advancing enemy. It is a call to arms.


15 1"I am the true vine [ampelos]

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 [geōrgos]

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.

. 2Every branch in me that doesn't bear fruit, he takes away [airō]. Every branch that bears fruit, he prunes [kathairō]

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. 3You are already pruned clean [katharoi] because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4Remain 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. 5I 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. 6If 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. 7If you remain in me, and my words [rhēmata] 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. 9Even as the Father has loved [agapaō] me, I also have loved [agapaō] you. Remain in my love [agapē]. 10If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love [agapē] ; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and remain in his love [agapē]. 11I have spoken these things to you, that my joy [chara] may remain in you, and that your joy [chara] may be made full [plērōma]. 12"This is my commandment, that you love [agapaō] one another, even as I have loved [agapaō] you. 13Greater love [meizona agapēn] has no one than this, that someone lay down [tithēmi] his life [psychēn] for his friends. 14You are my friends, if you do whatever I command you. 15No longer do I call you servants [doulous], for the servant [doulos] doesn't know what his lord [kyrios] does. But I have called you friends, for everything that I heard [akouō] from my Father, I have made known to you. 16You didn't choose [eklegō] me, but I chose [eklegō]

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 [tithēmi] you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain [menō] ; 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 [agapaō] one another. 18If the world hates [kosmos] you, you know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19If you were of the world [kosmou], the world would love [phileō] its own. But because you are not of the world [kosmou], since I chose [eklegō] you out of the world [ek tou kosmou], therefore the world [kosmos] hates you. 20Remember the word [logou] that I said to you: 'A servant [doulos] is not greater [meizōn] than his lord [kyriou].' If they persecuted [diōkō] me, they will also persecute [diōkō] you. If they kept my word, they will keep yours also. 21But all these things will they do to you for my name's sake, because they don't know him who sent me. 22If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have had sin; but now they have no excuse [prophasin] for their sin. 23He who hates me, hates my Father also. 24If 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. 25But this happened so that the word may be fulfilled which was written in their law, 'They hated me without a cause [dōrean].' 26"When the Counselor [paraklētos] has come, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will testify [martyreō] about me. 27You will also testify [martyreō], because you have been with me from the beginning.

16 1"These things have I spoken to you, so that you wouldn't be caused to stumble [skandalizō]. 2They will put you out of the synagogues [aposynagōgous]. Yes, the time comes that whoever kills [apokteinō]

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 [dikeō] that he offers [prospherein] service [latreian] to God. 3They will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. 4But 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. 5But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, 'Where are you going?' 6But because I have told you these things, sorrow has filled your heart. 7Nevertheless I tell you the truth: It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I don't go away, the Counselor [paraklētos] won't come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 8When he has come, he will convict [elenchō]

Lit. 'show someone his sin and summon him to repentance'; 'expose'; cf. 3:20.

the world [kosmon] about sin, about righteousness [dikaiosunēs], and about judgment [kriseōs] ; 9about sin, because they don't believe [pisteuō] in me; 10about righteousness [dikaiosynēs], because I am going to my Father, and you won't see [theōreō] me any more; 11about judgment [kriseōs], because the prince [archōn] of this world [kosmou] has been judged [krinō]. 12"I have yet many things to tell you, but you can't bear [bastazō] them now. 13However when he, the Spirit of truth, has come, he will guide [hodēgeō] 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. 14He will glorify me, for he will take from [lambanō] what is mine, and will declare [anangellō] it to you. 15All things whatever the Father has are mine; therefore I said that he takes of mine, and will declare [anangellō] it to you. 16A little while, and you will not see [theōreō] me. Again a little while, and you will see [horaō] me." 17Some of his disciples therefore said to one another, "What is this that he says to us, 'A little while, and you won't see [theōreō] me, and again a little while, and you will see [horaō] me;' and, 'Because I go to the Father?'" 18They said therefore, "What is this that he says, 'A little while?' We don't know what he is saying." 19Therefore 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?' 20Most certainly [amēn, amēn] I tell you, that you will weep [klaiō] and lament, but the world [kosmos] will rejoice [chairō]. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy [charan]. 21A woman, when she gives birth, has sorrow [lypēn], because her time has come. But when she has delivered the child, she doesn't remember the anguish [thlipseōs] any more, for the joy [charan] that a human being is born into the world [kosmon]. 22Therefore you now have sorrow [lypēn], but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice [chairō hymōn hē kardia], and no one will take your joy [charan] away from you. 23"In that day you will ask me no questions. Most certainly [amēn, amēn] I tell you, whatever you may ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. 24Until now, you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive [lambanō], that your joy [chara] may be made full [plēroō]. 25I have spoken these things to you in figures of speech [en paroimiais]. But the time is coming when I will no more speak to you in figures of speech [paroimiais], but will tell [apangellō] you plainly [parrēsia] about the Father. 26In that day you will ask in my name; and I don't say to you, that I will pray to the Father for you, 27for the Father himself loves [phileō] you, because you have loved [phileō] me, and have believed [pisteuō] that I came forth from God. 28I came out from the Father, and have come into the world [kosmon]. Again, I leave [aphiēmi] the world [kosmon], and go to the Father." 29His disciples said to him, "See [ide], now you speak plainly [parrēsia], and speak no figures of speech [paroimian]

Lit. 'allegory'.

. 30Now we know that you know all things, and don't need for anyone to question you. By this we believe [pisteuō] that you came forth from God." 31Jesus answered them, "Do you now believe [pisteuō]? 32Look [idou], the time is coming, yes, and has now come, that you will be scattered [skorpizō], everyone to his own place, and you will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. 33I have told you these things, that in me you may have peace. In the world [kosmo] you have oppression [thlipsin]; but cheer up [tharseō]! I have overcome [nikaō] the world [kosmon]."

17 1Jesus said these things, and lifting up his eyes to heaven, he said, "Father [Patēr]

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 [doxazō] your Son, that your Son may also glorify [doxazō] you; 2even as you gave him authority [exousian] over all flesh [sarkos], he will give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3This is eternal life, that they should know you, the only [monon] true God, and him whom you sent, Jesus Christ. 4I glorified you on the earth. I have accomplished [teleioō] the work which you have given me to do. 5Now, Father, glorify me with your own self with the glory which I had with you before the world [kosmon] existed. 6I revealed your name to the people whom you have given me out of the world [kosmou]. They were yours, and you have given them to me. They have kept [tēreō] your word [logon]. 7Now they have known that all things whatever you have given me are from you, 8for 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 [pisteuō] that you sent me. 9I pray for them. I don't pray for the world [kosmou], but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. 10All things that are mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. 11I am no more in the world [kosmō], but these are in the world [kosmō], and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep [tēreō] them through [en]

Lit. 'in'. NIV 'the power of'.

your name [onamati]

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. 12While I was with them in the world, I kept [phylassō] them in your name. Those whom you have given me I have kept [tēreō]. None of them is lost [apollymi], 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. 13But now I come to you, and I say these things in the world [kosmō], that they may have my joy [charan]

Joy is a mark of the kingdom in OT prophecy (cf. Is 35:1; 55:11-12).

made full in themselves. 14I have given them your word [logon]. The world [kosmos] hated them, because they are not of the world [kosmou], even as I am not of the world [kosmou]. 15I pray not that you would take them from the world [kosmou], but that you would keep [tēreō] them from the evil one [ponērou]. 16They are not of the world [kosmou] even as I am not of the world. 17Sanctify [hagiazō] them in your truth. Your word [logos] is truth. 18As you sent me into the world [kosmon], even so I have sent them into the world [kosmon]. 19For their sakes I sanctify [hagiazō] myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified [hagiazō] in truth. 20Not for these only do I pray, but for those also who believe [pisteuō] in me through their word [logou], 21that they may all be one [en ōsin] ; even as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us; that the world [kosmos] may believe [pisteuō] that you sent me. 22The glory which you have given me, I have given to them; that they may be one [ōsin], even as we are one; 23I in them, and you in me, that they may be perfected [teleioō] into one; that the world [kosmos] may know that you sent me, and loved them, even as you loved [agapaō] me. 24Father [Pater], I desire [thelō] that they also whom you have given me be with me where I am, that they may see [theōreō] my glory [doxan], which you have given me, for you loved [agapaō] me before the foundation [katabolēs] of the world [kosmos]. 25Righteous [dikaie] Father [pater], the world [kosmos] hasn't known you, but I knew you; and these knew that you sent me. 26I 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."

18 1When Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples over the brook Kidron [Kedrōn]

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. 2Now Judas, who betrayed [paradidōmi] him, also knew the place, for Jesus often met there with his disciples. 3Judas then, having taken [lambanō] a detachment [speiran]

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.

of soldiers [speiran] and officers [hypēretas]

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. 4Jesus therefore, knowing all the things that were happening to him, went forth [exerchomai]

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 [zēteō]?" 5They answered him, "Jesus of Nazareth." Jesus said to them, "I am he [Egō eimi]." Judas also, who betrayed [paradidous] him, was standing with them. 6When therefore he said to them, "I am he [Egō eimi]

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. 7Again therefore he asked them, "Who are you looking for [zēteō]?" They said, "Jesus of Nazareth." 8Jesus answered, "I told you that I am he [egō eimi]. If therefore you seek me, let these go their way," 9that the word [logos] might be fulfilled which he spoke, "Of those whom you have given me, I have lost none." 10Simon Peter therefore, having a sword [machairon], drew it, and struck the high priest's servant [doulon], and cut off his right ear [ōtion]

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 [doulō] name was Malchus. 11Jesus therefore said to Peter, "Put the sword into its sheath [machairan eis tēn thēkēn]. The cup [potērion]

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?" 12So the detachment [speira], the commanding officer [chiliarchos], and the officers [hypēretai] of the Jews, seized Jesus and bound him, 13and led him to Annas [Annan]

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. 14Now it was Caiaphas who advised the Jews that it was expedient [sumpherei] that one man should perish for [hyper] the people. 15Simon Peter followed Jesus, as did another disciple. Now that disciple [mathētēs]

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 [aulēn] of the high priest; 16but Peter was standing at the door outside. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to her [paidiskē]

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. 17Then the maid who kept the door said to Peter, "Are you also one of this man's disciples?" He said, "I am not." 18Now the servants [douloi] and the officers [hypēretai] were standing there, having made a fire of coals [anthrakian]

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. 19The high priest therefore asked Jesus about his disciples [mathētōn]

'Disciples' probably alludes to the 'false prophet' figure of Dt 13:1-10, whose penalty was death.

, and about his teaching. 20Jesus answered him, "I spoke openly [parrēsia] to the world [kosmō]. I always taught in synagogues, and in the temple, where the Jews always meet [sunerchomai]. I said nothing in secret. 21Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me what I said to them. See [ide], these know the things which I said." 22When he had said this, one of the officers [hypēretōn] standing by slapped [rhapizō] Jesus with his hand, saying, "Do you answer the high priest like that?" 23Jesus answered him, "If I have spoken evil [kakōs], testify [martyreō]

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 [kakou]; but if well [ei de kalōs], why do you beat [derō] me?" 24Annas [Annas]

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. 25Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They said therefore to him, "You aren't also one of his disciples, are you?" He denied [arneomai] it, and said, "I am not." 26One of the servants [doulōn] 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?" 27Peter therefore denied [arneomai] it again, and immediately the rooster crowed. 28They led Jesus therefore from Caiaphas into the Praetorium [praitōrion]

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. 29Pilate [Pilatos]

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 [katēgoreō] do you bring against this man?" 30They answered him, "If this man weren't an evildoer [kakopoiōs], we wouldn't have delivered him up [paradidōmi] to you." 31Pilate therefore said to them, "Take him yourselves, and judge [krinō]

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," 32that the word [logos] of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spoke, signifying by what kind of death he should die. 33Pilate therefore entered again into the Praetorium [praitōrion], called Jesus, and said to him, "Are you [Su]

The you is emphatic, coming at the beginning of the sentence, and expresses surprise.

the King of the Jews?" 34Jesus answered him, "Do you say this by yourself, or did others tell you about me?" 35Pilate answered, "I'm not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered you to me. What have you done?" 36Jesus answered, "My Kingdom is not of this world. If my Kingdom were of this world [kosmou], then my servants [hypēretai] would fight, that I wouldn't be delivered [paradidōmi] to the Jews. But now my Kingdom is not from here." 37Pilate 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 [kosmon], that I should testify [martyreō] to the truth [alētheia]

Truth here has a meaning close to 'reality'.

. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice." 38Pilate 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 [aitian] against him. 39But 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?" 40Then 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 [lēstēs].

19 1So Pilate then took Jesus, and flogged [mastizō]

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.

him. 2The soldiers [stratiōtai]

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 [himation]

Perhaps a box or bench served as a throne.

. 3They kept saying, "Hail [chaire]

The mocking homage is in deliberate parody of obeisance to the Emperor, 'Ave, Caesar!'.

, King of the Jews!" and they kept slapping [rhapizō] him. 4Then Pilate went out again, and said to them, "Look [ide], I bring him out to you, that you may know that I find no basis for a charge [aitian] against him." 5Jesus therefore came out, wearing the crown of thorns [akanthinon stephanon] and the purple garment [himation]. Pilate said to them, "Look upon him [idou], 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!".

!" 6When therefore the chief priests and the officers [hypēretai] 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 [aitian] against him." 7The Jews answered him, "We have a law [nomon]

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 [opheilō] die [apothnēskō]

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 [heauton poieō] the Son of God [huion theou]

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.

." 8When therefore Pilate heard this saying [ton logon], he was more afraid [phobeō]

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.

. 9He entered into the Praetorium [praitōrion] again, and said to Jesus, "Where are you from?" But Jesus gave him no answer. 10Pilate therefore said to him, "Aren't you speaking to me? Don't you know that I have power [exousian]

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?" 11Jesus answered, "You would have no power [exousian] at all against me, unless it were given to you from above. Therefore he who delivered [paradidōmi] me to you has greater [meizona] sin." 12At 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 [heauton poieō] speaks against Caesar [antilegō tō Kaisari]!" 13When Pilate therefore heard these words [tōn logōn], he brought Jesus out, and sat down on the judgment seat [bēmatos]

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 [Kithostrōton]," but in Hebrew [Hebraïsti], "Gabbatha [Gabbatha]." 14Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, at about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, "See [ide], your King!" 15They 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 [Kaisara]

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.

!" 16So then he delivered [paradidōmi]

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. 17He went out, bearing [bastazō]

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 [Kraniou]," which is called in Hebrew [Hebraïsti], "Golgotha [Golgotha; Heb. Gulgolta]," 18where they crucified [stauroō]

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 [duo]

Possibly henchmen of Barabbas.

others, on either side one, and Jesus in the middle. 19Pilate 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.

." 20Therefore many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew [Hebraïsti]

These were the three great tongues of the day. Aramaic was the local dialect of Hebrew. Hebrew was the language of religion.

, in Latin [Rhōmaïsti]

Latin was the language of government, law and institutions; business, politics and power.

, and in Greek [Hellēnisti]

Greek was the language associated historically with the development of culture, the pursuit of beauty of form and thought; the artistic and creative.

. 21The 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.'" 22Pilate answered, "What I have written, I have written." 23Then the soldiers [stratiōtai], when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments [himatia]

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 [chitōn]

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. 24Then 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 [himatia] among them. For my cloak [himatismon] they cast lots." Therefore the soldiers [stratiōtai] did these things. 25But there were standing by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26Therefore when Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved [agapaō]

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 [Gynai], see [ide], your son!" 27Then he said to the disciple, "See [ide], your mother!" From that hour, the disciple took her to his own home [eis ta idia]. 28After this, Jesus, seeing that all things were now finished [teleioō], that the Scripture might be fulfilled [teleioō], said, "I am thirsty." 29Now a vessel full of vinegar [oxous]

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. 30When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, "It is finished [teleioō]

'Accomplished' is better; the same word is used in 17:4.

." He bowed his head, and gave up [paradidōmi] his spirit. 31Therefore the Jews, because it was the Preparation Day [paraskeuē], so that the bodies wouldn't remain on the cross on the Sabbath [sabbatō] (for that Sabbath [sabbatou] was a special [megalē]

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 [Pilaton] that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. 32Therefore the soldiers [stratiōtai] came, and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who was crucified with him; 33but when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was already dead, they didn't break his legs. 34However one of the soldiers [stratiōtōn] pierced his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. 35He who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, that you may believe [pisteuō]. 36For these things happened, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, "A bone of him will not be broken." 37Again another Scripture says, "They will look on him whom they pierced." 38After these things, Joseph of Arimathaea [Iōsēph ho apo Arimathaias], being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly [kekrummenos]

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.

for fear [phobeō] of the Jews, asked of Pilate [Pilaton] that he might take away Jesus' body. Pilate [Pilatos] gave him permission [epitrepō]. He came therefore and took away his body. 39Nicodemus [Nikodēmos]

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 [litras hekaton]

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.

. 40So they took Jesus' body, and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as the custom [ethos]

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. 41Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden. In the garden was a new tomb [mnēmeion]

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. 42Then because of the Jews' Preparation Day (for the tomb was near at hand) they laid Jesus there.

20 1Now on the first day [mia]

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 [Maria Magdalēnē]

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. 2Therefore she ran and came to Simon Peter [Simōna Petron], and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved [phileō], and said to them, "They have taken away the Lord [kurion] out of the tomb, and we don't know where they have laid him!" 3Therefore Peter [Petros] and the other disciple went out, and they went toward the tomb. 4They both ran together. The other disciple outran Peter [Petrou], and came to the tomb first. 5Stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths [othonia] lying, yet he didn't enter in. 6Then Simon Peter [Simōn Petros] came, following him, and entered into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths [othonia] lying, 7and the cloth [soudarion]


that had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths [othoniōn], but rolled up [entylissō]

This verb can be translated 'twirled'.

in a place by itself. 8So then the other disciple who came first to the tomb also entered in, and he saw and believed [pisteuō]. 9For as yet they didn't know the Scripture [graphēn]

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. 10So the disciples went away again to their own homes. 11But Mary [Maria] was standing outside at the tomb weeping [klaiō]. So, as she wept [klaiō], she stooped and looked into the tomb, 12and she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head, and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 13They told her, "Woman [Gynai], why are you weeping [klaiō]?" She said to them, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I don't know [oida] where they have laid him." 14When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, and didn't know [oida] that it was Jesus. 15Jesus said to her, "Woman [Gynai], why are you weeping [klaiō]? Who are you looking [zēteō] for?" She, supposing him to be the gardener, said to him, "Sir [Kyrie], if you have carried [bastazō] him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away." 16Jesus said to her, "Mary [Maria]." She turned [strephō] and said to him, "Rabboni [Rabbouni]

'O My Great Master,' or 'My own dear teacher'.

!" which is to say, "Teacher [Didaskale]!" 17Jesus said to her, "Don't hold me, for I haven't yet ascended to my Father [patera] ; but go to my brothers [adelphous], and tell them, 'I am ascending [anabainō] to my Father [patera] and your Father [patera], to my God and your God.'" 18Mary Magdalene [Maria hē Magdalēnē] came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord [kurion], and that he had said these things to her. 19When 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 [Eirēnē]

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." 20When he had said this, he showed [deiknymi] them his hands and his side. The disciples therefore were glad [chairō] when they saw the Lord. 21Jesus therefore said to them again, "Peace be to you. As the Father has sent [apostellō]

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." 22When he had said this, he breathed [emphysaō] on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit! 23Whoever's sins you forgive [aphiēmi], they are forgiven [aphiēmi] them. Whoever's sins you retain [krateō], they have been retained [krateō]." 24But Thomas [Thōmas], one of the twelve, called Didymus [Didymos]

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. 25The 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'.

." 26After 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." 27Then he said to Thomas [Thōma], "Reach here your finger, and see my hands. Reach here your hand, and put it into my side. Don't be unbelieving [ginomai apisteō], but believing [pistos]." 28Thomas [Thōmas] answered him, "My Lord [kyrios]

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!" 29Jesus said to him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed [pisteuō]. Blessed [makarioi] are those who have not seen, and have believed [pisteuō]." 30Therefore Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book; 31but these are written, that you may believe [pisteuō]

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 [pisteuō] you may have life in his name.

21 1After these things, Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias [Tiberiados]

Better known as the Sea of Galilee.

. He revealed [phaneroō] himself this way. 2Simon Peter [Simōn Petros], Thomas [Thōmas] called Didymus [Didymos], Nathanael [Nathanaēl] of Cana [Kana] in Galilee [Galilaias], and the sons of Zebedee [Zebedaiou], and two others of his disciples were together. 3Simon Peter [Simōn Petros] 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. 4But when day had already come, Jesus stood on the beach, yet the disciples didn't know that it was Jesus. 5Jesus therefore said to them, "Children [Paidia]

The challenge set by Jesus is colloquial: 'Hey, lads, caught anything, have you?'.

, have you anything to eat?" They answered him, "No." 6He 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. 7That disciple therefore whom Jesus loved [agapaō] said to Peter [Petrō], "It's the Lord [kyrios]!" So when Simon Peter [Simōn Petros] heard that it was the Lord, he wrapped his coat [ependytēn]

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. 8But 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. 9So when they got out on the land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread. 10Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish which you have just caught." 11Simon 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. 12Jesus said to them, "Come and eat breakfast." None of the disciples dared inquire of him, "Who are you?" knowing that it was the Lord. 13Then Jesus came and took the bread, gave it to them, and the fish likewise. 14This is now the third time that Jesus was revealed [phaneroō] to his disciples, after he had risen from the dead. 15So when they had eaten their breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter [Simōni Petrō], "Simon [Simōn], son of Jonah [Iōna], do you love [agapaō]

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 [toutōn]?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I have affection [phileō] for you." He said to him, "Feed my lambs." 16He said to him again a second time, "Simon [Simōn], son of Jonah [Iōna; Heb. Shim 'on Bar-Yochanan], do you love [phileō] me?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I have affection [phileō] for you." He said to him, "Tend [poimainō]

Serve as shepherd, serve as pastor.

my sheep." 17He said to him the third time, "Simon [Simōn], son of Jonah [Iōna], do you have affection [phileō] for me?" Peter [Petros] was grieved because he asked him the third time, "Do you have affection [phileō] for me?" He said to him, "Lord, you know [oida]

Different words for know.

everything. You know [ginōskō] that I have affection [phileō] for you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep. 18Most certainly [amēn, amēn] I tell you, when you were young [neōteros], you dressed [zōnnymi] yourself, and walked where you wanted to. But when you are old [gērasēs], you will stretch out your hands [cheiras]

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 [zōnnymi] you, and carry you where you don't want to go." 19Now he said this, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify [doxazō] God. When he had said this, he said to him, "Follow me." 20Then Peter [Petros], turning around, saw a disciple following. This was the disciple whom Jesus sincerely loved [agapaō], the one who had also leaned on Jesus' breast at the supper and asked, "Lord, who is going to betray [paradidōmi] You?" 21Peter [Petros] seeing him, said to Jesus, "Lord, what about this man?" 22Jesus said to him, "If I desire [thelō] that he stay [menō] until I come, what is that to you? You follow me." 23This saying [logos] therefore went out among the brothers [adelphous], that this disciple wouldn't die. Yet Jesus didn't say to him that he wouldn't die, but, "If I desire [thelō] that he stay [menō] until I come, what is that to you?" 24This is the disciple who testifies [martyreō]

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 [martyria]

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. 25There are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they would all be written, I suppose that even the world [kosmon] itself wouldn't have room for the books [biblia] that would be written.

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