THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN
THE PASSOVER "LAST SUPPER" DISCOURSE continues:
Jesus is "the Way, and the Truth, and the Life"
Jesus is the way. Behind him on this earth of ours he has left the clear outlines of his footprints. They are indelible signs which neither the erosion of time nor the treachery of the evil one have been able to erase. St. Josemaria Escriva, Friends of God
Therefore blessed Moses of old time ordained the great
feast of the Passover, and our celebration of it, because, namely, Pharaoh was
killed and the people were delivered from bondage. For in those times it was
especially, when those who tyrannized over the people had been slain, that
temporal feasts and holidays were observed in Judea. Now, however, that the
devil, that tyrant against the whole world, is slain, we do not approach a
temporal feast, my beloved, but an eternal and heavenly. Not in shadows do we
show it forth, but we come to it in truth. For they being filled with the
flesh of a dumb lamb, accomplished the feast, and having anointed their
door-posts with the blood, implored aid against the destroyer. But now we,
eating the Word of the Father, and having the lintels of our hearts sealed with
the blood of the New Testament, acknowledge the grace given us from the Savior,
Who said, 'Behold, I have given unto you to tread upon serpents and scorpions,
and over all the power of the enemy' [Luke 10:19]. For no more does death
reign; but instead of death henceforth is life, since our Lord said, 'I AM the
life' [John 14:6]; so that everything is filled with joy and gladness; as it is
written, 'The Lord reigneth, let the earth rejoice' [Psalms 97:1].
4th century AD, St. Athanasius, Letters #4; quoted from Paradise Restored, page 174
+ + +
|(day 1 the Passover Feast # 3)||II. THE PREPARATION IN THE UPPER ROOM – Day #1 of Passover Week /the day of the sacrifice = Thursday daytime (six days after the Sabbath dinner at Bethany in John 12:1, as the ancients count)||13:1-14:31|
|15 Nisan: Upper Room (night)|
|A. Jesus and the ritual of washing the Apostles' feet – the Passover feast & first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread||13:1-20|
|B. Jesus announces His betrayal||13:21-30|
last instructions to His Apostles:
"I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life"
|(Unleavened Bread lasts for 7 days)|
Note: The Jewish day began at sundown. Therefore, the night of the Passover Feast is already Friday Nisan 15 according to the Jewish calendar and the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which lasts for 7 days.
The 1st century AD Priest/Historian Flavius Josephus' account of the Passover Festival:
Josephus' account of the report that the Jewish high priests provided to the Roman governor of Syria, Cestius Gallus, the numbers of people taking part in the sacrifice of the Passover of circa AD65: Cestius who being desirous of informing Nero of the power of the city, who otherwise was disposed to condemn that nation, entreated the high priests, if the thing were possible, to take the number of their whole multitude. So these high priests, upon the coming of their feast which is called the Passover, when they slay their sacrifices, from the ninth hour [3pm] to the eleventh hour [5pm], but so that a company not less than ten belong to every sacrifice (for it is not lawful for them to feast singly by themselves), and many of us are twenty in a company, found the number of sacrifices was two hundred and fifty-six thousand five hundred [256,500]; which, upon the allowance of no more than ten that feast together, amounts to two million seven hundred thousand and two hundred persons that were pure and holy... (The Jewish War, 6.9.3).
Josephus' account of the Feasts of Passover and Unleavened Bread: In the month of Xanthicus, which is by us called Nisan, and is the beginning of our year, on the fourteenth day of the lunar month, when the sun is in Aries (for in this month it was that we were delivered from bondage under the Egyptians), and Law ordained that we should every year slay that sacrifice which I before told you we slew when we came out of Egypt, and which was called the Passover; and so we do celebrate this Passover in companies, leaving nothing of what we sacrifice till the day following. The feast of Unleavened Bread succeeds that of the Passover, and falls on the fifteenth day of the month, and continues seven days, wherein they feed on unleavened bread; on every one of which days two bulls are killed, and one ram, and seven lambs. Now these lambs are entirely burnt, besides the kid of the goats which is added to all the rest, for sins; for it is intended as a feast for the priest on every one of those days (The Antiquities of the Jews 3.10.5).
Question: How can we be certain that this Last Supper took place on Thursday night (our time) and that it is legitimate the sacrificial meal of the Passover victims, which were sacrificed earlier that day at the Temple in Jerusalem? Note: At sundown it became the beginning of Nisan 15 and the sixth day of the week, or Friday (Preparation Day for the Sabbath), for the Jews.
Some biblical scholars believe that the Last Supper meal took place on a day which was not the official Temple observance of the Passover sacrificial meal. They suggest that the first Eucharistic celebration took place the day before the official feast day and that Jesus was sacrificed on the day the Passover victims were being offered in the Jerusalem Temple. This theory contradicts the evidence presented in the Gospels. Pope Benedict, however, has rightly pointed out that if this was the case, then there would not have been a sacrificial lamb or kid offered at the meal because sacrifice of the animal could only be offered at the Jerusalem Temple.
doesn't John's Gospel contain a description of the Last Supper like the
Answer: John has consistently avoided repeated information covered in the Synoptic accounts. Besides the miracle of the Resurrection, the only miracles St. John has repeated in his Gospel have been the feeding of the 5,000 and Jesus walking on the water immediately after the miraculous feeding. The sequence of these two events, one following the other, identifies the feeding miracle as the same event as the feeding of the 5,000 recorded in the other Gospels. John includes the information on these miracles briefly, without the details found in the Synoptic accounts, as a preparation for Jesus "Bread of Life" discourse in John chapter 6. That John does not describe the first Eucharistic meal does not mean it didn't happen but only that he agreed with those accounts in the other Gospels and expects us to be familiar with them. Even without a description of the first Eucharistic meal, the accounts of the Last Supper in all the Gospels agree according to the order of events. John chapter 12 ends with Jesus' last day preaching day in Jerusalem, which was Wednesday according to the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew 26:1-2; Mark 14:1-2). John 13:1 sums up the completion of His teaching and His preparation for His death: Before the festival of the Passover, Jesus, knowing that his hour had come to pass from this world to the Father, having loved those who were his in the world, loved them to the end. John 13:2 begins St. John's account of the Passover supper, which took place that night after the afternoon sacrifice of the Passover victims. Remember, the chapter and verse divisions do not indicate breaks of time in the original text. These divisions were not added in the 13th and 18th centuries AD. Please see the chart on "The Harmony of the Gospels: The Crucifixion" in the Charts/Gospels section.
It should also be noted that St. John also does not give the "mini apocalyptic" judgment on Jerusalem during Jesus' last week teaching in Jerusalem that is found in Matthew 23-24; Mark 13; and Luke 21. This omission does not mean that John suggests Jesus did not give this teaching. Instead John will give Jesus' expanded apocalyptic teaching in the last book of sacred Scripture, the book of Revelation. The Holy Spirit revealed the "maxi" apocalypse to St. John during his imprisonment on the island of Patmos. John's vision of the judgment in the Book of Revelation follows the same outline as the prophecies of the Synoptic Gospels but with the addition of the creation of the New Heaven and New Earth.
The Synoptic Gospels vs. Revelation: The Judgment on Jerusalem
2. International Strife:
|Michal Hunt copyright 2000|
A review of the action so far in the Upper Room:
|1. The Passover supper begins||
John 13:2; Matthew 26:20;
Mark 14:17-18; Luke 22:14
|2. The disciples dispute about precedence and Jesus teaches about humility||Luke 22:24ff|
|3. Instead of the three ritual hand washings, Jesus replaces one of the ritual hand washings by washing the feet of the Apostles as a lesson in humility and as a preparation for the new ministerial priesthood (priests washed their feet and hands before entering the Holy Place in the Temple)||
John 13:4-10, 15-16
Exodus 30:17-21; 40:30-32
|4. Jesus announces that a traitor is among them||
John 13:10-11; Matthew 26:21;
Mark 14:18; Luke 22:21
|5. The disciples begin to ask which of them will betray Him.||
John 13:22-30; Matthew 26:22;
Mark 14:19; Luke 22:23
|6. Jesus tells them it is the one to whom He gives the "sop" (dipped bread) and tells Judas aside to be quick||
John 13:25-26; Matthew 26:25;
|7. Aside, Jesus gives the sop to Judas and reveals He knows that Judas is the traitor||John 13:26; Matthew 26:35|
|8. Judas goes out immediately into the night||John 13:30|
|9. The institution of the Most Holy Eucharist||
Matthew 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19-20
[see John 6:51-58]
|10. Jesus predicts His Passion with the words: I shall never again drink wine until the kingdom of God comes.*||
Matthew 26:29; Mark 14:25;
|11. Jesus warns Simon-Peter that he will deny Him||
John 13:36-38; Matthew 26:33-35;
At the end of chapter 13 Jesus has shocked those assembled in the Upper Room by telling them that one of them will betray Him and that even brave and faithful Peter will falter. Jesus understands that the disciples are deeply disturbed by His predictions. He wants to strengthen their faith, to assure them that He is "the Way" to God the Father, and to prepare them for the "hour of darkness" that will engulf them all. Jesus gives the disciples His last great homily, His High Priestly prayer.
Please read John 14:1-30: Jesus' Last Homily: The
High Priestly Prayer
John 14:1-7: Jesus tells His disciples: 1 'Do not let your hearts be troubled [tarassein]. You trust in God, trust also in me. 2In my Father's house there are many places to live in; otherwise I would have told you. I am going now to prepare a place for you, 3and after I have gone and prepared you a place, I shall return to take you to myself, so that you may be with me where I am. 4You know the way to the place where I am going.' 5iThomas said, 'Lord, we do not know where you are going, so how can we know the way?' 6Jesus said: 'I am the Way; I am Truth and Life. No one can come to the Father except through me. 7If you know me, you will know my Father too. From this moment you know him and have seen him.'
Verses 1-2b: 'Do not let your hearts be troubled [tarassein]. You trust in God, trust also in me. In my Father's house there are many places to live in; otherwise I would have told you [where I am going*].' * Some MSS include this phrase which was probably added by the scribe to give clarification to the passage.
'Do not let your hearts be troubled': Once again John's Gospel uses the Greek verb tarassein. It is the same verb used to indicate Jesus' distress when confronted with Lazarus' death in John 11:33 as well as in Jesus' distress when He gave the prediction of His betrayal by one of His Apostles in John 13:21.
The words "trust in God, trust also in me" can also be translated "believe" or "have faith!" In Hebrew the word for faith comes from the root 'mn and has the concept of firmness. In the Hebrew concept then, to have faith is to participate in God's firmness.
does the Hebrew understanding of faith apply to what Jesus is telling the
disciples in this passage?
Answer: He is urging them to have that same "firmness" of faith in Him that they have in God the Father.
'In my Father's house there are many places to live': The Greek word for "places to live" or "dwelling places" is mone and can refer to a night stop or resting-place for a traveler on a journey. St. Jerome in his Latin translation used the word mansio, meaning halting place. The most likely meaning Jesus is using in this passage is that in heaven there is a prepared final resting-place for the disciples and for all believers when we come to the end of our faith journey.
Verses 2b-4: 'I am going now to prepare a place for you, and after I have gone and prepared you a place, I shall return to take you to myself, so that you may be with me where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.'
These words are not only addressed to those in the Upper Room but also to all faithful believers of every generation and every age.
is the "return" that Jesus speaks about? Hint: there is a double meaning.
Answer: He is speaking of His Second Advent or Parousia at the end of the world (see 1Corinthians 4:5; 11:25; 1Thessalonians 4:16-17; 1John 2:28) and His greeting of each soul after their journey of life on earth has been completed. Jesus' announcement of preparation is reminiscent of the preparation a 1st century bridegroom must make after the acceptance of the betrothal contract. While the bride remains in the home of her family, the bridegroom returns to his father's house to make the arrangements for their marriage. When the father of the groom has approved the preparations and has announced the time has come, then, and only then, can the groom go to collect the bride and bring her to the place he has prepared. In the same way Jesus will come, when the Father tells Him it is the time, to collect His Bride, the Church.
does Jesus' statement in verse 4 relate to Simon-Peter's question in 13:36 and
Jesus' response in verse 37?
Answer: You may recall that in John 13:33 Jesus told the disciples that where He is going they cannot come, and Peter responds to this statement by asking in verse 36 'Lord, where are you going' to which Jesus responds in verse 37: 'Now you cannot follow me where I am going but later you shall follow me.' In this chapter 14 passage Jesus is providing more information about what they will find when they are able to follow Him.
Verses 2-7: Thomas said, 'Lord, we do not know where you are going, so how can we know the way?' Jesus said: 'I AM the way; I am Truth and Life [literally = I AM the way, and the truth, and the life]. No one can come to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father too. From this moment you know him and have seen him.'
Thomas is perplexed, just as the rest of the disciples must have been perplexed. He asks for clarification by picking up the challenge of the preceding verse, and Jesus responds by telling him that He is Himself the Way to the Father. St. Augustine writes: It was necessary for him to say 'I AM the Way' to show them that they really knew what they thought they were ignorant of, because they knew him... (St. Augustine, The Gospel of John, 66.2).
This is the sixth use of "I AM" with a predicate nominative (also see 6:35; 8:12; 10:7; 10:11; 11:25). The use of I AM is a clear reference to the divine name "Yahweh". Every time Jesus uses this expression He is stating His divinity and His oneness with God the Father. Once again Jesus expresses His oneness and unity of will with the Father in the three-fold expression of His identity as "the Way, and the Truth, and the Life." In this statement Jesus has effectively summed up His entire Messianic mission as the promised Messiah, fulfilling His mission to the Covenant people as God's holy anointed Prophet, Priest, and King.
is Jesus "the Way" to the Father?
Answer: The Old Covenant prophets, priests and kings of Israel/Judah, as God's anointed representatives, were responsible for showing "the way" the people of the Covenant must follow to continue in communion with Yahweh. The Navarre Commentary lists 5 ways in which Jesus is "the Way" to the Father:
is the destination of "the Way"?
Answer: The destination of "the Way" is eternal life with the Father. This "life" is a gift the Father has given to the Son (5:26), and the Son alone can give it to those who believe in Him (10:28). Jesus' gift of natural life to Lazarus was a sign of the eternal reality behind Jesus claim to be the resurrection and the life (11:25-26).
St. Augustine writes that in this passage it is as though Jesus was asking all of us: By which route do you want to go? I am the Way. To where do you want to go? I am the Truth. Where do you want to remain? I am the Life. Every man can attain an understanding of the Truth and the Life; but not all find the Way. The wise of this world realize that God is eternal life and knowable truth; but the Word of God, who is Truth and Life joined to the Father, has become the Way by taking a human nature. Make your way contemplating his humility and you will reach God. (De verbis Domini sermones, 54 as quoted from the Navarra Commentary - St. John page 185).
John 14:6b: No one can come to the Father
except through me.
In this statement Jesus is clearly affirming that there is no other path linking heaven and earth. He is the only means of salvation. Reflecting on this passage from John 14:6, St. Josemaria Escriva writes in Friends of God: Jesus is the way. Behind him on this earth of ours he has left the clear outlines of his footprints. They are indelible signs which neither the erosion of time nor the treachery of the evil one have been able to erase (Friends of God, page 127). What we must do in order to know "the Way" is to faithfully follow those footprints.
there any other way or means to salvation expect through Jesus of Nazareth?
Answer: NO! There is no other way except Jesus Christ. St. Peter will affirm this truth in his great homily before the High Priest and the Sanhedrin in Acts 4:11-12, referencing Psalms 118:22: This is the stone which you the builders, rejected but which has become the cornerstone. Only in him is there salvation; for of all the names in the world given to men, this is the only one by which we can be saved. God would never condemn those ignorant of Christ's gift of salvation to an eternity of damnation. Those who never had a chance to hear the Gospel of salvation will be saved by righteously living the natural law in obedience to the dictates of their conscience which calls all men to a life of justice and mercy (see Romans 1:16-32, 2:14-16 and CCC# 847-48). However, even those souls will be saved through the redeeming work of Christ the Savior.
With the re-establishment of the nation of Israel in the United Nations declaration in 1947, it has become the belief of some Christians that there is one Covenant for the Jews and a separate Covenant for Gentiles, and that the whole reason for Jesus' first Advent was to carry His Gospel only to the Gentiles. Jesus contradicts this theory in His statement to the Gentile woman in Matthew 15:24 when He states that He was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. It was Jesus' mission to first gather the faithful remnant of Israel and to equip that faithful remnant through the power of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost to spread the Gospel of salvation to the Gentile nations of the world. Although the re-establishment of a nation that has not existed by that name since 722BC is surely an act of God and is part of His plan, there is no Scriptural evidence for the assumption that there are two separate Covenants, in fact the evidence supports the contrary (see Hebrews 8:6-13).
David Stern, a doctor of theology, biblical scholar and a Messianic Jew living and teaching in Israel is the author of the Jewish New Testament Commentary. He writes in reference to Jesus' statement in verse 6 that "No one can come to the Father except through me.": This challenge strikes at the heart of non-Messianic Judaism's denial of Yeshua [Jesus] as Messianic mediator." [...] Unfortunately for this theory [Two Covenant Theory], it does not fit the New Testament facts at all. The "tolerance for Christianity" that it produces is not tolerance of what the New Testament states is true. For Yeshua [Jesus] was a Jew who presented himself to Jews, and these Jews remained Jewish after they came to trust in him. He rarely presented the Gospel to Gentiles; indeed, it was only with difficulty and supernatural intervention that his Jewish disciples came to realize that Gentiles could join God's people through trusting Yeshua without converting to Judaism [see Acts 10:10-49]. In the book of Acts Kefa's [Peter's] initial sermons presented Yeshua to Jews as the Jewish Messiah [Acts 9:20-22, 13:16-43]. In his letter to the Romans Sha'ul [Paul] states that salvation through Yeshua is God's Good News "to the Jew especially"; however, since he is stressing that Gentiles too may be part of the people of God, he immediately adds, "but equally to the Gentile" [Romans 1:16]. In sum, replacing Yeshua's "No one comes to the Father except through me" with "No Gentile comes.." does unacceptable violence to the plain sense of the text and to the whole New Testament." [...] "...only through Yeshua, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life! If the words of this verse are authentically Yeshua's and if the Two Covenant theory does not fit the facts, then we are left with a statement whose audacity, breath, apparent arrogance and sheer chutzpah pose a serious problem. What exclusivity, what intolerance for a religion to accept Yeshua's] claim to be the only way to God! It requires a decision either to acknowledge Yeshua's position as the Messiah, the Son of God, or to reject him as a madman or a fraud and to reject religion centering on him as deceptive at best. There is no terium quid [middle ground]. For if one holds that Yeshua was a 'great teacher', the unavoidable question is, "Then why don't you believe and act on his 'great teaching,' 'I AM the Way, and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through me'?" (The Jewish New Testament Commentary pages 196-198.) Please note that the non-italicized barracked additions are mine to help clarify the passage.
it fair of God to demand this exclusivity by making Jesus the only means to
salvation and for the Catholic Church to declare Outside the Church
there is no salvation (see CCC #845).
Answer: While it is true that in this teaching Christianity is indeed, in a sense, exclusive since it denies that other religious leaders like Buddha or Mohammed can provide through their teaching a means of salvation. Christianity does not accept the premise of ecumenism that "on the mountaintop all paths meet." According to the teachings of the New Testament and the Catholic Church, while other religions can provide sound teaching on moral living and a sincere search for God, only Jesus' path provides salvation. This exclusiveness is, however, mitigated by several factors:
The "Way" of Jesus is God's one true path. He has declared it as such and so rather than complaining about exclusivity and attempting to "play God" by suggesting alternatives to God's one plan to provide a remedy for sin and salvation, we should be grateful to the Most Holy Trinity for providing a way out of the sinful condition that is the inheritance from Adam of every human being. The "Way" is the New Covenant; it is the Covenant of Peace Yahweh promised in Jeremiah 31:31 and Ezekiel 37:24-26.
Note: Before the title "Christian" is adopted by the believes at the Church of Antioch in the first century AD, New Covenant believers will refer to the New Covenant Church of Jesus Christ as "the Way". The title "The Way" is used for the New Covenant Church 7 times in Acts of Apostles: Acts 9:2; 19:9, 23; 22:4; 24:14, and 22.
is Jesus the Truth? How are we called to the Truth?
Answer: The Old Testament states that God is the source of all truth (see Psalms 119:142; Proverbs 8:7; 2 Samuel 8:7; etc.). In Jesus the Messiah, the complete truth of God has been made manifest to man. As Disciples of Christ we promise to "live in the truth", in the sincerity and simplicity of a life that conforms to Jesus' life and to remain in His "Truth". If we say that we share in God's life while we are living in darkness, we are lying, because we are not living the truth. But if we live in light, as he is in light, we have a share in one another's life, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:6-7). Also see CCC# 2465-70
is Jesus the Life?
Answer: Because it is only through Him that we have the promise rebirth into the family of God through our Baptism and the gift of eternal life at the end of our journey to salvation (John 3:1-21).
John 14:7: Jesus said: "If you know me, you will know my Father too. From this moment you know him and have seen him." Notice the 3-part repetition of the Greek verb ginosko: "to know". "To know," yada in Hebrew, is covenant language. It is used in the Old Testament for Israel's acknowledgment of Yahweh as her sole God and King and of Israel in her covenant relationship as His Bride (see Exodus 29:46; 33:13; Deuteronomy 7:9; Jeremiah 24:7 "I will give them a heart to know me"; Jeremiah 24:7; 31:34; Hosea 13:14; Zechariah 2:9, 11; 4:9; etc.). This theme in Jesus' "Last Discourse" reflects the significant covenant atmosphere of the Last Supper and makes true knowledge of Yahweh part of the New Covenant. Jesus is insisting that they must know Him even as Old Covenant Israel knew Yahweh but from now on in the New Covenant it is Jesus who will be acknowledged by New Covenant believers as "My Lord and my God" (see John 20:28).
This transformation of the covenant relationship also suggests that the intimate knowledge of Yahweh with His Bride Israel will now become transformed to be the intimate knowledge of God the Father and God the Son that comes from a covenant relationship between Jesus and His Church, the New Covenant Bride. In the marriage relationship a bridegroom and his bride form an intimate marital bond when they come "to know" each other in the marital covenant. So too does Christ form an intimate marital covenant bond with His Bride, the Church. The New Covenant Church will become Christ's Bride through her intimate union with the third person of the Most Holy Trinity, God the Holy Spirit, at Pentecost 50 days after the Resurrection of God the Son. This expression of covenant union with the New Covenant Church is found in Revelation 19:7-9: Alleluia! The reign of the Lord our God Almighty has begun; let us be glad and joyful and give glory to God, because this is the time for the marriage of the Lamb. His bride is ready, and she has been able to dress herself in dazzling white linen, because her linen is made of the good deeds of the saints.
deep mystery is Jesus beginning to reveal to the disciples concerning the
Jesus' relationship to God the Father? It is a mystery at this point that they
simply cannot understand.
Answer: The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. They cannot understand Jesus' oneness with the Father and this confusion causes Philip to press the issue and to ask for a sign that what Jesus says is true.
Please read 14:8-21: 8Philip said, 'Lord, show us the Father and then we shall be satisfied.' Jesus said to him, 9'Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father, so how can you say, "Show me the Father"? 10Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? What I say to you I do not speak of my own accord: it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his works. 11You must believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe it on the evidence of these works. 12In all truth I tell you, whoever believes in me will perform the same works as I do myself, and will perform even greater works, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask for in my name I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14If you ask me for anything in my name, I will do it. 15If you love me you will keep my commandments. 16I shall ask the Father, and he will give you another Paraclete to be with you for ever, 17the Spirit of truth whom the world can never accept since it neither sees nor knows him; but you know him, because he is with you, he is in you [will be in you]. 18I shall not leave your orphans; I shall come to you. 19In a short time the world will no longer see me; but you will see that I live and you also will live. 20On that day you will know that I am in my Father and you in me and I in you. 21Whoever holds to my commandments and keeps them is the one who loves me; and whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I shall love him and reveal myself to him.'
John 14:8-11: Philip said, 'Lord, show us the Father and then we shall be satisfied.' Jesus said to him, 'Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father, so how can you say, "Show us the Father"? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? What I say to you I do not speak of my own accord: it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his works. You must believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe it on the evidence of these works.'
does Jesus rebuke Philip? What works has Jesus already shown that should be
evidence enough for Philip to believe that He and the Father are One?
Answer: Some of Jesus' supernatural miracles include:
Only God can control nature and give life. Philip is chastised for not recognizing Jesus' divine condition through these signs even though He has the nature and physical appearance of a man.
John 14:12-14: Jesus says, 'In all truth [Amen, amen] I tell you, whoever believes in me will perform the same works as I do myself, and will perform even greater works, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask for in my name I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me for anything in my name, I will do it'.
promise does Jesus make to the disciples?
Answer: He promised that before He leaves this world they will have a share in His power. They will perform miracles in His name so that God's salvation will be manifested through them and people will believe.
does Jesus mean when He says "Whatever you ask for in my name I will
do..."? In Matthew 28:19 Jesus will command the
Apostles to "baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and
of the Holy Spirit". What is significant about
"in the name"?
Answer: In ancient cultures to invoke the "name" of someone is to recall everything associated with that person. For example, to issue a command in the "name" of the King is to put the force of his entire person and his full authority behind the decree. It is in the same sense that we evoke Jesus' name in prayer; in doing so we embrace the whole revelation of Jesus Christ. St. Augustine taught that to pray in Jesus' name the prayer must be consistent with Christ's character. Likewise, Christ fulfils the prayer in the same consistency and so if our request in prayer is not consistent with the character and the revelation of Christ we should not expect the request to be fulfilled. In the same sense, to "believe in His name" is to believe and embrace all the revelation of Jesus Christ as revealed to us through His teaching in the Gospels and other Sacred Scripture, through our Sacred Oral Tradition as kept secure by the Church and through the continued explanation of that revelation of Christ through the ministry of the Holy Spirit to His Church.
promises His Apostles that their works will be even greater than the ones they
have witnessed in His ministry. How will these works be even greater?
Answer: It is not that the Apostles will be greater than Jesus. It is instead that the Apostles' power comes from Christ and after His ascension He will do even greater works through them as His emissaries to the world. St. Augustine writes that Jesus is saying "I shall then do greater works than now; greater, by him who believes in me, than I now do by myself without him." [The Gospel of John, 72.1].
John 14:15-17: Jesus says: 'If you love me you will keep my commandments. I shall ask the Father, and he will give you another Paraclete to be with you for ever, the Spirit of truth whom the world can never accept since it neither sees nor knows him; but you know him, because he is with [by] you, he is in you.'
commandments? How is our love evident in this action?
Answer: His commandments include everything He has taught us. We must exhibit love in action! In 1John 3:18 and 5:3, St. John the Apostle writes: Children, our love must be not just words or mere talk, but something active and genuine. This will be the proof that we belong to the truth..." and "This is what the love of God is" keeping his commandments.
is the "other" Advocate Jesus is promising to send?
Answer: God the Holy Spirit who is for the first time revealed as the Third Person of the Most Holy Trinity.
The Old Covenant people did not have the revelation of the Trinitarian nature of God. In Hebrew the word ruah [ruach] (ie, Genesis 1:2), meaning wind, breath, air, or soul/spirit expressed the "spirit" or "divine wind" of God. Although the Hebrew word ruah can denote human breath (the air humans breathe and exhale to stay alive which is a sign of life, or the absence of which indicates death), the use of this word in association with Yahweh is the very breathe which comes forth from the "mouth" of the Living God. It is His living power (see Psalms 33:6). It is the "breath of God" that inspired the holy prophets and it is given to the kings of Israel at their coronation as Yahweh's anointed (Isaiah 11:2). In the Greek translation of the Old Testament and in the New Testament the Hebrew word ruah is usually translated by the Greek word pneuma and is used to identify the Comforter also known as the Paraclete: God the Holy Spirit.
The word "paraclete" is an anglicized transliteration of the Greek word parakletos. This word is only found five times in Sacred Scripture and only in John's Gospel and in St. John's First Epistle (see 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7; and 1John 2:1). The word parakletos can have various meanings. It can mean advocate, intercessor, counselor, protector or supporter. The literal Greek entomology is from para ="to the side of" and kaleo = "to summon". Therefore, the word can be interpreted to mean to be called to someone's side in order to accompany, console, protect and/or defend that person.
In this passage Jesus says "I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Paraclete to be with you..." In John 15:26 Jesus will continue telling the Apostles of the coming of the Holy Spirit when He says, "When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me", then in John 16:7 Jesus will reassure the Apostles, "I will send him (the Holy Spirit) to you...", and after the Resurrection the glorified Jesus, God the Son, will breath on the Apostles in the Upper Room and will say "Receive the Holy Spirit" (see John 20:22).
these passages contradict each other? From whom does the Paraclete come, from
the Father or from the Son or from both? Hint: recite the
Answer: These verses establish the procession of the Trinity. In writing about these passages St. John Chrysostom, the great last 4th century Archbishop of Constantinople contends that there is no contradiction in these statements: But why said He, 'I will ask the Father'? Because had He said, 'I will send Him,' they would not have so much believed, and now the object is that He should be believed. For afterwards He declares that He Himself sendeth Him saying, 'Receive ye the Holy Ghost' (c 20:22); but in this place He telleth that He asketh the Father so as to render His discourse credible to them." Homilies on the Gospel of St. John, John Chrysostom, Homily LXXV.
does Jesus speak of God the Holy Spirit as another advocate in John 14:16?
Answer: He will be given to the Church in Christ's place as Advocate, Defender, and Teacher, to give assistance since Jesus is going to ascend to heaven, but the Advocate who is to be sent is not different from Christ, rather He is another similar to Himself (see Matthew 6:24). He will send the Holy Spirit after His Ascension in Acts chapter 2 on Pentecost Sunday when the Church will be filled and indwelled by God the Holy Spirit:.
John 14:16 what title does Jesus give the Holy Spirit?
Answer: "The Spirit of Truth." In verse 16 John makes another Greek grammatical error that may be bad Greek but is good Christian theology. The Greek word for wind or spirit is pneuma. The word is neuter and does not take the masculine article John has given it, but this is good theology. God the Holy Spirit is a person and not simply a force.
that three prepositions are used in this verse to describe the Spirit's
relationship to the believer (highlighted in the quotation). What are they and
what do they suggest?
Answer: Jesus assures every believer that God the Holy Spirit will be "with you" as your companion in fellowship, "by you" in His position as your advocate and consoler, and "in you" as the indwelling personal God who is your source of supernatural life.
John 14:18-21: Jesus says: "I shall not leave you orphans; I shall come to you. In a short time the world will no longer see me; but you will see that I live and you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father and you in me and I in you. Whoever holds to my commandments and keeps them is the one who loves me; and whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I shall love him and reveal myself to him."
Jesus has been talking about leaving His "little children" (John 13:33), and now sensing their deepening distress, in His last private talk with them, Jesus consoles the disciples with the promise that the separation is only temporary. In fact they will see Him again after the Resurrection when He will appear to them over a period of 40 days to continue teaching them (see Acts 1:3). But He will not leave the New Covenant people "fatherless:"
Jesus does ascend to the Father will the disciples no longer have Him with them?
Answer: He will still continue to be with them. In Matthew 28:20 Jesus promised the disciples: "and look, I am with you always; yes to the end of time." This promise is for all believers for we will all see Him at the end of our faith journey in heaven: But we believe that, if we died with Christ, then we shall live with him too (Romans 6:8).
Please read John 14:22-31: 22Judas, not Judas Iscariot, said to him, 'Lord, what has happened, that you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?' 23Jesus replied: 'Anyone who loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we shall come to him and make a home in him. 24Anyone who does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not my own: it is the word of the Father who sent me. 25I have said these things to you while still with you; 26but the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all I have said to you. 27Peace I bequeath to you, my own peace I give you, a peace which the world cannot give, this is my gift to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. 28You heard me say: I am going away and shall return. If you loved me you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29I have told you this now, before it happens, so that when it does happen you may believe. 30I shall not talk to you much longer, because the prince of this world is on his way. He has no power over me, 31but the world must recognize that I love the Father and that I act just as the Father commanded. Come now, let us go.'
John 14:22: Judas, not Judas Iscariot, said to him, 'Lord, what has happened, that you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?'
The Apostle Judas or Jude bar Yakov [son of James], also know by his Greek name, Thaddaeus, is mentioned in Luke's list of the twelve Apostles in Luke 6:16 (as Jude); in the list of Acts 1:13 (as Jude); and also in Matthew 10:3 and Mark 3:18 (as Thaddaeus). It is believed that this Apostle first preached in Samaria, then in Idumea, Libya, Syria and Mesopotamia before traveling to Edessa in Asia Minor to preach the Gospel. In the company of St. Bartholomew he founded the Church in Armenia, where he was martyred (see Mat 10:3; Mk 3:18; Lk 6:16; Jn 14:22; Acts 1:13).
Judas/Thaddaeus the Apostle is probably not the Jude who authored the Epistle of Jude in the New Testament. There is a Jude who is mentioned among the kinsmen of Jesus but he is believed to be another individual and not one of the Apostles. Most scholars attribute the Epistle of Jude to the kinsman of Jesus who is a leader in the New Covenant Church in the 1st century AD. He begins his letter by identifying himself as the kinsman of James, probably the Bishop of Jerusalem and kinsman of Jesus and in verse 17, when speaking of the Apostles he does not identify himself as one of them (Eusebius, Church History, 2.23.25; 3.18.1-3;3.32.5-6).
Notice that John includes more information in his Gospel about the other Apostles than the Synoptic writers who mainly focus on Peter, and James and John Zebedee.
Judas asks why it is that Jesus only shows Himself to them and not to the world. It was commonly believed by the Old Covenant people that when the Messiah came he would be revealed to the nations of the world as King and Savior as in the vision of the divine "Son of man" Messiah in Daniel 7:13-14. Judas believes Jesus is the fulfillment of the Son of Man in Daniel's vision and does not understand why He will not take His place as Daniel 7:14 prophesizes as King of all Kings of all nations of the world.
John 14:23-26: Jesus replied, 'Anyone who loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we shall come to him and make a home in him. Anyone who does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not my own: it is the word of the Father who sent me. I have said these things to you while still with you; but the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, [he] will teach you everything and remind you of all I have said to you..'
does Jesus mean when He tells His disciples in verse 23: "if you love me, keep
Answer: Jesus is referring to the entire Gospel message; the "all I have said to you" of verse 26 as distinguished from its separate teachings or commandments.
reply seems evasive but in fact He does explain why He does not reveal Himself
to the world. What reason does He give?
Answer: The form Jesus' manifestation takes is God the Father's will, and it is the Father's will that Jesus makes Himself known only to those who love Him and keep His commandments. In the Old Testament Yahweh revealed Himself to His covenant people in the Pillar of Cloud and the Pillar of Fire (Glory Cloud) on the wilderness journey (Exodus 13:21-22; 14:19, 24; 33:9-10; Numbers 12:5; 14:14; Deuteronomy 31:15), in the fiery Theophany at Sinai in Exodus chapter 19, and when God took possession of the desert Tabernacle and later the Temple in Jerusalem in the form of the Glory Cloud, or in Hebrew, the Shekinah (Exodus 40:34-38; 1 Kings 8:10-11; 2 Chronicles 5:13-14). With the establishment of liturgical worship Yahweh promised His people that He would dwell in the presence of His covenant people: And I shall live with the Israelites and be their God, and they will know that I am Yahweh their God, who brought them out of Egypt to live among them: I, Yahweh their God (Exodus 29:45). The people did not "see" Yahweh but they did witness His presence. Centuries later in the 6th century BC, Yahweh made the promise of His presence in a future and eternal covenant centered on the Messiah: David my servant is to be their prince for ever. I shall make a covenant of peace with them, an eternal covenant with them. I shall resettle them and make them grow; I shall set my sanctuary among them or ever. I shall make my home above them; I shall be their God, and they will be my people. And the nations will know that I am Yahweh the sanctifer of Israel, when my sanctuary is with then forever (Ezekiel 37:25c-27). This promise is fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth.
how is the dwelling with His New Covenant people that Jesus speaks of different
from the Old Testament presence of Yahweh over the Ark of the Covenant in the
Holy of Holies of the desert Tabernacle and the Temple in Jerusalem?
Answer: Jesus is referring to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the tabernacle of the body, which is the soul of every believer renewed by grace. This is the promise of the New Covenant, the presence of God in each believer. It is the prophecy made to Ezekiel in 37:26c: I shall make my sanctuary among them for ever. St. Paul refers in his letters to the indwelling presence of God when those who profess Jesus Christ are baptized into new life and become temples of the Holy Spirit:
John 14:26 reads in the literal Greek: the Spirit the Holy whom will send the Father in my name, he you will teach all things, and will bring to remembrance your all things which I said to you. That "He" is an important pronoun! Jesus is speaking of the third Person of the Holy Trinity. It is theologically incorrect to speak of God the Holy Spirit as an "it".
the promise; (1) what promise does Jesus make concerning the ministry of the
Holy Spirit? (2). Has John already mentioned this gift of the Holy Spirit?
Answer: (1) Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit will help them to remember what Jesus has taught and He will give them a deeper understanding of those teachings. (2) Yes, St. John wrote that they did not understand the significance of an event or how it was fulfilled in Scripture until after the Resurrection:
St. Josemaria Escriva assures us: This same Spirit guides the successors of the Apostles, your bishops, united with the Bishop of Rome, to whom it was entrusted to preserve the faith and to 'preach the Gospel to the whole creation.' (The Way, as quoted in Navarre Commentary page 190).
John 14:27-31: Peace I bequeath to you, my own peace I give you, a peace which the world cannot give, this is my gift to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. You heard me say: I am going away and shall return. If you loved me you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. I have told you this now, before it happens, so that when it does happen you may believe. I shall not talk to you much longer, because the prince of this world is on his way. He has no power over me, but the world must recognize that I love the Father and that I act just as the Father commanded. Come now, let us go.
Shalom, "peace" in the Hebrew and in Aramaic, was used both as a greeting and as a farewell (see Luke 10:5; 2 Thessalonians 3:16). In Hebrew this word not only means absence of conflict but also the health, wholeness, and integrity which comes from God. This word in the Greek text is repeated 3 times in verse 27.
preparing for His departure, what does Jesus give to the disciples?
Answer: Jesus is giving His blessing to the disciples: the blessing of His own personal "peace"; a supernatural "peace" that only comes from the indwelling of Christ in the soul of every believer.
The word "afraid" in verse 27 is in the Greek deiliano, meaning "cowardly fear". It is from the same root word as the adjective used by St. Matthew for how the disciples felt in the terrible storm on the Sea of Galilee in Matthew 8:26 (deilos) and it is also used by "the One sitting on the throne" in the Book of Revelation for those who deny the faith through their fear of persecution in Revelation 21:8: But the legacy for cowards (deilos), for those who break their word, or worship obscenities, for murderers and the sexually immoral, and for sorcerers, worshippers of false gods or any other sort of liars, is the second death in the burning lake of sulfur.
verse 28 Jesus says "for the Father is greater than I". If Jesus and the Father are one, how can the Father
be greater than the Son?
Answer: Jesus is speaking of Himself in His humanity, in His limited capacity as a human being. As the Living Word of God Jesus, in His divinity, has glory equal to the Father (John 17:5); yet He humbled Himself on our behalf and took on our humanity: Who, being in the form of God did not count equality with God something to be grasped. But he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, becoming as human beings are; and being in every way like a human being, he was humbler yet, even to accepting death, death on a cross (Philippians 2:6-8). In His humanity God is greater; in His divinity the Father and Son are co-equal (John 8:24; 10:30) and in His essence, He and God the Father are One (John 1:1-3, 5:23; 6:62, 10:30; 14:9). Also see CCC# 460-476.
is the "prince of this world" Jesus
refers to in verse 30?
Answer: Satan. This is John's second of three references to Satan using this title (John 12:31; 14:30; and 16:11). See the discussion of this title in the lesson on John chapter 12 verse 31.
assures His disciples that Satan has no power over Him. For what specific
reason does Satan not have any power over Jesus in His humanity?
Answer: Jesus is without sin. It is the sin in man that gives Satan power.
"Come, let us go"' The Passover supper has come to an end. The Synoptic Gospels record that at the end of the meal Jesus and the disciples sang hymns from the Psalms (Matthew 26:30; Mark 14:26). According to the traditions of the Passover meal, the Hallel Psalms are sung during the meal (Psalms 113-118). It was Psalm 118:25-26 that the people shouted during Jesus' triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. At the end of the meal the assembled guests sing the last of the Hallel Psalms, 115-118. Jesus will not, however, take the 4th communal cup which closes the ceremony of the sacrificial meal because of the vow He took not to drink wine again until He comes into His kingdom (Luke 22:18; Matthew 26:29; and Mark 14:25). Jesus will continue His discourse (John chapters 15-17) as He and the Apostles withdraw out of the city of Jerusalem, across the Kidron Valley to the Mount of Olives.
Resources used in this lesson:
Catechism of the Catholic Church references: * indicates verse quoted
|14:2-3||2795*||14:17||243*, 687, 2466, 2671*|
|14:6||74*, 459, 1698, 2466*, 2614||14:23-26||2615*|
|14:9||516||14:26||243*, 244*, 263*, 692, 729*, 1099*, 2466*, 2623*|
|14:13||2614, 2633*, 2815*||14:31||606|
Michal Hunt, Copyright © 1998 Agape Bible Study. Permissions All Rights Reserved.