Lectionary Year B
May 25, 2003
John 15:9-17

Step II: Disposition

A. Genre

(JFC) The Gospel of John reports Jesus talking of love more than the Synoptics, indicating, perhaps, that this paragraph is an attempt to get some additional insight into such a broad, deep and vague topic as love is. Some of the images mentioned here seem to try to find some more logical, even more concrete, tangible, physical, material ways to approach the topic. Some of the ideas this passage contains appear to be afterthoughts, like the author, if not the speaker, reminds himself of another subject to use as the words stream forth. Some of the images give the impression that they interrupt the original theme addressed, if there were such a thought given as the testimonial began. There might be, probably unintentionally, a chronological treaty here; God first loved Jesus, then Jesus obeyed God, next Jesus calls servants friends, lovingly = loving them, and calls them to remain in that divine love and obey God and then to love one another.

B. Personal Interaction

(JFC) There seem to be more subjunctive moods and aorist verbs than might tell a clearer story of what is being conveyed. I find too many "if-then" conditional suggested and/or required manners to get to love (v.t.) properly. Do friends need to be ordered to love? Then, is there a non-sequiter in the 15th verse? Or is it another new, heretofore unmentioned element of what friendship is to the one proclaiming these sentiments?

C. Organization

(JFC) The somewhat unexpected aorist tenses occur in verses 9, 10, 12, 13 and 16, although 16 seems natural enough. The subjunctives flood the verses 10, 12, 13, 14, 16 and 17. "If-thens" fill verses 10, 14 and rather subtly in verse 16. Friends seemingly needing to be commanded is in the 15th and 17th verses.

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