Lectionary Year B
June 1, 2003
John 17:6-19

Step III: Composition

A. Immediate Context

(JFC) Pre - Jesus had been comforting His disciples, re: His impending death in the 16th chapter of John. Now, in 17:1-5, He begins His "High Priestly Prayer". He initially prays for shared glory, the Father with the Son sent. He acknowledges that His earthly mission is completed and He is ready to return to the glory He enjoyed in God's presence "before the world existed".

Post - John 17:20-26 Jesus prays for all to be one with Him and God, believers and non-believers. He calls for God's loving all people as His loving His own Son. He makes yet another appeal for the world's people to know God and God's love for their being one with Him and the God who sent Him.

B. Organization of Compositional Whole

(JFC) As previously noted in these pages, John's Gospel is mostly about Jesus, who He is, what He does, especially in bringing life, both eternal and eschatologically (realized?), and how believers, by faith in Him, take advantage of that gift of Life. This Gospel begins with a distinctive Prologue, 1:1-18. Next, 1:19-2:11, accounts for some of Jesus' and John the Baptist's first testimonies given to the disciples and others saying Jesus is God's Son. Thereafter, 2:12-12:50 tell of Jesus' acts, conversations and discourses. Then, chapters 13 through 20 report Jesus' teachings, especially to His disciples about His arrest, trial, death and resurrection and their significance for believers. John's Gospel identifies its primary intension in 20:31, "written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that believing you might have life in His name." This Gospel's final chapter (21) records a post resurrection appearance, Peter's ministry and death and the role of the one called "the beloved Disciple".

C. Issues of Authorship

(JFC) Bi 216 on line has recorded repeatedly, that John, the son of Zebedee, a brother of James and disciple of Jesus' is customarily thought to have at least authored if not actually written this Gospel late in the first century CE. Irenaeus (c. 130-200) was right confident that was the case. Since John might well have been martyred before getting to Ephesus, thought to be the local origin of this work and as Mark 10:39 predicts, some scholars find possible identities of the author of this, the Fourth Gospel, to be Lazarus, John Mark or a disciple of John's, Zebedee's son. Most evidence seems to consider that this Gospel was written in Ephesus, perhaps by John in his advanced years. It seems to contain first hand memories of Jesus' ministry and life.

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