Lectionary Year B
Pentecost Sunday

June 8, 2003
John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15

Composition/Immediate Context


Pre:The pericope comes within the section of ch. 13-17. Jesus is alone with his disciples, the night of his betrayal and arrest. The larger section opens with Jesus washing the feet of his disciples. He explains the significance of his action, and the relationship that it establishes between him and the disciples. The section begins with some dialogue and questions and answers among Jesus and the disciples, but with Ch. 15 the shift is to discourses by Jesus. He explains his approaching departure (Passion/Resurrection/Ascension), and why it is necessary.


1. Brief Outline of Fourth Gospel in C.K. Barrett, The Gospel According to St. John (p. 11)

      1:1-18               Prologue
      1:19-12:50        Narratives, Conversations, Discourses
      13:1- 17:26       JESUS ALONE WITH HIS DISCIPLES
      18:1- 20:31       Passion & Resurrection
      21:1-25             Appendix

2. Overall shape and intent

a. The "thesis statement" for the Fourth Gospel may be found in John 20: 30ff:"...these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you might have life in his name."

b. Kummel believes that the author writes to establish and secure the faith of Christians (Intro. to the NT, p. 162)

(Kummel, Intro to the NT, pp. 168-174)

a. Beginning with Irenaeus, many have thought the author to be John son of Zebedee, "the disciple of the Lord", who published the Gospel in the first century A.D. while in Ephesus.

b. Many modern commentators doubt this, pointing to lack of coverage in the fourth Gospel of events involving the sons of Zebedee which are prominent in the Synoptic gospels.

c. Who knows? Kummel argues that the only fairly certain thesis is that the author at least had close contact with a Palestinian Christian who had had some kind of participation in the Passion history of Jesus.

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