Section III. The Farewell Discourses (John 13:1-17:26)


Audio (2:18)

Duccio di Buoninsegna, 'Christ Taking Leave of His Disciples' panel from the Maesta Altarpiece (1308--1311), Museo dell'Opera Metropolitana del Duomo, Siena, Italy.
Duccio di Buoninsegna, 'Christ Taking Leave of His Disciples' panel from the Maesta Altarpiece (1308--1311), Museo dell'Opera Metropolitana del Duomo, Siena, Italy.
If the type of Jesus' teaching most featured in the Synoptic Gospels is the parable, then in John it is the discourse. In the first part of John -- sometimes known as "The Book of Signs" -- these discourses mainly follow signs, that is, miracles intended to point to Jesus as the Christ. The second part of John -- sometimes known as "The Book of Glory" -- begins with a series of Farewell Discourses that talk about a New Commandment, Christ the Way, the coming of the Holy Spirit, Jesus' going to the Father, the True Vine, capped by Jesus' High Priestly prayer.

The genre of Farewell Discourses is seen elsewhere the final words or testaments of famous men in the Hellenistic world, but especially in the Bible -- Jacob's last words to his sons (Genesis 49), Joshua's final words to Israel (Joshua 22-24), and David's address to Solomon (1 Chronicles 28-29).

Two important questions have been raised about Jesus' Farewell Discourses. First, where do they begin? Some believe they begin them at 14:1, where Jesus begins to talk of his leaving the disciples. Others see the beginning at 13:31, where Jesus speaks of a "new commandment," to love one another.[279] I've begun this section when Jesus and his disciples had a meal in the Upper Room, following the close of Jesus' public ministry.[280]

John's Gospel: A Discipleship Journey with Jesus, by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson
Entire study is available in paperback, Kindle, and PDF formats.

A second important question is whether these discourses were completed in the Upper Room or perhaps elsewhere, because of Jesus' words, "Come now; let us leave" at the end of chapter 14. We'll consider that question in Lesson 25.

Endnotes

[279] So Carson, John, pp. 476-477.

[280] So Morris, John, pp. 610-611.


Copyright © 1985-2017, Ralph F. Wilson. <pastor@joyfulheart.com> All rights reserved. A single copy of this article is free. Do not put this on a website. See legal, copyright, and reprint information.

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