Keeping the Word: introduction

farewell-discourse23 Jesus answered and said to him, “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me. 25“I have told you this while I am with you. 26 The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name—he will teach you everything and remind you of all that (I) told you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. 28 You heard me tell you, ‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you this before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe.
(John 14:23-29)

Introduction. Our passage today is taken from the “Farewell Discourse” of Jesus contained in five chapters of John (13:1-17:56). In other words, we have but a few verses which are an integral part of a much larger passage. Accordingly, the Discourse can be outlined in a number of ways, though three main parts are fairly clear:

  • The first part (13:31-14:31) focuses on Jesus’ departure and discusses the disciples’ relation to Jesus and their conflict with the world.
  • The second part (15:1-16:33) develops these same themes, moving from the relationship of Jesus to the disciples, using the figure of the vine and the branches (15:1-17), to the conflict between the disciples and the world (15:18-16:15), and on to a promise to the disciples of joy in the future after the sorrow of this time of separation (16:16-33).
  • In the third major part Jesus prays to his Father (17:1-26).

Throughout, the overall theme is the Father’s presence with the disciples and the Son’s and Spirit’s roles in mediating his presence. As a way of establishing a context lets first consider a wider view of at least a portion of our passage by considering the text surrounding Jesus’ departure (13:31-14:31) – in tomorrow’s post.

If you would like to get an overview of the Farewell Discourse, the article at Wikipedia represents a view of the discourse. There are some quite reputable scholars referenced; but it is Wikipedia, so anyone can edit.

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