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Relevant Passages John 13:31-16:33

The Spirit “Replaces” Jesus. In John 13-16, Jesus addresses several of the pressing concerns which were haunting the disciples. It was a troublesome time for all of them. Not only had Jesus seen Judas depart into the dark night, he also had predicted that brave Peter would deny him three times. Finally, he had to listen to Philip’s innocent question about seeing the Father.

    1. A new commandment. In what sense was Jesus’ commandment to love one another a “new” commandment (John 13:34)? Could it have something to do with the “new” insights which Jesus has brought them by washing their feet?
    2. Self-confident Peter. Peter’s experience suggests that when we are most confident we may also be most vulnerable. Why is this? Are we not capable of seeing the disaster looming and taking steps to avoid it?
    3. Puzzled Philip. How could Jesus have been with his disciples for three years without their understanding what God was like? Even when Jesus told them, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9), did they understand?
    4. Seeing the Father. Jesus seeks to overcome the tension often felt in Scripture between gentle Jesus and the awesome King and Judge. In John 8:58 Jesus claims to be the “I am” of the Old Testament. Now he proclaims himself to be the God of the New as well. What is it about the biblical narrative that makes this tension so hard for us to bridge?
    5. Experiencing the presence of the Spirit. Jesus encouraged his disciples by promising to send them the Spirit in his place. Is it possible for us to love the Spirit in the same way that we might love Jesus? Or is that separating the members of the godhead inappropriately?
    6. Abiding in the vine. In Jesus’ famous “vine” story, he notes that there is to be an inseparable link between him and his followers. It is in this section that Jesus tells them that they are friends, not servants, because he has told them everything that he has heard from his father (John 15:15). How does one correlate this statement about being a friend with those other passages, even in the Gospel of John (John 12:26) where Jesus refers to his followers as servants?
    7. In the presence of the Father himself. One of the most remarkable passages in John’s Gospel is the one which promises Jesus’ followers that someday they will be in the very presence of the Father without needing a mediator, for they will know fully of God’s love (John 16:25-27). How does this view of the mediator (Jesus bringing a loving Father close to us) relate to the more prominent one in Christian theology where the mediator presents flawed sinners to a holy Judge?

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