CHAPTER 17: JOHN 13:1-21:25

Although the Passion narrative of the synoptic gospels is followed in John's gospel, his distinctive emphases illuminate many points rather differently. The outline of the last nine chapters of the gospel is as follows:
Chapter 13          The Last Supper

14-16    Discourses by Jesus at the Last Supper

              17          Jesus' prayer of dedication

18-19    Jesus' arrest, trial, crucifixion, death and burial

20          Jesus' appearances after the Resurrection

21          A further appearance to the leading disciples in Galilee


In John's presentation of the Passion narrative he makes his readers aware of the divine control of events and time. Jesus knows that his work for the Father is coming to its appointed end, in God's chosen time and this is emphasized in different ways. In Jesus' death by crucifixion, a most terrible and humiliating death from man's point of view, Jesus receives glory because he has completed his work for the Father in total obedience. God is working in what appears to be a situation of tragic disaster from a human point of view. Jesus' humiliation is his glorification.


The divine love is continually revealed in Jesus. He shocked his disciples by the acted parable of love as he washed their feet, he gave his betrayer a last chance to draw back from committing the terrible action, and I-e gave his disciples the most profound teaching about love in the discourses at the Last Supper, before giving them the supreme example of self-sacrificing love for others in his death.


John's understanding of Jesus' death as the supreme sacrifice (1 :29 and 1 Corinthians 5 :7) to bring man and God into a new relationship of love is emphasized by the indication that Jesus was crucified at the time when the Passover lambs would have been sacrificed before the Passover Feast began (19:14).


According to John, the Last Supper took place on the day before the Passover Feast and was therefore not the Passover meal (13: 1 and 18:28). John identifies the day of Jesus' death as Friday and the Passover Feast as coinciding with the Sabbath that year so that it was a doubly holy day (19:31).

The Passion, death and Resurrection of Jesus is understood as the ultimate sign of the whole gospel to which all the other signs point. All that the seven signs have revealed about Jesus is brought together in the final events of the cross which uniquely and permanently changed man-kind's relationship with God.

The importance given to the accounts of the appearances of Jesus to his followers after his Resurrection reflects the experience of the Church of the power of the risen Lord, as well as the transformation of the Twelve into the great apostles.

The experience of the power of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Church is foreshadowed in the teaching on the coming of the Holy Spirit, given in the last discourses.

The disciple 'whom Jesus loved' is introduced in these final chapters (13:23, 19:26-27, 20:2, 21:7 and 20-24). He is never named.