Jesus' Last Talk at Table
I will start my study of each and every talk
by breaking them into short sections, often just a verse
long, while always respecting the order of their
appearance in the text. I will go back to the original
Greek when I feel the need to do so. I will comment and try to make sense
of every sentence within the context in which it is found,
as I believe that no excerpt can be understood properly if
taken out of context. I will try to paraphrase every sentence
whenever I feel the need to do so. In fact I will, at the end of each
discourse, provide a complete paraphrase of it, trying that way to
provide a personal version faithful to the original.
I will be as honest as I possibly can be. I will admit my difficulties when baffled
by a text. And I will try to find a way to make sense of it. I will not take for
granted anything but the original text, working on it until I come up with
what I consider to be an acceptable translation, acceptable in the sense that
the meaning I have come up with fits properly within the text as a whole and within
the Gospel taken as a whole.
A. The Introduction: «Glorification»
Right from the start, I must admit that
I cannot make sense of Jesus' introduction to His first talk
as it is translated in the King James
Therefore, when he [Judas] was gone out,
Now is the Son of man glorified,
and God is glorified in him. If God be glorified in him,
God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall
straightway glorify him.2
I take for granted that Jesus is referring to
Himself as the «Son of Man», something
He has done consistently in this Gospel. In fact,
it cannot possibly refer to anyone else in the
context of this Gospel.
This statement about «glorification» has the
following logical structure:
- The «Son of Man», Jesus, is «glorified» now.
- His «glorification» causes God to be «glorified».
- Because of this «glorification» of God through Jesus',
- God Himself will «glorify»
Jesus, and this, right now.
The Oxford Dictionary states that «glorify» means
«make glorious», «exalt to the glory of heaven»
where «glory» means «exalted renown», «honourable
fame», «special distinction», «subject for boasting»
and so on. A paraphrase based on this definition
would be something like: «I am
now going to become a subject of boasting; My exalted
fame will give God a special distinction in the eyes of
humans. Because of this exalted renown I will give God,
He will immediately make Me a subject of
I must say that I do not find this at all clear!
So perhaps it would be useful to go back to the original
Greek text and see if there is another possible
translation for the term «glorify».
The Greek verb translated by «is glorified» in the first verse
of this segment is «edoksasthè»
(εδοξασθη), the passive
(aorist) form of the verb «doksazô»
(δοξαζω). In its active
form, its first meaning is «have an opinion», «believe»,
«think», «judge». In its passive form, it would thus mean:
«to be known as», «to be thought of as», «to be judged as»,
«to be believed to be». The problem then becomes
«to be known as» what? This is not expressed
in the sentences where these words appear.
Part of the idea behind the normal understanding
of «glory» is «fame»: a public understanding of
someone or something.
Jesus saying about «glorification»
would have the following translation:
The coming events will permit people to make a judgment on Him.
- This judgment on Him will affect people's judgment on God.
- This will cause God to Himself make a judgment on Jesus
- which will follow there and then.
I think we could all agree on the fact that any judgment,
opinion, belief of God on Jesus must be a correct and
truthful one. So, surely, there must be in the use of this
term here the idea that the judgment that will be made
is a correct and truthful one. If this is the case, the most
reasonable translation would be «to be known
correctly», «to be judged correctly». This sort of
fame has to do with accuracy, correct knowledge.
So our segment could be translated quite differently as:
«It is now that I am really
going to be known for Who I am, and Me being really
known will mean that God will also be really known for
Who He Is; furthermore, as God will be really known
in Me, He will make sure that His knowledge of Me
is proclaimed right away.»
From this, I understand Jesus to be saying
that the coming events, His handling of the
ordeal to come, His passion and death, which
His disciples will be witnesses to, are going
to clearly define Who He Is and thus Who
God Is. God will vouch for this affirmation of
Who He Is through Jesus' actions by His own
corroboration that He Is indeed like Jesus says.
This corroboration of God will be Him raising
Jesus from the dead, Him bringing Jesus
back to life, another event which the disciples
This interpretation seems to make sense since
Jesus earlier in this Gospel made it clear that His
«glorification» was related to His death, as He
mentions it immediately after.4
This last interpretation of the text makes it a fitting
introduction to Jesus' first talk as it
contains its major theme in a nutshell.
B. Jesus' farewell
Jesus then gives to His disciples His farewell message:
«Little children, yet a little while
I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews,
Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to
After what can be described as a term of endearment
applied to His disciples, Jesus tells them that He is
leaving them for somewhere they cannot go, as He had
told them and others many times before. They will look for
Him and will be unable to find Him. He neither tells them
where He is going or why they cannot
go with Him (probably as He assumes that they had already
worked it out by what He had said on previous occasions).
He then goes on to say: «A new
commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as
I have loved you, that ye also love one
This is His last will and testament, His «new
commandment»: love one another
like He loves them.
word translated by «commandment»,
could be translated by «order», «instruction»: Jesus is
really giving His disciples their marching orders! This
order is «new» as it is His last, final one. The Greek verb
translated by «love», «agapate»
could also be translated as «show friendship»,
«treat with affection». It implies looking at the other
as an equal, as a fellow human; not as a thing, a tool,
an instrument to be used and abused. It refers to a
concrete way of looking at the other, not just an emotion.
They are to look after each other just like Jesus looked after
He then adds that this must be their «trademark»,
the way for others to identify them as His disciples:
«By this shall all men know
that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to
So this «of Jesus» friendship is an absolute «must» for
His disciples: without it, they just are not «of Jesus».
Jesus is then (not at all surprisingly!) interrupted by
Peter, who is still mulling Jesus telling him He is going
away and leaving him
behind: 8«Simon Peter said unto
him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him,
Whither I go, thou canst not follow
me now; but thou shalt follow me
Jesus reiterates that Peter cannot follow Him just now,
but adds this time that he will definitely do so later.
This still does not sit well with Peter, always very
«Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now?
I will lay down my life for thy
Peter claims he is ready to die for Jesus! This Jesus rebutts
by foretelling his three denials of Him that same night:
«Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay
down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee,
The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me
C. Jesus' reassurance about His
disciples joining Him later
There is no doubt that all the disciples were sadden
by Jesus' farewell: they did not want Him to leave
them! They could not understand why He would, after all
this time. They counted on His presence: He was the
center of their lives; they could not think
of life without Him.
He thus has to reassure them. He starts:
«Let not your heart be troubled:
ye believe in God, believe also in
He asks them to trust Him just like they trust God.
This trust is needed for them to accept what Jesus is
going to say to them next.
He follows by: «In my Father's
house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would
have told you. I go to prepare a place for
So Jesus is not just going away; He is going ahead
of them, to prepare things for when they will join Him.
Jesus points out that where He is going and where they
will follow Him later is where His Father lives: His House.
He is just going to prepare their rooms for their future
stay with Him and His Father.
He then adds: «And if I go
and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and
receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be
Not only is Jesus going now to prepare their rooms,
He will come back to take them to His Father's «place»
so that they can all live together again.
He assumes that His message is understood; so He
adds in conclusion: «And whither
I go ye know, and the way ye
After all, He just told them He was going to prepare them
a place in His Father's house! Where does He live, His
Father? Why has He called Him «Father in Heaven»
all these years? And He just told them He would come
and pick them up as well. So why should they not already
know that Jesus will lead them by the hand along the
The reason the disciples cannot follow Him now is
because they will not die now as dying is the only way
to the Father. He has to go to prepare Heaven for them.
Which perhaps could mean among other things showing
them how to live to reach Heaven.
To me, there is a break in Jesus' talk at this point. He
lets things sink in before moving ahead, He takes a time
out to make sure that what happened with Peter's question
does not happen again.
D. Jesus spells out His rôle and that of His disciples
This is just as well as His disciples are still in the dark.
So «Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest;
and how can we know the way?»18
Thomas does not understand where Jesus can possibly be
going, nor the way He will get there. Jesus tries again:
«Jesus saith unto him, I am the way,
the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by
There is a lot packed in this short sentence! Our poor Thomas got more than he
can cope with! The first part, «I am the way», could refer to
Jesus' coming to pick them up. But what about the truth
and the life? How make sense of this and what He adds?
Jesus started His talk by pointing out that
the way He was going to live the next day is crucial to
understand Who He Is and so Who God His Father Is.
He now clearly states that the only way to get to the Father
is by following His example as He is the One Who tells the
Truth about Who God Is, He is the One Who lives life the
way His Father meant it to be lived. This statement is
of the greatest importance: those who do not live their
lives like He does cannot come to the Father. This is
why He insists on the fact that they have to love each
other, be of service to each other, put others first. Only
then will they be able to be in God.
Jesus follows this first statement in response to
Thomas' question by another which basically makes
the equivalence between the Father and Himself, His Revelation:
«If ye had known me, ye should
have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye
know him, and have seen
Jesus states that knowledge of Him is the same as
knowledge of His Father, as He is His Father's
Manifestation on earth. Then He adds that it is from now on
that His disciples will know Him, will understand what
makes Him click, Who He is, because it is in His
passion and death that He reveals both Himself
and His Father.
But of course, His apostles are still lost (which is quite
useful to us, as it means the same point is somewhat
clarified each time it is reiterated in a different fashion):
«Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth
still thinks that the Father can be «materialized»
just like Jesus and he are! This is where his difficulty lies;
for him, the Father, to be real, has to be visible. He
cannot think of Jesus as the visage of His Father.
So Jesus has to make just this point:
Jesus saith unto him, Have I been
so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me,
Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father;
and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the
Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I
speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me,
he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father,
and the Father in me: or else believe me for the
very works' sake.22
Jesus has to reaffirm that He is the Father's Incarnation,
that He is His Father's Instrument and Mouthpiece. And
He argues that this statement of His is proven
by the miraculous works He has done, works that no
human can do by herself. He could not have performed
these miracles without God working through Him as He,
by Himself, cannot. It is only because Jesus is perfectly
representing His Father and His Father perfectly «controls»
Him that these miracles can be.23
Jesus has thus answered Philip. But as He
has brought up the fact that He has done great acts of
service to others because of His identification with His
Father, He goes on to tell His disciples that they too
will do the same if they act like Him, in
accordance to His ways, living like Him:
«Verily, verily, I say unto you,
He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he
do also; and greater works than these shall he do;
because I go unto my
He tells them that these works of service that He has
being doing, they will also do if they trust Him; in fact,
they will do even greater works of service than He did.
And why? Because He is going to His Father.
Why will Jesus going to His Father have such an effect?
Why will it mean that His disciples will be able to do more
than Jesus was able to achieve in His earthly lifetime?
But first, is this true? Did they actually
achieve more than He did?
The answer is yes. While He opened the way to them,
they built on the foundation that are His
life and words and managed to convert many to His
way of life, to His vision of why we exist. Up until that
night Jesus had only managed to put together a small
group of clueless individuals. Within a few weeks,
these will have created a solid core of many
new enthousiastic followers, ready to put their life
on the line for Jesus' vision.
Why should Jesus' going to His Father have such
a profound effect? First, because of the way He is
going to His Father: His passion and terrible death,
where He shows a complete trust in His Father's ways
as well as patience, humility, a complete lack of violence,
a total readiness to forgive, to excuse. Second, because
God Father shows that death is not the end of it all: life
continues. In fact, it not only continues, it is brought to a
new, higher level in the extraordinary bodily transformation that
is the resurrection from the dead as the risen are more
real, more alive than they were before death.
Jesus' resurrection proves beyond a shadow of a doubt
the truthfulness of His message, of His life, of His love.
It proves that He is the Embodiment of His Father, that
God is perfectly with Him, in Him. And this experimental
proof that Jesus is now more fully alive as a body than
ever before, a proof that Thomas will double-check by
putting his hand in Jesus' wounds, gives them the
courage to go ahead and do greater things.
Jesus was an obscure preacher in an insignificant
backwater of the Roman Realm. One generation
later, His message will be preached all over that
Empire, bringing about thousands of people ready
to follow Him to the Father to become more alive
than they ever were, and who will know for
themselves the fact that Jesus is indeed Who
He said He Is, and that God is indeed Who
Jesus said He Is.
E. Asking in Jesus' name
After telling His disciples that they will do even greater
works than Him because He is going to His Father,
Jesus makes a promise: «And
whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the
Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any
thing in my name, I will do
Jesus repeats Himself to stress His commitment to
His promise. Twice He promises that He will grant His
disciples anything that they ask in His name. And once
He adds that this is to «glorify» His Father in Him.
Now, what does it mean, to ask «in Jesus' name»?
This is a formula often used by Christians when
begging God for something or other. But is it used
The following formula is used in my country, the Kingdom of Canada:
«In the name of our Sovereign Lady, Queen Elisabeth...».
She who utters these words does so on the orders of the
Queen of Canada, according to her laws and regulations
and within the powers vested in her by Her Canadian Majesty.
There are at least three persons involved in this example:
the Sovereign who delegated to a chosen representative
some powers to act in a specific way, the representative
to whom these powers have been delegated under a
specific policy, and the individual harangued by the
This last individual can herself be a Sovereign: the Queen
of the Netherlands, for instance, receiving the credentials
of the ambassador of the Queen of Canada. So the disciple
would be acting here as Jesus' ambassador, asking things
in accordance with her Sovereign's (Jesus') policies and
This means that the disciple cannot ask just anything
she feels like in Jesus' name; no, only things which
are in accordance with Jesus' plan, His program
Furthermore, Jesus is adamant that He is the One to
Whom the request is made, He is the One Who actually
has the power to grant it. He did not say that
everything that the disciple asks in His name will be
granted by God His Father but by Him, God the Son.
To come back to our example, He is not only the One
Who gave His disciple Her orders but the One
Who will see that what she asks according to His
policies will be granted. And He says that He will
so act to «glorify» His Father, to make Him known
for Who He really Is.
Jesus follows the text we have just looked at by:
«If ye love me, keep my
which can be read to say: «If you
love me, you will do what I ask of you», which -
in Jesus' case - is to be like Me. Jesus goes back on His
first point about His commandment of Love, about the sign
of discipleship. Jesus will grant His disciple's prayers
if she asks Him to make her more able to fulfill His command.
Jesus will provide anything that the disciple asks of
Him as long as it is to bring to perfection the mission
He has given her. And the reason He will is that this
mission, clearly given by Jesus, proclaims Who God
Father Is as it is manifested by the love the disciples
share, a love that copies Jesus' love.
F. The rôle of the «Breath Advocate»
It must be quite clear that there is nothing that Jesus
wants more from His disciples than that they live like
Him. But this requires a lot of strength and stamina.
So Jesus adds: «And I will
pray the Father, and he shall give you another
Comforter, that he may abide with you for
Jesus was the One granting prayers a minute
ago; now He is the One who prays. The Greek word
translated by «I will pray» is «erôtèsô»
This verb means either «ask a question» or «ask for
something», which of course can then be translated
What Jesus asks from God Father is another «Comforter» for His disciples. The
Greek word so translated is «paraclèton»
which means «whom one calls for help»,
«advocate for the defense», «intercessor».
So it is obvious that Jesus sees Himself as a «helper»,
an «advocate for the defense» as He will ask His Father
to send His disciples a Helper as His replacement.
This Replacement will be sent by God Father just as
Jesus was sent by God Father. Why? Because it is
God as Father, as the One Who cares for His children,
as the One Who looks after His children, Who sends
them a new Helper to replace Jesus. And this Helper
will always stay with them.
Jesus describes this Helper: «Even
the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive,
because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye
know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in
There is an awful lot of information packed in this one verse!
But what are we to make of it? How can we make real
sense of this rich sentence?
The Greek word translated by «Spirit» is «pneuma»
which means «blow», «puff», «wind», «breath»,
«breath of life». So this «Helper» is a «breath»!
and a «breath of truth»! What does this mean?
But there is more: this «breath of truth» is not
available to the «world» as it can neither see nor
know it! What is the «world»? This word is the
translation of the Greek word «cosmos»
which means «order», «good order», «in good
order», «order of the universe», «world», «universe».
This word then, refers to the social, economic, political
and physical order of the world we live in. A much
better translation would be «world order» as the
concept of good and proper organization is
paramount to the term. This world order, described
in social, political, economic and physical terms,
is subject to internal «laws» which provide it with
order against chaos.
The Greek verb translated by «see» is «theôrei»
which means «observe», «examine», «contemplate»,
«inspect», «make sense of». The Greek verb
translated by «know» is «ginôskei»
which means «learn to know», «understand».
So Jesus is saying that this world order cannot
make sense of this «breath»; that this world order
cannot grasp it as it is totally foreign to it, so foreign
that this «breath» is, to all intent, invisible to it!
This «breath», incompatible with the world order,
has to do with the truth. So Jesus claims that Truth
and this world order are incompatible. On the one hand, this «breath
of life» which speaks the Truth cannot be understood
by this world order; on the other hand, it is understood by Jesus' disciples,
for it is in them: they actually breathe it if they live
according to Jesus, loving instead of judging, refusing
to fight, refusing to hate, refusing to demand retribution,
punishment, justice but breathing love towards all,
friends and foes alike.
This «breath» is internal to those who live
according to Jesus; it is a strength that they have inside
them; it is what keeps them going, it is what drives them.
It is something real, experienced as coming from God
by those who actually live by it.29
While Jesus is Someone Who is experienced as
outside the self, the «Breath of life» is Someone Who
is experienced inside our body, ourselves, just like our
breath comes from inside our body, ourselves.
G. Jesus promise to return soon
Jesus then moves on to a different stage of His talk. He goes
on with: «I will not leave you
comfortless: I will come to
This translation seems wrong to me as the Greek word
translated by «leave», «aphèsô»
actually means «let go», «hurl», «throw» and the one
translated by «comfortless», «orphanous»
means «without father or mother», «orphan».
So what Jesus is saying to His disciples is:
«I will not send you
on your way as orphans.» Why? Because
He will come to them.
This is bizarre! What does this sentence mean, that Jesus would be sending His
disciples orphans, without a father? Before we
try to make sense of this, let us examine the next two
verses, which might shed some light on this problem.
We first have: «Yet a little while,
and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me:
because I live, ye shall live
Jesus first says that this world order will never see
Him again. This can easily be understood as He will
then be dead and buried. He adds that His disciples
will see Him again soon while others will not. This
implies that He will show Himself alive though dead
only to them. This of course is what happened after
His resurrection: He showed Himself to be really
and truly alive to His disciples but not to others.
He then goes on to say that His disciples will live
because He will live. This again is true because
His disciples' lives will be changed completely by
the fact that He will be well and truly alive again.
This will become the determinant factor in their lives.
He follows that with: «At that
day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me,
and I in you.»32
He says that the disciples' knowledge that Jesus is
well and truly alive while being dead will prove to
them that He did tell the truth about His Father; that
He and His Father are indeed one, and so they are with Him.
Now can we make sense of Jesus' statement about
not sending His disciples orphans? We do know
that He told them that God is their Father just like
God is His Father. So His statement could be
read as Jesus not sending them without them
knowing for a fact that God is their Father.
Jesus' message is based on God being Father, One
Who cares, Who loves, Who is of service to His
humans. Because He is so, there is no point
worrying about anything: what others do to us
does not matter in the end as God Father will take
us to Himself. This earthly life is not the end, just
a beginning. What comes next is a life more real,
more complete, a life in the presence of God Father.
A way to show that God is indeed Father is by Jesus
being raised from the dead. His reappearance after
His death as a real, complete human being is the
proof that the disciples are not without a God Who
is their Father, and so that they are not orphans.
And it is with this proof as the basis of their lives that
He is sending them on their mission of proclaiming
His message about God Father and His love and
service for all and sundry, message that He is
sending them to live by their love for each other.
Indeed, their proclamation is first and foremost
one of putting into practice this love rather than
just talking about it.
H. Loving Jesus means living like He said we should
Jesus now clearly states that He demands deeds,
not words. He tells His disciples to live according to His
orders: «He that hath my
commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that
loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of
my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest
myself to him.»33
For Jesus, love is something active, concrete.
To love Him is to act like Him, to follow His
directives. And the one who so acts, being
Jesus-like, will be loved both by God Father
and by Jesus. Indeed, Jesus will even manifest
Himself, show Himself to her. Because of her
love for Jesus, she is immediately loved both
by God Father and by Jesus, Who will then be
present to her in a very concrete
This is followed by the fourth and last question,
this one by Judas: «Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot,
Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us,
and not unto the world?»35
Jesus' answer to this question is very informative:
«Jesus answered and said unto him, If
a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will
love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode
For God and Jesus to be «seen», «sensed»,
«experienced», the disciple must first love Jesus,
live according to His words. Then both Jesus and His
Father will love her and live in her. We could say that as
Jesus' way of life becomes internalized in the disciple,
she becomes a «temple» in which God as Father and
as Jesus lives. And she who has become such a
«temple» will know for a fact that God Father is within
her, and so God the Word.37
Jesus now comes back to what He considers the
most important: loving Him means loving God and
living as He wants us to: «He
that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the
word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which
Not keeping His precepts is tantamount to not loving
Him, nor God His Father, as He only said what His
Father wanted Him to say. Again, nothing is more
important than to live according to His words. In fact,
nothing else is important.
He then goes on to say: «These
things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with
states that He became a human to show them how to live
correctly, truthfully, both in words and deeds. I would go
as far as saying that this is the only reason He became
a human as I believe that «to be saved» actually means
living our life as He lived His. And this He showed to
its fullest on Good Friday.
I. Another rôle of the «Breath»: Peace-giver
Jesus is now going to His death and so He will
not be there anymore to give support and guidance
to His disciples. They will need to take over, to be
in charge. As He knows that His disciples will
need a Helper to fulfil their new rôle, He
adds: «But the Comforter,
which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send
in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring
all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto
Jesus gives a new name to His disciples' new Helper,
Whom He had called «Spirit of truth» previously:
«Holy Ghost». The Greek word translated here by
«Ghost» is «pneuma»
the same one we saw would be better translated
by «breath» and the one translated by «holy» is «agion»
Its translations are «holy», «sacred», «august».
When it comes to «breath», the term «august»
seems to me to make the most sense: it is the
quality of a breath that is deep and slow, measured,
controlled. The breath of someone who is serene,
confident and unafraid. It is the breath of someone who
is not bilious, angry, raging, full of trepidations or
anxieties or imprecations.
Without breath, a human dies; so breath is absolutely
necessary to life. But breath is more than that as the
type of breath indicates the kind of person the human is.
An august breath implies someone serene, someone
who is in control, someone who can figure out with
assurance what to do.
This «August Breath», Who was referred to earlier
as the «Breath of Truth», gives the disciples the assurance
that God loves them, looks after them, sees to their
needs, gives them what they need to do the mission
Jesus is sending them on. This peaceful «Breath»
reminds them all what Jesus said as they begin living
His message. A message is, after all, only understood
when it is interiorized, and this is what this «Breath»
does: it makes Jesus message alive inside His
Jesus goes on to elaborate: «Peace
I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world
giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled,
neither let it be
Jesus' peace is not like the world's, He says. Why is that?
His peace is based on Love while the world's peace is
based on Force, Violence.42
Jesus' peace permits His disciples' hearts to be untroubled,
as they are unafraid, as this peace is this «August Breath»,
this confidence in God Father.
J. Jesus' closing comments
Jesus proceeds to a kind of recapitulation. He starts with:
«Ye have heard how I said unto
you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me,
ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father:
for my Father is greater than
This starts as a straightforward recapitulation of
something already said: He is going (to death) and will
come back (alive from death). He always uses the
expression «going to the Father» to mean «going to
death» as this is the only way to go to Him. Then He
slips in a new message: the disciples should rejoice
for Jesus that He goes back to His Father as His
Father is greater than Him!
I can understand that the disciples should be happy
for Jesus that He goes to meet God Father, just like
people should be happy when we die to meet God
Father. What could be construed as odd is that
«my Father is greater than I». Jesus, Who said
that He and His Father are one, now says that the
Father is greater than Him! Perhaps, but He also
said that He gets His marching orders from God
Father, that He is God Father's Mouthpiece, acting
by Him. So God Father is greater than Jesus.
Being one does not mean being the same, equal.
Jesus then adds: «And now I have
told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to
pass, ye might
He tells them that things will happen just as He said they
would. This prescience will be a further proof to His
disciples that He is of God.
He then adds something which I find odd:
«Hereafter I will not talk much
with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath
nothing in me.»45
The first part of the sentence is clear: He has very little
time left in this life, and will not spend most of it with them,
but being interrogated, tortured, hanged to die on a cross.
But He then mentions why: the coming of the
«prince of this world» who «has nothing over me».
The Greek word translated as «prince» is «archôn»
it means «leader», «king». The related verb «archô»
means «be first», «lead», «guide», «start». So it refers to the
one who leads the world, who gives it its orders. This leader
has nothing on Jesus and so is totally different from Him.
What is going to follow is a clash of «civilizations»,
of world views, of living.
On the one hand, this world order, on the other, Jesus.
On the one hand, a world of violence, on the other, a
world of love. And this clash is exactly what will happen:
Jesus will be tortured and killed by Roman soldiers on
the order of the Roman Proconsul of Judea, representating
the sole superpower of the time, the Roman Republic.
Jesus will not fight back, complain, rage against this
injustice, nor utter a word in His defense. He will only
forgive and show His love to all who want it, like the
murderer crucified next to Him who begs Him to be
with Him in Paradise.
Then He follows up with His last statement of this talk:
«But that the world may
know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me
commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go
He finishes by stating that the actions He is going to do
over the next day will be in accordance with His Father's
instructions as loving His Father means following His will.
So Jesus' actions will prove to this world order that He
truly loves His Father.
How is that? Jesus has preached day in, day out, that His
Father is a God of Love and Service and not a God of
Violence. He will now practice what He has been preaching:
forgiving rather than fighting back, loving rather than
hating, giving rather than grasping, letting go of life
rather than self-defense. He preached to believe in
God's love comes what may: He will now live this to the full.
So the representatives of this world order, Pilate the
Proconsul, the Chief Priests, the Centurion at Calvary,
all will be able to see for themselves that He is true to
His words, that He really lives His Father's message.
We can see in this first talk a progression of ideas with a back
movement due to the disciples' questions. We can also see in it a thematic unity.
Everything fits well in its place.
K. The Beaulieu Revised Version!
I will now try to put this first talk in my
own words. Of course, this is somewhat presumptuous.
But there is nothing like trying to paraphrase a text to see
if one really understand it. So here is my «version».
I sincerely hope that it does fully convey the message found in the actual
Greek text. The one liberty I will take consists
in omitting the disciples' questions from Jesus' talk.
«What is going to happen
to Me in the next few hours will tell you exactly and truthfully
Who I am and Who God Father Is. My reaction to what
is to come will tell you exactly how you must live your life
as it is the only way you can come to God Father.
You should already know that I am representing God
Father because of the various works and miracles
God Father has done through Me: I could not have
done them on My own.
I am going to die soon as this is the way to God
Father. On the other hand, you must live. Only
later will you die, when I come to fetch you to bring
you to God Father. In the meantime, you have to
represent God Father, and act like Me, doing
great works and miracles. You have to strive to
be like Me, to follow My instructions, so that God
Father is known for Who He Is. I want you to love
each other just like I love you. This is to be the
criterion to identify you as
You will need help. I will see that God Father sends you
a new Helper, a Truthful Breath that will act within you,
that you will experience while He is invisible to this world
I will also clearly show you that though dead, I am alive.
You will then clearly see that God Father is in Me just like
I am in Him and that I tell you the truth about God Father.
I want to make one point perfectly clear: loving Me means
following My instructions, which really are God Father's.
The Truthful Breath that God Father will give you will
remind you of all I said, and, as August Breath, will
give you the kind of peace that only God as Father
can give you.
The kind of peace this world order gives is no peace at
all, as it requires you to be constantly on your guard,
ready to threaten violence. My peace, based on trust
in God Father, casts away all anxiety as you are not
to protect yourselves but only trust in God Father.
I am telling you all this in advance so that you can check
later that I was telling you the truth and that I indeed
was to come. In this clash between this world order and
Me, between two world views that have absolutely
nothing in common, you must clearly show by your
love that you are on My side, the side of God
1 Again, Jesus' words will be
throughout as is often found in Protestant Bibles;
all biblical quotes are from the King James Bible
recognized by Protestants as the Bible in English.
2 John 13:31b-32
3 My paraphrases of Jesus' words will be in
4 «And Jesus answered them, saying,
The hour is come, that the Son of man
should be glorified. Verily, verily,
I say unto you, Except a corn
of wheat fall into the ground and die,
it abideth alone: but if it die,
it bringeth forth much fruit.» (John 12:23-24)
5 John 12:33
6 John 13:34
7 John 13:35
8 It is interesting to note the
delay between the question and the point
at issue as it took some time for it to «sink in». Jesus had moved on in what He
wanted to say. Peter' question thus brings Him back to a
point He had made previously. This
often happens in the real world.
9 John 13:36
10 Notice that there is no delay here
as Peter did not need any time to react on this occasion.
11 John 13:37
12 John 13:38
13 Jesus' answer must have hurt Peter:
it shut him up for the rest of the evening!
14 John 14:1
15 John 14:2
16 John 14:3
17 John 14:4
18 John 14:5
19 John 14:6
20 John 14:7
21 John 14:8
22 John 14:9-11
23 We see here that for Jesus
«theology» is an experimental science: it is based on
facts, events; in this case, on the fact that He did miracles
for all to see. Jesus also clearly states that «miracles» are
events which cannot happen according to the Laws
of Nature: God has to overrule those Laws for miracles
to happen. The Laws of Nature do not apply some
of the time or most of the time but all of the time.
All the events which do not conform to them must
be due to a direct action of God where He acts
outside these Laws. Water left alone in a
container never becomes wine: this is absolutely
impossible according to the Laws of Nature. It can
happen only if God violate these Laws.
24 John 14:12
25 John 14:13-14
26 John 14:15
27 John 14:16
28 John 14:17
29 Again, God is experienced
by the disciple as real and distinct from her. Theology
is thus even today an experimental science, as God
is experienced today by those who seek Him. Theology
is more than an experimental historical science, as
after all, Jesus' life and death happened in history and
are not as such experienced now. Jesus is not actually
reliving His earthly life now: He is well and truly dead! He
lived in history and was experienced then only by a small
number of people. But the dead Jesus can be experienced
today as He, dead, lives for ever in His Father.
Of course, God cannot be
«experienced» by those who refuse on principle
to recognize His possible existence just like the
positive electron (positron) could not be «discovered»
until its possible existence could be contemplated by the
researcher. In that case, the thorough analysis by
Anderson of a single trace left by that particle on a
photographic emulsion could only be made sense
of by the assumption of its existence. But as soon
as this analysis was
published, those who now accepted its existence were
able to make sense of hundreds of other traces of
that particle that had been already collected over the
last years, traces that were until then simply treated
as either unimportant or baffling. Which shows that
what is considered impossible cannot be experimentally
found, but only what is considered to be possible. Furthermore,
it can be found only by those who are ready to invest time and effort in
To come back to God,
those who do not care about His existence or Jesus' message
for example, will not be ready to spend any time or effort
to find out if He Is, and if so, if He Is as Jesus said He Is.
30 John 14:18
31 John 14:19
32 John 14:20
33 John 14:21
34 Again, Jesus makes it clear
that theology is an experimental science.
35 John 14:22
36 John 14:23
37 This is yet another clear
statement by Jesus that theology is an experimental science.
38 John 14:24
39 John 14:25
40 John 14:26
41 John 14:27
42 «Si vis pacem, para bellum.»
(If you want peace, prepare war.) Roman author unknown.
43 John 14:28
44 John 14:29
45 John 14:30
46 John 14:31
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Solemnity of the Epiphany of Our Lord, January 6th, 2008
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