Jesus' Talk on the Walk
According to the Gospel's author,
Jesus gave His first talk before leaving the room where
He had just eaten with His disciples.
This implies that He gave His second «talk» after leaving that room, while
on His way with them. This would explain that talk's
different format. One can even assume
that Jesus would have stopped a few times
on the way to talk again to His disciples, before getting to
the brook Cedron.
This second talk seems to have been an offshoot
of a new parable by Jesus. As this parable is
about a vine, it could have come to Jesus' mind
as He was walking with His disciples on their way
to the garden where they were all to meet Judas.
As it was the full moon, or close enough to it, the
moonlight permitted them to see quite well in the
night. So one can picture Jesus talking while walking,
stopping to make a point, walking some more. This
fits rather well with the loose structure of this text.
After all, we have no reason to believe that they all
walked silently to meet Judas. On the contrary,
Jesus' realization that He had very little time left
with His disciples would have prompted Him to speak.
This talk is definitely not a mere repetition of the
previous one. The disciples' rôle is put in more active terms while
Jesus' is put in more passive ones. Furthermore, the style is totally different, with
the introductory parable giving it a completely
A. The parable of the vine
Jesus' second Maundy Thursday talk starts
with a beautiful parable, where He compares
Himself to a vine and God Father to the farmer:
«I am the true vine, and my
Father is the
I would rather translate this as «I
am truly a vine and my Father is its farmer.»
In this we see God Father in an active rôle while
Jesus is in a somewhat passive one. Not that a vine is totally
inactive, but its farmer lords over it as he can decide to
cut it down, or prune it in any way he so chooses. He goes
on: «Every branch in me that
beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that
beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more
We see the farmer working to maximize
his vine's grape output. So
Jesus says He Himself is like a vine. His Father cuts
off the branches that have no grapes and those that do,
He prunes to make them produce even more. Jesus,
just like everyone else, has to produce as much fruit as
Jesus then goes on to say something that I find rather
strange and out of place just here:
«Now ye are clean through
the word which I have spoken unto
Here, Jesus brings His disciples into the picture.
But what is this all about?
The Greek word translated by «clean», «katharoi»
means «without blemish», «spotless»,
«unadulterated», «clean», «pure». But what has
being «without blemish» got to do with the vine?
How can Jesus' words make His disciples «spotless»?
What does this means? Why is it just there?
I do not know much about vines, being born and bred in a city.
But I have heard that vines can suffer from rot which
attacks their branches and makes them incapable of producing
fruit. This rot, which
changes the nature of the branch from what it should be, shows itself
as a blemish on the branch's surface.
So it is likely that this is what Jesus has in mind here. If this is the case,
the branches of the vine that must be without blemish are His disciples. After all,
they are the ones that must be so.
This interpretation seems to be correct as Jesus then proceeds with:
in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of
itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye,
except ye abide in
Greek word translated as «abide» is «mainate»
It means «stay», «stay put», «stay with», «stay the same».
We could thus translate the first sentence as:
«Stay with Me and
I will stay in you.»
Jesus then proceeds to explain that His disciples
are His branches and that, as vine branches, their
job is to produce grapes, something they cannot at
all do if they are not part of the vine. So His disciples
cannot bear fruit without Him (nor, for that matter, can
He without them).
He then reinforces this message, which shows how
important it is to Him that His disciples understand it
clearly: «I am the vine, ye are the
branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same
bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do
Again, He makes clear the symbiotic relation between
Him and His disciples. Together they form one body, one
organism: a vine.
Perhaps it is worth pointing out that the branches
are not the vine but only parts of the vine. It is by its
roots and its leaves that the vine as a whole nourishes
the grapes that grow on its branches. The vine is one,
but has many parts and many branches. Only the vine's
branches that are alive and well bear its fruit.
This is why He adds: «If a man
abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is
withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire,
and they are burned.»6
The only way a branch can stay alive is by staying part
of the vine; otherwise it falls off the vine where it withers
and dies and ends up burnt. Let me remark here that
Jesus is clearly stating that any human who is not part
of Him withers and dies as only He can keep them alive.
Only by living His message, by being like Him, can she
really stay alive.
Now this is quite a statement! It means that anyone
who is not a good Christian dies. This is true... but
what does it mean to be a good Christian? It means
to live like Jesus did, to follow His precept of love for
all; it means to bless and not to curse; it means to
forgive and not to hit back; it means to love and
not to hate; to be of help, of service rather than
to lord over. This, after all, is Jesus' message
in a nutshell.
Jesus now moves on to say: «If
ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask
what ye will, and it shall be done unto
We have a rather strange promise which requires
two conditions, one of which having to do with His
words staying in His disciples. What is this all about?
Jesus spoke earlier about His words making His
disciples «spotless», «unadulterated». Could it be
that His words are the sap that gives life to the
branches and makes them pure, genuine vine
branches? That certainly could explain why the
branches that are not being fed by His words
would be cut off from Him as the Vine. It would
also explain how it is that staying in Jesus requires
being «fed» by His words.
If the disciple is fed by Jesus' words, if she
lives as His branch bearing His fruit, she can
ask anything she wants: it necessarily will be
what Jesus wants and so will come to pass.
Again we have the same idea as in the previous
talk: asking anything that is in accord with Jesus'
plan is going to happen. But let us be more precise:
anything that is asked about herself, as it is going
to «be done to you». The disciple is to ask to be
bearing more fruit, to be more and more what she
is meant to be.
This Jesus makes clear by this parable's ultimate sentence:
my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall
ye be my disciples.»8
Here the translation is slightly wrong as the Greek
text does not say «so» but «and». A better translation
would be: «Bearing more
fruit and being My disciples show My Father to be Who
He really is.» In fact, one could say that «bearing
much fruit» is «being My disciple»: Jesus
wants results. Being His disciple requires a behaviour
truly different from that of a disciple of this «world
B. Your fruit is your love
Jesus seems to leave His parable as He starts on the
subject of love. He first
states: «As the Father hath
loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my
It is interesting to note that Jesus loves His disciples
just like God Father loves Him. In a way, one could say
that it is God Father Who taught Jesus how to love
(a statement not totally ludicrous, as He is God
Father's Son and children learn from their parents).
But what is this about remaining in Jesus' love?
The Greek word translated by «continue» is in fact
the one He was using just previously about the
vine's branches. So we can see that this section
is really based on the parable just examined.
Remaining in Jesus' love is like remaining His branch,
and so continuing to be fed by His instructions.
He explains more fully: «If ye
keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love;
even as I have kept my Father's commandments,
and abide in his love.»10
To continue, remain in Jesus' love, the disciple
must keep Jesus' orders, just like Jesus had to
keep God Father's orders to continue, remain in
His love. Now there is something rather strange
about this statement.
Indeed, either God Father's love is unconditional,
or it is not. Either He loves each and every human
whatever, or He does not. Jesus elsewhere stated
that God Father makes His sun shine on good and
evil humans equally. This statement seems to
contradict the former.
Perhaps we need the previous parable to understand
how to reconcile both texts. God Father makes
His sun shine on His vine. He also prunes His vine
to make it give more fruit. He helps it, He is of
service to it; He loves it, He tends to it with care. He
provides this help to every branch of His vine;
but He cannot in practice look after the branches
that have fallen off His vine as they are dead. He
did not wish them to die; on the contrary, He
wanted to look after them just like His sun is still
shining on them, but to no avail. His love is thwarted
by the branches which have cut themselves off from
For a branch to cut itself from the vine, it has to
refuse to receive its sap. Without this sap it
cannot remain a vine branch: it becomes a dead
branch. This sap is what permits the branch to be
what God Father wants it to be: a fully grown
vine branch. This same sap flows from the vine
(Jesus) to its branches (His disciples) and so
becomes what God Father wants each one of
Jesus' branches to be.
So it seems that we have a way to reconcile both
statements. God Father wants all of us to be
fully ourselves, but we cannot do that without living
according to Jesus' teaching and example. We can
decide not to follow His ways, to cut ourselves from Him
and from God Father: He does not cease to love us,
but His love is now totally futile, as we are now basically
dead: we are of this world order, an order of violence and
Jesus follows with: «These
things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might
remain in you, and that your joy might be
What has joy to do with what He has just said?
Jesus wants His joy to remain in His disciples
and He wants His disciples' joy to be complete.
He says that what He has just said to them should
have that effect. And what He has just said had to
do with His Father's love for Him, His love for them,
and their love for each other and for Him. Love
brings about joy. Complete love brings complete joy.
Jesus now reiterates a sentence that He basically
said in His first talk: «This is
my commandment, That ye love one another, as
I have loved you.»12
Again, the disciples must copy Jesus' love in
their love for each other. They have to act like
Him. He immediately
adds: «Greater love hath no
man than this, that a man lay down his life for his
This statement certainly was meant by Jesus to refer
(among other cases) to what He Himself would live
in the next few hours. But does it make sense? How
is it that Jesus is going to die for His friends?
What is going to happen is that Jesus is going to be
arrested, found guilty of sedition by the Roman
Proconsul, found guilty of blaspheme by the Chief
priests, tortured and put to death by crucifixion. He
is also liquidated as someone who was deemed
dangerous to the survival of the Jewish people by
the powers that be. These are facts, but they have
absolutely nothing to do with what Jesus just said.
In what way is Jesus laying down His life for His
Jesus will show by His passion and death
how to cope with adversity, with this
world order. He will stand tall, answer questions only
when He thinks it valuable for the hearer and stay
silent otherwise. He will remain unafraid, peaceful,
patiently facing the blows, the insults and the terrible
ordeal of crucifixion. He is thus giving His friends
an example of how to live selflessly, refusing
completely to adopt any of this world order's methods.
He is giving to His friends the supreme example of the
Jesus then goes to say: «Ye
are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command
To be a friend of Jesus, we have to follow His orders;
nothing else will do. Again, to be a friend of Jesus,
one has to love Him, and loving Him means following His
orders, which means, following His example.
C. The disciples are sent as friends and not as servants
It is possible to imagine that something happened at
this point of the walk and thus of Jesus' talk; I can imagine that they
passed a house where a servant was taking
orders from his master.
This would explain why Jesus now brings up a point
He has not dwelt on before:
«Henceforth I call you not
servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord
doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that
I have heard of my Father I have made known unto
Jesus' distinction between «servants»
and «friends» is one based on knowledge:
while the orders given to a servant do not normally contain any
explanation or justification, the orders given
to friends come with arguments as to why they are crucial,
imperative, necessary. And this explanation comes
from God as Father, as the One Who knows His plan
for each of us.
Jesus goes on to say: «Ye have
not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you,
that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit
should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the
Father in my name, he may give it
This sentence is quite complicated and contains
many points, some which we have already seen,
sometimes in a different form, and some which we have
What He is saying is that He is the One Who gives
orders. He chose His disciples. They are His agents,
and it is their job to work effectively (bring forth much
fruit, a return to the introductory parable) for the
Kingdom. As long as they are His agents, His
officials, His vine branches, God as Father will
grant them anything they ask for. (Here it is not
Jesus Who receives and grants His disciples'
requests but God Father.)
Jesus than closes this section of His talk by what
He considers its fundamental point:
«These things I command
you, that ye love one
All He is saying seems to come down to that single
statement: love each other. It is as if nothing else matters.
D. The world's hate of Jesus will be transferred
to His disciples
Jesus contrasts His commandment of love for
each other with this statement of fact about our world
order: «If the world hate you,
ye know that it hated me before it hated
The Greek word translated as «hate», «misei»
can also be translated by «detest», which to
me is even stronger. Jesus claims that this
world order detests Him, and will detest His
agents, as they are continuing His work.
This is a rather strong statement. Is Jesus
basically paranoid? Is this world order really
detesting Him and all He stands for? Are not His
present agents well considered by our present
world order? We certainly cannot say that the
Pope is reviled by our world's establishment,
its presidents and prime ministers; nor are the
bishops persecuted by most of our world's media,
tycoons and politicians. So it thus seem that
Jesus is plain wrong here. In fact, most if not all
Church officials seem to be rather cozy with the
powers that be. Could this be explained by the
fact that they do not teach this fundamental message
of love for all and sundry irrespective of the
crimes committed? Could it be because they do not
insist on the need to turn the other cheeck at all times?
Could it be because they do not preach the need
to forgive everyone, whatever the crime?
Could it be because they do not stand against all forms of violence,
including that done by the police under the law
or by a country's armed forces under the
orders of a legally constituted government? Did any member of the clergy
suggest to the American people that they should turn the other cheek after
the destruction of the World Trade Center?
Jesus adds on this subject: «If
ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but
because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you
out of the world, therefore the world hateth
Jesus makes it clear that this world order has
no problem with those who act according to its laws
and customs. Those it cannot cope with are the
individuals who act outside those laws and customs,
as they by their very existence put into question the
whole scheme on which it is based. And, adds Jesus,
He has taken His disciples out of this scheme as His
commandment of love towards one another is contrary
to this world order. This makes them outlaws, people
to be hunted down and destroyed.
He goes on to say: «Remember
the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater
than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also
persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will
keep yours also.»20
Jesus is sending His disciples as His agents, to
proclaim His message. This word order's reaction
to them will thus be the same as it was to
Those who accept Him will accept them; those
who persecute Him will persecute them.
Jesus then goes one step further in His
claim: «But all these things
will they do unto you for my name's sake, because
they know not him that sent
The reason why some will persecute them for
following Jesus, He says, is because they do
not know the One who sent Him, God Father.
Indeed, their god is not every human's Father,
but someone who crushes his enemies
and makes them pay to the full; a god of justice, a god of war, a god
that divides people between the «saved», his personal friends,
and the «damned», those his friends cannot stand.
E. This world order's mistakes are now faults
Jesus then utters some sentences that I find
difficult to understand in the King James version: «If I had not come
and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now
they have no cloke for their
Here we have the first reference to «sin» in Jesus' discourses
after the Last Supper. The Greek
word so translated, «amartian»
means «error», «mistake», «fault». This text would
be better translated as: «they
had no fault until I came and spoke to them, but now
they have no excuse concerning their mistake».
Jesus has come to correct the mistake good religious people
had made in interpreting Who God Is and what He wills.
But now the excuse of ignorance is no longer valid
as Jesus has made these corrections,
has proved that He indeed speaks for God,
has proclaimed Who God really Is,
has clearly stated what we must do to be saved.
That this is the correct interpretation is made evident by
what follows: first Jesus' assertion to be the incarnation
of His Father: «He that hateth
me hateth my Father
where He makes clear that He speaks for God Father,
and then by: «If I had not done
among them the works which none other man did,
they had not had sin: but now have they both seen
and hated both me and my
Jesus clearly says that before He came, gave the
message He did and did the miracles He did, the
people's errors were not faults: they just did not
know better. They could not be blamed for their
misinterpretation of God's message. This
statement is very important as in it Jesus
states categorically that the message found in the
is neither clear, correct nor complete.
But now that Jesus has given God Father's
message clearly, correctly, completely, now
that He has proven conclusively that He is
representing His Father by signs and miracles
that no mere human could have done without
God acting through Him, there is no longer any valid reason
to pursue the wrong values and attitudes.
What was an error is now a fault.
He follows with: «But this
cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled
that is written in their law, They hated me without
It is freely that people detest Jesus. They have
definitely no cause as He proved that He was
God's Voice by His miracles. But God's message
is totally unacceptable to this world order;
so those who follow it have no choice but to
attack both Jesus and His disciples (as they
and so attack God Father as well as
Jesus definitely represents His Father.
F. The rôle of the disciples' Helper
Jesus then says that His disciples will have a
Helper: «But when the
Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from
the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth
from the Father, he shall testify of
Jesus again tells His disciples that God Father will
send them the Breath of Truth as a Helper. These
are mostly points He already made in His talk at table
that evening although there are also two new points.
The first is that this Helper «proceeds from the Father».
What does this term mean? The Greek word «ekporeuetai»
means «come out». This Breath of Truth comes out
of God Father; I suppose we could say that this Breath is an
exhalation of God Father.
The second is that this Breath will «testify of me».
The Greek word translated by «testify» is «marturèsei»
It is a legal term that means «be a witness», «give a
statement as a witness», «testify», «attest». From this
word comes the word «martyr» as the one who attests with her
life what she is stating. How this Breath of Truth will
attest to Jesus is not said. But Jesus is very much
someone who believes in actions rather than just words.
So this Breath will have to act in ways that are clear
for people to see.
Jesus then goes on to
say:«And ye also shall bear
witness, because ye have been with me from the
The Greek term translated here as «bear witness» is
the same one that was translated a line earlier as
«testify to me». The rôle of the disciples is to
give an account of Jesus' life, acts and words. Theirs
is a rôle of telling the truth about Him, of
giving us the facts. They are to tell us «the truth, the
whole truth, and nothing but the truth» with God
Father's Helper within them.
G. The disciples' hardships predicted
Jesus goes on to tell His disciples that He is preparing
them for the hardships to come by predicting them,
by telling them that they are unavoidable.
This way they will not be scandalized when they happen:
«These things have I spoken
unto you, that ye should not be
He does not want His disciples to think for a moment that their
hardships to come are to be construed as a sign that God Father is abandoning
them, a sign that He is really on the side of their adversaries.
He goes further. Indeed, He forecasts a violent
reaction by the Jewish leaders against
them: «They shall put you
out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that
whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God
His disciples will be persecuted by the Jewish
authorities and their followers, all convinced
of acting in the true service of the God of Abraham,
Isaac and Jacob.
Of course, the reason why they will be so acting is
because their knowledge of God is
erroneous: «And these things
will they do unto you, because they have not known
the Father, nor me.»33
The fundamental problem is their ignorance of Who God
Father Is, an ignorance based on an ignorance of Who
Jesus is, the Manifestation of God Father.
Jesus then goes on to say: «But
these things have I told you, that when the time shall
come, ye may remember that I told you of them.
And these things I said not unto you at the beginning,
because I was with
For Jesus, it is important that His disciples know that He
is well aware of the great difficulties facing them ahead.
But He trusts that they can
and will cope with them, that they are now mature
enough to face the music. He did not tell them
things like that before as He was there to hold
them by the hand when the going got tough.
He tells them why He trusts in their newly found
maturity: «But now I go my
way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me,
Whither goest thou?»35
Indeed, though He is on His way to God Father, the
One Who sent Him on His mission, His disciples are
not holding on to Him, pleading that they cannot
cope without Him. For Him, the very fact that they are not asking
where He is going implies that they are ready to be
left alone on their mission.
Which of course does not mean that they do not
feel very sad at seeing Jesus
go: «But because I have
said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your
They are sad, but also ready to accept the fact
of His departure, His death.
H. The many rôles of the Advocate
Jesus now proceeds to try to cheer His disciples
up by talking about their new Helper. At first glance, His first
statement is rather odd: «Nevertheless I tell
you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away:
for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come
unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto
Here we have quite a long sentence. He says
that it is to their advantage that He leaves them,
as it is the only way the Helper can come to them.
But why does Jesus have to go away for their
Helper to come? We have seen earlier that
Jesus is both His disciples' first Helper and their
Master. As He goes, they have to take over:
after being mere assistants in Jesus' earthly mission, they
now are put in charge. This new
Helper is coming to help them take
charge, make decisions, face difficulties
without the earthly physical presence of Jesus
This is followed by a very strange statement about this
Helper: «And when he is come,
he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness,
and of judgment:»38
Here we have quite a few words whose translation
need to be checked.
The Greek word translated by «reprove», «eleigksei»
means «accuse», « refute», «reproach» someone
about something. We have already seen that the
Greek word translated by «sin», «amartias»
means «error», «fault». The Greek word translated
by «righeousness», «dikaiosunès»
means «justice», «practice of justice». And, finally,
the Greek word translated by «judgment», «kriseôs»
means «deciding», «choice», «election», «separating»,
But what are we to make of this sentence even after having examined the
proper meaning of these four Greek terms? What does it really mean?
Perhaps this can be understood more easily if we notice
that Jesus follows this preliminary statement
by the reasons He gives for its validity.
So perhaps it should be examined within the context of the proofs He offers.
The first of these is: «Of sin,
because they believe not
Considering the previous sentence, Jesus says that the
Helper will accuse this world order of «sin» for not
believing Him. This translation does not make much
sense to me. I can make much more sense of it with
the substitution of «error» for the word «sin».
Jesus would then be saying that the Helper would be
clearly stating to this world order that it was for them
an error, a serious error, not to believe
in Jesus' message.
The second argumentation is: «Of
righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me
This is again bizarre! Why is Jesus' going to the Father,
disappearing from His disciples, the reason for the
Helper to accuse this world order? Furthermore,
since when does one accuse someone of righteousness?
We have seen that Jesus going to His Father and
disappearing from view means His death. So Jesus'
statement could be paraphrased
as: «Of righteousness,
because of My death». But this does not make
much sense either. Of course we have seen that the
Greek term translated by «righteousness» could also
be translated by «practice of justice». Could this then
be better translated as: «the
Helper will accuse them about their way of practicing
justice, as they will have condemned
Me to death.»?
At least it does make definite sense within the
context of the Acts of the Apostles, where the
disciples accuse on many occasions the leaders and
members of their world order of putting to death an
innocent man, Jesus, the Manifestation of God Father
as well as of being stubborn in refusing to recognize
Jesus as God's Mouthpiece.
The third argumentation is: «Of
judgment, because the prince of this world is
We have the Helper refuting the world about «judgment»
because the «prince of this world» stands «judged».
The verb translated by «judged» is from the
some root as the noun translated by «judgment».
We have already seen that the Greek word
translated by «prince», «apchôn»
means «head», «magistrate» and so the one
who is first, shows the way, guides others.
This being said, what sense can we make of this?
Why is the leader of the world «judged»?
One judges between choices. If there is only
one choice, there is no judgment. But Jesus' life,
death and resurrection establish another choice
from that offered by this world order: we do not
have to fight and defend ourselves as this world
order compels us to do, we can actually refuse to fight
and defend ourselves as Jesus tells us to do;
we do not have to hate our enemies as this world
order instructs us, we can actually love them; we
do not have to exact revenge as this world order
requires of us, we can actually forgive from the
bottom of our heart; we do not have to use violence
to create law and order as this world order has done
from time immemorial, we can live by non-violence
as we can actually accept to be used and abused
like Jesus was.
The Helper will be there in the disciples to remind
them of these choices, to remind them that the world
order's way of life is not the only one, that Jesus
brought them a totally different way. So they have
a choice to make, a judgment call to do.
Jesus then goes on to say: «I have
yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them
This again is a rather strange thing to say.
Jesus would really like to tell His disciples much more,
but they would not be able to manage the load of these
sayings of His. What can these be? Why can they not manage
He follows this by: «Howbeit
when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into
all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever
he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you
things to come.»43
So the Breath of Truth will come and He will guide
Jesus' disciples. The Greek verb translated by «guide»,
means «lead», «guide» on the way. So this Helper will
guide the disciples on the way to the Truth. How will He
do that? By telling them what He Himself has heard.
Whom from? Jesus does not say just here. But He adds
that He will announce things that are just starting to
Jesus adds: «He shall glorify me:
for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto
This I would rather translate for reasons already given as:
«He will make Me known
as He will announce to you what He will receive from
Me.» So Jesus makes it clear that what this
Helper will announce is nothing else than what Jesus
has provided Him with. He then goes on to explain how that
is: «All things that the Father
hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine,
and shall shew it unto
So basically, what this Helper will be telling Jesus'
disciples comes both from God Father and Jesus
as Jesus and His Father share everything in common.
I can imagine that this is followed by a period of silence,
silence needed to let Jesus' words take hold in the minds of His
disciples. One way or another, there is definitely a hiatus
between what was just said and what is coming
Being somewhat of a romantic, and eager to embellish
an already perfectly good story,
I imagine a noise being heard at some
distance: the groans of a woman in the very last
stages of labour. Jesus and His disciples are hearing her cries of pain and agony as
she is trying to push her baby out. These noises could easily be heard outside
as people's houses were without window panes.
And cries of pain were commonplace
in a world without painkillers, epidurals and effective
I can imagine that Jesus and His disciples
are getting closer to the house where she is.
She is moaning louder than ever, and more frequently,
suggesting that her delivery is near. The encouragement
of the midwife also suggests the same.
I. The effect of the next few days on the disciples
Jesus breaks His silence. He tells His disciples that He
will soon go away to His Father and then come
back: «A little while, and ye shall
not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me,
because I go to the
We have seen that it means that the disciples will not see
Him when His Body is in the tomb, when He is dead, when
He is with His Father, but He will show Himself to them
alive though dead.
This is not understood by His disciples who cannot figure
out what Jesus is saying:47
Then said some of his disciples among themselves,
What is this that he saith unto us, A little while,
and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while,
and ye shall see me: and, Because I go to the
Father? They said therefore, What is this that he
saith, A little while? we cannot tell what he saith.
Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask
him, and said unto them,
Do ye inquire among
yourselves of that I said, A little while, and ye
shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye
I can finally imagine that a cry now pierces the
air: the cry of a new-born child! This is followed
by the midwife telling the mother that the child is a
boy! The disciples and Jesus can hear the cries
of joy from both mother and midwife as a new
child is born into the world.
After this interruption (real or just imagined by me), Jesus
starts to explain things:
«Verily, verily, I say unto
you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world
shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your
sorrow shall be turned into
He tells His disciples that they will cry and lament
as they mourn His death, a death that this world
order will celebrate as it will show clearly to its
leaders that this troublemaker was not protected
by their God, the God who saves those He loves
and crushes the ones He hates. His death will
prove to them that they were right in crucifying
Him, that they were right in accusing Him of
blaspheme, that they were right is saying He
was a devil, that they were right in saying that
He wanted to fight Roman rule. The disciples
will wail because they will have lost a good
friend and someone they had hoped would
procure them power and prestige as assistants
to the Messiah.
Jesus then goes on to
say: «A woman when
she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour
is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the
child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for
joy that a man is born into the
Jesus now interprets the disciples' sorrow,
affliction, distress, hardship, terms that are
all translations of the Greek word «lupèn»
as the birth pangs of a woman in labour.
According to my imaginings, Jesus would have
been using what He and His disciples had just
witnessed as a metaphor. Whether this is the case
or not, it remains that the time of delivery is for the
expectant mother a time of excruciating pain and
distress, but pain and distress are followed by joy
when her baby is born, cries for the first time,
when she first holds her baby in her arms and
There is something a bit odd in Jesus' analogy; in it,
it is the disciples who are
giving birth and Jesus Who is being born! The
disciples rejoice when Jesus is well and truly born
alive after time in His disciples' common womb.
His disciples' pain and travail brings forth Jesus'
birth to new Life. In this analogy even more than in the
Vine parable, Jesus has a passive rôle.
Perhaps the explanation is this: Jesus' disciples have
to let Him go, let Him be born to new Life. They
cannot keep Him with them, in their collective «womb».
This parturition, this parting is difficult for them; in
fact, it is excruciating for them. But it is necessary
if Jesus is to be «born» into Life. Letting go of those
we love is not an easy task, but it is a necessary
part of growing up, both for them and for us.
Jesus continues to develop this point:
«And ye now therefore
have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your
heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from
Jesus states that His disciples' sorrow at His
death is like that of the woman in travail, but just
as she rejoices when her child is born alive, so
will they when they see that, although dead, He
is more alive than ever; that instead of being
confined to the womb of this earthy life, He is now free
in the Real World.
This future experience of the risen Jesus will be one
that no one can take away from them as they will know
for a fact that Jesus is more alive than He ever was
before he died. This event will prove once and for all
that Jesus is right and that this world order with its
deification of violence is totally wrong.
So Jesus can then add:
«And in that day ye shall ask me
as the disciples will then finally make sense of it all
and so will not need to ask Him anymore questions
(the «ask» of this sentence is really «ask questions»).
J. Asking in Jesus' name
Jesus now proceeds to something different:
«Verily, verily, I say unto
you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my
name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked
nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive,
that your joy may be full.»53
We have already examined what Jesus
meant by «asking the Father in His name».
But He adds that His disciples have so far
never asked for anything in such a way, which
is hardly surprising according to the interpretation
that I gave earlier. But there is more: asking
in such a fashion will always be efficacious,
and this will fill the disciples with joy. «Joy» is as
apt a translation of the Greek term «chara»
as is «pleasure». Following Jesus, asking
to become more and more like Him and
becoming more and more like Him brings
the disciple an ever growing joy. Indeed, noticing that
we are growing up to be more and more
like Jesus is a source of real joy.
It is highly probable that there was again a period
of pregnant silence as they continued their walk.
This again was interrupted by Jesus on a different
He goes on to say:
«These things have I
spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh,
when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs,
but I shall shew you plainly of the
Jesus acknowledges that He has been speaking
in elliptical terms but adds that He will now speak
frankly, calling a spade a spade as the expression
goes. The term «proverb», the correct translation
of the Greek term «paroimiais»
implies a style somewhat obscure and partly
allegorical. Jesus did not use the term «death»
but terms like «going to the Father», «seeing Me
no more», He did not use the term «resurrection»
but «seeing Me again». The Greek term «parrèsia»
translated by «plainly», could also be translated
by «frankly», «without any artifice».
Whether or not what follows is said plainly is open to
debate, but it is a good summary of quite a few
points: «At that day ye
shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that
I will pray the Father for you: For the Father himself
loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have
believed that I came out from
It could be translated as: «Then
I will not have to ask God Father on your behalf what you
ask as My officers as He Himself loves you, and the
reason why is because you loved Me and trusted that I
came from Him.»
Then He goes on to repeat Himself: «I
came forth from the Father, and am come into the world:
again, I leave the world, and go to the
He says again that He came from God Father into
this world order, on this planet, to live a human life,
and now He is leaving this world order by dying and
so going back to Whom He came: God His Father.
By this statement He clearly, straightforwardly
states that, contrary to all other humans, He existed
before He was conceived in His mother's womb, as
He Is with God Father from all eternity.
At this point comes the disciples only interjection:
«His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest
thou plainly, and speakest no proverb. Now are
we sure that thou knowest all things, and
needest not that any man should ask thee: by
this we believe that thou camest forth from
From this, I gather that the disciples found Jesus' last
statement easy to understand; that they indeed
understood that Jesus was from before He was
born, came from God Father, and would go back
to Him through death very soon indeed; that He
knew what would happen next, just like He knew
what was on their mind, though I cannot but marvel
that they would be in awe of such a normal gift as
Jesus being able to read their faces after all this
time. Still, the authority with which He spoke, the
solemnity of the occasion all conspired to make
them trust that He was telling the truth when He
was saying that He Is with God before being
born into this world.
K. The hardships to come are predicted
This trust in Jesus permits Him to go further, to tell
them in greater detail what will happen to Him. This
is clear by the way Jesus starts this prediction of
things to come in the next hours: «Jesus answered
them, Do ye now
Indeed, He has to make sure that they really trust
Him before He ventures further in telling them what
will happen to all of them.
Taking His disciples' silence for the «yes» it is, He
then proceeds: «Behold, the
hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be
scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave
me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with
Jesus foretells that in the next hours they will all run
their own way trying to escape from the authorities,
leaving Him well and truly alone, though He is never
alone as God Father is always, but always, with Him
as He Is within Him.
Jesus then concludes this talk on a walk by:
«These things I have spoken
unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world
ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have
This is a rather strange saying, albeit a significant one.
It is worth examining it closely.
The Greek expression translated as «might have peace»,
means «to be at peace» in opposition to the contrary
expression, «to be at war». What Jesus says here is
odd because He says that His disciples will be at peace
in Him, which is not the kind of thing usually
said as you are normally either at peace or at war!
The fact is that the state of affairs the disciples are to live
under is that of «tribulation», the translation of the Greek
which could also be translated as «pressure»,
«compression», «oppression». We are to conclude
that the disciples will live under this world order's
oppression while being at peace in Jesus! What can this
He goes on to tell them to «be of good cheer», the translation
of the Greek term «tharseite»
which would be better translated as «have confidence»,
«be resolute», «be courageous». Jesus is telling His
disciples to be courageous in the hard fight ahead.
As encouragement He tells them that He has already
won the war against this world order as the term
«overcome» is the translation of the Greek
that comes from «nikaô»
which means «win against», «be the winner over».
So Jesus tells His disciples that He has already
won the war against this world order. This again,
is rather strange if taken very litterally, as He has
yet to go through His passion, death and
resurrection. But it can be seen as the kind of
morale booster a general will give to his troups before
the start of hostilities. He predicts to his
men that victory is a sure thing with him at their head.
So Jesus is providing His disciples with some greatly
needed reassurance that victory will be theirs, even though
the fight will be very rough and they will start by loosing
ground, by being scattered when the enemy's first onslaught
Jesus finishes His talk on the walk with the promise
of final victory and of succour during the fight as His
disciples will be able to be at peace in Him, will be able
to refresh themselves in a safe heaven when the going
gets too rough.
L. Beaulieu's Revised Version!
Again, let me paraphrase Jesus' talk on a walk,
concentrating only on His sayings:
«I am truly a vine and
my Father is its farmer. He cuts off My fruitless
branches and prunes My fruitful ones. Only by
being part of Me can you be fruitful just like it is
only as part of the vine that a vine branch can
produce fruit. A cut off branch is dead; so are
you without Me. If you are in Me, nourished by
My words, following them, whatever you ask so
as to be more fruitful will be done to you. Bearing
much fruit, that is, following My orders, is how you
show Who God Father Is.
I love you just like God Father loves Me. Just as I
have to follow God Father's orders for Me to stay
in His love, you have to follow Mine to remain in
Mine. I am telling you this so that I can continue to
be happy with you, and that you can also be happy.
My order to you is to love each other just like I love
you. Giving up one's life for others is the greatest
show of love.
You are My friends if you do what I order you to do.
You are not My servants as they do not know why
they are given orders. You are friends as I told you
all that God Father told Me. I chose you and gave
you a mission. As I want you to continually bear fruit,
everything you need for your mission and ask for
will be given by God Father. Your mission is to love
If this world order detests you, do not forget that it
detested Me first. The reason why this world order
hates you is because you do not follow its rules and
regulations, but Mine. Those who accepted My
message will accept yours; those who persecuted
Me will persecute you. It is because of Me that they
will persecute you, because they do not understand
He Who sent Me.
People were without fault until I came and spoke
to them, but now they have no excuse concerning
their mistake as I proved that I am representing
God by the miracles that came from Me. These
prove that I spoke for God just as I claim. So
anyone who detests Me necessarily detests God
Father Who demonstrated that He supports My
claims. So it is without reason that they detest Me.
I will send you a Helper, the Truthful Breath Who
emanates from God Father. He will testify on My behalf;
and so will you, who have been with Me since the start.
I am telling you now, so that you are not taken aback, that you
will be excommunicated and killed by people who
by so doing will think that they are
obeying God. This
will happen to you at the hands of those who know
neither God Father nor Me. You must always
remember this. The reason I did not tell you
this before is that I was still with you but now
I am going to die.
As you do not cling to Me, I can see that you are ready
to be left alone, though you are very sad at My
Still, this is the only way the Helper can come to
you to help you take charge. This Helper will give
you the courage to tell people off, to state that not
believing My message is a great error; that
condemning Me to death was an act of grave
injustice; to show them My alternative to this
world order's choice of violence and force, an
alternative of love and service, of total non-violence.
I would like to say more, but this is all you can manage.
But the Truthful Breath will guide you on the way.
He will make Me known as He will announce to
you what He will receive from Me. All that is My
Father's is also Mine.
Soon I will die; soon after, I will show Myself alive
though dead. At My death, you will weep while this
world order will rejoice; but when you see Me alive
though dead you will rejoice. Just like the
woman with child rejoices when she gives birth
although she was in pain and agony beforehand.
You are sad, but when you see Me after My death you
will rejoice with a joy that cannot be extinguished. Then
you will understand. God Father will give you whatever
you ask to achieve your mission. You will be happy
when you are more and more able to perform your
I have not always been as clear as I could have been,
but I now speak to you frankly. I will not have to beg
God Father on your behalf; God Father will give you whatever you ask as My
officers as He Himself loves you. The reason for His love for you
is that you love Me and trust that I came
from Him. I came from God Father, was born on
this planet and now will die and return to God Father.
As you now accept that I am telling you the truth, I
can also tell you that you will soon all desert Me,
leaving Me alone with God Father Who never deserts Me.
I am telling you all this that you might find peace in
Me. You will be oppressed by this world order, but
you must be courageous as I have won the battle
over this world order.»