"Psalm 23," John August Swanson. Used by permission from the artist.
Image © by John August Swanson. Artwork held in the Luther Seminary Fine Arts Collection, St. Paul, Minn.
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John 13:1-17 Commentary
by Elisabeth Johnson
“Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father.
Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end” (John 13:1).
So begins the second half of John’s Gospel. The public teaching of Jesus has been completed, and now for several chapters Jesus focuses exclusively on teaching “his own” -- his disciples -- and trying to prepare them for what is to come. The statement that “he loved them to the end” is striking. The end (telos in Greek) could mean “end” in the sense of conclusion or termination, or “end” in the sense of goal, aim, or fulfillment.
Given John’s fondness for ambiguity and multiple layers of meaning, perhaps both meanings are intended. Jesus loved his disciples to the very end of his earthly life and ministry, and he loved them fully and completely, without condition or reservation, for this was the fulfillment of his mission.
Jesus knows that his “hour” has come to depart from this world and return to the Father (13:1). He knows ...
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Summer 2020 Readings
2020-21 Readings (Year 3)
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
Narrative Lectionary 121: Footwashing
March 16, 2014
Join Profs. Rolf Jacobson, Craig Koester, and Kathryn Schifferdecker for "I Love to Tell the Story," a conversation on Year 4 of the narrative lectionary. This podcast covers the text for March 16, 2014: John 13:1-17. Accompanying reading: Psalm 51:7-12.