Introducing John’s Gospel: In The Upper Room With Jesus The Christ -- By: Zane C. Hodges

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 21:40 (Spring 2008)
Article: Introducing John’s Gospel: In The Upper Room With Jesus The Christ
Author: Zane C. Hodges

Introducing John’s Gospel:
In The Upper Room With Jesus The Christ

Part 1 of 2

Zane C. Hodges

Copyright © 2008 by Kerugma, Inc.

I. Introduction

John 1317 contains a special body of material. In popular communication it is often called The Upper Room Discourse.

This is not precisely accurate. John 14:31 indicates the point at which Jesus and His disciples left the upper room. (Jesus says: “Arise, let us go from here.”) But John 1516 continues the discourse, and the prayer of John 17 concludes it. Most writers now refer to John 1317 as “The Last Discourse.”

The material in these chapters is unique to John’s Gospel. By contrast, the Synoptic Gospels are relatively brief in describing our Lord’s final interaction with his eleven disciples (cf. Matt in 26:17–30; Mark 14:17–26; Luke 22:14–38). For many reasons, we need to pay closer attention to The Last Discourse. We need to examine again its actual role in the Gospel of John.

II. A Fundamental Premise

A fundamental premise is that the purpose of the Gospel of John is evangelistic. This purpose is quite clearly stated in John 20:30–31. Nevertheless, I am well aware that the subject of John’s purpose is debated in the current technical literature.

During the 20th century Raymond E. Brown was probably the premier Johannine scholar in the English speaking world. He was a lifelong Roman Catholic, and an ordained priest, of moderately liberal persuasion. His magisterial two-volume commentary on John remains a goldmine for all students of the Fourth Gospel. He passed away suddenly on August 8, 1998.

The year before his death Brown published a massive volume (over 900 pages) entitled An Introduction to the New Testament. It distilled his enormous scholarly knowledge. In that volume he comments on the issue of John’s purpose:

Luke explains his purpose at the beginning of his Gospel (1:1–4), but John saves his statement of intention till th...

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