"Come and See": A Web Commentary on the Gospel of John: Section 12. The Last Supper Farewell Discourses (Jn 13-17

12.2 Table-Talk (Jn 13.27-16.33)

General Comments

The rest of Section 12 comprises what an Eighteenth-Century English writer would have called Table Talk. It's Jesus' teaching to the assembled group of disciples (and no doubt intended to be disseminated by them to those who weren't there. We know from scholars studying Passover practices in the first century CE that at Passover meals like this, when the guests were the disciples of a rabbi or other teacher, the leader often taught his disciples in the context of this meal. Its being both ceremonial and real offered opportunities for discourse. Apparently Deuteronomy 26.5-10 was the normal focus of this teaching. (See Routledge 2002 for discussion of the Passover meal as it likely happened in the time of Jesus.

But this was not simply Passover. It was the last meal that Jesus would have on earth, the last time he would be able to share teaching and fellowship with his disciples. So it is not surprising that his teaching would roam more widely over Biblical themes and the particular challenges that he and they would face in the immediate future. I have broken this long section up into what appear to me to be thematic units, beginning with the discussion that seems to have prompted Judas to leave the table. There are seven such units, ending with the discussion of Jesus' teaching and that of the Advocate in Jn 16.1-33). Jesus' final prayer (the so-called high-priestly prayer) I have treated as a separate part of the Last Supper section, which it also brings to a close.