The Chronological Gospel –

Holy Week: Thursday Part 2,
Jesus' Farewell Discourse

Matthew 26:31a; John 13:33-38a; Matthew 26:31b-33; Luke 22:31-34; Mark 14:31; Luke 22:35-38, Jesus begins his farewell discourse.
John 14:1-14, Jesus’ farewell discourse, continued
John 14:15-31, Jesus’ farewell discourse, continued
John 15:1-17, Jesus’ farewell discourse, continued
John 15:18-25, Jesus’ farewell discourse, continued
John 15:26 – 16:15, Jesus’ farewell discourse, continued
John 16:16-33, Jesus’ farewell discourse, concluded
John 17:1-12, Jesus’ intercessory prayer
John 17:13-26, Jesus’ intercessory prayer, concluded
John 18:1a; Mark 14:26a; Luke 22:39; Mark 14:32-34; Luke 22:40b-41; Mark 14:36; Luke 22:42-45; Mark 14:37b-40; Matthew 26:44; Mark 14:41-42, Thursday evening. Jesus and his disciples go to the Mount of Olives.

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Jesus Praying in the Garden, by Gustave Dore. Click to enlarge. See below for provenance.
Matthew 26:31a; John 13:33-38a; Matthew 26:31b-33; Luke 22:31-34; Mark 14:31; Luke 22:35-38, Jesus begins his farewell discourse. (9/19/14)

As I understand it, a Passover dinner typically lasts for hours, and Jesus had already told his disciples – whether they understood it or not – that this was the last time he would be with them. Consequently, he gives them a great deal of information during supper; this information is often called “the farewell discourse.” Jesus begins with the most important thing, the one most on his mind: “love one another.” Loving our fellow-Christians is not optional or discretionary; it is the commandment of Jesus, our Master.


John 14:1-14, Jesus’ farewell discourse, continued (9/22/14)

Have you heard the saying, “No brag, just fact”? (Apparently it comes from a TV Western; I didn’t know that.) It means, “You might think what I’m saying isn’t true, but you’d be wrong.” Jesus says almost the same thing to his disciples: “If you don’t or can’t believe who I am because it’s what I’m telling you, look at the facts of what you’ve seen me do. Those facts will tell you the same thing.” Jesus wasn’t bragging, he was just stating the facts.

By the way, notice that most of Jesus' long farewell discourse is recorded only by John. I can think of three possible reasons for this. First, part of John's purpose was to record events and teachings not in the three earlier Gospels. Second, John was closest to Jesus at the table, and thus he was in the best position to hear and retain what Jesus had said. Finally, John wrote after decades of thought and conversation with the Holy Spirit. I think that he, of all the disciples, was best able to understand the significance of what Jesus had said, and therefore the importance of passing it on to us.


John 14:15-31, Jesus’ farewell discourse, continued (9/23/14)

Jesus continues telling his disciple what they need to know after he is gone. God loves you. If you love God, you will obey his commandments, which are two: Love God. Love your neighbor.

At the end of this part of the discussion, Jesus says, “Get up; let’s go.” At this point, Dr. Daniel has them get up and start walking out to the Mount of Olives. I disagree, because Jesus continues speaking for quite a while after this, and it doesn’t sound to me like the sort of thing he normally said on the road. For example, there are no references to the scenery as illustrations of what he is saying. Second, what he’s saying is complex and theologically dense, as opposed to the easy-to-remember parables he normally tells. It’s the sort of thing people need to listen to carefully, sitting around the table, not to hear in snatches walking along the road. Finally, I come from a long line of ladies who say, “I’d better hang up now,” and then talk for another 45 minutes. Jesus says, “Get up; let’s go”; but it sounds to me like he talked to his disciples for another 45 minutes before they get out the door.

It’s okay if you don’t agree with me; what Jesus said is what he said, and where he said it doesn’t matter.


John 15:1-17, Jesus’ farewell discourse, continued (9/24/14)

Jesus continues to give his disciples last-minute instructions. Love continues to be his theme, but now he adds that anyone who loves him will obey his commandments, chief among which is “Love one another.”


John 15:18-25, Jesus’ farewell discourse, continued (9/25/14)

I’ve never quite understood why some Christians think that life will be a bed of roses because they are Christians. As Jesus continues his last-minute instructions to his disciples, he warns them that they will have difficulties precisely because they are Christians! We American Christians mostly live in the bed of roses – pray today for our fellow-Christians who are being persecuted for the faith in other parts of the world.


John 15:26 – 16:15, Jesus’ farewell discourse, continued (9/26/14)

It’s hard to teach calculus to kindergarten kids, because they haven’t had algebra and trigonometry. In the same way, Jesus says to his disciples, he is now telling them a lot of important things he couldn’t teach them before tonight, because they didn’t have the background. In fact, he says, there are a lot of things he can’t teach them yet, because they still aren’t ready. He promises, however, to send them a new teacher.


John 16:16-33, Jesus’ farewell discourse, concluded (9/29/14)

One of the important parts of any course of medical treatment is that the doctor tells the patient about what’s expected to happen: How long will the drug take to work? What are the normal side effects? How soon will the patient start feeling better? Very often we patients need to have this information given to us several times, because we didn’t get it the first time.

In the same way, Jesus is trying to prepare his disciples for his death and resurrection. You and I probably can’t imagine how hard it was for them to understand what was going to happen! Jesus tells them at least three times that he’s leaving for a while and will be back: in vs. 17, in a little parable in vss. 20-22, and most plainly in vss. 26-28. Finally they say they understand it; however, Jesus warns them that they’ll all desert temporarily. He explains that he’s telling them in advance so that they will have the peace of knowing that what is happening is what’s expected to happen.


John 17:1-12, Jesus’ intercessory prayer (9/30/14)

After giving his disciples a cram-course in theology, Jesus prays for them. We know of a number of occasions that Jesus prayed “all night” (e.g., Luke 6:2), but for the most part he prayed privately, just as he instructed us to do (Matthew 6:6). This is the only long prayer of Jesus that we have a record of. It’s often called “the High-Priestly Prayer,” because in it Jesus intercedes for his disciples with God.


John 17:13-26, Jesus’ intercessory prayer, concluded (10/1/14)

Jesus continues to pray for his disciples, and for us. Together we form the body of Christ (vss. 20-22), in ministry throughout the world to show the love of God (vs. 23). Love was the beginning and end of the Last Supper.


John 18:1a; Mark 14:26a; Luke 22:39; Mark 14:32-34; Luke 22:40b-41; Mark 14:36; Luke 22:42-45; Mark 14:37b-40; Matthew 26:44; Mark 14:41-42, Thursday evening. Jesus and his disciples go to the Mount of Olives. (10/2/14)

Quick! Raise your hand if you would be happy to die a tortured and shameful death on behalf of a bunch of bad people you hadn’t met! That’s what Jesus willingly did for us, but he wasn’t looking forward to it. Jesus, even knowing that Judas intended to betray him, followed his usual custom and went to the Mount of Olives to pray. After explaining to God the Father that he really, really didn’t want to die this way, Jesus turned the situation over to the Father.

More of The Chronological Gospel

Birth Announcements and Early Lives of Jesus and John the Baptist
Early Ministries of Jesus and John the Baptist
Jesus’ Early Ministry
Jesus’ Galilean Ministry
Sabbath Controversies
The Sermon on the Mount
The Sermon on the Plain
John the Baptist
Signs and Parables
Miracles and Mission Trips
Bread of Life
Miracles and Meanings
Transfiguration and Teachings
To Jerusalem for the Festival of Tabernacles
Some Results of Luke’s Research
Light
More of Luke’s Research
On the Road Again
The Raising of Lazarus
Holy Week: Palm Sunday and Monday
Holy Week: Tuesday, Parables and Questions
Holy Week: Wednesday Part 1, Discussions
Holy Week: Wednesday Part 2, Be Ready!
Holy Week: Thursday Part 1, Jesus' Celebration of the Passover
Holy Week: Thursday Part 2, Jesus' Farewell Discourse
Holy Week: Friday Part 1, Jesus' Arrest and Two Informal Trials
Holy Week: Friday Part 2, More Trials
Holy Week: Friday, Part 3, and Saturday, Jesus' Death and Burial
The Empty Tomb
Final Appearances of Jesus Prior to Pentecost

Copyright 2014 by Regina L. Hunter. All rights reserved. Scripture readings are from the Weymouth New Testament (1912); caps indicate quotations from the Old Testament. This page has been prepared for the web site by RPB.

"Jesus Praying in the Garden" by Gustave Doré is from the Thomas family Bible, now in a private collection of a family member.

Opinions expressed on this page are solely those of the author, Regina Hunter, and may or may not be shared by the sponsors or the Bible-study participants.  Thanks to the Holy Spirit for any useful ideas presented here, and thanks to all the readers for their support and enthusiasm.  All errors are, of course, the sole responsibility of the author.

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