Monday, May 15, 2023

John 17.1-11: Translations and Notes - RCL Year A 7th Sunday after Easter

John 17.1-11 is Jesus' concluding prayer to the long discourse at the last supper. I have attached my compilation of translations along with my own translation. I also include the introduction I use before reading (performing) the text. A few things to note:

  • Verses 1-11 are only the first part of Jesus' prayer. The words and themes raised in this section will carry on throughout the rest of the part. I like to talk about the language in John as "spiraling." It seems like we keep hearing the same thing over and over, but the text is not going in circles. It is circling back to early themes, but it is also moving forward with new insights. It keeps spiraling in this way until it reaches its conclusion.
  • One way I try to visualize the passage is to highlight repeated words. This demonstrates the spiraling, and it also aids in memorization of the passage for performance. At the end of my notes I've included my highlighting along with logical indentations. It becomes clear in this passage that "glorification" is one key theme. Another theme is the act of "giving." God gave all things (authority, eternal life, work to do, God's words...), and Jesus has given them to the disciples. It all leads to verse 11: "... that they may be one just as we are."
  • My translation is somewhat wooden, but I'm trying to be attentive to tenses and syntax and emphasized elements in the Greek while also preserving the repeated words as much as possible.
  • In John, when Jesus finishes the prayer, he and his disciples go directly to the garden where he is arrested. Unlike the synoptic gospels, there is no record of Jesus' prayer in Gethsemane. Instead, this prayer in John 17 should be the point of comparison. And, further, unlike the Synoptics where Jesus prays that the "cup / hour might pass" him by, in John, Jesus' prayer is a confident one. Jesus is completing his work, and his prayer is for his disciples rather than himself.
  • Another aspect of John that is evident in this passage is the "two-level" nature of Jesus' speaking. On the one hand, it's a record of Jesus speaking to his disciples, but it is also a record of Jesus speaking directly to the members of the Johannine community. It makes it a bit tricky rendering verb tenses. We also see things like verse 3 which is an explanatory aside addressed directly to John's community.
  • As I have in the past, I encourage people to check out the resources available at GoTell. HERE is the link for John 17.1-11.
Here, then, are my notes and translation: John 17.1-11 mgvh notes

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