Thoughts of a Living Christian

Musings of an amateur theologian and hopeful writer

John 15:12-27

Introduction

John 15:12-27 is a central passage in the Farewell Discourse, in which Jesus discusses three major themes: the necessity of love, the inevitable persecution of Christians, and the assurance God sends believers. It can be broken up into two major sections, vv.12-17 and 18-27, though some argue for the inclusion of surrounding verses. Jesus’ command to love in the first section is both uncompromising and entirely selfless. In order to call oneself a follower of Christ, one must be willing to love another in the same way Jesus has loved his disciples. In other words, Christians must be willing to give their lives for each other. Jesus then discusses the inevitable persecution that comes with being a Christian. A servant, he says, is no greater than the master and, thus, if Jesus received great persecution from the world, the disciples will also receive great persecution. However, Christians are not alone, for Jesus sends another who will help with this great task. This essay exegetes this passage, attempting to critically and etymologically analyze the more significant and controversial words and phrases, resulting in the three major implications upon the contemporary reader.

Exegesis

The “Farewell Discourse” (13:31-16:33) inhabits a large proportion of John’s “Book of Glory” (13:1-20:31), discussing Jesus’ preparation of the new community, in which “the focus is on preparing his new messianic community for their Spirit-guided mission to the unbelieving world.”[1] The Passion narrative is also included (18:1-19:42). The Farewell Discourse deals with the revelation of Jesus to the world, with a focus on mission by the power of the Holy Spirit.[2] Most commentators include 15:1-16:33 as a single unit within this discourse,[3] though some argue for 15:1-6:4.[4] It seems more likely, however, that dividing chapter 16 into parts is unnecessary, as the subject matter does not change dramatically.[5] This is further supported by 16:33 and 17:1; the former referring back to Jesus’ discussion of persecution and hatred (cf. 15:18) and the latter (“After Jesus had spoken these words…”) beginning a new section. However, chapter 15 can be further divided into 3 or 4 subsections: vv.1-11, vv.12-17 and vv.18-27.[6] The focus of this essay shall remain with the final 15 verses.

John 15:12-17

Bracketed by the love command, “love one another,” (vv.12, 17)[7] this section emphatically answers the question of what Jesus’ commandments are.[8] The plural of v.10 (entolas) becomes singular in v.12 (entolē), hence Jesus’ commandments collapse into the one command of loving one another, of which Kostenberger notes, “Jesus’ entire ministry…is ultimately grounded in God’s love.”[9] This commandment is different to that of ch.13, in that it invokes a new standard;[10] the disciples are called to be willing to die for their friends. It was not an uncommon thought in the ancient world to die for friends, “yet what distinguishes disciples’ self-sacrificial love for one another is that it is grounded in and reflects Jesus’ self-sacrificial love for them.”[11] The love which the disciples are called to (agapate) is present tense, implying continuous love. However, Jesus’ love (ēgapēsa) is aorist tense, implying a completed action, hence Jesus’ love is focused on the cross.[12]

The laying down of Jesus’ life for his disciples is the greatest evidence of his love for them,[13] and it is this same willingness to die for each other that Jesus calls his disciples to. Meier notes that “the Johannine command to love is explicitly and necessarily grounded in the person and action of Jesus as he goes to his death out of love,”[14] hence Jesus’ love is the model by which the disciples were to measure their love, as well as the cause of their love.[15] Hellenistic tradition highly regarded self-sacrifice for another person,[16] and was often considered the “supreme duty of friendship.”[17] Jewish tradition prohibited the sacrifice of others for one’s self, but one’s own life took precedence over another.[18] The focus in this verse is on love for friends, but John does not present Jesus as limiting this love solely to friends, for Jesus himself died for his enemies.[19]

Jesus’ labeling his disciples “friends” is reminiscent of Moses and Abraham being called “friends of God,” thus speaking of the highest possible relationship with God.[20] Both Hellenistic and Jewish tradition places much emphasis on loyalty in regards to friendship; “true friends were known in times of trouble, when they were most needed.”[21] However, this friendship did not give freedom to disobey,[22] but refers to common aims and outlook,[23] hence obedience characterizes – rather than causes – friendship.[24] It should also be noted that while the disciples are said to be Jesus’ friends, Jesus is not said to be theirs.[25] This could be due to John attempting to avoid distorting,[26] or “fraternizing”[27]  this relationship.

The comparison made between friends and servants[28] in v.15 implies absolute disclosure.[29] Kostenberger argues that because of this, obedience can be joyful, rather than burdensome.[30] Full disclosure was a common ideal in Greek tradition; Isocrates said one should test friends on their trustworthiness in keeping secrets, Aristotle said true friendship requires absolute confidence, and Philo said “virtue makes God a friend of the righteous.”[31] According to Gench, “in the Greco-Roman world, friendship was a much-discussed and highly-esteemed relationship.”[32] The truth shared by Jesus is therefore further demonstration of his love.[33]

The fact that Jesus himself chooses his disciples is noteworthy, for generally disciples would choose their teacher, not the teacher choose the disciples.[34] This election is entirely Jesus’ initiative,[35] giving the disciples security in their knowledge of his faithfulness[36] and providing them ultimate encouragement.[37] However, election always has a purpose and that purpose, in this instance, is to bear fruit.[38] Beasley-Murray notes, “The verb ethēka, “set aside,” is used in v.13 of Jesus “setting aside” his life for others. The terms appears in Num 8:10 for the ordination of Levites,”[39] and elsewhere in the New Testament, as in this verse, to refer to being “set apart” for a particular ministry.[40]

John then links v.17 back to v.12 by repeating the love command, forming an inclusio. Morris argues that “all the commandments in the discourse are for a single purpose, that the disciples may engage in mutual love.”[41] Whereas the Synoptics tend to focus on love for neighbors and enemies, John’s focus is on the community of disciples.[42] This communal and sacrificial love for one another is, for John, the ultimate witness to the world of Jesus’ love.[43] These 5 verses focus entirely on love. The next subsection is thus an obvious contrast, focusing on hatred.[44]

John 15:18-27

Verses 18 through 21 discuss hatred toward the disciples as a continuation of the hatred shown toward Jesus.[45] Milne argues that this inevitable hatred is, therefore, a sign that their mission is a continuation of Jesus’ mission.[46] The synoptics present a more thorough outward mission, with a focus beyond the church, than does John, who focuses largely on martyrdom.[47] In John’s Gospel, particularly this passage, the disciples are recognized by their sacrificial love, whereas the world by its hatred.[48] According to Harrison, kosmos was generally thought of in terms of order. However, particularly in Johannine texts, the world is portrayed as hostile to God. Harrison presents the argument that it is still considered ordered; Satan organizing with efficiency.[49]

Verses 18 and 19 flow on well from 12-17, for a common political theme of the day was that if one was a friend of an enemy, one would become an enemy also. Hence, if one was a friend of Jesus, who was an enemy of the world, one would also become an enemy of the world.[50] The present tense misei expresses the continuing hatred and kosmos mentioned five times in the one verse emphatically convey the world’s utter hatred.[51] Heinz argues the common translation, “I chose you out of the world” (eg. RSV, KJV, The New English Bible) is ambiguous and that “from the world” is a preferred translation, based on: 1) ek is usually used partitively in John, and should be in this passage also; 2) The disciples need to remain in the world.[52] As the disciples represent Jesus to the world, Jesus’ “spiritual presence in them stirs the world’s antagonism toward God and his purposes in Christ.”[53]

Jesus’ reference to servants in v.20 does not contradict his calling the disciples friends, but refers to their sharing of his unwelcome state,[54] for if the master must suffer then surely his disciples must too.[55] Morris notes that Jesus quotes himself exactly, thus this reference must be important.[56] Jesus is emphatically arguing “that the response to their mission will be no different from the response to that of their master.”[57]

Jesus then argues in v.21 that the world’s sin and the rejection of him and his disciples are due to their ignorance of God.[58] According to Kostenberger, “the three-step logic is as follows: when people oppose the disciples, it is because they oppose Jesus; if people oppose Jesus, it is because they do not know the Father (see 15:23); therefore, if people oppose the disciples, it is ultimately because they do not know God.”[59] The seriousness of this rejection is explicated in v.22, for, though the Jews would not be sinless had Christ not come, they rejected the ultimate revelation of God in Jesus, and are therefore without excuse.[60] This verse stresses the world’s culpability[61] and that the root cause of rejection is sin.[62]

The emphatic eme and patera mou in verse 23 are so tightly linked that the two are virtually indistinguishable; to reject one is to reject the other.[63] It is important to note, however, that the world does not always amount to hatred,[64] for there are instances in the Gospel where people respond kindly to Jesus.[65] Miseō carries connotations of rejection, hence those who reject Jesus are those who hate him.[66] Therefore, furthermore, this verse links neatly with the preceding verse. The emphatic eme and patera mou are again repeated in v.24, with the perfect memisēkasin further highlighting the world’s hatred.[67] According to Keener, “Jesus’ “signs” and other works revealed enough of his identity and sender that those who hated him could be said to have beheld both him and his Father.”[68] Despite this evidence, the world still rejects the truth and is thus condemned.[69]

Quoting “their law” “ironically points to even more revelation that judges their unwarranted anger,” says Burge,[70] as they stand condemned by the very law that bore witness to Christ.[71] This reference to law means more broadly “Scripture,” for Jesus quotes Psalm 69:4, a Psalm considered Messianic.[72] This implies that if David was hated, how much more will the people hate the Son of God?[73] However, this rejection does not hinder God’s plan, but in fact fulfils it.[74] A second implication is that this reference to Scripture has an apologetic function, “as it provides accusatory witness against the opposition.”[75]

There is much debate over the word paraklētos, some arguing it should be understood as a judicial title, aiding legal argument,[76] others saying it should not, but that it is revelatory in nature.[77] Prior to John the word generally meant “broker” or “mediator,”[78] and Burer and Miller argue for a mediatory understanding.[79] However, Mounce argues it refers to one who is sent or called to assistance.[80] The Greek Fathers originally interpreted it as “consoler” or “comforter,” but Morris argues that, while due respect should paid to the Fathers, it seems in this case they are incorrect, for there is neither Greek nor biblical use that would support them.[81] He argues it should be understood as carrying the implications of “‘called to the side of’ (i.e. for the purpose of helping).”[82] Jesus was the first Paraclete (14:16) and so understood the reference as a personality,[83] one who would help the disciples to endure.[84] The reference is usually voiced by Jesus, always in reference to the Spirit, except for two occasions of himself (14:16; 1 John 2:1) and usually in the context of the Spirit helping in difficult situations once he has gone. Because of the impossibly high standard set before the disciples, they need the paraklētos to help.[85] Therefore, as Morris argues, it should be understood as “the legal helper, the friend who does whatever is necessary to forward their best interests.”[86] Furthermore, the focus of the Spirit’s work is witness.[87]

Jesus’ command in v.27 allows no passive role for the disciples, humeis being emphatic.[88] The implication of this verse is that Christians carry a great deal of responsibility. Morris argues that disciples “cannot simply relax and leave it all to the Spirit. They have a particular function in bearing witness…There is a responsibility resting on all Christians to bear witness.”[89] The fact that the disciples have been with Jesus from the beginning further qualifies them as witnesses[90] to the message of love that must be spread, despite inevitable hostility and hatred.[91]

Contemporary Relevance

There are three main implications that this passage provides: the necessity for Christians to love, the inevitable persecution of being a loving Christian, and the assurance Christians receive from God.

Necessity of Love

The command to love in v.12 sums up Jesus’ ministry, being entirely grounded in love. Jesus’ love, in this verse, is focused on the completed action of the cross, yet we are called to a continuous love; we must always be ready and willing to die for a friend. Carson poignantly notes that despite the many problems the disciples had, Jesus still loved them, and so must we love all we encounter, no matter how pleasant they are.[92] This love demonstrates to others the love Christ has shown us, for we have been elected to bear the most important fruit: love (cf.15:16). According to Milne, “It is a mark of a worldly church…when we are content with short-lived ‘fruit,’” but “the fruit that honors God is the fruit that will last, and bring glory to the Father and the Son.”[93] Furthermore, v.27 explicates the responsibility that is placed on all Christian’s shoulders to love others, yet we are not alone for the Spirit helps us with this task. Gench states, “In our own day, the Johannine themes of mutual, self-giving love and the love of friendship are no less profound, with power to address our own deep hunger for community amidst the individualism, isolation, and transience that characterize much of modern, Western life.”[94]

Inevitable Persecution

Unfortunately the reality is that the world will respond negatively to Christian love. If one is to be a follower of Christ, one must inevitably receive the same response Christ received. Christ will be spiritually present in all those who represent him, thus if the world responded negatively toward Christ, the world will respond negatively, again, toward those who bear his name. This hatred is then confirmation of one’s continuation of Christ’s mission. As Jesus represented the Father, we represent Jesus, thus those who reject Christianity have no excuse, as the Jews had no excuse for rejecting Christ (cf. 15:22). In Romans 1 Paul argues that God has revealed himself through creation, hence further condemnation can be made against the world, just as the Jews were further condemned by not seeing Christ in the Scriptures (cf. 15:25). History has shown that Christianity has been subject to much persecution. The time between the ascension and consummation of Christ will be a time of great persecution for the church, as the Enemy resists and tries to neutralize the Church.[95] Two examples of such persecution are, firstly, the period of persecution in 303AD under Diocletian where many were forced to burn bibles,[96] and, secondly, the thousands of Chinese ministers who were arrested in the 1990s alone.[97] Burge comments, “If this is not our experience at present in the West, we need to support those suffer and ready ourselves for a day when we may…When this happens, 15:18-16:4 will be vital to us.”[98]

Assurance from God

Despite the seriousness of the necessity of sacrificial love and of persecution, this passage reminds us of the assurance God has given us. This assurance comes in two forms: our election, and the sending of the Paraclete. To be labelled as a friend of God implies the highest possible relationship with God, in which we receive absolute disclosure and joyful obedience. However, Jesus has chosen us to be friends and not the other way around. He elected us to bear fruit, hence we need not worry if we are good enough or not, and just remember that he chose us. Kostenberger notes, “This election…is what constitutes the basis for their inclusion in the new messianic community. This should keep the disciples humble as they go into the world as Jesus’ emissaries.”[99] The second comes in the sending of the Paraclete. Because of the difficult tasks of loving and evangelizing in great hostility, the Paraclete is sent to help us. With the Spirit comes fruit, such as that of love and Edward argued this fruit is absolute assurance for the believer and stated “let none rest in any supposed fruit of the spirit without witness.”[100] In other words, the fruit we receive when we have the Spirit helping in our lives is absolute assurance of Christ’s love in our lives.

Conclusion

Verses 12 through 17 significantly detail genuine love and the implications of such love. Jesus’ commandments can be entirely summed up in the commandment to love one another in such a selfless, sacrificial way. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is the greatest example of love for his people, and he commands his people to emulate this same love. He calls us his friends, connoting the highest relationship possible, for we have received revelation from God and, thus, our obedience is both joyful and that which characterizes our friendship; the world will see Jesus’ love in the way Jesus’ people love one another. He chose us to bear fruit, to love one another.

The following ten verses reveal that such love will not come without opposition, for we, bearing Christ’s name, will inevitably bear the same persecution that Christ bore. We share the same unwelcome state in this world that Christ received; being his servants we are hated as he was hated. But we are hated due to the world’s ignorance of God. The world has seen God, thus has no excuse, but despite evidence, the world rejects the truth and so shall receive condemnation. However, not all who responded to Christ responded negatively. Therefore, we can expect some to respond to our testimony in a positive manner.

The Paraclete is sent to help, to guide and support us in times of trial and difficulty. The Spirit is our friend, advocate, counsellor and comforter. Above all else, however, the Spirit comes to help us in the difficult tasks of loving selflessly and of evangelising in a world hostile to the message we preach. The three implications of this passage are: 1) the necessity of love, that this incredible love is no less necessary in today’s world of individualism; 2) the inevitable persecution that Christians shall receive, and have received, because of the name we bear; and 3) the assurance we receive from God, as his chosen people, and as the bearers of fruit, given to us by the Spirit. We must love, we must endure, and we must constantly be attentive to the helping hand of the Paraclete. John’s message is vital for the modern Christian in a world where individualism and persecution is increasing and the recognition of God is decreasing.

Bibliography

Beasley-Murray, George R. John. Vol. 36 Word Biblical Commentary. Waco, Texas: Word Books, 1987.

Brown, Tricia Gates. Spirit in the Writings of John Journal for the Study of the New Testament. London: T & T Clark International, 2003.

Burge, Gary M. John The Niv Application Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2000.

Carson, D. A. Jesus and His Friends. Grand Rapids, MI: Paternoster Press, 1995.

Caulley, T. S. “Holy Spirit.” In Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, edited by Walter A. Elwell. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2001.

Gench, Frances Taylor. “John 15:12-17.” Interpretation 58, no. 2 (2004): 181-84.

Grenz, Stanley J. Theology for the Community of God. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1994.

Harrison, E. F. “World.” In Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, edited by Walter A. Elwell. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2001.

Heinz, Donald. “Brief Translation Note on John 15:19.” Concordia Theological Monthly 39, no. 11 (1968): 775.

Keener, Craig S. The Gospel of John: A Commentary. Vol. 2. Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, 2003.

Kostenberger, Andreas J. John Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2004.

Kostenberger, Andreas J. A Theology of John’s Gospel and Letters Biblical Theology of the New Testament, Edited by Andreas J. Kostenberger. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2009.

Lincoln, Andrew T. The Gospel According to Saint John Black’s New Testament Commentary. London: Hendrickson Publishers, 2005.

MacArthur, John. The Macarthur New Testament Commentary. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2007.

McGrath, Alister E. Christian Theology: An Introduction. 5th ed. London: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.

Meier, John P. “Love in Q and John: Love of Enemies, Love of One Another.” Mid-Stream 40, no. 1 (2001): 42-50.

Michael H. Burer, Jeffrey E. Miller. A New Reader’s Lexicon of the Greek New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2008.

Milne, Bruce. The Message of John The Bible Speaks Today, Edited by John Stott. Nottingham: Inter-Varsity Press, 1993.

Mitchell, Curtis C. “The Holy Spirit’s Intercessory Ministry.” Bibliotheca Sacra 139, no. 555 (1982): 230-242.

Morris, Leon. The Gospel According to John (Revised) The New International Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1995.

Mounce, William D. The Analytical Lexicon to the Greek New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1993.

Noll, Mark A. “John Wesley and the Doctrine of Assurance.” Bibliotheca Sacra 132, no. 526 (1975): 161-177.

Payne, J. B. “Servant of the Lord.” In Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, edited by Walter A. Elwell. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2001.


[1] Andreas J. Kostenberger, John, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2004). 395.

[2] Andreas J. Kostenberger, A Theology of John’s Gospel and Letters, ed. Andreas J. Kostenberger, Biblical Theology of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2009). 238.

[3] John MacArthur, The Macarthur New Testament Commentary (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2007). Also, Kostenberger, A Theology of John’s Gospel and Letters., Bruce Milne, The Message of John, ed. John Stott, The Bible Speaks Today (Nottingham: Inter-Varsity Press, 1993). George R. Beasley-Murray, John, Word Biblical Commentary, vol. 36 (Waco, Texas: Word Books, 1987).

[4] Craig S. Keener, The Gospel of John: A Commentary, vol. 2 (Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, 2003). Also, Gary M. Burge, John, The Niv Application Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2000).

[5] Kostenberger, John.

[6] Many commentators divide the chapter similarly, most further including 15:18-16:4a or 15:26-16:4a as one subsection. Cf. Burge. and Keener. This essay shall simply analyze vv.26-27 without a discussion on ch.16, though the subject and topic of 16:1-4 may be similar enough to be included in the same division as 15:26-27.

[7] Cf. Burge. 416. Also, Keener. 1004.

[8] Kostenberger, John. 457. Cf. 15:10.

[9] Ibid. 457. Cf. Beasley-Murray. 274.

[10] D. A. Carson, Jesus and His Friends (Grand Rapids, MI: Paternoster Press, 1995). 100.

[11] Andrew T. Lincoln, The Gospel According to Saint John, Black’s New Testament Commentary (London: Hendrickson Publishers, 2005). 406.

[12] Cf. Leon Morris, The Gospel According to John (Revised), The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1995). 598. This further implies a sacrificial love.

[13] MacArthur. 317.

[14] John P. Meier, “Love in Q and John: Love of Enemies, Love of One Another,” Mid-Stream 40, no. 1 (2001). 48.

[15] Ibid. 48.

[16] Keener. 1005.

[17] Kostenberger, John. 458.

[18] Keener. 1004. Hence, John has a focus on Greek tradition in this verse.

[19] Morris. 599. Cf. Romans 5:8.

[20] Burge. 416. Cf. Isaiah 41:8; Exodus 33:11. According to Keener, “early Jewish literature especially applies the title to Abraham. This is especially because of his intimate relationship with God, so that God could take Abraham into his confidence, not treating him as a servant.” (Keener. 1012-13.)

[21] Keener. 1009. This can clearly be seen in the Jewish writings, Sir. 6:7-10, 14-16, and 12:8.

[22] Ibid. 1015.

[23] Morris. 599.

[24] Kostenberger, John. 458.

[25] Carson. 104.

[26] Ibid. 104.

[27] Kostenberger, John. 458. The emphatic personal pronouns, humeis and egō, further mark this relationship to be distinct from the world.

[28] The NRSV translates doulous as servants, but a more accurate translation would be “slaves,” (William D. Mounce, The Analytical Lexicon to the Greek New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1993). 153). The difference may seem minimal, but each carries different connotations. However, “Servant of the Lord” (‘ebed yhwh) in the Old Testament could refer to devout worshippers (e.g. Abraham; cf. Ps. 105:6) or those God used to fulfill his plans (eg. Nebuchadnezzar; cf. Jer. 25:9), (J. B. Payne, “Servant of the Lord,” in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, ed. Walter A. Elwell(Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2001). 1095). In this instance, however, it seems more likely Jesus is referring to the negative connotations of “slave,” particularly in contrast with “friend.”

[29] Burge. 420. Also, Keener. 1010, Lincoln. 406, Morris. 599, Carson. 105.

[30] Kostenberger, John. 459.

[31] Keener. 1011-12.

[32] Frances Taylor Gench, “John 15:12-17,” Interpretation 58, no. 2 (2004). 182.

[33] Milne. 223.

[34] Keener. 1015. Also, Morris. 600. Morris further argues, “ouk negates humeis, not exelexasthe; in other words, “it was not you that chose” rather than “you did not choose.”” The emphasis is on the disciples, not the verb.

[35] Lincoln. 407.

[36] Burge. 416.

[37] Milne. 223. Milne further notes, “Their standing and relationship with him is a matter of grace. Therein, however, lies the ultimate encouragement in mission. We go, not because we are worthy, or equipped, or attractive, or skilled, or experienced, or in any way suitable and appropriate. We go because we have been summoned and sent,” (p.223).

[38] MacArthur. 317. Also, Beasley-Murray. 275.

[39] Beasley-Murray. 275.

[40] Kostenberger, John. 460. Cf. Acts 13:47; 1 Tim. 1:12; 2:7. It can also refer to the pastor (Acts 20:28).

[41] Morris. 601.

[42] Gench. 181.

[43] Ibid. 182. Also, Milne. 223. Cf. 13:15; 17:20-26.

[44] According to Brown, “The shift from the theme of love between Jesus and his disciples to that of the hatred of the world for both is abrupt, yet the two sections are flip-sides of a broader theme. Both units express the integral unity between Jesus and believers,” (Tricia Gates Brown, Spirit in the Writings of John, Journal for the Study of the New Testament (London: T & T Clark International, 2003). 214.)

[45] Burge. 420. Lincoln argues that “when they experience the world’s ill will, Jesus’ followers are to recognize that this is a sign of their continuity with Jesus’ mission, since this is precisely the reaction Jesus himself experienced,” (Lincoln. 409).

[46] Milne. 224.

[47] Keener. 1018.

[48] Morris. 602.

[49] E. F. Harrison, “World,” in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, ed. Walter A. Elwell(Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2001). 1297. Oikoumenē generally refers to the populated world (cf. Luke 4:5) and aiōn carries connotations of “age.” (ibid. 1297). Furthermore, cf. Eph. 6:12.

[50] Keener. 1019.

[51] Morris. 602.

[52] Donald Heinz, “Brief Translation Note on John 15:19,” Concordia Theological Monthly 39, no. 11 (1968). 775. Heinz further states, “The thought, then, of John 15:19 would seem to be this: If you were people who had the same basis of existence as the kosmos, then the kosmos would love you as its own kind of people. But because you now do not have your existence from (or belong to) the kosmos, although I chose and elected you from among those who were…drawing their existence from the kosmos, therefore the kosmos hates you,” (ibid. 775). Cf. 10:16, 26 (“sheep of this fold” – partitive, not “out of”).

[53] Kostenberger, John. 464. Kostenberger further notes that “this does not call believers to physically separate themselves from the world; to the contrary, they are sent into the world to bear spiritual fruit (15:16; 17:18; 20:21),” (ibid. 464).

[54] Burge. 420.

[55] Keener. 1019.

[56] Morris. 603.

[57] Lincoln. 410. Furthermore, Keener outlines Berg’s presentation of a chiastic structure:
A “If the world hates you, it hated me first.”

B “If you were of the world, they would have you (but you are not).”

C. “Because I chose you, the world hates you.”

D. “The servant is no greater than the master.”

A’ “If they persecuted me, they will persecute you.”

B’ “If they kept my word, they will keep yours.”

C’ “They will persecute you for Jesus’ and the Father’s sake.”

Keener notes that A and A’ could replace C and C’, but the emphasis still lies on D, (Keener. 1019).

[58] Lincoln. 410. Lincoln states, “for the Fourth Gospel the primary expression of sin is failure to believe in Jesus as the one sent by the Father,” (p.410). Cf. Kostenberger, John. 465.

[59] Kostenberger, John. 465.

[60] Morris. 604. Rejection of Christ, MacArthur argues, is the worst sin possible, for it is rejecting God’s truth, (MacArthur. 319).

[61] Kostenberger, John. 466.

[62] Kostenberger, A Theology of John’s Gospel and Letters. 290.

[63] Morris. 604.

[64] Beasley-Murray. 276, Carson. 114. Carson states, “This passage does not deny that the world can show any love at all. Pagan parents may love their pagan infants; unbelieving men and women fall in love. But it is natural for the world to hate. The ‘world’ is made up of people who have never acknowledged the supremacy of Christ nor known the love of God…these people are absorbed either with themselves or with their self-created gods. It is impossible for them to love God or to love his people unless and until they set aside their false values, come to terms with the truth, and see their own position and role in the light of God’s sovereignty and grace,” (ibid. 114).

[65] E.g. the Samaritan woman (ch.4) and the man cured of blindness (ch.9).

[66] Kostenberger, John. 466.

[67] Ibid. 466.

[68] Keener. 1021.

[69] Kostenberger, John. 466.

[70] Burge. 421.

[71] Beasley-Murray. 276. Also, Morris. 605.

[72] Kostenberger, John. 467. There is some debate over which Psalm Jesus is actually quoting, but most commentators argue for Pslam 69:4, (ibid. 467.)

[73] MacArthur. 319.

[74] Kostenberger, A Theology of John’s Gospel and Letters. 290.

[75] Lincoln. 411. It is likely this opposition is directly the Jewish religious authorities, due to the emphatic tō vomō autōn, (ibid. 411).

[76] Burge. 421. Burge argues that the Sprit, thus, “will become a witness, supporting their trial (either literally or figuratively),” (p. 421).

[77] Beasley-Murray. 276-77. Beasley-Murray argues that the Spirit’s task is to “bear witness concerning Jesus (peri emou). His witness therefore is not here conceived of as that of an advocate, speaking in defense of the disciples…not is it that of a prosecuting attorney, giving evidence against the world…The witness of the Spirit, conjoined with that of the disciples, is to bring to light the truth of the revelation of Jesus in his word and deed, and death and resurrection,” (p. 276-77).

[78] Brown. 180.

[79] Jeffrey E. Miller Michael H. Burer, A New Reader’s Lexicon of the Greek New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2008). 196.

[80] Mounce. 353. There is no great distinction between these definitions, but each carry different connotations and implications; the former implying a forensic sense, the latter a relational sense.

[81] Morris. 588.

[82] Ibid. 587. Morris argues that “helper” may be a good definition, but does not deal enough with the passive nature of the word, (p. 589).

[83] T. S. Caulley, “Holy Spirit,” in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, ed. Walter A. Elwell(Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2001). 569.

[84] Milne. 228. Brown further argues it is important to note that the Paraclete is not sent into the world, but is sent to the disciples. Hence, it should be understood as more of a helper than advocate, consoler, etc. (Brown. 216).

[85] Morris. 588-90. On the idea of the Paraclete as a helper, Mitchell argues that Paul clearly uses paraklēton in Romans 8:26-27 in reference to the Spirit helping Christians, (Curtis C. Mitchell, “The Holy Spirit’s Intercessory Ministry,” Bibliotheca Sacra 139, no. 555 (1982). 231).

[86] Morris. 591.

[87] Ibid. 605.

[88] Burge. 421.

[89] Morris. 607.

[90] Kostenberger, A Theology of John’s Gospel and Letters. 244. Kostenberger further notes that “from the beginning” commonly denoted eye-witness testimony, e.g. Luke 1:3, (ibid. 244).

[91] Lincoln. 411.

[92] Carson. 103. V.14 reveals that obedient love characterizes the friendship we have with Jesus. Cf. 15:17.

[93] Milne. 224.

[94] Gench. 183-84.

[95] Stanley J. Grenz, Theology for the Community of God (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1994). 620.

[96] Alister E. McGrath, Christian Theology: An Introduction, 5th ed. (London: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011). 18.

[97] Burge.

[98] Ibid. 430.

[99] Kostenberger, John. 464.

[100] Mark A. Noll, “John Wesley and the Doctrine of Assurance,” Bibliotheca Sacra 132, no. 526 (1975). 170. Cf. 15:26.

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