John 17-21 The Voice (VOICE)
17 Jesus (lifting His face to the heavens): Father, My time has come. Glorify Your Son, and I will bring You great glory 2-3 because You have given Me total authority over humanity. I have come bearing the plentiful gifts of God; and all who receive Me will experience everlasting life, a new intimate relationship with You (the one True God) and Jesus the Anointed (the One You have sent). 4 I have glorified You on earth and fulfilled the mission You set before Me.
5 In this moment, Father, fuse Our collective glory and bring Us together as We were before creation existed. 6 You have entrusted Me with these men who have come out of this corrupt world order. I have told them about Your nature and declared Your name to them, and they have held on to Your words and understood that these words, 7 like everything else You have given Me, come from You. 8 It is true that these men You gave Me have received the words that come from You and not only understood them but also believed that You sent Me. 9 I am now making an appeal to You on their behalf. This request is not for the entire world; it is for those whom You have given to Me because they are Yours. 10 Yours and Mine, Mine and Yours, for all that are Mine are Yours. Through them I have been glorified.
11 I will no longer be physically present in this world, but they will remain in this world. As I return to be with You, holy Father, remain with them through Your name, the name You have given Me. May they be one even as We are one. 12 While I was physically present with them, I protected them through Your name. I watched over them closely; and only one was lost, the one the Scriptures said was the son of destruction. 13 Now I am returning to You. I am speaking this prayer here in the created cosmos alongside friends and foes so that in hearing it they might be consumed with joy. 14 I have given them Your word; and the world has despised them because they are not products of the world, in the same way that I am not a product of the corrupt world order. 15 Do not take them out of this world; protect them from the evil one.
16 Like Me, they are not products of the corrupt world order. 17 Immerse them in the truth, the truth Your voice speaks. 18 In the same way You sent Me into this world, I am sending them. 19 It is entirely for their benefit that I have set Myself apart so that they may be set apart by truth. 20 I am not asking solely for their benefit; this prayer is also for all the believers who will follow them and hear them speak. 21 Father, may they all be one as You are in Me and I am in You; may they be in Us, for by this unity the world will believe that You sent Me.
22 All the glory You have given to Me, I pass on to them. May that glory unify them and make them one as We are one, 23 I in them and You in Me, that they may be refined so that all will know that You sent Me, and You love them in the same way You love Me.
In this great prayer that Jesus prays for His disciples, He returns repeatedly to the gathering of believers unified with the Father and the Son.
24 Father, I long for the time when those You have given Me can join Me in My place so they may witness My glory, which comes from You. You have loved Me before the foundations of the cosmos were laid. 25 Father, You are just; though this corrupt world order does not know You, I do. These followers know that You have sent Me. 26 I have told them about Your nature; and I will continue to speak of Your name in order that Your love, which was poured out on Me, will be in them. And I will also be in them.
18 When Jesus finished praying, He began a brief journey with His disciples to the other side of the Kidron Valley, a deep ravine that floods in the winter rains, then farther on to a garden where He gathered His disciples.
2-3 Judas Iscariot (who had already set his betrayal in motion and knew that Jesus often met with the disciples in this olive grove) entered the garden with an entourage of Roman soldiers and officials sent by the chief priests and Pharisees. They brandished their weapons under the light of torches and lamps. 4 Jesus stepped forward. It was clear He was not surprised because He knew all things.
Jesus: Whom are you looking for?
Judas’s Entourage: 5 Jesus the Nazarene.
Jesus: I am the One.
Judas, the betrayer, stood with the military force. 6 As Jesus spoke “I am the One,” the forces fell back on the ground. 7 Jesus asked them a second time:
Jesus: Whom are you searching for?
Judas’s Entourage: Jesus the Nazarene.
Jesus: 8 I have already said that I am the One. If you are looking for Me, then let these men go free.
9 This happened to fulfill the promise He made that none of those entrusted to Him will be lost.[a] 10 Suddenly Peter lunged toward Malchus, one of the high priest’s servants; and with his sword, Peter severed the man’s right ear.
Jesus (to Peter): 11 Put down your sword, and return it to the sheath. Am I to turn away from the cup the Father has given Me to drink?
12 So the Roman commander, soldiers, and Jewish officials arrested Jesus, cuffed His hands and feet, 13 and brought Him to Annas (the father-in-law of Caiaphas the high priest). 14 You may remember that Caiaphas counseled the Jews that one should die for all people. 15-16 Simon Peter and another disciple followed behind Jesus. When they arrived, Peter waited in the doorway while the other disciple was granted access because of his relationship with the high priest. That disciple spoke to the woman at the door, and Peter was allowed inside.
Servant Girl (to Peter): 17 You are one of this man’s disciples, aren’t you?
Peter: I am not.
18 All the servants and officers gathered around a charcoal fire to keep warm. It was a cold day, and Peter made his way into the circle to warm himself.
Annas (to Jesus): 19 Who are Your disciples, and what do You teach?
Jesus: 20 I have spoken in public where the world can hear, always teaching in the synagogue and in the temple where the Jewish people gather. I have never spoken in secret. 21 So why would you need to interrogate Me? Many have heard Me teach. Why don’t you question them? They know what I have taught.
22 While Jesus offered His response, an officer standing nearby struck Jesus with his hand.
Officer: Is that how You speak to the high priest?
Jesus: 23 If I have spoken incorrectly, why don’t you point out the untruths that I speak? Why do you hit Me if what I have said is correct?
24 Annas sent Jesus to Caiaphas bound as a prisoner. 25 As this was happening, Peter was still warming himself by the fire.
Servants and Officers: You, too, are one of His disciples, aren’t you?
Peter: No, I am not.
Initially, Pilate tells the Jewish leaders to take Jesus and try Him according to Jewish law, but when they hint at capital charges, Pilate agrees to interrogate Jesus as a traitor to the empire. Rome reserves the right to decide who lives and dies in the provinces. They don’t delegate that to the Jewish high council. The charge of blasphemy carries no weight in Roman jurisprudence, for it is a matter of Jewish religious law. Rome has no opinion on such matters. So a new charge must be concocted, a charge that Rome does care about. Rome does care about taxes, of course, and takes a dim view of anyone making royal claims under their noses.
Pilate agrees to hear the charge, not wasting a Roman minute. He takes Jesus inside and begins asking Him about these charges. Pilate can’t handle the truth when he asks, “Are You the King of the Jews?” Jesus is the King of the Jews, and that is the truth. But as Jesus knows, the world doesn’t recognize His kingdom. That’s because it is sourced in heaven above, not in Rome. His authority comes from God the Father, Creator, Sustainer—not from the Roman senate.
26 One of the high priest’s servants who was related to Malchus—the person Peter attacked and cut off his ear—recognized Peter.
High Priest’s Servant: Didn’t I see you in the garden with Him?
27 Peter denied it again, and instantly a rooster crowed.
28 Before the sun had risen, Jesus was taken from Caiaphas to the governor’s palace. The Jewish leaders would not enter the palace because their presence in a Roman office would defile them and cause them to miss the Passover feast. Pilate, the governor, met them outside.
Now Caiaphas is high priest at this time. The sacred office he occupies has been corrupted for more than a century by Jewish collaboration with Greeks and Romans. Reformers are few, and they have been unable to cleanse the high office from its pollutants. Because of this, many Jews have stopped coming to the temple. How can God’s holy habitation on earth be pure if its primary representative is coddling the enemies of Israel? Caiaphas knows he needs friends in high places to put an end to Jesus, so he turns to Pilate, the Roman governor. It is Pilate’s job to look out for Roman interests in Judea. He is an irritable man, unnecessarily cruel and intentionally provocative. Many Jews will die on his watch. For Pilate, Jesus is just one more.
Pilate: 29 What charges do you bring against this man?
Priests and Officials: 30 If He weren’t a lawbreaker, we wouldn’t have brought Him to you.
Pilate: 31 Then judge Him yourselves, by your own law.
Jews: Our authority does not allow us to give Him the death penalty.
32 All these things were a fulfillment of the words Jesus had spoken indicating the way that He would die. 33 So Pilate reentered the governor’s palace and called for Jesus to follow him.
Pilate: Are You the King of the Jews?
Jesus: 34 Are you asking Me because you believe this is true, or have others said this about Me?
Pilate: 35 I’m not a Jew, am I? Your people, including the chief priests, have arrested You and placed You in my custody. What have You done?
Jesus: 36 My kingdom is not recognized in this world. If this were My kingdom, My servants would be fighting for My freedom. But My kingdom is not in this physical realm.
Pilate: 37 So You are a king?
Jesus: You say that I am king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the cosmos: to demonstrate the power of truth. Everyone who seeks truth hears My voice.
Pilate (to Jesus): 38 What is truth?
Pilate left Jesus to go and speak to the Jewish people.
Pilate (to the Jews): I have not found any cause for charges to be brought against this man. 39 Your custom is that I should release a prisoner to you each year in honor of the Passover celebration; shall I release the King of the Jews to you?
Jews: 40 No, not this man! Give us Barabbas!
You should know that Barabbas was a terrorist.
19 Pilate took Jesus and had Him flogged. 2 The soldiers twisted thorny branches together as a crown and placed it onto His brow and wrapped Him in a purple cloth. 3 They drew near to Him, shouting:
Soldiers (striking at Jesus): Bow down, everyone! This is the King of the Jews!
Pilate (going out to the crowd): 4 Listen, I stand in front of you with this man to make myself clear: I find this man innocent of any crimes.
5 Then Jesus was paraded out before the people, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe.
Pilate: Here is the man!
Chief Priests and Officers (shouting): 6 Crucify, crucify!
Pilate: You take Him and crucify Him; I have declared Him not guilty of any punishable crime!
Jews: 7 Our law says that He should die because He claims to be the Son of God.
8 Pilate was terrified to hear the Jews making their claims for His execution; 9 so he retired to his court, the Praetorium.
Pilate (to Jesus): Where are You from?
Jesus did not speak.
Pilate: 10 How can You ignore me? Are You not aware that I have the authority either to free You or to crucify You?
Jesus: 11 Any authority you have over Me comes from above, not from your political position. Because of this, the one who handed Me to you is guilty of the greater sin.
12 Pilate listened to Jesus’ words. Taking them to heart, he attempted to release Jesus; but the Jews opposed him, shouting:
Jews: If you release this man, you have betrayed Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king threatens Caesar’s throne.
13 After Pilate heard these accusations, he sent Jesus out and took his seat in the place where he rendered judgment. This place was called the Pavement, or Gabbatha in Hebrew. 14 All this occurred at the sixth hour on the day everyone prepares for the Passover.
Pilate (to the Jews): Look, here is your King!
Jews: 15 Put Him away; crucify Him!
Pilate: You want me to crucify your King?
Chief Priests: We have no king but Caesar!
16 Pilate handed Him over to his soldiers, knowing that He would be crucified. 17 They sent Jesus out carrying His own instrument of execution, the cross, to a hill known as the Place of the Skull, or Golgotha in Hebrew. 18 In that place, they crucified Him along with two others. One was on His right and the other on His left. 19 Pilate ordered that a plaque be placed above Jesus’ head. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” 20 Because the site was near an urban region, it was written in three languages (Greek, Latin, and Hebrew) so that all could understand.
Chief Priests (to Pilate): 21 Don’t write, “The King of the Jews.” Write, “He said, ‘I am King of the Jews’!”
Pilate: 22 I have written what I have written.
23 As Jesus was being crucified, the soldiers tore His outer garments into four pieces, one for each of them. They wanted to do the same with His tunic, but it was seamless—one piece of fabric woven from the top down. 24 So they said,
Soldier (to other soldiers): Don’t tear it. Let’s cast lots, and the winner will take the whole thing.
This happened in keeping with the Hebrew Scriptures, which said, “They divided My outer garments and cast lots for My clothes.”[b] These soldiers did exactly what was foretold in the Hebrew Scriptures. 25 Jesus’ mother was standing next to His cross along with her sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 Jesus looked to see His mother and the disciple He loved standing nearby.
Jesus (to Mary, His mother): Dear woman, this is your son (motioning to the beloved disciple)! 27 (to John, His disciple) This is now your mother.
Now you know who “the beloved disciple” is: the last eyewitness to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Mary has become family to John, fulfilling the dying wish of Jesus, his Savior. For those who are gathered at the foot of the cross, family is less about blood kinship than it is about covenant obedience.
The mother of the Lord will serve the redemptive purposes of her son and the Savior of the world until her last day on earth. Anyone feeling sorry for himself should think about Jesus. He spent all this time before His death, and through His death, demonstrating how to love and how to serve. He is asking John to do no more in serving Mary than He did in serving us.
From that moment, the disciple treated her like his own mother and welcomed her into his house. 28 Jesus knew now that His work had been accomplished, and the Hebrew Scriptures were being fulfilled.
Jesus: I am thirsty.
29 A jar of sour wine had been left there, so they took a hyssop branch with a sponge soaked in the vinegar and put it to His mouth. 30 When Jesus drank, He spoke:
Jesus: It is finished!
In that moment, His head fell; and He gave up the spirit. 31 The Jews asked Pilate to have their legs broken so the bodies would not remain on the crosses on the Sabbath. It was the day of preparation for the Passover, and that year the Passover fell on the Sabbath. 32 The soldiers came and broke the legs of both the men crucified next to Jesus. 33 When they came up to Jesus’ cross, they could see that He was dead; so they did not break His legs. 34 Instead, one soldier took his spear and pierced His abdomen, which brought a gush of blood and water.
35 This testimony is true. In fact, it is an eyewitness account; and he has reported what he saw so that you also may believe. 36 It happened this way to fulfill the Hebrew Scriptures that “not one of His bones shall be broken”;[c] 37 and the Hebrew Scriptures also say, “They will look upon Him whom they pierced.”[d]
38 After all this, Joseph of Arimathea, a disciple who kept his faith a secret for fear of the Jewish officials, made a request to Pilate for the body of Jesus. Pilate granted his request, and Joseph retrieved the body. 39 Nicodemus, who first came to Jesus under the cloak of darkness, brought over 100 pounds of myrrh and ointments for His burial. 40 Together, they took Jesus’ body and wrapped Him in linens soaked in essential oils and spices, according to Jewish burial customs.
41 Near the place He was crucified, there was a garden with a newly prepared tomb. 42 Because it was the day of preparation, they arranged to lay Jesus in this tomb so they could rest on the Sabbath.
As the lifeless body of Jesus is laid into the virgin tomb, those who witnessed the spectacle retreat into the city that has claimed the lives of so many prophets. All are crushed that their teacher and friend has died such a horrible death. Their hopes are dashed against the rocks of Golgotha. In the first hours of grief, Jesus’ followers huddle together in secret in the city, hoping to avoid arrests and executions. They mourn. They grieve. They remember. Three days later, some venture outside the city and return to the place where He was buried. Miraculously, the stone has been rolled back, and the rock-hewn tomb is empty. Has someone taken His body? Are His enemies laying a trap for His followers? Or perhaps—could it be—that the last days have arrived?
20 Before the sun had risen on Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene made a trip to the tomb where His body was laid to rest. In the darkness, she discovered the covering had been rolled away. 2 She darted out of the garden to find Simon Peter and the dearly loved disciple to deliver this startling news.
Mary Magdalene: They have taken the body of our Lord, and we cannot find Him!
3 Together, they all departed for the tomb to see for themselves. 4 They began to run, and Peter could not keep up. The beloved disciple arrived first 5 but did not go in. There was no corpse in the tomb, only the linens and cloths He was wrapped in. 6 When Simon Peter finally arrived, he went into the tomb and observed the same: 7 the cloth that covered His face appeared to have been folded carefully and placed, not with the linen cloths, but to the side. 8 After Peter pointed this out, the other disciple (who had arrived long before Peter) also entered the tomb; and based on what he saw, faith began to well up inside him! 9 Before this moment, none of them understood the Scriptures and why He must be raised from the dead. 10 Then they all went to their homes.
11 Mary, however, stood outside the tomb sobbing, crying, and kneeling at its entrance. 12 As she cried, two heavenly messengers appeared before her sitting where Jesus’ head and feet had been laid.
Heavenly Messengers: 13 Dear woman, why are you weeping?
Mary Magdalene: They have taken away my Lord, and I cannot find Him.
14 After uttering these words, she turned around to see Jesus standing before her, but she did not recognize Him.
Jesus: 15 Dear woman, why are you sobbing? Who is it you are looking for?
She still had no idea who it was before her. Thinking He was the gardener, she muttered:
Mary Magdalene: Sir, if you are the one who carried Him away, then tell me where He is and I will retrieve Him.
Jesus: 16 Mary!
Mary Magdalene (turning to Jesus and speaking in Hebrew): Rabboni, my Teacher!
Jesus: 17 Mary, you cannot hold Me. I must rise above this world to be with My Father, who is also your Father; My God, who is also your God. Go tell this to all My brothers.
18 Mary Magdalene obeyed and went directly to His disciples.
The hope of resurrection has often been a topic on the lips of Jesus. Now it is taking shape. Confusion gives way to conviction as Jesus appears alive over the next few Sundays. One by one He convinces His followers that God has raised Him from the dead.
Mary Magdalene (announcing to the disciples): I have seen the Lord, and this is what He said to me . . .
19 On that same evening (Resurrection Sunday), the followers gathered together behind locked doors in fear that some of the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem were still searching for them. Out of nowhere, Jesus appeared in the center of the room.
Jesus: May each one of you be at peace.
20 As He was speaking, He revealed the wounds in His hands and side. The disciples began to celebrate as it sank in that they were really seeing the Lord.
Jesus: 21 I give you the gift of peace. In the same way the Father sent Me, I am now sending you.
22 Now He drew close enough to each of them that they could feel His breath. He breathed on them:
Jesus: Welcome the Holy Spirit of the living God. 23 You now have the mantle of God’s forgiveness. As you go, you are able to share the life-giving power to forgive sins, or to withhold forgiveness.
24 All of the eleven were present with the exception of Thomas. 25 He heard the accounts of each brother’s interaction with the Lord.
The Other Disciples: We have seen the Lord!
Thomas: Until I see His hands, feel the wounds of the nails, and put my hand to His side, I won’t believe what you are saying.
26 Eight days later, they gathered again behind locked doors; and Jesus reappeared. This time Thomas was with them.
Jesus: May each one of you be at peace.
27 He drew close to Thomas.
Jesus: Reach out and touch Me. See the punctures in My hands; reach out your hand, and put it to My side; leave behind your faithlessness, and believe.
Thomas (filled with emotion): 28 You are the one True God and Lord of my life.
Jesus: 29 Thomas, you have faith because you have seen Me. Blessed are all those who never see Me and yet they still believe.
30 Jesus performed many other wondrous signs that are not written in this book. 31 These accounts are recorded so that you, too, might believe that Jesus is the Anointed, the Liberating King, the Son of God, because believing grants you the life He came to share.
21 There was one other time when Jesus appeared to the disciples—this time by the Sea of Tiberias. This is how it happened: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (the Twin), Nathanael (the Galilean from Cana), the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together.
Simon Peter (to disciples): 3 I am going fishing.
Disciples: Then we will come with you.
After Jesus’ death, the disciples don’t know what to do with themselves, other than return to their old livelihood of fishing. This band of fishermen is lost and lonely, but just when they think things can’t be stranger, Jesus shows up. He tells them to fish on the other side of the boat. They do, and they are suddenly overwhelmed with fish. The nets are bulging.
What He shows here is that not only will their old ways of living leave His followers as empty as the nets, but their old habits will not work either. He has impacted their lives in a way that changed them forever. They can’t go back. And He knows they don’t know how to go forward.
They went out in the boat and caught nothing through the night. 4 As day was breaking, Jesus was standing on the beach; but they did not know it was Jesus.
Jesus: 5 My sons, you haven’t caught any fish, have you?
Jesus: 6 Throw your net on the starboard side of the boat, and your net will find the fish.
They did what He said, and suddenly they could not lift their net because of the massive weight of the fish that filled it. 7 The disciple loved by Jesus turned to Peter and said:
Beloved Disciple: It is the Lord.
Immediately, when Simon Peter heard these words, he threw on his shirt (which he would take off while he was working) and dove into the sea. 8 The rest of the disciples followed him, bringing in the boat and dragging in their net full of fish. They were close to the shore, fishing only about 100 yards out. 9 When they arrived on shore, they saw a charcoal fire laid with fish on the grill. He had bread too.
Jesus (to disciples): 10 Bring some of the fish you just caught.
11 Simon Peter went back to the boat to unload the fish from the net. He pulled 153 large fish from the net. Despite the number of the fish, the net held without a tear.
Jesus: 12 Come, and join Me for breakfast.
Jesus reveals to His disciples a world where God is intimately involved, the main actor in the drama of history. These fish, all 153, are a sign from God representing the community of men and women transformed by faith. Some of them sit down and don’t say a word as they ponder all of this. Others busy themselves in work. Each in his own way thinks, wonders, and prays.
That’s how John always begins and ends his stories of Jesus: reminding believers to become the sons of God. The resurrection of Jesus shows the world He is the resurrection and the life. That isn’t life after death; it is the reality that through Jesus believers can have abundant life, a full and meaningful life, here and now through faith.
Not one of the disciples dared to ask, “Who are You?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus took the bread and gave it to each of them, and then He did the same with the fish. 14 This was the third time the disciples had seen Jesus since His death and resurrection. 15 They finished eating breakfast.
Jesus: Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these other things?
Simon Peter: Yes, Lord. You know that I love You.
Jesus: Take care of My lambs.
16 Jesus asked him a second time . . .
Jesus: Simon, son of John, do you love Me?
Simon Peter: Yes, Lord. You must surely know that I love You.
Jesus: Shepherd My sheep.
17 (for the third time) Simon, son of John, do you love Me?
Peter was hurt because He asked him the same question a third time, “Do you love Me?”
Simon Peter: Lord, You know everything! You know that I love You.
Jesus: Look after My sheep. 18 I tell you the truth: when you were younger, you would dress yourself and go wherever you pleased; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and take you to a place you do not want to go.
Ever since the night Judas betrayed Jesus and Peter denied knowing Christ three times, Peter has felt small. He has felt he betrayed Jesus too. Matching the three denials, Jesus has Peter re affirm his love for Him three times. At the same time, Jesus reaffirms Peter’s call to ministry each time by challenging him to serve as a leader. The conversation on the beach that day affects him profoundly. From then on, Simon Peter is one of the most humble followers of Jesus, but he is also one of the great leaders of the early church, as Acts explains.
The disciples all learn a lesson that day. No matter what someone may have done, the Master wants the miracle of forgiveness to restore that person to be whom He made and called him or her to be.
19 Jesus said all this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. After this conversation, Jesus said,
Jesus: Follow Me!
20 Peter turned around to see the disciple loved by Jesus following the two of them, the same disciple who leaned back on Jesus’ side during their supper and asked, “Lord, who is going to betray You?”
Peter: 21 Lord, and what will happen to this man?
Jesus: 22 If I choose for him to remain till I return, what difference will this make to you? You follow Me!
23 It is from this exchange with Jesus that some thought this disciple would not die. But Jesus never said that. He said, “If I choose for him to remain till I return, what difference will this make to you?” 24 That very same disciple is the one offering this truthful account written just for you. 25 There are so many other things that Jesus said and did; and if these accounts were also written down, the books could not be contained in the entire cosmos.
John has reached the end of his story. Future believers will go on without him, but not without his words. John’s voice is added to the voices of the prophets and the witnesses declaring God has become flesh as Jesus, who manifested true life in the midst of humanity. Now that’s a pretty big idea for a fisherman, but John goes to his grave bearing witness that it is true.
This account, in particular, shows how to enter into God’s kingdom through faith in Jesus so they can experience eternal life. This is his invitation to join him in this marvelous journey.