The theme of this section is not hard to discern: even more than in previous sections, it alternates between opposition and miracles, thus showing the spiritual blindness of those who oppose Jesus. Because Jesus is a rejected prophet (13:53-58), John's martyrdom (14:1-12) foreshadows his own. His miracles reveal his identity to disciples (14:33) and even to Gentiles (15:22), but the elite among his own people trifle over irrelevant matters (15:2) and prove unable to recognize his signs (16:1-4). Yet even the disciples fail to understand fully (14:31; 15:15-16, 33; 16:8-12; 17:20), although Jesus' revelation begins to make his identity clearer to them (16:13-17:13).
In contrast to the continuity of material in this section, its only clear structure is on the level of individual paragraphs, but here it will be divided into three rough segments that may help reveal both the development of the opposition to Jesus and his self-revelation to his followers. In 13:53-14:36 Jesus confronts opposition but performs dramatic miracles. In 15:1-39 he confronts more direct opposition from people of influence but again performs dramatic miracles, even for a Canaanite. In 16:1-17:27 Jesus faces opposition from a united political front (16:1) but grapples especially with revealing himself to his disciples.
IVP New Testament Commentaries are made available by the generosity of InterVarsity Press.
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