BIBLIOTHECA SACRA July, 1963
Lake of Galilee, appearing once again as the special companion of Simon Peter, both as his advisor (21:7) and as the object of his curiosity (21:20).
One wonders why the foregoing allusions to the author should be grouped in the record of the last week of Jesus' life. If he accompanied Jesus through the ministry which his book describes, why should there not be more frequent refer- ences to his presence? If he did not belong to the apostolic band, as Mark and Luke did not, why should he not remain as anonymous as they? Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that he did not come to the kind of faith that this Gospel portrays until the events of the Passion compelled him to rethink the whole career of Jesus in terms of its conclusion. He was recording not solely the substance of early preaching, as the Synoptics did, but rather the career of Jesus as his own experience interpreted it for him and for his followers. It may be granted that John's Gospel is historical and that its record is reliable. It is also true that it views Jesus through the long telescope of an extended spiritual experience, begin- ning with His, emergence as a preacher after the baptism by John, and continuing, until the moment when the Gospel was peened. The author thinks of himself as one whom Jesus loved, not because he was a special favorite above the others, but because he was the recipient of divine grace through Christ. His sentiment is akin to that of Paul, who said, "And last of all, as to the child untimely born, he appeared to me also" (1 Cor. 15:8).
This consciousness of the reality of divine love is not only implied in the use of the phrase, "the disciple whom Jesus loved," but is also stated directly in the one passage where the first personal pronoun epitomizes Christian experience. "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Fa- ther), full of grace and truth. . . . For of his fulness we all received, and grace for grace" (John 1:14, 16). The "we" may be taken as general or editorial, but it seems to indicate a deep sense of personal participation. In declaring the effect of the revelation of God in Christ the author cannot suppress his own feelings, but is constrained to include himself in the witness to the manifestation of God's glory and in the ac-