Sometimes I have material left over when I edit Comments down to fit the available space. This page presents notes that landed on the clipping room floor. Some may be useful to you. While I avoid technical language in the Comments (or explain special terms), Clippings may have unexplained jargon from time to time.
A hypertext Glossary of Terms is integrated with Clippings. Simply click on any highlighted word in the text and a pop-up window will appear with a definition. Bibliographic references are also integrated in the same way.
10:45: “poured out”: The Greek verb here and in 2:17-18, 33 (Pentecost) is the same as in the Septuagint translation of Joel 2:28-31, a prophecy of the coming of the Holy Spirit. When Peter recounts this event to the Christian community in Jerusalem, he says “the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as it had upon us at the beginning” (see 11:15). [ NJBC]
10:47: In Acts, believers usually receive the Holy Spirit at baptism (see 2:38; 19:5-6) or before being baptized (as here). In 8:14-17, some Samaritans receive the Holy Spirit some time after being baptized. [ NOAB] In 8:36, the Ethiopian eunuch asks: “What is to prevent me from being baptized?”. One of the normal benefits of baptism is the receiving of the Holy Spirit. Having made manifest that they have already received this benefit, these Gentiles can hardly be denied baptism. So Peter is essentially regularising their situation.
11:1: “believers”: The Greek word, adelphos, meaning brothers, occurs 28 times in Acts.
11:3: That Peter stayed with Gentiles and ate with them is implied in 10:23 and 10:48b. This is also an issue in Galatians 2:11-12: “But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood self-condemned; for until certain people came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But after they came, he drew back and kept himself separate for fear of the circumcision faction”. [ NJBC]
11:4: “step by step”: NJBC translates this as in order. In Luke 1:3, we read “I too decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first, to write an orderly account for you”. The order is that of the logic of salvation history.
11:7: “Get up ...”: There is an implication of insistence on immediate action.
11:15: The sequence of Peter’s speech and the coming of the Holy Spirit is different from that in Chapter 10. Scholars consider this to be good reason for maintaining that Peter’s kerygmatic speech ( 10:34-43) was not an integral part of the Cornelius’ story, but was inserted for the benefit of Luke’s readers. [ JBC]
11:16: John the Baptist foretold that the Messiah would baptise with the Holy Spirit: he says in Mark 1:8: “I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit”. See also Matthew 3:11; Luke 3:16; John 1:33.
This is a late communal hymn of praise to the Creator. Antecedents are the tradition of hymnody common to Israel and Mesopotamia: see Isaiah 44:23 and Psalm 103:20-22. [ NJBC] This psalm is related to the Benedicite (Song of the Three Children) in Daniel 3:52-90, Septuagint translation. [ JBC] (The NRSV presents these verses in the Apocrypha as Prayer of Azariah 29-68.)
Verse 14: “horn”: This is perhaps a ram’s horn (Hebrew: shophar). It was used in worship (see 2 Chronicles 15:14) as well as in war (see Joshua 6:4-13, the taking of Jericho). To CAB, it is God’s special presence and effective purpose for and through his people: a psalmist writes in 89:17: “For you are the glory of their strength; by your favour our horn is exalted”. See also 132:17.
Verse 1: Paul writes in Romans 8:19-21: “For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God”. [ NOAB]
Verse 1: “I saw a new heaven and a new earth”: Isaiah 65:17 says “For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind”. See also Isaiah 66:22. Creation will be renewed or refurbished in order to befit redeemed humanity. [ JBC]
Verse 1: “sea”: Evil oppressors have come from the sea ( 13:1). [ CAB] God conquered mythical monsters ruling over primeval chaos when he ordered the universe: Rahab or Leviathan in the Bible, Tiamat in Babylonia (Job 26:12ff; Psalm 89:10; Isaiah 51:9). He will annihilate them at the time of the new creation (Isaiah 27:1). Brutal power and violence are incompatible with the peace of the world to come. [ JBC]
Verse 2: “holy city”: See also 3:12 and 22:19. God is the architect and builder of the city (see Hebrews 11:10). It is “holy” because it is definitively consecrated to God, a notion already found in the Old Testament: see Isaiah 54; 60; Ezekiel 48:30-35. [ JBC]
Verse 2: “coming down out of heaven”: James 1:17 also speaks of such coming down: “Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change”. [ JBC]
Verse 3: This is the fulfilment of prophecies foretelling the intimate union of God with the chosen people in the era of salvation. See Ezekiel 36:26-28; 37:27; Jeremiah 31:33ff; Zechariah 2:4ff; 8:8; Leviticus 26:12; 2 Samuel 7:13, and also 2 Corinthians 6:16. The intimacy proto-human enjoyed in the Garden of Eden is now granted to all members of the people of God forever (see 7:15-17). [ JBC]
Verse 3: “loud voice”: JBC suggests that the speaker is one of the four fantastic living creatures described in earlier chapters.
Verse 4: In 7:16-17, one of the elders says: “‘They will hunger no more, and thirst no more ... for the Lamb at the centre of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of the water of life, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes’”. Isaiah 25:8 says “Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces ...”. Isaiah 35:10 says: “... the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with singing; ... and sorrow and sighing shall flee away”. [ NOAB] The old city brought pain and death to its victims ( 18:24), but God’s new city will provide healing for the nations ( 22:2). [ CAB]
Verse 4: “Death will be no more”: In 20:13, we read: “the sea gave up the dead that were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and all were judged according to what they had done”. [ NJBC]
Verse 4: “mourning and crying and pain”: Isaiah 65:19 foretells: “I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and delight in my people; no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it, or the cry of distress”. This condition is the exact opposite of Babylon’s (Rome’s) fate: 18:22-23 says: “With such violence Babylon the great city will be thrown down, and will be found no more; and the sound of harpists ... will be heard in you no more; and an artisan of any trade will be found in you no more, and the sound of the millstone will be heard in you no more”. [ JBC]
Verse 5: “the one who was seated on the throne”: God is also mentioned in 1:8 and as the one seated on the throne in 4:2, 9; 5:1, 7, 13; 6:16; 7:10, 15; 19:4. Paul says in Romans 14:10: “...we will all stand before the judgment seat of God”.
Verse 5: “‘I am making all things new’”: In Isaiah 43:18-19, Yahweh says through the prophet: “Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing ...”. In 2 Corinthians 5:17, Paul writes: “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!”. See also Galatians 6:15. [ JBC]
Verse 5: “trustworthy and true”: See also 3:14 (“... the faithful and true witness ...”); 19:11 (“... Its rider is called Faithful and True”) and 22:6 (“... These words are trustworthy and true ...”) [ JBC]
Verse 6: “water of life”: Isaiah 55:1 says: “Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price”. See also Psalm 42:1. In Jeremiah 2:13, Yahweh speaks of himself as “the fountain of living water”. Zechariah 14:8 tells us that “On that day [the Day of Yahweh] living waters shall flow out from Jerusalem ...”. See also John 4:10, 13; 7:37-39. [ NOAB] [ JBC]
Verse 7: “Those who conquer”: Note the endings of the seven letters to specific churches. All include “Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches” and also:
This military phrase takes for granted that the Christian life is a battle. In Revelation, this phrase is applied to the faithful Christian soldier (see also 12:11 and 15:2) and to Christ (see 3:21b; 5:5; 17:14). [ JBC]
Verse 7: “I will be their God and they will be my children”: In Genesis 17:7, God tells Abraham: “I will establish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring after you throughout their generations, ... to be God to you and to your offspring after you”. See also God’s covenant with David in 2 Samuel 7:14. [ CAB] Note that Revelation, unlike the gospel of John, looks primarily to the future for the fulfilment of eschatological hopes: here “I will be”. [ JBC]
Verse 8: The “cowardly”, the “faithless”, etc. do not have faith enough to endure trials, and so will fall away in time of persecution. [ NOAB] JBC notes that John gives first place to those who have sinned against the faith. He sees the “cowardly” as those whose superficial and unstable faith has succumbed to persecution.
Verse 8: “the lake”: See also 19:20. The “lake” is Gehenna. In Matthew 18:9, Jesus says “‘And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into the hell of fire’”. The Greek word translated “hell of fire” is Gehenna. [ NOAB] This was literally the valley of Hinnon (ge’Hinnon) outside Jerusalem where garbage (rubbish) was gathered and burned. According to 2 Kings 23:10, Hinnon had been the site of child sacrifice: see also Jeremiah 7:31; 19:5-6. It provided a physical reminder of the place of eternal punishment. See 1 Enoch 27:2; 90:24-26; 2 Esdras 7:36. [ JBC]
Verse 8: “the second death”: i.e. the final condemnation of sinners. See also 2:11. In Matthew 10:28, Jesus says “‘Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell’”. There, “hell” is the translation of Gehenna. Note the contrast with the “water of life” (v. 6). [ NOAB] “The second death” is probably a reference to the fact that those who are banished to eternal punishment are temporarily resurrected from their first death. [ CAB]
John does not record the institution of the Lord’s Supper per se.
Verses 1-2: “before the festival of the Passover ... during supper”: For John, the meal was clearly not the Passover meal while according to Mark 14:12 it was on the day that Passover commenced. This difference has given rise to much scholarly discussion. [ BlkJn]
Verse 1: “to the end”: NOAB considers that John means to the utmost. The Greek word, telos , can mean the end (in the sense of time) or the goal or the conclusion (of an act or state). [ QVHG] Both senses may be intended. [ BlkJn]
Verse 4: “took off”: That Jesus’ washing the feet of his disciples is also a symbolic representation of his death is suggested by the Greek word translated “took off” (tithesi). John uses it in 10:15ff for Jesus’ laying down his life. The word translated “outer robe” is, surprisingly, in the plural; this is more consistent with the symbolism than a single garment would be. [ BlkJn]
Verse 5: “wash the disciples’ feet”: Washing a guest’s feet was a sign of hospitality, usually performed by a servant. See also Genesis 18:4 (Abraham’s servant washes the feet of his visitors at Mamre); 1 Samuel 25:41; Luke 7:44; 22:27. Jesus washes the disciples’ feet as a sign of his humility and his love for them. It is also a symbol of cleansing them from sin. Jesus’ action is unusual not only because he does what a servant would normally do but also that he washes their feet after the meal rather than before it. [ BlkJn]
Verse 8: Peter not only becomes obstinate; he has not learnt that there is a generosity in accepting as well as in giving. But when Jesus tells him that otherwise he will forfeit his “share” in him, he has a sudden change of heart, and demands more than Jesus has offered to do. [ BlkJn]
Verse 9: “‘not my feet only’”: Simon asks Jesus to bathe him! Such literalism is typical of Johannine misunderstandings. Jesus’ action represents his coming sacrifice on behalf of his disciples. He is the means of salvation. [ NJBC]
Verse 10: BlkJn explains this difficult verse by taking the reference to the bath as a metaphor for the effect of Christ’s death in cleansing the faithful. In 1 Corinthians 6:11, Paul writes: “you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God”. In virtue of this, Peter can be described as bathed (as are the other disciples), even though Christ is not yet dead. But Peter still needs the actual sacramental washing so that he can appropriate the benefits of the cleansing by Christ’s death. But he only needs his feet washing because this washing is a token of the real thing. Jesus has just said “‘You do not know what I am doing’”, so we should not expect to understand. [ BlkJn]
Verse 11: “‘Not all of you are clean”: Outward washing alone does not cleanse: see Luke 11:39-41 and Hebrews 10:22. [ NOAB] Judas will betray Jesus, and even Peter will deny him. BlkJn offers you are clean, but not all. The eleven disciples are clean because Christ is to die for them. [ BlkJn]
Verse 13: “‘You call me Teacher and Lord’”: A Jewish pupil never addressed his master by name, but as my leader and my lord . Jesus accepts this, not just as a societal normal but as expressing a fact. In John, Jesus is never addressed by name. [ BlkJn]
Verse 15: “I have set you an example”: In 1 Peter 2:21, the author writes: “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in his steps”. [ NOAB]
Verse 16: In Luke 6:40, Jesus says “‘A disciple is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully qualified will be like the teacher’”. In Matthew 10:24, he says “A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master”. [ NOAB]
Verse 17: If you both know that you are to imitate Christ’s example, and do so, you will be saved. [ BlkJn] The word translated “blessed” is that used in the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-11). In Luke 11:28, Jesus says “‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!’”. James 1:25 says: “... those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act – they will be blessed in their doing”. [ NOAB]
Verses 18-19: In 6:70, Jesus has said “‘Did I not choose you, the twelve? Yet one of you is a devil’”. BlkJn asks: does this mean that Jesus chose Judas in order that he might betray him? Was Judas in fact a helpless instrument of the divine plan? We are confronted by the mystery of divine fore-knowledge and human freedom. Judas has now broken their fellowship and spurned his friend, thus fulfilling Psalm 41:9.
John can be understood as meaning that Jesus has chosen Judas so there would be someone to fulfil this prophecy. But it could also be that the necessity of Judas’ action lay in his character, and not in divine predestination, and that to foresee a result is not the same as intending it. Jesus’ foreknowledge, even if it cannot help Judas, can be turned to some account in reassuring the faithful when disaster happens. See also 14:29. [ BlkJn]
Verse 19: “it”: This clearly refers to Jesus’ crucifixion. [ NJBC]
Verses 21-30: The betrayer must be dissuaded, or dismissed. Jesus honours him by seating him next to himself, handing him a “piece of bread” (see also Ruth 2:14, Boaz to Ruth); concealing his treachery from all but the beloved disciple. [ NOAB]
Verse 21: At the Last Supper, Jesus says “‘Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me” (Mark 14:18). Matthew 26:21 is identical except that here there are two Amens (“Very truly”) (in the Greek) and there only one. [ BlkJn]
Verse 23: “the one whom Jesus loved”: BlkJn suggests that if this disciple is neither an ideal figure (a figment of the author’s imagination) nor John the son of Zebedee, then perhaps he is Lazarus. However, he also sees the possibility that the beloved disciple was John Mark. Whoever it was, he was in close proximity to Jesus at the supper. Presumably Jesus was the guest of honour. If the meal took place in the house which later became the apostles’ headquarters, that belonging to Mary, the mother of John Mark (see Acts 12:12), then John Mark would be the guest of honour. Other commentators offer other possible identifications of the beloved disciple.
Verse 23: “was reclining next to him”: It was customary to recline at table propped on one’s left elbow, and to lie at an angle of about 45 degrees to the table. When the disciple wished to speak to Jesus without being overheard, he leaned back so that his head touched Jesus’ chest. [ BlkJn]
Verse 26: Jesus points out who the betrayer is, but in a way that only the beloved disciple can appreciate. To dip a piece of bread for a fellow guest was a common courtesy, so would by itself cause no comment. In Mark 14:20, Jesus says “‘It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the bowl with me’”. This does not identify which of the disciples it is, for all are dipping into the dish. Matthew 26:23 appears to be a paraphrase of Mark. There is manifest discrepancy. [ BlkJn]
Verse 26: Ironically, Jesus giving Judas bread is not communion, but rather the opportunity for Satan to enter into him. [ CAB]
Verse 28: The beloved disciple knew, but probably reclined in stunned silence.
Verse 29: BlkJn does not find it surprising, under the circumstances, that some thought Jesus was telling Judas to buy supplies for the Passover at night. In any event, the other disciples are not aware of the purpose behind Jesus’ actions. [ NJBC]
Verse 30: Judas exits before anyone can stop him. [ BlkJn]
Verse 30: “And it was night”: John intends symbolic meaning by this sentence:
Verse 31: “has been glorified”: BlkJn says that Jesus is referring to the washing of the disciples’ feet as the event in which he has just been “glorified”. It symbolized his death, the means of his glorification. 12:3 says “Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus' feet, and wiped them with her hair”. Then Jesus tells Judas that “she bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial” ( 12:7).
But there is a simpler interpretation: that Jesus is saying the die is now cast. Now that Jesus has gone out to do his dark deed, the final chain of events which will lead inescapably to Jesus' crucifixion has now been irreversibly triggered. [Alan Perry]
Verse 32: The first sentence is textually uncertain. [ NJBC]
Verse 33: “Little children”: This expression for Jesus’ followers is only found here in the gospels. In the NRSV, the Greek word teknia is also translated as little children in 1 John 2:1, 12, 28; 3:7, 18; 4:4; 5:21. Tekna is translated as children in John 1:12; 11:52; 1 John 3:1, 2. [ NOAB] Paul uses the word in Galatians 4:19. However, the Greek word paida is used in much the same way, and appears in all four gospels, 1 John, 1 Corinthians and Hebrews. Use of paida indicates that the speaker is a respected person in a relationship of fatherly intimacy with those whom he addresses, as in Jesus' words in his post-resurrection appearance (and barbeque): see John 21:5.
Verse 33: “as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come”: BlkJn translates the Greek as as I said to the Jews, ‘Where I am going you cannot come’ [so] for the present I say to you also. He says that the word translated now in the NRSV is more emphatic than the usual Greek word. The disciples cannot follow him for the present but they will one day, as 14:3 implies. See also v. 36.
Verse 34: “love one another”: This command is also in 15:12, 17. See also Luke 10:29-37. Loving one another is identified as a criterion for salvation and for knowledge of God in 1 John 2:7-8, 10; 3:11, 23. V. 1 and 10:11, 17 have established the coming death of Jesus as the ultimate example of love. See also 10:18 and 14:31. [ NJBC] [ BlkJn]
Verse 36: “‘Lord, where are you going?’”: Why does Jesus remark later, in 16:5, “yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’”? This suggests that this part of the gospel has been rearranged. [ BlkJn]
More Clippings on this reading appear in Clippings for Maundy Thursday.
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