Friday, June 18, 2010

John 13 -- a vivid tableau

This chapter presents the interactions between Jesus, Judas, and the rest of the disciples. Let's look at the verses that set the stage:
Joh 13:1 Fısıh Bayramı'ndan* önceydi. İsa, bu dünyadan ayrılıp Baba'ya gideceği saatin geldiğini biliyordu. Dünyada kendisine ait olanları hep sevmişti; sonuna kadar da sevdi.
Joh 13:2 Akşam yemeği sırasında İblis, Simun İskariot'un oğlu Yahuda'nın yüreğine İsa'ya ihanet etme isteğini koymuştu bile.
Let's look at a few words:
  • Dünyada -- in the world
  • kendisine -- his personal stuff
  • ait olanları -- those who were his own
  • hep -- always
  • sevmişti -- he had loved. This is the "narrative / dubative" form of the verb.
  • sonuna -- to the end
  • sevdi -- he loved
On the other hand, İblis (Satan) had already put it in the heart of Yahuda (Judas) to betray Jesus. Judas knows it, Jesus knows it, but no one else is aware of this behind-the-scenes drama. Jesus begins by washing the feet of his disciples -- a menial service, one they were probably waiting for a menial servant to perform. This acted-out parable is even done for Judas. There is a moment of comic dialog between Jesus and Peter, where Jesus insists upon performing this service. "If you do not let me wash your feet, we have nothing to do with each other." "If that's the case, Jesus, wash my head and hands as well!"

Jesus hints at the coming breaking of the fellowship: You are not all clean. He then explains his reason for what he did:
Joh 13:13 "Siz beni Öğretmen ve Rab diye çağırıyorsunuz. Doğru söylüyorsunuz, öyleyim.
Joh 13:14 Ben Rab ve Öğretmen olduğum halde ayaklarınızı yıkadım; öyleyse, sizler de birbirinizin ayaklarını yıkamalısınız.
Joh 13:15 Size yaptığımın aynısını yapmanız için bir örnek gösterdim.
Joh 13:16 Size doğrusunu söyleyeyim, köle efendisinden, elçi de kendisini gönderenden üstün değildir.
Joh 13:17 Bildiğiniz bu şeyleri yaparsanız, ne mutlu size!"
Thus (öyleyse), you all (birbirinizin ) one another's (birbirinizin ) feet (must wash (yıkamalısınız).

Jesus explains again that one of the people sitting at that table is about to betray him. Some immediately react -- "Are you talking about me?" Peter loudly asserts that he, for one, would never dream of doing such a thing -- and is informed that he will deny Jesus three times, before the rooster crows. His curiosity devours him, so Peter asks John, who is sitting a bit closer to Jesus, to find out who the betrayer is. Jesus discretely satisfies his curiosity, then dismisses Judas to hurry up, do what he planned to do, get it over with.

Finally, Jesus explains that, since he is about to exit the world, the disciples needed to take good care of each other:
Joh 13:35 Birbirinize sevginiz olursa, herkes bununla benim öğrencilerim olduğunuzu anlayacaktır."
Real people, having a real meal together, and interacting with each other.[1] The gospels, composed by people with first-hand knowledge of the events, or by those who could interview the actual participants, have that sense of reality about them that competing texts, such as the "gospel" of Judas, lack.


[1] As a contrast to this vividly described real-world, real-time event, consider this meditation on The Jesus of Nazareth vs. the Jesus of Neverland:

Jesus is considered a great prophet by Muslims, but one has to wonder why, seeing as he has almost nothing to do or say in the pages of the Koran. He only speaks on six or seven occasions and then, very briefly, and primarily to deny that he ever claimed to be God. ... Thus, whenever Jesus is mentioned in the Koran, it’s almost always for the purpose of whittling him down in size. ...

The Jesus of the Koran appears mainly in the role of a counter to the Jesus of the Gospels, but “appears” is really too strong a word. This Jesus doesn’t attend weddings, or go fishing with his disciples, or gather children around him. He has practically no human interactions, and what he has to say is formulaic and repetitive. He is more like a disembodied voice than a person. And, to put it bluntly, he lacks personality. The Jesus of the New Testament is a recognizable human being; the Jesus of the Koran is more like a phantom. When did he carry out his ministry? There’s not a hint. Where did he live? Again, there’s no indication. Where was he born? Under a palm tree.

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