"Worship in the Fourth Gospel: A Cultural Interpretation of John 14-17," Biblical Theology Bulletin 36 (2006) 107-17



Worship in the Fourth Gospel:

A Cultural Interpretation of John 14-17



Jerome H. Neyrey

University of Notre Dame


Chapter 6



Introduction, State of the Question, and Hypothesis

            As the title indicates, this chapter employs the model of worship developed previously as the lens through which we proposed to read and interpret worship in the Fourth Gospel, in particular John 14-17. To be sure, discussions of worship in the Fourth Gospel are rare, [i]   and in most commentaries worship does not even rate a place in the topical index. Yet the author of the gospel formally attends to matters of worship when he himself raises certain topics: (1) where to worship? (2) how to worship? (3) of what does worship consist? (4) when to worship? and  (5) who participates?

            Where? At Jesus’ inaugural visit to Jerusalem’s temple, he upsets its sacrificial worship system (“he drove . . .the sheep and oxen out of the temple”) and its revenue collection. In defense, he declares: “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (2:19), which his opponents misunderstand, for they think that he refers to a physical building, another fixed sacred space. The truth is, “He spoke of the temple of his body” (2:21). The Samaritan woman asked Jesus-the-prophet to settle a dispute about where to worship, “this mountain. . .or in Jerusalem?” (4:20). Jesus gives a sweeping answer: “neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. . .” (4:21). Thus Jesus broadly negates all fixed places of worship. Finally, Jesus declares that “in my Father’s house there are many rooms. . .I go to prepare a place for you” (14:2 ). On the one hand, these locations (“house,” “rooms,” “place”) suggest a “where” for worship, but they do not refer to any fixed sacred space. James McCaffrey argues that we not consider these as geographical spaces: “The text describes the redemptive work of Christ in terms which pertain to the family and its intimate personal relationships.” [ii] Thus where one worships remains throughout the gospel a major question, for which we need a model of fixed and sacred space from cultural anthropology.

            How?  True worshipers will perform actions that do not consist of sacrifice or require temple clergy, tithes and revenues. Neither will they worship in fixed sacred space, nor in the manner of the Temple. At least this seems to be the substance of Jesus’ remark: “true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth” (4:23). [iii] This remark, however, is mute on specific forms of worship. Inasmuch as so much attention is given to prayer(s) in John 14-17, prayer would seem to be a  most promising place to start.

            When? Although Jesus attended certain feast days in Jerusalem, scholars argue that he replaced with himself both the feasts and the benefits sought from them. Jesus is now the benefit of benefits sought at festive worship: he is the bread come down from heaven (6:33-51), the Passover lamb (19:33-34), the rains/water (7:37-38) and the sun/light (8:12) sought at Tabernacles. But where is the evidence that Johannine disciples kept a calendar of this sort? Balancing these replacements, we learn that special significance was given to the “first day of the week” (20:1) and the “eighth day” (20:26).

            Who?. Worship, of course, is directed to God. And God, who is spirit, seeks worshipers who worship in spirit and truth. Clearly, then, both God and a worshiping group are envisioned. But other figures function in this worship, Jesus, in whose name the disciples petition God and the Paraclete, who mediates Jesus’ words to the group. But those who refused to or are afraid to acknowledge Jesus as sent from God are not true worshipers (17:3). But is there any formal pattern to relationship of those who worship?

            What, then, do we know? Oddly, we know  where not to worship, how not to worship, and perhaps when not to worship. But the gospel does not tell us of what worship consists, nor does it define roles and status of members of the worshiping group. Much more needs to be learned about worship so as to interpret the Fourth Gospel. 1. Our task begins with “worship” itself. While descriptive catalogues of early Christian “worship” are helpful, we search for a formal definition of it and a social science model which will help us interpret its forms. From this perspective, we will interpret four forms of worship: prayer, prophecy, homily, judgment. 2. Since the author puts so much emphasis on where the group worships, we need a model which compares and contrasts fixed and fluid sacred spaces. This will aid us in interpreting  Jesus’ remarks about “my Father’s house” and “many rooms” (  [1] ¡, 14:2). And in this light we will examine other aspects of where worship occurs: “being in” and “dwelling in.” 3. Finally, in attempting to understand the structural relationships between God, Jesus, Spirit and the group in worship, we turn to the model of patron-broker-client. The roles of God and group are clear, but modern scholarship often misunderstands the structural place of Jesus and the Paraclete in Johannine worship.

Worship in the Early Church.

            The Shape of Early Christian Worship.  As we saw earlier, scholarly surveys [iv]   of early Christian worship agree that: (1) the early church borrowed heavily from synagogue worship both in form and contents, especially prayer and the study of the Scripture; (2) its activities were not tied to particular places, but could be practiced virtually anywhere;. and (3) the central forms of worship were verbal. [v] Because of its comprehensiveness, David Aune’s description is worth repeating:

Christian worship had a primarily verbal character, and in this respect it was similar to synagogue Judaism. . .Yet Christians did have religious gatherings where various types of rituals were practiced. Christians gathered to eat together, to baptize new members, to read Scripture, to listen to God speaking through other Christians, to experience healing, to pray and sing hymns and thanksgivings to God. These activities were not tied to particular places, but could be practiced virtually anywhere. [vi]

Aune, following Delling, Cullmann and Martin, identify a variety activities which fall under the genus “worship”: (1) prayers, creeds and confessions, doxologies, hymns, songs and psalms, (2) prophecy (oracles of judgment, salvation, and the like), (3) sermons and homilies and (4) public reading of scripture. To this Cullmann added another, remembering specifically the words and deeds of Jesus. The archetype of  worship in the New Testament was and is the remarks found in Acts 2:42 (“they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of the bread, and the prayers”), the letters of Paul (i.e., 1 Cor 11:20ff; 14:1-36), Pliny’s letter to Trajan (Ep 10.96), and reconstructions of early synagogue worship. [vii] Aune’s first element of worship is “prayer,” which seems more fixated on forms of prayer and not consideration of classification of prayer according to the eight or so purposes of speech to God. More attention, we think, should be given to variety of reasons for which one prays, the effect one wishes to have on God and the relationship that should be repaired.  This description, while it identifies an entrance ritual, baptism, does not include rituals of transformation or exit rituals. Ceremonial eating together is noted, but is there place for other ceremonies?      The model of worship presented earlier indeed fills out the enumeration of the forms of worship, even as it provides a
definition of prayer and worship and appropriate cultural lenses for viewing their parts. Thus the complete model of worship we are employing provides us the the most complete index of typical verbal forms of worship as we begin our reading of John 14-17. Thus, we begin knowing several important things: 1) worship is “primarily verbal”; 2) members “pray and sing hymns and thanksgivings”; 3) they not only speak to God in prayer, but also listen to God  through the Scriptures, the words of Jesus, or Spirit-inspired utterances; and 4) these activities are not tied to particular places.

Worship in John 14-17

            Most readers are comfortable with understanding  John 14-17 in terms of it form critical classification as a Farewell Address. [viii]   The various prayers of Jesus and especially the so-called “high priestly” prayer in John 17 suggest that “worship” is not a misleading category for interpreting John 14-17.  We propose to examine these chapters in terms of the two directions of worship described above:  (1) speaking to God ( i.e., prayers) and (2) listening to God (i.e., prophecy, homily and oracles of salvation and judgment).

            Types of Prayer in John 14-17. [ix] Malina, as we have learned, provides readers with a sophisticated typology of prayers. All prayer is a communication of mortals to God, but prayer differs from prayer in terms of the effect it seeks to have with God, ranging from petition to praise: (1) petitionary, (2) regulatory, (3) interactional, (4) self-focused, (5) heuristic, (6) imaginative, (7) acknowledgment and (8) appreciation.

            Petitionary Prayer in John 14-16.  No one can read John 14-17 without noting  Jesus’ repetitive instructions to “ask” the Father for some benefit, which in the typology we are using means petitionary prayer. The New Testament employs a variety of verbs in the context of prayerful petitioning. In one sense they all mean “to ask for,” but they differ in the urgency with which the request is made. Most frequently readers find petitionary request expressed in
8 [1]  (ask with urgency, beg) and "$ &
B0 [1]  (speak to, make requests). John’s petition, however, are expressed by different words, [1] ¥*84 (ask with urgency even to the point of demanding) and  …$4*64 (ask, request), but without any change of meaning. Except for Martha’s remark that Jesus could petition God for Lazarus (11:22), the other eleven instances of petitionary prayer all occur in the Farewell Address, which thus constitute a distinct body of materials on this type of prayer.

14:13-14  “Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it. . .

                              if you ask anything in my name. . .”,

            14:15-16  “I will pray the Father and he will send another Counselor”

15:7         “If you abide in me and my words abide in your, ask whatever you will. . .”

15:16b     “whatever you ask the Father in my name. . .”

            16:23-24  “In that day you will ask nothing of me. . .if you ask anything of the Father. . .”

16:26       “In that day you will ask in my name”


In addition to the insistent instructions of Jesus, we note several things: 1) the object of the petitions is both vastly expansive (“whatever” and “anything” and specific (“Counselor”); and 2) while the Patron being petitioned is always God, Jesus maintains his role as broker by indicating that the petitions will be made “in my name” and he himself will initiate the process by himself petitioning on their behalf (“I will ask. . .”). Petitionary prayer, moreover, is only one type of prayer found in John 14-16. When we turn to  John 17, we observe a prayer composed of many  types.

            Jesus’ Multi-Purposed Prayer in John 17.  Malina’s taxonomy of prayer provides the means to distinguish different types of prayer occurring in John 17.  In general, we consider the whole of John 17 as an heuristic prayer: it explores the world of God and God’s workings within the Son and his disciples, individually and collectively. [x] It is not a search for meaning so much as a revelation of the state of the relationship of the pray-er and God. Thus it is heuristic in that it discovers and uncovers interpersonal perspectives implicit in all the actions culminating in Jesus’ “hour.”Yet this heuristic prayer is by no means the only kind of prayer in John 17. We can classify the statements of Jesus to God as petitionary, self-focused and informative, as the chart below indicates: [xi]

Jn 17

Prayer Text


v 2 

glorify thy Son that the Son may glorify thee. . .


v 3 

this is eternal life, that they (ack)know(ledge) You the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent


v 5

glorify me in your own presence with the glory which I had with you before the world was made


v 6

I have manifested Your NAME to the men whom You gave me out of the world


 vv 6-8

Yours they were, and You gave them to me, and they have kept Your word.   Now they know that everything you have given me is from You;  for I have given them the words which You gave me, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that You sent me.


 v 9

I am praying for them; I am not praying for those in the world, but for those whom You have given me, for they are Yours.

self-focused +


v 10

All mine are thine; and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.


v 11

Keep them in Your NAME, which You have given to me, that they may be one, even as we are one


v 12

While I was with them, I kept them in Your NAME, which you have given me; I have guarded them and none of them is lost but the son of perdition


vv 13-14

But now I am coming to You; and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. V 14 I have given them Your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world


v 15

I do not pray that you should take them out of the world, but keep them from the Evil One.


v 16=

They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.


v 17

Sanctify them in Your truth


vv 18-19

As You sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.  For their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth


vv 20-22

I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word  that they may all be one; even as You, Father are in me and I in You, that they may be in us, so that the world may believe that You have sent me.

self-focused  + petitionary

vv 22-23

The glory which you have given me, I have given them, that they may be one, even as we are one I in them and You in me, that they may be perfectly one, that the world may know that you have sent me and has loved them even as you have loved me.


v 24

Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given to me, may be with me where I am, to behold my glory which You have given me in your love for me before the foundation of the world.


v v25-26

O just Father, the world has not known you; but I have known you; and these know that you have sent me.  I made known to them Your NAME, and I will make it known that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.



We observe that Jesus petitions God frequently (vv 2, 5, 11, 15-16, 17, 20-21, 24), the form of which easily discerned: 1) a verb of  “asking” in the imperative mood, and 2) a request for a specific benefaction from God (glory, unity, special relationship, etc.). We see, moreover, another type of prayer, which Malina calls “self-focused” (6-8, 9, 10, 12, 13-14, 16, 18-19, 20, 22-23, 25-26), [xii] whose form is also clearly expressed by: 1) a first-person speech: “I made manifest...” “I kept them in your name”...“I have given them your word” (vs 2nd person in petitionary prayer), which 2) celebrates the record of Jesus’ past good deeds (vs future benefactions in petitionary prayer). In John 17 Jesus tells God that he has fulfilled his apostleship and done what God sent him to do:

                          I have glorified you on earth ( 4)

                        -- I have manifested your name (6 & 26)

                        -- I have given them the words which you have given me (8 & 14)

                        -- I have kept them in your name (12a)

                        -- I have guarded them (12b)

                        -- I have sent them into the world (18)

                        -- I have consecrated myself (19)

                        -- I have given them the glory which you have given me (22)

                        -- I have “known” you  (25).


Unlike petitionary prayer, Jesus declares to God before his disciples his perfect fulfilment of the  mission he was sent to accomplish [xiii] : 1) he has glorified God on earth, 2) manifested to the disciples the divine Name and kept them in it, 3) given the divine words to them and 4) extended his work by sending them into the world. [xiv]

            Labeling John 17 as a  “high priestly” is clearly anachronistic, although the label does convey the sense that Jesus enjoys the role of mediator or broker, a topic which will be shortly developed. [xv] Similarly, the prayer celebrates his effectiveness in the role of channel of God’s benefaction  to the disciples. Benefits came through Jesus and will continue to come through him. Jesus’ self-focused prayer may also be seen as a claim to the virtue of piety or justice. Throughout the Greco-Roman world, justice was thought of as the noble fulfilment of one’s basic duties. Ps-Aristotle states:

First among the claims of righteousness are our duties to the gods, then our duties to the spirits, then those to country and parents, then those to the departed; among these claims is piety (

 [1] ), which is either a part of righteousness or a concomitant of it. Righteousness is also accompanied by holiness (±&@*() and truth (t:
 [1] ) and loyalty ("<&*() and hatred of wickedness" (Virtues and Vices, V.2-3).


The distinction of the triple focus of justice is found regularly in the philosophical and rhetorical literature of antiquity, [xvi] and also in John 17. Here Jesus acknowledges that he has fulfilled his duties to God (“I have glorified you. . .manifested your name. . . given them your words”) and his duties to “kin”(“I have kept them. . . guarded them, etc.”). [xvii] Thus the Just Jesus celebrates his virtuous completion of the duties he owes to God, who is Father and Patron and  “kin.”

            Yet in 17:3 we find still a third type of prayer, namely, “acknowledgment”: “This is eternal life, that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” Instead of a petition, we find here an honorable acknowledgment of God in traditional words. This prayer consists of two elements: 1) we read “to know” in the sense of “to acknowledge,” that is, to honor, and confess the worth, sovereignty and excellence of God. [xviii] The first part of 17:3 resembles the confession known as the Shema, the leading prayer in the synagogue (see Mark 12:29, 32; Deut 6:4). Thus acknowledgment of the “only true God” is a appropriate confessional honoring of God. But 17:3 also includes confession of “Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” So the complete honoring of God consists of the acknowledgment of both the unique God of Israel and of God’s unique agent, Jesus. [xix] While “confession” and “creed” are no strangers to New Testament scholarship, rarely do we find them discussed as “prayer.” [xx] John 17:3 is situated in a continuous address to God which petitions God for the disciples, who as clients should make the prayer-confession in v. 3 to their heavenly Patron while acknowledging that Jesus is the true agent sent from heaven. [xxi] The disciples’ “knowing” of Israel’s “only, true God” is not simply knowledge, but acknowledging and honoring God and the deity’s existential plans. This prayer, moreover, is not possible in Temple and synagogue (e.g., 9:22; 12:42). [xxii]

            Listening to God: Prophecy.  According to our model of communication, a sender sends a message via some channel to a receiver to have an effect. In the case of prayer, the senders are the Johannine members who send a message via Jesus-as-channel to God; but in the case of prophecy, the process is reversed as God speaks to mortals, not listens to them. In prophecy, 1. God, the sender, 2. sends a verbal message, 3. through the channel of Jesus, the “Spirit of Truth,” or a disciple-prophet, 4. to the receivers, the members of the Johannine group, 5. for the purpose of communicating to them special information. But in the Fourth Gospel, the sender of esoteric information seems to be Jesus. While in general Jesus remains mediator and broker of God’s benefaction, in regard to prophecy he functions as the source or sender. This may be because most prophetic materials concern themselves with remembering Jesus’ words which are themselves mediated by the Spirit who will bear witness to Jesus (15:26). [xxiii] This may be an idiosyncratic quirk from a maverick gospel.

            We need, however, a catalogue of the varieties of prophetic speech to alert us to what types of prophetic oracles are possible and their respective purposes. At the end of his study of prophecy in early Christianity and the Hellenistic world, David Aune offers the following list of “basic forms of Christian prophetic speech”: (1) oracles of assurance; (2) prescriptive oracles; (3) announcements of salvation; (4) announcements of judgment; (5) legitimation oracles; and (6) eschatological theophany oracles.” [xxiv]

            “Prophet” in the Fourth Gospel.  The Fourth Gospel occasionally records people favorable to Jesus acclaiming him as a prophet (4:19; 6:14; 7:40 (52); 9:17), generally because of  his wisdom or powers, that is, a “prophet mighty in word and deed.” But prophet/prophecy in John 14-17, while it focuses on the words of Jesus, also makes specific note of predictions of future events. Among the many remarks about “going away” and “coming back” (14:3, 18-19; 16:16), we find three statements that serve a special purpose which surpasses the mere communication of esoteric information. Some predictions by Jesus serve a prophylactic purpose of confirming loyalty in times of conflict. For example, after repeating the remark “I go away and I will come to you,” Jesus states the reason for telling this to his disciples: “Now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place, you may believe” (14:28-29). Similarly, after Jesus discloses the bleak future awaiting the disciples (16:1-2), he explains once again the prophylactic purpose of the prediction: “I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you of them” (16:4). [xxv] The Fourth Gospel would have us read these statements as communication from Jesus in the course of his career, which, when remembered, ameliorate a future crisis by indicating a providential knowledge of, if not control of, future, painful events. Thus, the purpose of this prophetic communication is exhortation to faithfulness, courage and the like. Oracles of assurance? Salvation?

            In a similar vein, when Jesus tells the disciples that they will be hated (15:18-25), he added, “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master’” (15:20). An earlier word in 13:16 reads: “‘A servant is not greater than his master, nor is he who is sent greater than him who sent him.’” But this remark occurs in the context of the mandate of Jesus that the disciples wash one another’s feet: if Jesus (master) did so, then disciples (servants) must do likewise. While in 15:18-25 the words are the same, the context has changed. Now “hate” is the fate of both master and servants. Thus past words can be prophetic of future events, especially trials awaiting the disciples. And in both cases, they communicate assurance and encouragement.

            Statement, Misunderstanding, Clarification  Prophecy may also be understood as the communication of esoteric information needed to understand Jesus’ cryptic words. Throughout the Fourth Gospel the author regularly casts Jesus’ discourse with friend and foe in terms of a pattern known as “statement, misunderstanding, and clarification.” [xxvi] Jesus makes a statement (“You know the way where I am going,” 14:4), which is misunderstood (“Lord, we do not know where you are going, how can we know the way,” 14:5), which prompts Jesus to offer a clarification (“I am the way, the truth, and the life,” 14:6).



















Although instances of this pattern occur regularly throughout the gospel, we observe a concentration of it in chs 14 and 16, which is Jesus’ final address to his inner circle of disciples. Previously this pattern served as catechetical enlightenment of enlighten-able disciples, such as the Samaritan Woman, but also as a wall shutting out un-enlighten-able disciples, such as Nicodemus and the Jerusalem crowds. Here, insiders and core disciples require special information about the cryptic world of Jesus, which is provided for them eventually, we suggest, by prophets speaking in the name of Jesus.  Although we will take up the topic of the “Spirit of truth” enlightening or reminding the disciples, Spirit is presumed in this discussion as a broker of Jesus. Thus, this pattern functions to make and maintain boundaries; it informs, but by doing so marks and confirms certain persons as elite insiders.

            The quest for esoteric information may be observed also in the pattern of questions and answers found in John 14-16. In addition to the question of Thomas noted above (14:5), Judas, not the Iscariot,  asked “How is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” (14:22). In several places Jesus himself asks their question to facilitate his next remarks. Although Jesus’ question to Philip has much of the reproach in it (14:9), it issues in a remarkable revelation of Jesus’ union with God (14:10-11), surely a singular favor. Similarly, Jesus questions the failure of the disciples to ask about a cryptic remark (16:5). At the very least, this pattern indicates that Jesus’ speech is filled with esoteric information and double-meaning words, which the receivers do not fully perceive at first and which require explanation.  Here at least, Jesus can lead the disciples into fuller insight by his subsequent clarifying statements. But in terms of group worship, a prophet during the group worship would presumably access the questions and provide an enlightened answer. [xxvii] As regards function, the providing of special, esoteric knowledge both designates and confirms elite membership.

            Furthermore, this gospel records Jesus declaring that “I have said this to you in figures; the hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures” (16:25). Does this cover only the metaphor of hard times resembling childbirth (16:20-24) or also the cryptic statements about “going away” and “coming back”? Minimally, a communication is given to the disciples which is admittedly “in figures,” liable to “misunderstanding,” or containing double meanings. But the veil will be lifted when in the future a prophet remembers, studies, examines and interprets Jesus’ words.

            Homily.  Scholars who write on early Christian sermons or homilies draw on two sources: 1) the ancient synagogue service and (2) summary remarks like Acts 2:42 (“devoted to the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, breaking of the bread, and prayers”). [xxviii] In the last chapter we examined types of Israelite “homilies,” identifying two types:  the proem and the yelammedenu. In the proem, a scripture is read, which is actually two different citations which at first glance have nothing in common. The teacher’s task is to tease from each esoteric meanings so that at the conclusion, the two citations are shown to be complementary and mutually illuminating. [xxix] In the yelammedenu type, which means “Let our teacher instruct us,” again an authorized person reads from the Scriptures and explains them. [xxx]    From the Hellenistic side, speeches structured in Greco-Roman rhetoric are discussed.  In both Israelite and Greco-Roman contexts, we know of some sort of sermon or homily, although its precise form eludes us. [xxxi]

            Although neither the Jewish nor the Greco-Roman types of homily apply to materials in John 15-16, we find, nevertheless, two side-by-side exhortations. In 15:1-8 and 9-17 the audience is exhorted in the type of rhetoric called deliberative  to choose and keep on choosing loyalty to Jesus and his Father. In terms of our communication model, “teaching” or “exhortation” or “instruction” is diagramed as follows: 1. a sender (God), 2. sends a message (teaching, exhortation), 3.  via some channel (Jesus _ Spirit _ teacher), 4. to receivers (Johannine group), 5. to have some effect on them (to confirm and to urge loyalty). We focus, then, on 15:1-8 and 9-17 because these exhortations most closely accord with the elements of deliberative rhetoric.

            In regard to 15:1-8, the topic of the exhortation is introduced in the metaphor: “I am the vine, my father is the vinedresser” (15:1). In this context, the entire passage exhorts the disciples to choose to “remain,” This exhortation occurs seven times (vv 4, 4b, 4c, 5, 6, 7a, and 7b),  sometimes in the imperative mood and sometimes in a conditional clause, surely indicative of the choice to be made. Seven occurrences! This exhortation builds on current relationships and urges the disciples to maintain them in the future, the value of which relationships provides the very argument from advantage. The relationships are: Jesus = vine, the disciples = the branches, while the Father =  the vinedresser (vv 1-2, 5). The telltale signs of an argument from advantage suggests that we consider this material an example of deliberative rhetoric which “appeals for future action on the basis of future benefits.” [xxxii] “Remaining” brings sweet advantage, just as “not remaining” leads to bitterness. A branch which remains and is cleansed by the vine dresser “bears much fruit” (v 2), a phrase which is repeated 3 times (vv 4, 5, 8) to underscore the advantage that comes from “remaining.” Similarly, branches which “remain” may petition God for “whatever you will” and expect God’s positive response (v 7) -- advantage indeed! In contrast, we are told of the sanctions imposed on those who do “not remain.” They are taken away (v 1), and worse, “cast forth. . .wither. . .thrown into the fire and burned” (v 6).

            We find clear argumentative patterns here. “Unless the branch remains. . .” is a necessary condition frequently found the Fourth Gospel: “unless” one is born of the Spirit or eats the flesh of the Son of Man or is washed by Jesus, one does not experience the benefit of God. So, too, here the advantage of “remaining” is also cast in the form of an “unless” argument:

            A branch cannot bear fruit unless (…n ‹) it remains in the vine,

            neither can you, unless (…n ‹) you remain in me (15:4) [xxxiii]


Similarly, in vv 6-7 conditional sentences articulate the deliberative character of “remaining” and “not remaining.”

Unless (…n ‹) disciples remain, they are cast forth. . .if (…n) you remain in me

            and my words remain in you, you may ask for whatever you wish.


The speaker provides reasons for the right choice. On the positive side, the “cleansing” of the vine (perhaps a euphemism for testing gold in a furnace) serves the purpose (ª [1] ) of causing the branches to bear more fruit, clearly an advantage. And Jesus gives the reason why branches must “remain” in the vine: “for (²*) without me you can do nothing” (v 5). Because we observe an argument being made, not merely information being imparted, we consider 15:1-8 a crisp example of deliberative rhetoric, which places before the disciples the decision of “remaining,”a deliberation richly rewarded or severely sanctioned. The argument from advantage is a regular feature of exhortations, homilies and/or sermons. [xxxiv]

            A second exhortation follows immediately, which both begins and concludes with the command, “Remain in my love” (v 9) . . .“love one another” (v 17). Evidently the focus is on “love,” although vv 9-17 are linked with vv 1-8 by means of four more references to “remain” (vv 9-10, 16). Thus 15:1-8 and 9-17 should be seen as parallel and linked exhortations, the first one expressing a vertical series of relationship between vine dresser, vine and branches, and the second one horizontal relationships between “one another.” As was the case with vv 1-8, the exhortation in vv 9-17 is argued by: (1) imperatively urging: “Love one another!”; (2) conditional sentences explaining this “love,”  such as “if (…n) you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love” (v 10); and  (3) analogies which clarify the topic: “as ( [1] Â() the father has loved me, so have I loved you” (v 9). In language using the argument from advantage, the author first tells the disciples that “remaining” and “loving” elevate their status from that of  “servants” to “friends” (.< ,(). This echoes the contrasting statuses of dead versus  fruitful branches in 15:1-8, with the comparison now made between “servants” and “friends.” Jesus’ final argument here reminds the disciples of their debt in justice to him, which he is calling in through this exhortation: “You did not chose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should remain” (v 16). The verbs indicate the extent of Jesus’ benefaction which creates the debt of justice: “chose,” “appointed,” “bear fruit” and “your fruit remain.”  To this he now appends one more benefaction, effective petitionary prayer: “whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give it to you” (v 16b), surely a significant advantage.

            Therefore, this material is exhortatory, and it resumes the most important behaviors urged in the Fourth Gospel, “remaining” and “loving.” Because of its exhortatory character, it stands apart from all other parts of the Farewell Address. But are “homily” or “sermon”the appropriate classification? And do such things belong in worship? The type of rhetoric in 15:1-17 is deliberative, that is, it exhorts the hearers to make a choice which will effect their future, and the argument rests primarily on pointing out the advantage to those choosing to “remain” and “love.” Such rhetoric is not exclusive to homily or sermon and may occur in many types of public speaking, especially speeches to the Roman senate or the Greek assembly. Yet it is most compatible with sermon and homily (see Heb 3:1-4:13; 6:1-12), which are admittedly parts of Christian worship. [xxxv]

            Study of the Words of Jesus. It is indisputable that the disciples in their worship told the story of Jesus once more and examined his words and parables. This is, moreover, where the speeches of Acts all end: what God has done to Jesus.  But John 14-17 do not contain the splendid narratives found earlier or elsewhere;  on the contrary, they contain only his words, although the self-focused prayer in John 17 does summarize his mission. But as has been the case from John 2 onward, the meaning of his words is by no means clear. For example, “Destroy this temple. . .” was heard as “this [Herodian] temple.” Only after his resurrection, “his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken” (2:21). We have seen above the pattern of statement-misunderstanding-clarification, which demonstrates that many, even of the inner circle, failed to understand Jesus’ words correctly, but required an interpreter either now or in the future. This material has been studied according to the sociology of secrecy, which study argues that it was a regular feature of the Fourth Gospel to have Jesus conceal and reveal. Secrecy, we learn, is the “mandatory or voluntary, but calculated concealment of information, activities or relationships. [xxxvi] Put simply, knowledge is controlled. Not all people know everything at the same time; being “in the know” serves as an important marker insider status. [xxxvii] Readers of John are already familiar with certain types of secrecy: riddles, irony, parables, footnotes and asides. When was the veil lifted? When did the disciples get the correct understanding of Jesus’ words? How far afield are we to suggest that Jesus’ words were studied by the group at its gathering and given attention comparable to the Scriptures.

            Enter the Paraclete, the Spirit of Truth. In John 14-16 this figure is described four time, every time as the broker of special knowledge about Jesus. First of all, we note that most of the time this Paraclete/Spirit of truth reminds, glorifies Jesus, takes what is Jesus’ and declares it to them. The Paraclete, then, attends primarily to the Jesus story and the words of Jesus. We know, moreover, that this Paraclete spoke through someone in the group, a prophet. But the Spirit has other functions as well.




16:7-10, 12

Title or Name


Holy Spirit


Spirit of Truth

16:7 Paraclete

16:12 Spirit of Truth

Source & Relationship to Father and Jesus

whom the Father will send in my name

whom I shall send to you from the Father. . .who proceeds from the Father

16:7 I will send him to you


1. he will teach you all things





2. bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you

1. ---------------------






2. he will bear witness to me

1. he will guide you into all the truth. . .he will declare to you the things that art to come


2.he does not speak on his own authority. . .he will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you


            Judgment.  Few scholars who list the various elements of Christian worship include mention of “judgment” as part of it. All the more, then, are David Aune’s reflections worth our attention. In The Cultic Setting of Realized Eschatology in Early Christianity, he argued that two elements of eschatology, declarations of salvation and judgment, have their proper place in “the worship, preaching and teaching of that community. [xxxviii]

This cultic “coming” of the Son of man to save and to judge, to bless and to curse, was a corporate worship experience which the Johannine community conceptualized in terms of the traditional Christological expectation of the Son of man. [xxxix]

He cites with approval Käsemann’s “Sentences of Holy Law” as illustrative of cultic judgment speech. [xl] As we saw above, Aune listed “oracles of judgment” among the types of prophecy found in the Early Church. [xli] “Announcements of judgment and salvation,” then, are not foreign to Christian worship; moreover they were types of sanctioned speech.

            For example, we recall Paul’s judgment of the man in an incestuous marriage in 1 Cor 5. Paul times the sentencing of the sinner to occur within a group meeting (“when you are assembled”), at which he speaks with pneumatic authority and declares that he enjoys the “power of the Lord,” that is, authority  to censure the man. Found guilty of corruption, the man is publicly expelled from the group (5:3-5). [xlii] Similarly, Matt 18:15-17 records a group ritual in which an errant member should  progressively receive correction. Should the transformational ritual fail, “the church” declares him an outsider. Both of these examples envision a community assembly, at which takes place an oracle of judgment.

            This material, we suggest, pertains to John 16:7-11, which we interpret as a form of   judgment oracle. In terms of Johannine logic, the Paraclete will play a forensic role, similar to the presentation of Jesus in his various trials in the gospel. [xliii] Unlike 1 Cor 5 and Matt 18:15-17, no one is cast out of the group; on the contrary the group is experiencing expulsion from the synagogue (9:22, 34; 12:42; 16:1-2). The judgment oracle, then, serves to make and maintain boundaries with “the world” by emphasizing in dualistic terms how and why the Johannine group is right and therefore does not belong in the world.  The following list drawn from the Farewell Address illustrates the studied emphasis on group boundaries:

Jesus and His Disciples

The World

. . . you know him for he dwells in you and will be in you (14:17b)

the Spirit of Truth whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees him or knows him (14:17a)

. . .but you will see me (14:19b)

the world will see me no more (14:19a)

how is it you will manifest yourself

to us. . . (14:22a)

. . .and not to the world (14:22b)

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you (14:27a)

. . .not as the world gives peace do I give to you  (14:27b)14:27

. . .he has no power over me (14:30b)

the ruler of this world is coming (14:30a)

But because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you,  know that it has hated me before it (15:19)

If the world hates you, know that he has hated me before it hated you (15:18)

If you were of the world, the world would love its own (15:19)

You will weep and lament. . .(16:20a)

. . .but the world will rejoice (16:20b)

. . .I am leaving the world and going to the Father (16:28b)

I came from the Father and have come into the world (16:28a)

. . .fear not, I have overcome the world  (16:33b)

In the world you have tribulation (16:33a)


The discourse in the Farewell Address, then, makes and maintains boundaries with “the world” to emphasize the chasm that separates the disciples from the synagogue and to make any crossing back impossible. Thus in this context we read 16:7-11 as an oracle of judgment.

            The task of the Paraclete in 16:8 consists of some form of judgment, whether we translate the Greek verb which is used here as “convict” or “convince.” [xliv] On the one hand, the Johannine group will surely have much to criticize the synagogue for, at least to confirm the synagogue’s utter depravity. Thus they are equipped with ready arguments to judge the synagogue and so prove it hopelessly wrong. On the other hand, this criticism serves also to firm up the group’s own beliefs of its superiority and so its necessary separation from the world. Thus the Paraclete will prove to the disciples that the synagogue/world is guilty of sin, (false) righteousness, and (false) judgment. [xlv] “Of sin,” because the world did not believe in Jesus. [xlvi] “Of [false] righteousness,” because the synagogue judged Jesus a sinner and deceiver, yet Jesus will shortly be in the presence of the all holy God. [xlvii] “Of [false] judgment,” because it persecutes and judges Jesus, and by doing so it brings judgment upon itself. [xlviii] Thus, we argue that part of the worship described in the Farewell Address includes oracles of judgment, that is, a communication sent from God through the channel of the Paraclete to the disciples for the purpose of shoring up the disciples even as it condemns their adversaries.

Not on This Mountain Nor in Jerusalem. But Where?

            Jesus’ declaration that his body would be the new and true Temple (2:19-22) is followed by a conversation with a Samaritan woman about the right place to worship, Mts. Gerizim or Zion (4:20), which mountains Jesus de-classifies as sacred places of worship. [xlix] Thus, the Johannine disciples have no fixed sacred space in contrast with Samaritan and Israelite temples which are permanently fixed atop certain mountains. Nor does the local synagogue serve as the site of its worship, for public confession of Jesus as the Christ results in expulsion from that assembly (9:22, 12:42-43 and 16:1-2). But if not Mt. Gerizim  nor Jerusalem nor the synagogue, then where? [l] One of the dominant themes discussed in John 14-17 treats of the issue of where worship will take place. We argue that parts of the answer will come from a fresh consideration of (1) “Many rooms” (  [1] ¡ 14:2) and  (2) “Being In and “Dwelling In,” But first let us consider a model on “territoriality” or the anthropology of space, to appreciate what significance Jesus’ de-classification of Mts. Gerizim and Zion has.

            Fixed vs Fluid Sacred Space (4:21-24).   “Not on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem” effectively negates fixed sacred space for the Johannine group, that is temples with the elaborate systems that surround them: priests, offerings, tithes, revenues, temple building with its adornment and maintenance, and hosts of diverse persons to staff it, perform in it, and guard it. Needless to say, ethnic temples are clear examples of fixed sacred space, which they often express by declaring themselves as the “navel” or “center” of the world. [li] Since discussion of fixed or fluid space depends on some social theory of space, let us briefly examine a model commonly used in the anthropology of space, namely, “territoriality.” Robert Sack, a representative of modern research, defines it as:

 Territoriality will be defined as the attempt by an individual or group to affect, influence, or control people, phenomena, and relationships, by delimiting and asserting control over a geographic area. . .Territories require constant effort to establish and maintain. [lii]

This means that groups typically engage in a three-step process: (1) classification of the space (mine/yours, sacred/profane, etc.), (2) communication of the classification (fences, gates, walls), and (3) control of the space. Within this model, let us examine “fluid” vs “fixed” sacred space. On this point we turn to Mary Douglas and one of her best interpreters, Bruce J. Malina. Of fixed sacred space, Malina write:

Just as persons have their statuses by ascription and perdure in that status indefinitely, the same holds true for places. The topography of the main places where people in this script live out their lives is rather permanent. A palace location, a temple location, and a homestead stay in the same place and with the same lineage through generations. [liii]

Thus fixed sacred space correlates with fixed roles and statuses. All of this is characterized by redundant aspects of stability, permanence and continuity. The temple-city of Jerusalem exemplifies this well. [liv] Of fluid sacred space, Malina writes:

This situation of porous boundaries and competing groups stands in great contrast to the solid, hierarchical, pyramidal shape of strong group/high grid [fixed space]. . . as groups form and re-form anew, permanence is no longer to be found outside the group; and where the group is, there is stability. Sacred space is located in the group, not in some impersonal space like a temple. The group is the central location of importance . . ..Discourse within these groups, whether the words of a portable Torah, the story of Jesus, or the exhortations of the philosopher-teacher, becomes the mobile, portable, exportable focus of sacred place, in fact more important than the fixed and eternal sacred places. [lv]

Malina bases his classification on considerations of space and time, at which we must look more closely. The following chart should make explicit the contrasts on every level between fixed and fluid sacred space.

FIXED: Temple

FLUID: Group

1. topological, actual space

1. place where the group meets

2. place perduring over time

2. space of opportunistic, occasional group meetings

3. major mode of worship: sacrifice

3. major mode of worship: verbal forms

4. focus on altar

4. focus on sacred writings

5. hierarchical arrangement of persons by birth

5. significant individuals whose competency is based on spirit giftedness or closeness to the group’s hero



This model of fluid (vs fixed) sacred space alerts us to certain aspects of worship as they may appear in John 14-17. First, significant attention is given to the group, not to any place; second, the medium of the communication which is worship is certainly not sacrifice, performed by a priest whose competency rests on birth into the appropriate clan or family, but verbal worship as this is articulated by competent figures in the group. [lvi] In short, where the group is, there is the place of worship.

            In My Father’s House There Are Many Rooms (14:2).   Beginnings are generally significant rhetorical places to establish a topic, and we read John 14:2 in this manner, as a topic statement. This verse contains two phrases: (1) “in my Father’s house there are many rooms (  [1] ¡ " [1] <)” and (2) “I am going to prepare a place (*@" ) for you.” A recent dissertation on these verses offers a critical, inventive interpretation of it. McCaffrey notes that “my ‘Father’s house” has been variously explained as heaven, the heavenly temple, the messianic kingdom, even the universe. [lvii] Since the author of the Fourth Gospel declassifies any mountain or earthly temple as sacred space for God’s dwelling, we look to God’s “realm” as the place for worshiping God -- wherever that may be. McCaffrey, moreover, gives special attention to the term “in my Father’s house” ( ¥<p), which  suggests intimate kinship relationships, [lviii] such as Father and son, God and disciples, and perhaps other Christians yet to be brought in -- “many rooms.” [lix] And when Jesus states that “I go to prepare a place for you,” he goes not as an architect but as a broker of relationships which will secure access to God through himself. Thus we are inclined to read 14:2  in terms of personal relationships and not in terms of buildings or space.

            Jesus next states that he “goes away and comes back” -- he goes “to prepare a place for you” and then says that “I will come back and will take you to myself.” He states as his purpose that  “where I am you also may be.” After brokering his relationship with the Father, he returns to solidify his relationship with God’s clients. He does not say that he will take the disciples to the “Father’s house,” but rather facilitate his brokerage by maintaining a favored relationship with the disciples. Thus, I would extend the sense of “relationship”to the “place” which Jesus prepares. As we will shortly argue, Jesus functions as broker in a patron-client relationship which is first linked with his Father-Patron and then with his disciples-clients. As tortured as it may sound, Jesus is in two “places” at once:  in heaven (in relationship with God, wherever God is) and on earth (in relationship with disciples, wherever they gather). Balancing his remark that he has access to God’s presence, he also “takes the disciples to myself.” Thus they too have access to God’s house, but only in relation to Jesus. Poor Thomas, who does not know the way to the Father’s house! Jesus tells him, “I am the way. . .” (14:6), that is, the exclusive relationship with God and the unique broker of God: “No one comes to the Father, but by me.” Jesus, then, is both relationship and access, but he is not “place.”

            Later Jesus amplifies the meanings we argue for “Father’s house” and “place”: “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him” (14:23). Once more, the key to this “geography” is relationship: (1) a disciple loving Jesus and keeping his word, (2) the Father loving this disciple, and (3) the Father and Son coming to him and making a “home” with him. Again Jesus functions as the key link, the broker or mediator between God and the clients. The disciple-client, moreover, must maintain faithfulness with this mediator, which relationship will be honored by the Father-Patron. Thus a link between disciple and Father is forged in and through Jesus. The purpose or utility of this relationship comes from the benefaction the Patron then shows the client, namely, “we will make our home with him.” Any disciple may fit this description, and any earthly place is suitable for this relationship to occur. The only exclusive thing which makes this place “sacred” is the fact that Father and Son are located only in relationship with Jesus.

            Later Jesus petitions God for a benefaction which relates to the Johannine statement studied above, namely, that “place” = relationship:  “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to behold my glory which you have given me in your love for me before the foundation of the world” (17:24). The related figures include “Father,” “I,” “they whom you gave me,” that is, the same persons described in terms of patron-broker-client relationships above. The Patron has already established the broker with his clients, but he is now petitioned by Jesus to bestow on the clients a unique blessing, “to behold my glory which you have given me in your love for me before the foundation of the world.” What can “be with me where I am” mean? Several times in John 17 Jesus recognizes the non-relatedness of the disciples to “the world:” While “they are in the world” (17:11) and “they are not of the world” (17:14). Nevertheless, Jesus does not ask that they be removed from the world: “I do not pray that you should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from the evil one” (17:15). Thus “that they be with me where I am” is no heavenly ascent nor a spatial relocation. Rather, the directional and spatial patterns we observe suggest that such language is best understood in terms of relationships. The relationship of Jesus with the Father contains elements of obedience, love, and generosity. In John 17, we are told thirteen times that the Father “gave” Jesus something, such as “power over all flesh” (17:2), “those you gave me” (17:6, 9, 24), “everything” (17:7), “the words you gave me” (17:8, 14), “the name” (17:11-12), and “glory” (17:22, 24). And Jesus’ numerous petitions suggest that God will continue giving, but giving in Jesus’ name. Similarly, relationship of Jesus-broker and disciples-clients itself contains strains of loyalty, generosity and faithfulness. For example, Jesus, gifted with the “name” of God, reveals it to his disciples (17:6, 11, 12, 26); he has given them God’s “word” (17:14, 17,   ) and “glory” (17:22, 24). It is not enough that God play patron to his disciples via a broker; the fullest benefaction will occur when the broker “takes” the disciples close to Patron –a relationship, not a geographical or fixed sacred  place. Brokerage given in the past will continue in the future all because the relationships of Patron, broker and clients are faithfully maintained.

            Thus we return to the phrase “to behold my glory which you have given me in your love for me before the foundation of the world.” The “place” of Jesus’ pre-creation glory must be in the presence of God, even the bosom of God (1:18; 17:5). To repeat, Jesus’ petition in 17:24 does not require that the disciples be taken to a new place or be transported heavenward. His prayer may be accomplished by some sort of christophany in which the disciples “behold my glory.” That is, they who are still in the world will see into heaven, just as Nathanael and others were promised a vision (in 1:50-51), if not of heaven itself then certainly of heavenly persons. [lx]   In summary, Jesus’ declaration in 14:2 that there are “many rooms” in the Father’s house and its repetition in 14:23 are best understood as description of relationships, not places such as were de-classified in 4:21. No specific earthly place in the world is envisioned, but rather a relationship between Father, Jesus and the disciples, which we describe as a Patron-Broker-client relationship.

            “Being In” and “Dwelling In.” We find in chapters 14 and 15 a number of remarks by Jesus describing his relationship with both the Father and disciples, which are seemingly expressed in spatial terms. He expresses his relationship with the Father in two ways: (1) “I am in the Father and the Father is in me” (14:10, 11, 20), and “the Father dwells  in me” (14:10b). Similarly, Jesus’ relationship with the disciples parallels that between him and God:  “I in my Father  and you in me and I in you” (14:20). Although one might initially think that “in” is a spatial term (“in my Father’s house there are many rooms”), as we have noted, neither do the disciples travel to another place nor does  “being in” necessarily imply spatial location.

            Similarly with “dwell in.” In terms of Jesus’ relationship with God, we are told that “the Father dwells in me” (14:10b). The same verb is used 10 times in 15:4-10 to express the relationship of Jesus with the disciples. On the one hand, the disciple must “dwell” in or remain in or sustain loyalty to Jesus: “the branch cannot bear fruit unless it ‘dwells’ in the vine” (15:4). Conversely, if a branch “dwells” in the vine, the vine curiously will “dwell” in the branch: “dwell in me and I in you” (15:4, 5b). An alternate way of expressing this in 15:7 indicates the basis for this type of dwelling: “If you ‘dwell’ in me and my words ‘dwell’ in you. . .”  The words of Jesus “dwelling” point to a relationship of loyalty and faithfulness. Finally, the Spirit will “dwell” in you and “be” in you 14:17. When we ask what type of relationships are envisioned, several types seem suitable here: (1) kinship relationships (father, son, household) and  (2) patron-broker- client relationships.

            Juxtaposed to the exhortation to “dwell” in Jesus and to “love,” we are told about “hate.” Those outside the relationships described above  hate the disciples (15:18-25), which results in physical expulsion from the synagogue (16:1-2). There will be no “dwelling” there, for it would mean acceptance the their criticism of Jesus. Moreover, Jesus explains why he tells them this prediction, “to keep you from falling away.” This prophecy, then, is intended to cement their relationship with Jesus, that is, “dwell” in him even as he is “in” them. In discourse on “hate,” “scandal,” and “scattering,” the exhortation to “dwell,” while metaphorically on the level of physical separation and distancing, expresses a close relationship of the highest sort. Thus “being in” and “dwelling in” correspond to “love” and “faithfulness,”  but “scandal” and “scattering” and “hate” are the converse. Loyal and faithful relationships, we argue, best explain these erstwhile spatial terms.

Patron-Broker-Client Relations.

            Patrons and Clients   Worship inevitably brings together persons of varying roles and statuses. What people? What roles? Let us look through the lenses of patron-client relationships. Patron-client relations have long enjoyed the attention of classicists. [lxi] Frederick Danker’s book Benefactor brought to the attention of New Testament scholars the tradition of honoring benefactors, a form of patron-client relations characteristic of the eastern Mediterranean. [lxii] And Bruce Malina pioneered the formal use of the anthropology of patron-client relations to interpret early Christian literature. [lxiii] Malina’s model [lxiv] of patron-client relations describes those that arise between  peoples of unequal status and resources: landlord/ vassal, aristocrat/peasant, king/subject, father/son, and God/Israel. [lxv] Thus patron-client relationships describe the vertical dimension of exchange between higher-status and lower-status persons.

Excursus: Basic Features of Patron-Client Relations

The basic features include: 1. Patron-client relations are particularistic, thus characterized by favoritism. 2. They involve the exchange of a whole range of goods and services, power, influence, inducement and commitment.  3. The exchange entails a package deal, so that the elements of patronage cannot be given separately (i.e., concretely useful goods must go along with loyalty). 4. Solidarity here entails a strong element of un-conditionality and long-range social credit.  5. Hence, patron-client relations involve a strong element of personal obligation.  6. These relations are not fully legal or contractual, but still very strongly binding. 7. In principle, patron-client relations entered into voluntarily can be abandoned voluntarily, although always proclaimed to be life-long, long-range, forever, etc. 8. Patron-client relations are vertical and dyadic (between individuals or networks of individuals) and, thus, they undermine the horizontal group organization and solidarity of clients and other patrons. 9. They are based on strong inequality and differences between patrons and clients. Patrons monopolize certain positions of crucial importance to clients, especially access to means of production, major markets, and centers of society. [lxvi]

As noted above, because the topic of patron-client relations is now part of New Testament scholarship, [lxvii] and so does not need to be rehearsed here. We should, however, widen the model to accommodate another person in the patron-client relationship, namely, the broker. [lxviii] In social or commercial terms, a broker places people in touch with each other, such as a real estate broker, a stock broker, or a marriage broker. [lxix] A broker must be suitably placed to be accessible both to clients seeking aid and patrons who might provide  assistance. Thus a broker is a bridge (i.e., pontifex) or link or mediator between patrons and clients.

            Broker in Patron-Client Relations   Writing on the term “mediator,” Albert Oepke identified the following social roles in the ancient world which exemplify the role of broker or mediator. A mediator is a person who (1) is “neutral” to two parties and negotiates peace or guarantees agreements, (2) arranges business deals, (3) receives as king divine laws and offers sacrifice for the people, (4) offers as priest prayers and sacrifice to God on behalf of individuals and the people, (5) brings as prophet a teaching or mighty work from God, (6) founds a new cult or religion, and (7) delivers an angel communication from God. [lxx]

            Oepke notes that when the New Testament calls Jesus a broker, it shades the term into many meanings: he is the unique mediator (
&<*() between the one God and humankind (1 Tim 2:5), the mediator of the new covenant (Heb 8:6; 9:15; 12:24) and a “priest according to the order of Melchizedek” (Heb 5:6; 6:20; 7:17). In contrast to Levitical priesthood, Jesus’ priesthood/brokerage is vastly superior because  Jesus “is able for all time to save those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (Heb 7:25).

            We are hardly the first to read John 17 in terms of mediation. Already back in patristic times, the prayer which comprises John 17 was labeled “the high priestly” prayer, a tag still affixed to it. Our interpretation accepts the perception of Jesus’ role as a mediator figure, not simply in ch 17, but in the whole of the Farewell Address. Building on past studies of John 14-17, we wish to use the social science model of patron, broker, and client to interpret the role of Jesus as broker as an essential part of understanding worship in the Fourth Gospel. [lxxi]

            How does a broker or mediator function in a system of patron-client relations? One anthropologist identifies four elements of a broker’s functioning: (1) capital, he has to have something to broker; (2) tariff, remuneration for his services; (3) debt, the promises he makes, and (4) interest, his calculation of when and how his tariff will be paid. [lxxii] Inasmuch as he brokers goods and services, what is exchanged in a patron-broker-client relationship? Clients typically seek protection and access to scarce resources, which are called first-order resources. [lxxiii] A broker most frequently has second-order goods, namely, access to patrons and skill in connecting the right client with the right patron. In the rough and tumble of village or urban life in antiquity, there might be many clients working through many brokers to gain access to many patrons. [lxxiv] But in the Fourth Gospel, there is only one patron (God) and one clientage (Israel), but competing brokers (Jesus vs Moses, Abraham, Temple, synagogue). [lxxv]

            Jesus as Broker in John 14-17    Let us situate Jesus first in relationship to the Patron-Father and then to the clients-disciples. It is generally agreed that a successful broker must be part of the two worlds which he joins. The author expresses Jesus’ relation to the heavenly world in many ways. For example, Jesus was sent by God (17:3, 21), which social- science interpreters call his ascribed authority or honor. Moreover, in 17:5 and 24 Jesus speaks of glory which he had from his Patron before the world was made, which clearly describes Jesus as belonging to the heavenly world or totally dedicated to the affairs of the Father. [lxxvi] Thus Jesus’ relationship to the Patron is ancient, intimate, and enduring. In John 17, moreover, Jesus repeatedly tells us how loyally he has served the interests of his Patron:

            17:4    I glorified You on earth, having accomplished what you gave me to do

            17:6    I manifested your name to whom you gave me

            17:8    I have given them the words which you gave me

            17:12   While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you gave me

            17:14   I have given them Your word.

He accomplished what God gave him to do, which specifically means manifesting the Patron’s name (also in 17:11, 12) and delivering the Patron’s words.   In addition, Jesus brokered the following for his earthly clients: (1) power (17:2), (2) protection (17:12), and (3) glory (17:22).   Thus Jesus belongs to the Patron’s world, shares in the riches of that world, and loyally serves the interests of his Patron.

            Jesus the broker also belongs to the clients’ world and serves their interests as well. For example, Jesus confesses to the Patron the many ways in which he has brokered the safety of the clients:

            17:12   I kept them in your name, none is lost but. . .

            17:13   These things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in them

            17:15   I do not say take them out of the world, but keep them from the evil one

            17:19   For their sake I consecrate myself, that they may be consecrated in truth


He not only protected them, but seeks their continued safety. Moreover, he envisions a future brokerage which includes: (1) keeping them from the evil one (17:15), and (2) being with Jesus where he is in glory (17:24). In an expression of limitless brokering, Jesus repeatedly declares that his clients are assured of his brokerage when they “ask in my name”:

14:13   Whatsoever you ask for in my name, I will do it

            14:14   If you ask anything in my name, I will do it

            15:16   So that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give it to you

            16:24   Hitherto you have asked nothing in my name; ask, and you will receive

            16:26   In that day you will ask in my name; and I do not say to you that I shall pray the

           Father for you; for the Father himself loves you.


Jesus is the unique broker, for  “no one comes to the Father, but by me” (14:6).

Summary, Conclusions, Further Questions

            Summary.  This study began by providing a current descriptive inventory of worship. In addition to which we developed a social science model of worship based on communication theory which adequately explains how both prayer and other types of worship (prophecy, homily, etc.) all belong together as diverse aspects of worship. The communications model identifies and interprets the two directions of communication: (1) worshipers sending a message to the deity for a specific purpose and (2) the deity sending a message to the worshipers for a various purposes via various persons in the group. The model identifies both the medium of the communication and the channel along which it is sent, as well as a wide variety of purposes for the communication.

            In regard to prayer, the communication model provided a rich  typology of prayer, which  advances our understanding of the various effects that prayer seeks to have on the deity. While we are all familiar with the purpose of petitionary prayer, we found the typology of prayer particularly helpful in identifying petitionary and self-reflective  prayers in John 14-17.  Moreover, the communication model allowed for a nuanced reading and understanding of other forms of worship, which in the model describe the communication of the deity with worshipers. We identified the following such types of communication in John 14-17, namely,  prophecy (oracles of assurance and of judgment), homily and study of the words of Jesus.

            In examining the issue of “where” the Johannine group worshiped, we were greatly aided by the use of a model of fixed versus fluid sacred space. Fluid sacred space, unlike fixed spaces as found in temples, does not embody the system of temple personnel such as we find in Jerusalem’s temple. [lxxvii] But we can go further than the standard rejections of Mts. Gerizim and Zion and their facile replacements of “spirit and truth.” The model of fluid sacred space urges us to examine how both the person of Jesus and the persons of the group become the sacred space. Jesus does not take his disciples out of the world, even though he has prepared a place (i.e., “relationship”)  for them. The key element in understanding the “where” of worship for the Johannine group lies in appreciating how the Risen Jesus continues to offer christophanies to the group, especially in the revealing the sacred name “I AM” to them. In short, God draws near to the group through Jesus and the disciples are drawn near to God through Jesus, especially as the figure who bridges the heavenly and earthly worlds. Thus we look to relationships as the “where” of worship. 

            We addressed the issue of the roles which constitute the relationship just described. The model of patron/broker/client, known both from ancient authors and modern anthropologists, seems particularly applicable to worship as we find it described in John 14-17.  Broker, both the choice of New Testament writers and our best understanding of Jesus’ role vis-à-vis God and his disciples, provides an adequate interpretation of the communication in John 14-17: the client’s petitions to the heavenly Patron are all made “in my name,” just as the Patron’s “words” and “commands” all come through Jesus to the disciples. Whether we label him “broker,”  “mediator” or “priest,” we have both a social and functional understanding of Jesus’ role in the verbal worship of the Johannine group.

            Finally, scholars agree on the prayer aspect of the section of the Fourth Gospel labeled as a “Farewell Address.” But it also contains materials which have never been considered as elements of worship which have remained in the shadows for want of an adequate model to identify them. When one adds to discussions of worship both a communications model as well as notions of fluid vs sacred space, then we find that a surprising amount of  material in John 14-17 can then be seen to be part of a large discourse on worship in the Fourth Gospel. A familiar text is thus freshly interpreted precisely because new models of reading and interpretation suggest new data.

            Further Questions.  Because we have focused on John 14-17, our investigation of worship is not complete in two ways. First, how are we to interpret pilgrimage feasts to Jerusalem? How do we understand baptism (3:22-26) and eating the bread of life (6:32-56)? As Aune earlier stated, worship consists of “various types of rituals. . . Christians gathered to eat together, to baptize new members, to experience healing.” [lxxviii] The very presence of the foot washing in 13:12-17 suggests a ceremonial welcome of group members by its officials. This is the raw material of a study of group worship?  The details of a purificatory ritual described in 20:23 are absent, although Jesus authorizes those on whom he breathed to “forgive” and “retain” sins. What, then, still needs to identified and interpreted? The inquiry is just beginning.  Second, the more forms of worship that are identified, the more need we have of a consideration of roles and statuses within the group. How might the patron-broker-client model assist us in interpreting the roles of elite members of the group, if this is possible? Third, if we have focused only on John 14-17, then are there other data in the gospel about various forms worship and various aspects of it (time, place, ritual). We claimed to find most of the elements of worship described by those who make surveys of what constitutes early Christian worship. What, however, have we not found  in John 14-17? Finally, the worship models exposed here can only benefit from their application to other worship materials in the New Testament.

[i]  Oscar Cullmann (Early Christian Worship [London: SCM Press, 1953]) describes “basic characteristics of the early Christian worship service” in the quarter of his book, and then with a sacramental focus treats the various episodes in the Fourth Gospel which have to do with water/baptism, bread/Eucharist, sabbath, and temple. On occasion, one finds a treatment of worship in the Fourth Gospel as part of a larger work, for example, David E. Aune, The Cultic Setting of Realized Eschatology in Early Christianity (Leiden, Brill, 1972) 45-135.

[ii]  James McCaffrey, The House with Many Rooms. The Temple Theme of Jn. 14,2-3 (Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute, 1988)  21.

[iii]  For example, Herman Ridderbos, The Gospel according to John (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1997) 163.

[iv]  The sources consulted are:  Cullmann, Early Christian Worship; C. C. Richardson, “Worship in New Testament Times, Christian,” IDB 4.883-94; Gerhard Delling, Worship in the NT (London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1962); Ralph P. Martin, Worship in the Early Church (London: Marshall, Morgan and Scott, 1964);  Ferdinand Hahn, The Worship of the Early Church (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1973); David E. Aune, “Worship, Early Christian,” ABD 6.973-989.

[v]  Early Christianity differed from worship in the Greco-Roman world, in that it had no temples,  no cult statues and no regular sacrifices. Thus Aune stated: “Christian worship had a primarily verbal character, and in this respect it was similar to synagogue Judaism” (“Worship, Early Christian,” 973).

[vi]  Aune, “Worship, Early Church,” ABD 6.973.

[vii]  See Ralph P. Martin, Worship in the Early Church (London: Marshall, Morgan and Scott, 1964) 18-27.

[viii]  Fernando Segovia (The Farewell of the Word [Minneapolis: Fortress, 1991] 5) provides the most complete and exhaustive treatment of this material both in his text and in note # 2.

[ix]  Malina, “What is Prayer?” 21-18 and Malina and Rohrbaugh, Social-Scientific Commentary on the Gospel of John (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1998) 246-47.

[x]  See Malina and Rohrbaugh, Social-Science Commentary on the Gospel of John, esp. 244-48.

[xi]  It is a commonplace among commentators to divide John 17 into three sections: vv 1-8 = Jesus’ prayer for himself; vv 9-19 = Jesus’ prayer for his disciples; and vv 20-26 = Jesus’ prayer for those whom his disciples will recruit. See Brown, The Gospel According to John, 748-51; and with minor variations, see Talbert, Reading John, 224-31. As accurate as this literary division may be,  it obscures the different types of prayers which occur throughout 17:1-26. Hence a different kind of model is needed which can do just this.

[xii]  Readers are reminded of the full treatment of “self-focused” prayer in the first chapter.

[xiii]  It has long been a staple of commentaries on John 17 to compare and contrast it with the “Our Father” found in the synoptics. See  William O. Walker, “The Lord’s Prayer in Matthew and John,” NTS (1982)237-56.)

[xiv]  Although he seems to consider “prayer” only as “petitionary” speech, Ernst Käsemann (The Testament of Jesus: A Study of John in the Light of Chapter 17 [London: SCM Press, 1968] 5) commented on the variety of Jesus’ speech in John 17, Yet he writes:  “This is not a supplication, but a proclamation directed to the Father in such manner that his disciples can hear it also. The speaker is not a needy petitioner but the divine revealer  and therefore the prayer moves over into being an address, admonition, consolation and prophecy.”

[xv]   Raymond Brown (The Gospel According to John, 747) said: “If Jesus is a high priest here, it is not primarily in the sense of one about to offer sacrifice, but more along the lines of the high priest described in Hebrews and in Rom viii 34 – one who stands before the throne of God making intercession for us.”

[xvi]  Other samples of this include Rhetorica ad Herrenium: “(justice is shown) if we contend that alliances and friendships should scrupulously be honored; if we make it clear that the duty imposed by nature towards parents, gods, and fatherland must be religiously observed; if we maintain that ties of hospitality, clientage, kinship, and relationship by marriage must inviolably be cherishes; if we show that neither reward nor favour nor peril nor animosity ought to lead us astray from the right path; if we say that in all cases a principle of dealing alike with all should be established" (3.3.4). Similarly, Menander Rhetor: "The parts of justice are piety, fair dealing and reverence: piety toward the gods, fair dealing towards men, reverence toward the departed. Piety to the gods consists of two elements: being god-loved and god-loving. The former means being loved by the gods and receiving many blessings from them, the latter consists of loving the gods and having a relationship of friendship with them" (I.361.17-25).

[xvii]  It should be noted that God is addressed as “Just Father” ("6*
, 17:25), indicating that God too has duties toward Jesus and his disciples.

[xviii]  See Robert Picirelli, “The Meaning of ‘Epignosis,’” EvQ 47 (1975) 85-93; see also Jerome H. Neyrey, 2 Peter, Jude (New York: Doubleday, 1993) 149.  See Titus 1:16, where “know” is juxtaposed with “deny,” Rom 1:20-21, where “knowing” does not lead to “acknowledging,” and James 2:19, where knowing that God is one does not lead the demons to honor God.

[xix]  In John 5:23-24, Jesus declared that God had given all judgment to the Son “so that all may honor the Son even as they honor the Father. Who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.”

[xx]   Representative of these is Cullmann (Early Christian Worship, 22), who asserts “We may assume with certainty that Confessional formulae were recited in the early Christian service of worship. The verbs ±  
¢ and …‑   
¢&[xx] (Rom 10,9;  Phil 2,11, etc.) connect above all with the confession that Christ is the Lord, in the same way as the early liturgical prayer Maranatha is concerned with his second coming.” See also Ralph Martin, Worship in the Early Church, 52-65; Gerhard Delling, Worship in the New Testament, 77-91; and David Aune, “Worship, Early Christian,” 981 and Otto Michel, “®  84,” TDNT 5.199-213.

[xxi]  Peder Borgen, "God's Agent in the Fourth Gospel," Religions in Antiquity (Jacob Neusner, ed; Leiden: Brill, 1968) 137-48 and George W. Buchanan, “Apostolic Christology,” SBLSP 1986 172-82.

[xxii]  John 9:22 and 12:42 tell us that those who makes the confession found in 17:3 will be expelled from the synagogue. Confessional prayers are sometime (a) thanksgivings or doxologies, such as Matt 11:25//Luke 10:21; 1 Tim 1:16 and 6:12-16, (b) protestations of loyalty, such as Matt 10:32//Luke 12:8, or (c) the honorific acknowledgment of Jesus’s new role and status (Rom 10:9-10; 1 Cor 12:3; Phil 2:11).

[xxiii]  M. Eugene Boring, The Continuing Voice of Jesus (Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox, 1991) 38.

[xxiv]  David E. Aune, Prophecy in Early Christianity and the Ancient Mediterranean World (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1983) 320-25.

[xxv]  Along with announcing a traitor, Jesus states the purpose of this communication: “I tell you this now, before it takes place, that when it takes place, you may believer that I am he” (13:19).  The prediction of Peter’s future death (21:18-19), which is given by the Risen Jesus, likewise functions as a prophecy given to offset the shock of future suffering.

[xxvi]  For a fuller exposition of the pattern along with other data on esoteric information in the Fourth Gospel, see Jerome H. Neyrey, “The Sociology of Secrecy and the Fourth Gospel” (Fernando Segovia, ed., “What is John?” Volume II. Literary and Social Readings of the Fourth Gospel. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1998) 98-101, 107-08.

[xxvii]  The classic example of later reception of the esoteric meaning of earlier speech of Jesus is found 2:19, 21-22. Only “when he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word Jesus had spoken.” This insight must be mediated by someone in the group, namely, the prophet.

[xxviii]   Everett Ferguson, Early Christians Speak (Austin, TX: Sweet Publishing Company, 1971) 86-87; Cullmann, Early Christian Worship, 12-14, 28-29; Delling, Worship in the New Testament, 92-103; Martin, Worship in the Early Church, 66-76; Richardson, “Worship in the New Testament,” 887-89; Aune, “Worship, Early Christian,” 983.

[xxix]  Joseph Heinemann, “The Proem in the Aggadic Midrashim,”   100-22.

[xxx]   J. W. Bowker, “Speeches in Acts: A Study in Proem and Yelammedenu Form,” NTS 14 (1967) 96-111.

[xxxi]  Yet important advances have been made by Lawrence Wills, “The Form of the Sermon in Hellenistic Judaism and Early Christianity,” HTR 77 (1984) 277-99 and C. Clifton Black, “The Rhetorical Form of the Hellenistic Jewish and Early Christian Sermon: A Response to Lawrence Wills,” HTR 81 (1988) 1-18.

[xxxii]  Black.” The Rhetorical Form of the Hellenistic Jewish and Early Christian Sermon,” 5.

[xxxiii]  Other “unless” demands include: 3:3, 5; 6:53; 8:24; 12:24; 13:8. See Jerome H. Neyrey, An Ideology of Revolt. John’s Christology in Social-Science Perspective (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1988) 143-44, 155-56).

[xxxiv]   Black.” The Rhetorical Form of the Hellenistic Jewish and Early Christian Sermon,” 5.

[xxxv]   Harold W. Attridge, “Paraenesis in a Homily (@ ( "[xxxv]$[xxxv]:&
4(): The Possibile Location of, and Socialization in, the ‘Epistle to the Hebrews,’” Semeia 50 (2004) 211-26.

[xxxvi]   S. K. Tefft, “Secrecy as a Social and Political Process.” P. 320 in S. K. Tefft, ed.,  Secrecy: A Cross-Cultural Perspective (New York: Human Sciences Press, 1980).

[xxxvii]  Elizabeth Brandt, “On Secrecy and the Control of Knowledge: Taos Pueblo.” Pp. 125-34 in S. K. Tefft, ed., Secrecy: A Cross-Cultural Perspective (New York: Human Sciences Press, 1980).

[xxxviii]  David E. Aune, The Cultic Setting of Realized Eschatology in Early Christianity (Leiden: Brill, 1972) 121; this is continuously argued in 45-135.

[xxxix]  Aune, The Cultic Setting of Realized Eschatology in Early Christianity, 126.

[xl]  Ernst Käsemann, “Sentences of Holy Law in the New Testament,” New Testament Questions of Today (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1979) 66-81. His location of this material in worship contexts is based on Hans Lietzmann, Mass and the Lord’s Supper. A Study in the history of the Liturgy (Leiden, E. J. Brill 1979) 186 and Gunther Bornkamm, “Das Anathema in der urchristlichen Abendmahlsliturgie,” TLZ 75 (1950) 227-30.

[xli]   Aune, Prophecy in Early Christianity, 320-25.

[xlii]  In addition, see the curse “anathema” 1 Cor 16:22; Gal 1:8-9; Rom 9:3.

[xliii] Frequently in his defense Jesus, the accused, became the accuser; and his judges were judged::

                “I know that you do not have the love of God within you” (5:42, see 5:43-47)

                “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment” (7:24)

                “You judge according to the flesh” (8:15, see 16-18)

                “You know neither me nor my father” (8:19)

                “You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world,

                  I am not of this world” (8:3)

                “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires” (8:44)

                “The reason you do not hear them [the words of God] is that you are not of God” (8:47)

[xliv]  See Tricia Gates Brown, Spirit in the Johannine Writings: Johannine Pneumatology in Social-Science Perspective (T & T Clark International: New York, 2003) 221-27.

[xlv]  On this reading of John 16:8-11, see D. A. Carson, “The Function of the Paraclete in John 16:7-11,” JBL 98 (1979) 547-66. See also Raymond E. Brown, The Gospel According to John 705.

[xlvi]   As always, the premier sin is “they do not believe in me,” (3:19; 8:21, 24; 9:41; 15:22). This means that some never had any belief and were always hostile; others were liars who faked belief to escape censure (8:30), but were exposed as “liars and murderers.”

[xlvii]  When Jesus qualifies “righteousness” by saying that he is going to the Father, this expresses the right relationship to God: acting as God’s agent, fulfilling God’s command to speak God’s word and the command to lay down his life. As one who has always done his duty to God, he is welcome in God’s presence. But many see their duty to God as putting Jesus to death and exterminating his disciples (16:1-2). Thus, their relationship with God is tragically wrong; their true duties are left unfulfilled; they dishonor God with wrongdoing.

[xlviii]  .  On the principle that “as you judge, so you are judged” (Matt 7:2), the enemies of the group share the judgment of the ruler of this world. And those who judge unjustly will be judged by the same judgment (7:24; 8:15; 9:16 and 24). Instead of judging Jesus justly as God’s agent, they judged him according to appearances (7:24) and as having a demon (8:48; 10:20). But Jesus has already judged this ruler: “now shall the ruler of this world be cast out” (12:31). 

[xlix]   See Tod D. Swanson, “To Prepare a Place. Johannine Christianity and the Collapse ;of Ethnic Territory,” JAAR 62 (1994) 248-51.

[l]  Although the disciples remain in the world, Jesus repeatedly tells them that they do not belong to “this world” and that they are “not of this world” (17:9, 14, 15, 16).

[li] Strabo attest to a long tradition that Delphi, its most sacred shrine, was the “center” and the “navel of the earth”: “For it (temple at Delphi) is almost in the center of Greece taken as a whole. . .it was also believed to be in the center of the inhabited world, and people called it the navel of the earth (Strabo, Geography 9.3.6); see also Plato, Republic 427b-c; Pausanias, Descriptions of Greece 16.2.3; see also Bruce J. Malina and Jerome H. Neyrey, Portraits of Paul: An Archaeology of Ancient Personality (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1996) 120-22.

 Judean authors applied the “navel of the world” label to Jerusalem: “Just as the navel is found at the center of a human being, so the land of Israel is found at the center of the world. . .and it is the foundation of the world. Jerusalem is at the center of the land of Israel, the Temple is at the center of Jerusalem, the Holy of Holies is at the center of the Temple, the Ark is at the center of the Holy of Holies and the Foundation Stone is in front of the Ark, which spot is the foundation of the world” (Tanhuma, Kedoshim 10).

[lii]  Robert D. Sack, Human Territoriality. Its Theory and History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986) 19. Other important definitions have been given by Godelier (Casimir p. 19), Michael J. Casimir, Mobility and Territoriality: Social and Spatial Boundaries among Foragers, Fishers, Pastoralists, and Peripatetics (Oxford: Oxford University Press 1992) 19 ; and Ralph B. Taylor, Human Territorial Functioning: An Empirical Evolutionary Perspective on Individual and Small Group Territorial Cognitions, Behaviors and Consequences (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988) 6).

[liii]  Malina, Christian Origins and Cultural Anthropology, 31.

[liv]   Malina’s description of a leading city such as Jerusalem is similar to Jonathan Z. Smith’s (Map Is Not Territory [Leiden: Brill, 1978] 132-33, 160-61 and 293) attention to “archaic urban cultures.” As noted, the latter constantly appeals to the Pan-Babylonian School at the end of the nineteenth century, whose focus was the archaic, agricultural city-empire; see

[lv]  Malina, Christian Origins and Cultural Anthropology, 38.

[lvi]  Because birth by blood or water avails nothing and because the flesh is of no avail, the Fourth Gospel sees no value in any form of hereditary roles or statuses.

[lvii]  McCaffrey, The House with Many Rooms, 49-64.

[lviii]  McCaffrey, The House with Many Rooms, 29-32. See also Sjef van Tilborg, Imaginative Love in John (Leiden: Brill 1993).

[lix]  See John 17:20-22; also Tod D. Swanson, “To Prepare a Place,”  244-45, 248-51, 257-60.

[lx]   One thinks of Stephen’s vision of the heavens opened and his sight Jesus at the throne of God (Acts 7:55-56).  Moreover, Jesus’ remark to Philip should not be forgotten: who sees me sees the Father” (14:9).

[lxi]  For example, Richard P. Saller, Personal Patronage Under the Early Empire (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982); and Andrew Wallace-Hadrill, ed., Patronage in Ancient Society (London: Routledge, 1989).

[lxii]  Frederick W.  Danker, Benefactor. Epigraphical Study of a Graeco-Roman and New Testament Semantic Field, mentioned above in note 43. 1982.

[lxiii]  The initial study is Bruce J. Malina, “Patron and Client: The Analogy Behind Synoptic Theology,” Forum 4,1 (1988) 2-32; this article was made more widely available in Malina’s The Social World of Jesus and the Gospels (London: Routledge, 1996) 143-75. See also Halvor Moxnes, “Patron-Client Relations and the New Community in Luke-Acts,” The Social World of Luke-Acts. Models for Interpretation (Jerome H. Neyrey, ed.; Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1991) 241-68.

[lxiv]  The important anthropological literature includes Steffen Schmidt, James Scott, Carl Landé, and Laura Guasti, Friends, Followers and Factions: A Reader in Political Clientalism (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1977); Jeremy Boissevain, Friends of Friends: Networks, Manipulators and Coalitions (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1974);and  Shlomo Eisenstadt and Louis Roniger, Patrons, Clients, and Friends: Interpersonal Relations and the Structure of Trust in Society (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984).

[lxv]  The description of patron-client relationships by A. Blok is particularly helpful: “Patronage is a model or analytic construct which the social scientist applies in order to understand and explain a range of apparent different social relationships: father-son, God-man, saint-devotee, godfather-godchild, lord-vassal, landlord-tenant, politician-voter, professor-assistant, and so forth” (“Variations in Patronage,” Sociologische Gids 16 [1969] 366).

[lxvi]  See Malina, “Patron and Client,” 3-4.

[lxvii]  See Stephen Charles Mott, “The Power of Giving and Receiving: Reciprocity in Hellenistic Benevolence,” Current Issues in Biblical and Patristic Interpretation (Gerald Hawthorne, ed.; Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1975) 60-72; Bruce J. Malina, “The Social World Implied in the Letters of the Christian Bishop-Martyr (Named Ignatius of Antioch),” SBLSP 1978 2.71-119; Holland Hendrix, “Benefactor/Patron Networks in the Urban Environment Evidence from Thessalonika,” Semeia 56 (1992) 39-58; and Seth Schwartz, “Josephus in Galilee: Rural Patronage and Social Breakdown,” Josephus and the History of the Greco-Roman Periods (F. Parente and J. Siever, eds.; Leiden: Brill, 1994) 290-306.

[lxviii]  To my knowledge, Bruce J. Malina and Richard L. Rohrbaugh were the first to introduce the role of “broker” to the study of Fourth Gospel (Social Science Commentary on the Gospel of John, 117-119).

[lxix]  This discussion of broker borrows heavily from Malina, “Patron and Client,” 11-18.

[lxx]  A. Oepke, “
&*(, TDNT 4. 598-624.

[lxxi]  Jesus’ brokerage in the Fourth Gospel is best understood in terms of his being “sent” by God; see Malina and Rohrbaugh, Social-Science Commentary on the Gospel of John, 118; Peder Borgen, “God’s Agent in the Fourth Gospel, Religions in Antiquity (Jacob Neusner, ed.;  Leiden: Brill 1968) 137-48; George W. Buchanan, “Apostolic Christology,” SBLSP

[lxxii]  Jeremy Boissevain, Friends of Friends: Networks, Manipulators and Coalitions (Oxford: Blackwell, 1974) 158-62.

[lxxiii]  The petition in the Our Father, “deliver us from the Evil One,” seeks protection or God’s power; requests to Jesus for healing are similar, especially if spirit aggression is the dominant cause of sickness. Nicolas of Myra is reputed to have provided dowries for a man’s three daughters, in this scheme, wealth. Job might be said to beg of God knowledge, a different resource. Thus, using the model of exchange found in Turner and then in Malina, a patron has “first order” goods: power, commitment, inducement, and influence.

[lxxiv]  As all know, non-Israelite persons in antiquity might become clients of many deities; there was no sense of monotheism to preclude a multiplicity of patron-client relations.

[lxxv]  Oepke (“
&*(,” 618-20);  Ronald A. Piper, “Glory, Honor and Patronage in the Fourth Gospel: Understanding the Doxa Given to the Disciples in John 17,” Social Scientific Models for Interpreting the Bible. Essays by the Context Group in Honor of Bruce J. Malina (John J. Pilch, ed.; Leiden: Brill, 2001) 295-97. In this regard, one thinks of rival rabbinic teachers, such as Shammai and Hillel.

[lxxvi]  In the vein, one might include claims such as 1:18. Expressions such as “no one . . .but the Son” serve to articulate Jesus’ relationship to God and the heavenly world: see 3:2, 13; 6:44; and 14:6.

[lxxvii]  See Joachim Jeremias, Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus (Philadelphia, PA: Fortress Press, 1969) 21-27, 127-221 and K. C. Hanson and Douglas E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1998) 131-60.

[lxxviii]  See Aune, “Worship, Early Church,” ABD 6.973.

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