As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you: A Study of the Parallels between the Father/Son and Son/Disciple Relations in the Gospel of John
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In several texts the Gospel of John presents the relation between Jesus and his disciples in parallel to the relation between the Father and Jesus. Most well-known of these parallels is perhaps John 20:21b (“As the Father has sent me, so I send you”), but several other texts follow the same pattern. In this thesis I will examine the parallels between the Father/Son and Son/disciple relations in John. I will take an “in-the-text” approach to the Gospel, using elements of narrative criticism and discourse analysis. The interpretation of comparisons will be of particular importance, as I seek to identify the tertium comparationis and direction of the comparisons John makes between the Father/Son and Son/disciple relations. In the main section of my thesis I will first present the textual material which suggests that John regards these relations as parallel to one another. I will then, through the study of four selected texts (15:9–11; 17:20–23; 17:18 and 20:21), examine how these relations are parallel to one another, and seek the answer to my questions of research: How is the Father/Son relation illuminated by the parallels to the Son/disciple relation? And how is the Son/disciple relation illuminated by the parallels to the Father/Son relation? My primary contention is that the tertium comparationis of the parallels between the Father/Son and Son/disciple relations is to be found in the love which marks both relations. This love is the basis for the relations, and is the foundation for both unity and sending. By seeing the Father/Son and Son/disciple relations as parallel and founded on the same love, several aspects of these relations are illuminated, and we can see how discipleship and Christology are interconnected themes in John’s Gospel.