In John’s gospel there are themes that relate to root words and concepts that reappear throughout the narrative and in various discourses of Jesus and rejoinders by his opponents.
στραφεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς καὶ θεασάμενος αὐτοὺς ἀκολουθοῦντας λέγει αὐτοῖς· τί ζητεῖτε; οἱ δὲ εἶπαν αὐτῷ· ῥαββί, ὃ λέγεται μεθερμηνευόμενον διδάσκαλε, ποῦ μένεις; (Joh 1:38 BGT)
Then, when Jesus turned and observed them following him, he said to them, “What do you seek?” Then they said to him, “Rabbi, (which translates teacher), “Where are you staying?” (John 1:38)
Now, the obvious meaning of this passage in context is that the two men who decided to geographically follow Jesus (perhaps not even as his disciples yet) just wanted a private place to talk to the guy. But John, in his characteristically ironic manner, makes the passage mean a great deal more.
λέγει αὐτοῖς· ἔρχεσθε καὶ ὄψεσθε. ἦλθαν οὖν καὶ εἶδαν ποῦ μένει καὶ παρ᾽ αὐτῷ ἔμειναν τὴν ἡμέραν ἐκείνην· ὥρα ἦν ὡς δεκάτη. (Joh 1:39 BGT)
He said to them, “You should come and see.” Then they cam and saw where he stayed and they stayed with him that day. It was the tenth hour. (John 1:39)
Later in the gospel, these two disciples (Andrew and probably John), come and see Jesus’ identity. That’s another story altogether though. The import for this post is that Jesus tells them he’ll show them where he’s staying and he does (in terms of his physical house), but as the gospel continues Jesus uses the same Greek word to indicate that people should “abide in me,” “abide in my love,” “if you abide in my word,” etc.
By chapter fifteen this happens:
9 Καθὼς ἠγάπησέν με ὁ πατήρ, κἀγὼ ὑμᾶς ἠγάπησα· μείνατε ἐν τῇ ἀγάπῃ τῇ ἐμῇ.
10 ἐὰν τὰς ἐντολάς μου τηρήσητε, μενεῖτε ἐν τῇ ἀγάπῃ μου, καθὼς ἐγὼ τὰς ἐντολὰς τοῦ πατρός μου τετήρηκα καὶ μένω αὐτοῦ ἐν τῇ ἀγάπῃ. (Joh 15:9-10 BGT)
Just as the Father loves me, so also, I love you; stay in my love. If you keep my commands, then you stay in my love just as I have kept the commands of my Father and I am staying in his love. (John 15:9-10)*
I intentionally translated the Greek word the same way throughout, though it normally is translated, “abide.”
The idea I’m getting at is that when Jesus answered their question, “Where are you staying?” with “Come and see,” John, with his penchant for irony, points out that all along Jesus’ answer was, “In my Father’s love.”
Jesus is the one who, in a unique way lives in God’s love. He does so in such a way, according to John, that he makes God’s love available to all.
*Note: I translated the aorist here ἠγάπησέν and here ἠγάπησα as gnomic aorists (contra ESV, ISV, and others). I didn’t mistake them for present tense. It just seems that Jesus is stating a constant fact using the aorist, whereas he uses the perfect idea in the very next verse with “I have kept.” If the aorists were meant to convey the perfect idea, then it seems John would have just put them in the perfect.
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