All posts tagged: theology of friendship

Friendship with the Beloved Disciple as Type in a Theology of Friendship

In the Fourth Gospel, the nameless character is introduced at the Last Supper as “the one whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23). He is explicitly named again under the Cross (John 19:26), at the empty tomb (John 20:2), and post-resurrection on the lakeshore in Galilee (John 21:7- 20). Each time this Beloved Disciple appears in the narrative, his friendship with Jesus is defined more fully through the context of the scene as well as in the repetition of his title as the “Disciple whom Jesus loved.” From the beginning of the fourth Gospel, Jesus is depicted as having access to the innermost being and secrets of God. In John 1:18, Jesus’s relationship with God is translated in several synonymous ways, any one of which conveys that he enjoys the deepest of intimacy: “in closest relation with the Father” or “at the side of the Father” or, more poetically, “in the bosom of the Father.” A similar portrait is given at the Last Supper. There, in John 13:23, the Beloved Disciple appears “reclining next to the breast …

Friendship with God is the Basis for All Friendships

The imagery of friendship is present in the first half of John’s narrative, but it comes into sharpest focus in the second half of the Gospel, particularly during the Last Supper, when Jesus refers to his disciples as “friends” in John 15:15:  “No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.” The reference to friendship that precedes John 15:15 prepares the way for this astounding transformation of relationship with Jesus. Specifically, this reference appears in three pericopes concerning the characters of John the Baptist, Jesus’s friends from Bethany, and the Beloved Disciple. In these three different and distinct relationships, the author of the 4th Gospel makes use of the conceptual field of friendship, relationships which, in some ways, mirror that between Jesus and the Father. John the Baptist, the “Friend of the Bridegroom” The noun φίλος (friend/beloved) appears for the first time in John …