This week we hear the final chapter of John’s Gospel. Like much of John’s Gospel, it’s different but similar to the other stories about Jesus. But this is placed at the very end of the Gospel, and follows a few verses that could well have been an original ending.
John’s Gospel starts with an extraordinary Prologue; “In the beginning was the Word…” and ends with this passage as an Epilogue. I don’t think that’s by accident. And I think the Epilogue unpacks some of the language found in the Prologue. We see here what it means that Jesus is present in world, in the neighborhood. We see what it means to be behold him and his glory face to face. It’s both ordinary and extraordinary at the same time. Just as so much of what our daily experience of God’s presence is like.
There’s a lesson here too about what it means to be a disciple and to share the Gospel with others. That, to me, is the most important practical bit for us in this passage. It lays out what it means to tend Jesus’ sheep.