Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The Farewell Discourse and Final Prayer of Jesus by D A Carson

Carson is a scholar and often writes for ministers or students. This commentary on Jesus' farewell discourse and final prayer as recorded in John 14-17 is designed to be available to the church in general. This book is a reprint edition of the original from 2008.

There were comments on several topics in the book that I really appreciated. Carson explores what it means that Christ “emptied himself” as noted in Phil. 2:5-11. He compares that to Jesus doing the Father's work and that he is the fullness of deity in Godly form. (Col. 2:9) Carson concludes that Jesus abandoned any use of his divine prerogatives and capabilities that he would not have had as a mere man unless the Father directed him to use them. He also writes about Jesus hiding his own glory and showing the glory of the Father in his words and deeds. (Loc 596/3637) That explains why the disciples did not realize they had been seeing the Father.

Another one was Jesus as “friend.” We sing hymns about Jesus being our friend. But Carson notes, while Jesus calls the disciples his friends, Jesus is not said to be their friend. (Loc 1760/3637) Carson warns of a chummy view of friendship and advises we preserve “the fundamental distinction between Jesus and those he redeems.” (Loc 1782/3637) He also reminds us that being a friend of Jesus is all about obedience. Carson goes on to explore the difference between friend and slave.

There was a very good explanation of what it means that believers would do “greater” works than Jesus. (John 14:12) Another good section was on Jesus' prayer for the unity of his followers.

Carson goes through this section of Scripture with careful attention to detail. The result of a very readable commentary that is full of insights I really appreciated. While Carson does write about the Greek from time to time, it is done in a way so that laypeople can easily understand. I recommend this book to Christians in general as it contains a scholarly and well thought out exploration of the Bible passages with the lay person in mind.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Donald A. Carson is the research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School at Deerfield, Illinois, and the author or editor of more than fifty books. He is one of the founders of The Gospel Coalition and an active guest lecturer in academic and church settings around the world.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.
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