The hour of Jesus is a fundamental theme running throughout John’s Gospel (2:4-19:27) referring to Jesus’ glorification (7:39; 12:16, 23, 28; 13:31, 32: 16:14; 17:1, 5) in his passion and death (3:14; 8:28; 12:32, 34). Immediately after the culmination of Jesus’ hour (19:25-30) John provides a unique account of things that took place following Jesus’ death (19:31-34), apparently important to his audience (19:35), in which he recognizes scriptural fulfillment (19:36-37). At first glance, the fulfillment attested by the scriptures explicitly provided seems straightforward and of little significance, simply corresponding with the fundamental elements of the narrative in 19:32-33.Yet such an understanding runs contrary to John’s limited use of explicit Scripture citations (compared with the other evangelists) at a most critical moment in the Gospel. rather, consistent with his allusive and engaging style, the evangelist relies on his audience to utilize the context he provides and the contexts he has presumed throughout his Gospel to perceive the depth and the expansiveness of the fulfillment he has recognized in Jesus’ hour. It is through these contexts that we gain greater insight into the fulfillment attested by John 19:36-37, illuminating Jesus’ hour and the entire Gospel.
Father Nathanel R. Polinski is assistant professor of Saint Vincent Seminary.