JOHN | Lesson 13 | Lesson Notes / Talking points
Read John 13.1 – 14.7
I / INTRODUCTION: MAKING THE CONNECTIONS
1 / Yes, I know, there’s a lot of ground to cover here. But since it’s all connected and flows from one scene and conversation to the next, I want to try to at least try to show here in this lesson how it all fits together. We will have to add more details, remarks, and explanatory commentary as we work our way through the lesson…
2 / Just let me lay out here a summary of the lesson Jesus wants His disciples to learn…and DO! And that will include all of us, too! see ch 13.12-17 & 34-35.
3 / The encompassing focus and theme of all these transactions is: Jesus prepares His disciples for His going away back to the Father … by teaching and commanding them to love and serve one another … and showing them how to do it.
II / ch 13.1-17 / ‘JESUS…BEGAN TO WASH THE DISCIPLES’ FEET…’
1 / Jesus teaches them to love and serve one another by washing their feet Himself … and then commands them [and us] to continue to follow His example and model toward each other.
2 / Jesus knows He is going back to the Father [death, resurrection, ascension], but His disciples need to know how to conduct their relationships with one another during the interim between when He goes away and comes back again to receive us to Himself. This theme ties together chs 13 & 14.
3 / Here are just some of the prominent graces and characteristics of disciples that Jesus demonstrates and exemplifies when He washed their feet:
-  His love for them / v 1. One of John’s most prominent theme-threads and focuses of His Gospel is Jesus’ love for us. ‘…when Jesus knew that His hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father…’ just reminds us again why the Father had sent Him into the world to begin with…and why Jesus had come = LOVE. God has sent His Son into the world because He so loved the world. ‘…having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.’ Meaning: He loved them [and us] to the completion and the fulfillment of expressing and demonstrating that love. He had come to save us from our sins by dying on His Cross, resurrecting, and ascending back to the Glory He shared with the Father in the beginning. He will show us that love again by washing His disciples’ feet.
-  His humility among them / vv 2-11. When Jesus washes His disciples’ feet, He is expressing His extreme humility [see also vv 12-16]. And He will command us to follow His example as we continue to relate to one another [more on that in vv 31-35]. When we read about [He] rose from supper. He laid aside His outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around His waist…, it reminds us of Philippians 2.1-11, how He laid aside the Glory He shared with His Father in the beginning, ‘but emptied Himself, by taking for the form of a servant…He humbled Himself,’ etc. Washing the feet of another was the humble work of a servant. If a householder/host had a servant, the servant performed this menial service. If there was no servant in the household, the householder/host performed it. It was unthinkable in their culture and customs that you would have a friend or guest in your home without serving them this way / see Jesus’ rebuke of the proud Pharisee, Simon, for refusing and neglecting to even offer Him water to wash His own feet, Luke 7.44.
-  His obedience to the Father [and our obedience to Him] / vv 3-5. Jesus’ obedience to the Father is seen by His humbling and giving Himself to this sacrificial service of saving us from our sins. This washing of their feet was a symbol and emblem of His dying for us to cleanse us from our sins / see v 10. See also Philippians 2.8 again: ‘…He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross…’ Our obedience to Christ will be shown as we follow His example toward one another: If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just I have done to you … If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them … [see also vv 34-35]. We will love and serve one another in this same way … if and when we obey Christ.
-  His service for them / vv 12-17. I know we have mentioned ‘service’ already numerous times in the previous comments, but here are just some of the services Christ provided for His disciples by washing their feet … and we will provide for one another when we obey Him and follow His example:
- Refreshment. Washing the feet of others was refreshing…in the sense that it washed off the dust and dirt they had gathered on their feet by walking in sandals or open shoes. And, it just felt good.
- Encouragement. We show the worth of another to us when we are willing to serve them. And it shows our mutual love, friendship, and relationship with one another.
- Correction. Jesus will compare washing His disciples’ feet to the daily forgiveness and cleansing of our sins in v 10. In fact, Jesus uses two words in that verse: The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you [all] are clean [excepting Judas]. The first word refers to our justification, or being completely ‘washed’ and forgiven of all our sins / see 1 Corinthians 6.11 & Titus 3.5. The second word means to [what we call] ‘wash up,’ like your hands, face, feet, or other parts of the body that just need to be washed separately – apart from a bathing of the whole body. We need this when we have committed specific, daily sins that need to be confessed and resolved. We should perform this ‘washing’ ourselves by confessing our sins, praying for forgiveness and cleansing, and forsaking them. AND we should help to correct one another as brothers and sisters in Christ and as His disciples.
- Edifying, building up. We ‘wash one another’s feet’ when we fellowship and serve one another and together – as we help one another grow in grace and in obedience to Christ.
- Meeting one another’s needs. In short, and to sum it all up, we ‘wash one another’s feet’ when we do and give what we can to meet one another’s needs. When any one of us lacks or needs anything, we need to be there to give and do whatever is needed to meet those needs and make each other ‘whole.’
III / ch 13.18-30 / ‘…ONE OF YOU WILL BETRAY ME…’
1 / Enter…and exit…Judas Iscariot.
2 / Jesus had chosen Judas to be one His disciples knowing full well that Judas was an unbeliever and a traitor – even that he was a devil / see ch 6.70-71. Judas was always, from the beginning, an unbeliever and under the control, dominion, and direction of the Evil One. But this, too, had been prophesied in Psalm 41.9, and must be fulfilled. There is another commentary on Judas’s spiritual lostness and evil in Acts 1.15-25.
3 / Judas had already conspired with the Jewish religious leaders to betray Jesus to them: Matthew 26.14-16; Mark 14.10-11; Luke 22.3-6.
4 / After Jesus exposed and identified Judas as the traitor, Satan entered into him / v 27. We have to note here that even though Jesus knew Judas’s deceitful treachery all along, none of the disciples entertained any suspicion toward him. Judas had participated in all their ministry activities along with them. He had put up such a good front that from all appearances, he was no different than the others.
5 / Just one more reminder here how John has been weaving his numerous theme-threads all throughout this Gospel. When John writes ‘And it was night,’ he isn’t just giving us a time stamp. He is following up on the contrasting themes of light/darkness that he began in ch 1.4-9; 3.19-21; 8.12; 9.5; 11.9-10; 12.35-36. Jesus Christ is the Light of the world. As such, He is our eternal Life, bringing us the knowledge of God, who is Light, and into a spiritual relationship with Him. Judas had no part in Jesus. Judas was of the night and darkness / see Luke 22.47-53.
IV / ch 13.31-35 / ‘LOVE ONE ANOTHER…JUST AS I HAVE LOVED YOU…’
1 / Here now is the explanation and interpretation Jesus gives His disciples [and us] to teach us how we must follow the example He set for us by washing His disciples’ feet. Remember His application of what He had done to them and for them in vv 12-17: “Do you understand what I have done to you? … For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you … If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”
2 / When he [Judas] had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him. If God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and glorify Him at once.” So what does this mean? Jesus is again feeling the impending dread of being made sin for us when He is charged with our sins on the Cross / see where He said these same words back in ch 12.27-28. God the Father will ‘glorify’ Jesus through His death, resurrection, ascension, and being restored to the Glory He had with the Father in the beginning. Jesus reiterates this theme over and over. God is glorified by Jesus’ obedience to Him, and Jesus is glorified by being received back to the Father and their shared Glory / see Acts 2.36; Philippians 2.9-11; 1 Peter 1.11, 21; and many others.
3 / Now that Judas has exited, Jesus returns His discourse to His disciples, as if to say, ‘Now, then, let us proceed with my hour and with what I have come to do. And let me teach you the meaning and significance of the lesson I have shown you when I washed your feet.’
4 / Jesus reminds them again He is going away…back to the Father: “Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews [see ch 7.32-34], so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’” When Jesus says, ‘Yet a little while I am with you…,’ He means just a few more hours. Keep in mind, this is the night of His betrayal and arrest that will result in His crucifixion the very next day. The disciples still are ‘not getting it.’ They are not comprehending and processing the meaning, weight, and impact of Jesus’s words. They are not realizing the impending death He will die…tomorrow! BUT they are beginning to sense the seriousness of His words and the troubling of His own soul / see v 21. Looking ahead, this is why their own hearts are beginning to be ‘troubled’ with fear, anxiety, and uncertainty / see ch 14.1 & 27.
5 / Jesus repeats and reinforces His commandment to ‘love one another … just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.’ Jesus calls this a new commandment … not because they have not been commanded before to love one another. Loving one another has been God’s law and commandment from the beginning. Loving one another has always been the ‘second greatest commandment’ / see Matthew 22.39. But it is ‘new’ in that Jesus has just given them a Divine model and example to show them how to fulfill the commandment to love one another. He did that when He Himself washed their feet. As if to say, Do you understand what I have done to you? [v 12] … I have shown you how I love you and what I’m willing to do to show you my love. So study and remember what I have done to you, and keep on loving and serving one another after I have physically and bodily departed from you to go back to the Father. This is my supreme commandment to govern your relationships with one another: LOVE ONE ANOTHER IN THE SAME WAYS I HAVE LOVED YOU!
6 / Jesus sets the standard and rule for evidencing and demonstrating that we are truly His disciples. “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” What is a ‘disciple’ anyway? A disciple is not just someone who learns information from the teacher, but someone who lives his own life the same ways the teacher lives his life. How will others know that we are true believers and followers of Jesus? By living our lives by the same model and example that Jesus lived His life! Jesus Christ is known for His LOVE. And if we want to bear witness to a watching world that we are true believers and followers of Christ, it will be by our LOVING ONE ANOTHER!
7 / Why is it so difficult for us to personally, sincerely, and truthfully say the simple words to one another: “I love you!” I know we must use discernment and discretion – and we must not say it in inappropriate circumstances or ways – but this one thing that Jesus commands us to do, and the one rule that Jesus has given us by which we can evidence and demonstrate that we are His disciples, that we belong to Him, and that we identify with Him and one another … is by loving one another. John learned it well: Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth / 1 John 3.18.
V / ch 13.36 – 14.7 / ‘I AM GOING AWAY…BUT I WILL COME AGAIN…’
1 / Now we come to the transition and crux of the preceding events that will lead us into Jesus’ private discourses recorded in chs 14-16. The one sentence and realization that begins to ‘trouble’ the disciples is when Jesus drops like a bombshell [to them] the announcement: “…so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come…’” [ch 13.33]. This announcement not only prompts Peter to begin asking Jesus, “Lord, where are you going?” [ch 13.36-38], but it also begins to stir up the deepest anxiety and agitation in their spirits.
2 / “Stop letting your hearts be troubled!” / ch 14.1. This is, by the way, the same word that describes the deep, inner turmoil that tore at Jesus’ own soul in ch 11.33; 12.27; 13.21.
3 / Jesus calms their troubled souls with these promises and assurances:
-  Believe [trust, have confidence] in God; believe also in me.
-  In my Father’s house [place to live, dwell, abide, remain] are many rooms [shared living places]. This word we are used to hearing and quoting as ‘mansions’ simply means ‘a place to belong.’ It is used only twice in the New Testament, both in this chapter: vv 2 & 23. It means ‘a place to remain at home.’
-  I am going [there…He says it again, as He will many other times during this discourse] to prepare a place for you. He will prepare this ‘place’ for us by redeeming us to God…so we can be with Him forever. He prepares this ‘place’ by His blood that saves and justifies us from our sins so we can be saved and reconciled to God.
-  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. He is promising His second coming to gather us all Home with Him forever.
-  And you know the way to where I am going. This prompted Thomas to question Him, Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way? Thomas was just voicing the question and confusion in all their minds. They still were not grasping how Jesus was going away and where exactly He was going. They were thinking more in terms of a geographical location – or if it was Heavenly, then where was it exactly and how were they going to know how to get there?
-  I AM the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. This has to be one of the deepest and most profound and all-encompassing truths to quiet our troubled souls in all the times of our confusion, anxiety, uncertainty, perplexity, and even panic here amid all our troubles. We have so many unanswered questions – but if we know Jesus Christ, believe in Him, trust Him, and have confidence in Him, then we know all we will ever need to know.
4 / Jesus Christ is ALL the Way, Truth, and Life we will ever need – both to navigate all the ‘troubles’ of this life … and He will accompany us every step of our ways here and finally come to receive us to Himself where we will be ‘at Home’ with Him forever!