Messages

Thu, Oct 12, 2017

John 13

JOHN

            Please turn in your Bibles this evening to John chapter 13 as we continue our study through the Gospel of John. The cross is getting closer and closer, and as we will see here, it is only less than a day away.

            Also, we will see in John chapters 13-17, that John fills in the details of the Passover evening, what took place from the Passover meal and then in chapter 18 we see it open up with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane where He will be arrested.

            And we have, in a sense here in John 13-17 our Lord’s “farewell message” to His disciples as He tries to comfort their hearts in the present and prepare their hearts for the future.

            So, John gives to us lots of details that some of the other Gospels don’t have that will shed some light on God’s love and care for us, even at this time of great agony for Him.Kent Hughes gives us this insight into this section of the Gospel of John. He wrote,

            As one reads through the Gospel of John, the shadow of the cross grows longer and darker until now the reader stands at the foot of the cross on the evening before the Crucifixion. In just a few short hours (somewhere between fifteen and eighteen hours our Lord would be suspended between the sky and earth as the sin-bearer of mankind. Before the sun set again he would breathe his last tortured breath.

            With the conclusion of chapter 12, there would be more public discourses. Chapters 13 -17 record what we have come to know as the Upper Room Discourse. In these five chapters we see intimate teaching about service, love, the Holy Spirit, Heaven, our union with Christ, and prayer. Alexander Maclaren eloquently put forth his estimation saying:

             Nowhere else do the blended lights of our Lord’s superhuman dignity and human tenderness shine with such lambent [radiant] brightness. Nowhere else is his speech at once so simple and so deep. Nowhere else have we the heart of God so unveiled to us. On no other page, even of the Bible, have so many eyes, glistening with tears, looked and had the tears dried. The immortal words which Christ spoke in that upper chamber are his highest self-revelation in speech.

             When these verses are examined with proper reverential excitement, they will accomplish great good in our lives.

- R. Kent Hughes, John, That You May Believe, p. 311

 

            With that as our background, let’s begin reading in John chapter 13, beginning in verse 1 and let’s see what the Lord has for us as we study through His Word.

 JOHN 13

VERSE 1

            First of all, there is some confusion here on the timing of this meal. Matthew, Mark, Luke all seem to have this meal on Passover and John seems to be saying that it happened before the Feast of Passover. Who is right?

            They both are, in a sense. First of all, when John tells us, Now before the feast of the Passover . . . he is not necessarily saying that this took place the day before Passover. And if you think about it, why would Jesus celebrate Passover when it wasn’t Passover? He wouldn’t!

            All John is telling us is that this chapter opens up before they partake of the Passover meal. So, I do believe that they ate the Passover meal and Jesus was also crucified on Passover. If you have questions on that, check out our Thursday studies in Matthew, Mark or even Luke and I go into great detail how this can all take place!

            And then John tells us, . . . when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father . . .

            You see, prior to this time we have seen Jesus speak of His hour not coming yet, but here it has come. The cross is hours away and He will fulfill the mission He was sent to do!

            Make no mistake about it, the reason He was born was to die! He came to pay a debt he did not owe because we owed a debt we could not pay. The debt for our sin He paid in full on the Cross of Calvary!

            But don’t leave it there like so many do. When you go into a Roman Catholic Church there is Jesus still on the cross. No, He is not. And yes, He was born to die to pay in full the penalty for our sins but He was also going to rise from the dead the third day, conquering death. 

            It is as Paul said in I Corinthians 15:20-22, But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.” 

            Praise God for His finished work on the Cross of Calvary for us!

            And then John tells us, . . . having loved His own who were in the world. He loved them to the end. Don’t come to the conclusion that John is saying that Jesus loved His own until He died. That is not what the text is saying!

            Tenny points this out for us as he wrote, “‘To the fullest extent’ is a better rendering of the original eis telos than KJV ‘unto the end.’ It does not mean that Jesus continued to love his disciples only up to the end of his career but that his love has no limits.”

            I like the way some translations have this. They say, He loved them to the uttermost.  I like that because even when the disciples blew it, He loved them. Even when they denied Him, He loved them. Even when they locked themselves in a room because they were afraid, He loved them!

            And here is the wonderful thing. He loves us to the uttermost! Now, in saying that, does that mean He doesn’t love the unsaved? Not at all, He loves us all for as Paul said in Romans 5:8, But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 

            The difference is we love Him back, we respond to His love towards us while the unsaved don’t. It is as Jeremiah 31:3 says, The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: ‘Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.’ God’s love is everlasting, it is to the uttermost!

 

VERSES 2-3

            This seems confusing, that the supper, the Passover meal had ended because in the other Gospels it seems to indicate that Judas left before the meal was over, before communion was instituted, and here it seems to indicate the exact opposite. 

            Also, in John 13:30 it speaks of the meal still being in progress when Judas left, Having received the piece of bread, he then went out immediately. And it was night. So, what is up with this? (Also, we see this in John 13:27)

            Please understand that there are some ancient manuscripts that say the supper was now in progress instead of the supper being ended.” 

            And as you look at the totality of this chapter, it seems to fit the text more accurately. In the ancient Greek language one letter changes the meaning, so it may have been a copyist error in some of the ancient manuscripts. What we should note from this is the Passover meal had already begun when Jesus rose to wash the feet of His men.

            In fact, Bruce puts it like this, “‘Supper was now in progress’ is a preferable reading to the variant ‘Supper having ended,’ chiefly because the sequel (verses 13:30) makes it plain that supper had not ended. The point is that supper had already begun when Jesus rose from the table and began to wash the disciples’ feet.”

            Now, at this point Satan had not entered Judas, but he was going to use Judas for his evil plan. But, keep in mind that Judas had a choice to make, to follow Jesus or the Devil, and those are the only two choices any of us have. To turn or negate Jesus means you are following the Devil, and like it or not, you are either for Him, for Jesus, or you are against Him. It is really very simple, if you are not for Him, then you are against Him! That should just make sense!

            We must also note that Jesus did not lose control, things did not get out of hand and He was put to death. This was going according to the plan of God, and before glory, before returning to the Father, there would be death! John tells us, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands and that He had come from God and was going to God. And the Scriptures were fulfilled in the work that Jesus not only came to do but He finished that work!

 

VERSES 4-5

            So here they are, gathered around this table that was low to the ground, not like our tables today. And Jesus got up to wash the feet of the disciples. Why did Jesus get up to do this task?

            First of all we see that no one offered to do this task. In that society you walked around in sandals and your feet got dirty walking down those dirt roads. So, as you would enter a home, it was the job of the lowest servant to wash your feet. If there was no servant, at least water should have been provided for you to do it. 

            And the reason this was so important before you ate a meal was that they would not sit in chairs around a table. In other words, the painting of the Last Supper is not correct!

            You see, they would lie down around a table known as a triclinium. This was a low, U-shaped table, kind of coffee-table height. Thus, they would lean on pillows and their feet were behind them.

            Not something that you would want to see or smell as you were eating a meal!

            And where they sat around the host of the meal, this time the host was Jesus, reflected how close they were to this leader or host.

            The second reason is that Jesus is going to teach them a lesson of being a servant, which was born out of what took place as they came for this meal. 

            Now think about all that is taking place here and why the disciples of Jesus didn’t even think of doing a lowly task like this. In Luke 22:24 we read, Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest. 

            The night before Jesus was to go to the cross of Calvary they are arguing who would be the greatest in the Kingdom! Do you really think they were going to wash anyone’s feet? Of course not, they would not even wash their own, that was the duty of a servant.

            And thus, Jesus was showing these men who would carry on the ministry what ministry is all about, SERVANTHOOD! It is as Mark 10:45 tells us, For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. 

            Can you imagine this, the Creator of heaven and earth girds Himself and washes the feet of His men and in doing so He is showing us what we need to do – minister to others!

            Let’s put this into perspective of what was going on here. As one writer put it,

            At this critical moment, at this evening before the torture of the cross, Jesus did not think of Himself. He thought about His disciples. Truly, this was loving them to the end. After all, Jesus’ disciples treated Him badly and were about to treat Him even worse, forsaking Him completely; yet He loved them.

- David Guzek

 

            Love is not just a word, it speaks of action! It is not just a feeling, it is an act of your will! True love will respond with deeds! And this love that we see in Jesus, He wants it to be seen in us. A love that gives in spite of what we might be going through. A love that gives in spite of the difficulties we face. It is a love that gives and gives and gives.

            The cross was before Jesus and He is showing His men, and us, love is given in the things that we do for others no matter what is happening in our life, even DEATH!

            You may have heard it said or maybe you have said it, that you can’t help others until you help yourself first. If that were the case, no one would do anything! Did Jesus have a right to say, “Hey guys, I am going to the cross in several hours here, can you do this for Me or can you do that for Me?”

            No, He did not say that. In fact, at this point He just got up, girded Himself with a towel and washed their feet! That is love!

            I think that love impacted Peter so much that years later, when he wrote his first epistle or letter, he said in I Peter 5:5, Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for ‘God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.’

            Peter is basically saying, “wrap the apron of humility around yourself.” May this example of servanthood be engrained in our hearts and minds.

            When people come to church one of the things that is asked many times is, “What can this church do for me?” Wrong question. The right question is, “What can I do to serve here and bless the people?” The heart of a servant gives and in return, God will take care of you. You serve faithfully.

            Now there are some lessons that will be taught as questions are asked about what Jesus, the Master is doing. Let’s read on and see what they are all about.

 

VERSES 6-11

            As you read this it seems like Peter is the last one to get his feet washed, why? Keep in mind that for this meal they laid on the floor around this low table to eat and Peter was on the other end of the table, the last spot. He was not in the place of honor next to Jesus, Judas was!

            And finally, after Jesus washes all their feet He comes to Peter and Peter is like, “No way Lord, you are never, ever going to wash my feet.” Peter was serious about this.

            Now we don’t know if he was trying to impress the other disciples or even Jesus by his words and actions or maybe he just could not allow His Lord to wash his feet!

            And Jesus tells Peter, If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.Did you get that? Jesus says that if he does not allow Him to wash his feet, he has no part with Him. What does He mean? 

            He is speaking of fellowship and we will deal with that more in a minute. But if we are not bathed in Christ, if we don’t accept the cleansing power of Jesus in our life then we are not His, we are not saved. We need a total body cleansing and that only can happen as the blood of Christ washes our sins away and we are as white as snow!

            And please understand that the word wash in John 13:5-6, 8, 12 and 14 is NIPTO and it means “to wash a part of the body.” But the word translated washed in John 13:10 is LOUO and it means “to bathe all over.” There is a big difference here.

            In fact, it is a very important difference. Like I have said, we are clean in Christ but then we do need to have our feet washed often. Why? Because as we travel through this world we get dirty, the filth of this world likes to cling and attach itself to us, so as we step back, we need to cleanse our feet by being in the Word of God for if we don’t, we begin to stink, we are dirty! You see, we have been saved, washed in the blood of Jesus, but now we keep clean, sanctification, by the Word of God.

            David put it this way in Psalm 119:9-11, How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You. 

            Also, in Ephesians 5:26 Paul tells us, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word.” 

            We need this washing not to maintain our salvation; it is a free gift of God, but to maintain our fellowship with Him, keeping those lines of communication open!

            We might think of it like this. The Christian life consists of one bath – SALVATION; and many foot-washings – FELLOWSHIP!

            Then Jesus said in regard to them being clean, You are not all clean. And thus, Jesus knew that Judas would betray Him, it was no surprise to Him. 

            In John 6:64 we are told, ‘But there are some of you who do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him.”  What surprises me is that up to the last second Jesus is still trying to draw Judas to Himself, but He refuses to come! That is the love of Jesus, it is rich and it is deep!

            And it is that same love that Jesus wants us to manifest to others. Not a man-made love, but a love that comes from God and gushes from our lives to others!

            And keep in mind that Jesus washed even the feet of Judas and this paints for us a beautiful picture. The Son of God, Jesus, came down from heaven to serve and save all of mankind, even those who were His enemies, which we all were at one time!

 

VERSES 12-17

            Here is where the rubber meets the road, it is called APPLICATION! Christianity is not just correct doctrine, it is taking what you know and applying it to your life! Too often we know the Word of God, we know what God wants us to do, but we don’t do it. You see, the blessing comes with applying the things of God to our lives, otherwise knowledge will just puff us up and in that there is no humility, just pride!

            We see here that Jesus wants to make sure that they get this teaching and His point is simple. If your Lord is doing this, then you should be doing it as well!

            I hope that I have been an encouragement to you over the years. That there is nothing too small or dirty, that I won’t do. I think that is what leadership is about, being an example to others of what a servant of God is all about!

            Jesus was an example to His men and He is an example to us, but I think it is important for leaders to get their hands dirty, to do the work and not just show up for the study and then they are gone.

            And if we refuse to do these things, then Jesus is basically saying that we must think more highly of ourselves than Him! A good perspective to have, if our Lord can do it, why can’t we?

            Let me also share this with you. I think it is very easy for us to point the finger and criticize those who have dirty feet. Then what should we do? Get our hands dirty and wash their feet!

            It is as Spurgeon wrote, “In the world they criticize: this is the business of the public press, and it is very much the business of private circles. Hear how gossips say, ‘Do you see that spot? What a terrible walk that man must have had this morning: look at his feet! He has been very much in the mire you can see, for there are the traces upon him.’ That is the world’s way. Christ’s way is very different. He says nothing, but takes the basin and begins to wash away the stain. Do not judge and condemn, but seek the restoration and the improvement of the erring.”  

            I do like that. But make no mistake about it, it is much easier to complain and point out the problems of others than to help them!

            Years ago, at Calvary Chapel of Elk Grove, I was at a board meeting and one of the leaders got up and unbeknownst to us, he went and filled a wash basin with water and he came in to wash our feet.

            Talk about uncomfortable. “Hey, washed them today, they are good!” But that is not the point that Jesus is making here. We are not to have foot washing ceremonies and that is really what they turn into, they are a display for all to see how humble we are. But that in itself shows we are not humble if we are doing it so all can see!

            And there are some churches who still have foot washing services but that is not the point that Jesus is making here, as I have said. He is teaching us to be servants. Now how do I know that foot washing is not for today? There is a simple rule to follow so you won’t go astray. 

            First of all was it taught and practiced by Jesus?

            Secondly, do you find examples of this in the book of Acts, do they practice this? 

            Thirdly, do we find teaching on this in the epistles? 

            We see foot washing here but not commanded by Jesus, nor are there examples of it in the book of Acts and there is no teaching on it in the epistles. 

            So, it is not for today.

            What about baptism? We see Jesus practice it, teach it and He commands us to be baptized. We see examples of baptism in the book of Acts. And we see teaching on baptism in the epistles. So, baptism is for today.

            What about communion? Jesus practiced it, He preached about it and He commanded us to observe it as often as we gather. We see examples of it in the book of Acts. And we see it taught on in the epistles.

            So, communion is for us today. Do you see how easy that is?

            How do we wash feet today? By not judging people or condemning them, but seeking to restore them. Minister to people with the love of Jesus. We are so quick to come against another, to put them down, but the idea is not their destruction, but their restoration!

            Again, to put this into perspective, Spurgeon sums it up like this as he wrote, “If there is a position in the church where the worker will have to toil hard and get no thanks for it, take it, and be pleased with it. If you can perform a service, which few will ever seek to do themselves, or appreciate when performed by others, yet occupy it with holy delight. Covet humble work, and when you get it be content to continue in it. There is no great rush after the lowest places, you will rob no one by seeking them.”

            Exactly! There are plenty of things to be done in the church, but people want the high-profile ministry so all can see how humble they truly are!     

            And we see Jesus say, If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. Don’t talk the talk, walk the walk! Again, don’t quote me Scripture, let me see you live it! And that goes for me as well!

 

VERSES 18-20

            Jesus goes back to the Old Testament, to Psalm 41:9 which says, Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, Who ate my bread, Has lifted up his heel against me.” And He is saying that this Psalm will be fulfilled in Him, that one of those who was close to Him will betray Him.

            Of course, He was speaking of Judas and Jesus let’s His men know and us know that this was not some kind of surprise to Him, He knew what Judas was going to do to Him!

            Now this Psalm of David is also referring to his friend and counselor Ahithophel who turned against David when David’s own son, Absalom usurped the throne from David.

            Ahithophel sided with Absalom and stayed in Jerusalem as David fled. And Ahithophel, the counselor of David was now giving counsel to Absalom and when Absalom did not receive his counsel, he saw the handwriting on the wall; he knew David would return and Absalom would be defeated, so he went home, got his house in order, and then went out and hung himself. 

            Sound familiar? It should because just as David was betrayed by his friend, Jesus would be betrayed by Judas, a friend of Jesus. And in the end, Judas too went out and hung himself just as Ahithophel did!

            Also, in verse 19 where Jesus said, Now I tell you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe that I am He. That is not correct once again. I am He is not what it should say.

            You see, the Greek omits He and it was only added later on for clarity, but it does not make it any clearer. What this says is, “I AM.” You see, that you may believe that Jesus is God! A pretty powerful statement and it is something that He has been saying throughout the Gospel of John!

            So, in Jesus knowing this about Judas, that he would betray Jesus, points to Him being God. You see, prophecy or foretelling the future shows that God is outside the space time domain and thus, He can tell us the beginning from the end. 

            In Isaiah 42:8-9 we are told, I am the LORD, that is My name; And My glory I will not give to another, Nor My praise to carved images. Behold, the former things have come to pass, And new things I declare; Before they spring forth I tell you of them.  

            Also, in Isaiah 44:6-8, Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel, And his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: ‘I am the First and I am the Last; Besides Me there is no God. And who can proclaim as I do? Then let him declare it and set it in order for Me, Since I appointed the ancient people. And the things that are coming and shall come, Let them show these to them. Do not fear, nor be afraid; Have I not told you from that time, and declared it? You are My witnesses. Is there a God besides Me? Indeed there is no other Rock; I know not one.’ 

            As we have seen in these verses, there is the YAHWEH the King of Israel, and His Redeemer, the YAHWEH of hosts! That is speaking of God the Father and God the Son, Jesus!

            Keep in mind the Bible, being 25% prophetic, and that is on the low side, some estimates put it up to around 30%, it shows us that God has spoken these things and they are there so we may believe and then after we believe that we become witnesses of Him to others!

            Now in verse 20 of John chapter 13 Jesus said, Most assuredly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.

            In other words, it is not the messenger that saves you, it is the message that they bring to you! If the message is Christ crucified for our sins, repent and receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and as you receive it, you are saved!

           J. Vernon McGee put it like this in light of all that Judas went out to do, witnessing and those who may have come to know the Lord and yet, Judas didn’t know the Lord. He wrote,

            Jesus adds this because Judas had been sent on missions with the rest of the disciples. He had preached and he had healed. “He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.” No one is saved by the faith of the messenger or preacher. We are saved by hearing the Word of God and receiving Christ. If a Western Union boy brings you a telegram that a rich uncle has died and left you a fortune, the fact that the Western Union boy may be a thief doesn’t invalidate the message of the telegram, does it?

            I knew a preacher who had become an unbeliever. A man who drove me to the train said to me, “Dr. McGee, I am puzzled. I was saved under the ministry of that man. I know I am saved and I know I am a child of God but I am puzzled. How can you explain it?” I showed this man this very text and told him that even Judas had gone out preaching and had won converts, not because he was Judas, but because he had given the message. God will bless His Word. We are saved by hearing the Word.

- J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible, Vol. IV, p. 454

 

            I think that puts things into perspective for us.

            As we read on we will see Jesus point out who is the one who will betray Him!

 

VERSES 21-26

            Here we see Judas, His friend, was going to betray Him! Over and over in the Scriptures we see the compassion that Jesus had for people and especially for Judas. On this very night that he would betray Jesus, Jesus seated him at the place of honor and I believe He was giving Judas a chance to repent, not go through with this betrayal, but that is not what he did. But he did have a choice, Jesus gave it to him!

            Now during a meal like this they would lay on the floor on their side leaning on their left elbow and eating with their right hand around this U-shaped table or triclinium.

            Thus, John was to the right of Jesus and Judas to the left, the place of honor, and Peter was probably at the end of this U-shaped table and couldn’t hear what was going on. That is why he asks John to ask Jesus who this person is that is going to betray Jesus!

            Also, in Matthew 26:22 we are told, And they were exceedingly sorrowful, and each of them began to say to Him, ‘Lord, is it I?’They did not suspect Judas and they were worried it was one of them! I don’t think they believed it was a betrayal, like what Judas was going to do, but somehow one of them disappointed Jesus, said something that was not right and they were concerned that it was one of them!

            Now think about this for a minute. How come no one knew it was Judas who was betraying Jesus? Because Jesus loved Him even at this point. 

            He showed the same love and compassion to the one who would betray Him as He did to the others. Why? He gave every opportunity for Judas to turn from his evil ways and receive Him.

            You see, not only did Judas have the place of honor at the table, but he also received the bread dipped in the sop, which was designated to the person who was being honored. And this was the sign that the person who dips with Him will be the one who betrays Jesus, but the other disciples didn’t pick-up on this as we shall see.

            Now, if you knew someone, a friend who was going to betray you and you became aware of it, what would you do? Maybe distance yourself from that person. Maybe confront them before they are able to carry out their betrayal. Maybe make some accusations against the person so whatever they do won’t hold water in what they say about you!

            But here we see that Jesus loved this man and gave him every opportunity to repent and come to Him. What about you? If our Master, if Jesus has done this, why are we refusing? In other words, If you know these things, happy are you if you do them. John 13:17.

 

VERSES 27-30

            As I read this I can’t help but feel sad for this man, Judas. You see, for Judas, at this point, he passed the point of no return, he could no longer be saved. He committed what the Bible calls the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, and Satan entered him. 

            And as you look at what happened to him, it just shows us that fallen man needs more than an example and even more than good teaching. Judas had the best example and the greatest teacher, and was still lost.

            You must repent and receive Jesus to be your Lord and Savior or you are lost!

            Now we don’t see this often in the Scriptures and yet, many are worried about Satan being over here or over there. Keep in mind that he is not omnipresent like God, he is a created being and can only be in one place at a time!

            Now, it says in the Scriptures that there are only two incidences in which Satan entered a person himself, and that is here with Judas and the other is future and will be the Antichrist! 

            Yes, even today there is demonic possession, but it is done by his demons and not Satan himself!

            Now when Jesus said, It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I have dipped it that was done for the honored guest at the meal. But here we see Jesus showing who would betray Him.

            And the disciples still didn’t get it, they still did not understand it was Judas. When Judas left they thought Jesus sent him out to do some business or something, not that he was leaving to plot the arrest of Jesus in just a few hours! If they knew I am sure at least one of them would have tried to stop him!

            Now think about what happened here. Judas left the Light of the world, Jesus Christ, and he went out into the darkness of this world where the prince of the power of the air, Satan dwells!

            You see, it was not only night outside, dark outside, but in the heart of Judas as he prepares to sell Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, something he would never get to enjoy, but it was so important to him now! How often people do the same today, they sell their soul to the Devil thinking they are getting something in return, and in the end, it is short lived and deadly!

            It is as Jesus said in John 3:16-21, comparing those who come to the light and those who love darkness, like Judas. Jesus said, For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.

            Now I believe it is after Judas left that Jesus instituted the communion for light and darkness cannot mix together. Jesus would have never allowed an unbeliever to partake of communion!

 

VERSES 31-32

            In these two verses, we see the words glorified and glory used some 5 times! Why?  The cross is getting closer but how is there glory in that? Jesus saw the cross that it would glorify the Father in His obedience and it would glorify Him. 

            Remember what Jesus said in John 12:27-28, “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour.  Father, glorify Your name. Then a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.’He will be glorified through it!

 

VERSE 33

            Jesus speaks to His men with words of endearment, loving words, calling them His little children. 

            But then the shocker, He is going away and they can’t follow Him! How hard that must have been for them as they left everything they had to follow Him these past three years and now it was all going to end!

            Now when Jesus spoke these words to the Jews, it was a little different. For the Jews, His departure would be final. He was returning to heaven and they could not follow Him. But why? Because of their unbelief!

            But for the disciples of Jesus, this departure would only be temporary. He would come again to receive them to Himself. And as we move into chapter 14 next time we will see how Jesus explains this to His men, this statement of His, and then He will give them words of comfort as He encourages them, not leaving them all alone as orphans!

 

VERSES 34-35

            Jesus starts out by saying, A new commandment I give to you . . . And when we think of something that is new we think that it was just invented or made. It is something that did not exist previously. But that is not what the Greek word for newmeans.

            What Jesus is speaking of is that this new commandment is going to be explained more in depth, it will be richer than what was previously thought.

            In the Old Testament, we see the command to love our neighbors as we love ourselves, and there is nothing wrong with that. That is what we should do.

            But now, in the New Testament, we see Jesus tell us that we are not only to love our neighbors, but we are also to love our enemies!

            Now that is a hard one, isn’t it? And yet, listen to the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:43-48, where He said, You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?  Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. 

            So, the mark of a Christian is LOVE! Now, think of the example that Jesus just left. Remember they were sharing in the Passover meal and with them was Judas, the one who would betray Him.

            And where was Judas seated? In the place of honor next to Jesus. Who did Jesus give the piece of bread that was dipped in sop to? It was Judas, and this was reserved for the honored guest even though it showed that Judas would betray Jesus. Jesus continued to give him an opportunity to repent.

            Imagine knowing all that Judas was going to do and yet, loving him so much that none of the disciples knew who would betray Jesus because His love for His men was rich, it was deep, and it was sacrificial. It was this AGAPE love or unconditional love.

            And now Jesus is telling us that we need to love people like this, especially the brethren! He laid down His life for us because of His love for us and now we are to do the same for others, love them to the fullest! His love at the cross shows us what true love is all about, it defines it for us!

            So, a simple question, “What is the mark of a Christian?”

            I think we can list many things here but the one that Jesus wants us to manifest in our lives is LOVE!

            Now, tragically, throughout church history, that has not been the case. In fact, it has been the exact opposite! 

            But don’t place the blame at the feet of Jesus, the blame needs to be placed at our own feet, we are at fault for not following in His footsteps! 

            I know, there are those that claim a righteous indignation, but that is ridiculous for most cases, it is used to justify their behavior. 

            Think about this, you are arrested, and you did nothing wrong. They try and get you to confess your crime, the one you didn’t commit, they give you the third degree, they beat you up so bad, you lose so much blood, your face is so battered, that you don’t even look like a man anymore. 

            The court system is just as bad, you are guilty not because you did something wrong, but the people, the jury wants you dead! So, you are placed on a cross as the crowd’s yell at you, mock’s you and-so-on. 

            What would you do? Words that would come from our mouth might not be pretty at this point! And the reality is, we fight back for far less than that.

            What should we do? We follow the example of Jesus. You see, Jesus, with one of His remaining breaths as He hung on the Cross of Calvary, cried out, Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.  Luke 23:34.

            You see, if Jesus is our example, we need to follow what He did, not lash out, but cry out to the Father for their souls, to cry out to the Father to restore them, to cry out to the Father to help us forgive! We need to do a heart check! 

            Remember what Paul said in Galatians 5:15, But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!” 

            Don’t consume each other for a meal; build them up in the faith, in the love of Christ. Remember the song many years ago, “They will know we are Christians by our love, by our love, yes they will know we are Christians by our love!” May that be true in our own lives, for that is the desire of Jesus for us.

            And if you are struggling in this area, of loving those that hate you, then you need to repent and study the life of Jesus and ask Him to give you that kind of love for people. Why? By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:35.

 

VERSES 36-38

            Jesus tells Peter and the rest of His men that He is going away, speaking of His death! And He tells them that they can’t follow Him, not yet, but one day they will be taken to glory! We see that as Jesus continues on in John chapter 14 where Jesus says, Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. John 14:1-3.

            And I think Peter understood what Jesus was saying, for Peter tells the Lord, I will lay down my life for Your sake. Peter’s devotion to the Lord was based upon emotion alone at this point. He wanted to die for the Lord but as we are going to see, he had a hard time living for Him!

            And as you look at what happened to these men, what Jesus said was true. Not only did they all turn from the Lord at the crucifixion, they did return, but they also all would die a martyr’s death for their faith in Jesus, except for John. 

            In fact, as tradition tells us, Peter was to be crucified on a cross like the Lord, but he could not bear to be put to death the same way His Lord was, so he asked to be crucified upside down and he was!

            And the response of Jesus to what Peter said was this, Will you lay down your life for My sake? Most assuredly, I say to you, the rooster shall not crow till you have denied Me three times. John 13:38.

            Jesus challenges Peter on this one, and really, all of us. You see, Peter believed in himself and his abilities and the area he thought he was the strongest in; he failed and denied the Lord! 

            Make no mistake about it, the Lord knew Peter and He knows us better than we know ourselves. Peter needed to learn to trust in the power of God and not his own power, and he did learn the lesson, and it was a hard one! The Lord does the same with us, breaking us of self-will so we look to Him to be the strength of our life!

            And I love this about our Lord because, as Luke tells us, not only did the Lord pray for Peter, but He is praying for us, that we would not fail.

            In Luke 27:31-32 we are told, And the Lord said, ‘Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.  But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.’I love that and so should you!

            Let me share this with you and then I will close our study this evening. One writer summed things up for us like this. He wrote,

            High among the indispensable truths of practical Christianity is this: God is constantly at work to show us that even those things we count as our greatest natural strengths are, by his standards, really weaknesses. When this principle is put to work, our strengths are enhanced and ennobled just like Peter’s. But perhaps even more glorious, our weaknesses become occasions for his power! Our shyness, an occasion for his boldness; our weakness of speech, an occasion for his articulation; our lack of imagination, for his creativity; our ignorance, for his instruction; our insecurity, for his assurance. Second Corinthians 4:7 says: “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” May we lay our lives before him with all our strengths and all his fullness to work in and through us.

- R. Kent Hughes, John, That You May Believe, p. 334

 

            I like that. Less of me and more of Him, more of Jesus in our lives!

            As I close this evening, keep in mind that the chapters are not inspired, they were placed there with the verses at a later date so we could find various Scriptures more easily, which it does do, but at times the breaks in chapters don’t necessarily fit. 

            You see, I think Peter must have been a little taken back by this, and the Lord continues on speaking to Peter and his men in John 14:1 were we read, Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.” 

            You see, words of comfort that Peter was going to need in just a few hours as he denies the Lord three times and as the words of denial were coming out of his mouth, the rooster crowed, and we are told that the eyes of Jesus met the eyes of Peter and Peter was broken.

            He saw the love of Jesus and his own failure and he couldn’t handle it and he ran away and wept! 

            But after the death and resurrection of Jesus, the Lord restores Peter and he did learn this tough lesson, don’t believe in yourself, believe in God! The thing is, through it all, we see the love of Jesus, even and especially in our weaknesses!