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Gospel of John - Chapter 13 - Lesson 3

Posted on June 9, 2016 at 8:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Jesus Predicts Judas’ Betrayal

John 13:21 (ESV) After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”

 

Jesus had alluded to His betrayal when He quoted from Psalm 41:9, “Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.” What Jesus had just revealed to the disciples hurt His heart, His human side, even though as God He knew these things must be. Therefore, He was “troubled.” In case the disciples did not pick up on His meaning, He then made it clear by announcing that one of them would betray Him.

 

John 13:22 The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke.

 

The disciples were looking at each other and wondering, “Okay…which one of us is He talking about?” The Gospels of Matthew and Mark both record the disciples asking Jesus, “Is it I?”

 

Matthew 26:21-22 And as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” And they were very sorrowful and began to say to him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?”

 

Mark 14:17-19 And when it was evening, he came with the twelve. And as they were reclining at table and eating, Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.” They began to be sorrowful and to say to him one after another, “Is it I?”

 

They were not pointing fingers to their brothers. They first asked Jesus about themselves. I believe they were acutely aware of their human frailty and realized it could be any one them. It is amazing that the disciples had enough spiritual knowledge at that time to humbly look at themselves and wanted to make sure they would be true to their Lord and Savior. This shows that they had grown enough to look at themselves honestly first and their brothers second. Considering at times they were concerned about which one of them would be “first” in the kingdom or sit at Jesus’ right hand, the humility displayed at that time was evidence of their growth.

 

John 13:23 One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table at Jesus' side, 24 so Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking.

 

The disciple whom Jesus loved is how John always referred to himself in his gospel. John was seated at Jesus’ side. Peter told John to ask Jesus who He was talking about, who was the culprit, the guilty party?

 

John 13:25 So that disciple, leaning back against Jesus, said to him, “Lord, who is it?”

 

John leaned back against Jesus, evidence of his intimate friendship with the Master. John may have even come in close to whisper when He asked the Lord who the betrayer would be.

 

John 13:26 Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it.” So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot.

 

To those of us reading this account centuries later, it seems Jesus made the answer pretty clear when He said it would be the one He gave bread to after He had dipped it. Then He immediately handed it to Judas Iscariot. He did exactly what He just told them He would do.

 

John 13:27 Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.”

 

Satan, the evil one, filled Judas as soon as he received the bread. Jesus released Judas to go and betray Him to the authorities for which Judas would be paid thirty measly pieces of silver. He told Judas to commit this act against Him quickly. Jesus, of course, knew HIS TIME HAD COME.

 

John 13:28 Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. 29 Some thought that, because Judas had the moneybag, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor.

 

Once again, the disciples seemed clueless. Osmium heads! (In case you missed the earlier lesson – osmium is denser than lead.) They did not understand what Jesus wanted Judas to do quickly. Jesus was talking about the most intimate betrayal only hours away, a kiss, but they still did not realize Judas was the betrayer. They failed to notice that Jesus handed the bread to Judas right after His statement that he would hand it to the betrayer! Since Jesus was the Bread of Life, Jesus was handing not only a morsel of bread, but Himself over to the betrayer. Since this exchange flew over their heads, the disciples tried to postulate what Jesus intended for Judas to do. Since he was treasurer for the group, they thought Jesus sent him on an errand to buy items needed for the feast or on an errand of mercy to buy something for the poor.

 

John 13:30 So, after receiving the morsel of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.

 

So as soon as Judas received the bread from Jesus’ hand and was told to do what he was going to do quickly, he slipped out into the darkness of night. Darkness has the connotation of foreboding, evil, and sinfulness. The evil of Satan had entered Judas’ sinful heart, and he hurried to carry out his dastardly deed. Judas made the choice to allow the Enemy of God, Satan, to have his way with him. He gave in to the temptation rather than resisting evil in the name of Jesus. But he was also God’s instrument to bring about His plan of redemption – JESUS’ TIME HAD FINALLY COME.

 

Q – Jesus once again demonstrated His deity through the display of omniscience (knowing everything) when He predicted that the one who took the dipped bread from His hand would betray Him. The disciples did not understand it immediately but would recall it in the gospel accounts later. Jesus knew exactly what was to unfold over the next few hours, but He told Judas to leave the meal and betray Him. His death was not simply a tragic accident, or just history’s most notable betrayal – it was a conscious choice Jesus made to die in our place. His death opened the door to Heaven through the greatest act of love ever demonstrated. He did this for you. Do you believe this to be true? If you have not already done so, surrender to His mighty love and His right to control your life. You will never regret it!

 

Gospel of John - Chapter 13 - Lesson 1

Posted on June 5, 2016 at 9:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Jesus Washes the Disciples' Feet

 

John 13:1 (ESV) Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

 

Jesus knew that His time had almost finally come. Being God, He knew what He was facing and that His method of death would be excruciating, both physically and spiritually. It would be humiliating to be crucified because the Old Testament said to be hung on a tree was to be cursed. Unlike the paintings of the Lord on the cross, people were crucified completely naked, another embarrassing humiliation. His humiliation, pain, and degradation was all worth it to Him for the sparing of those who would believe, those He loved, in order to save them from sin. Although their sin and ours would nail Him to the tree, He continued to love His disciples to the end.

 

John 13:2 During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him,

 

God the Father sovereignly gave the devil freedom to influence Judas’ betrayal of Jesus. Judas chose to give in to that temptation of his own will.

 

John 13:3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4 rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist.

 

Jesus was completely aware of who His Father was and where He had come from. He was equally aware that after the ordeal of the cross, He would arise victoriously from the dead and return to His Father’s side to be glorified. Knowing this, Jesus humbly took on the role of a servant by laying aside His outer garments and tying a towel around His waist. Jesus did not wield His power to conquer Rome and set up an earthly kingdom. Jesus’ strength was demonstrated in humility. Jesus laid aside His power as God to fulfill the requirements of the cross, but first He laid aside His dignity and right to have everyone bow down to Him as Lord in order to lower Himself to the floor to take on the role of a servant.

 

Philippians 2:6-7a (ESV) …who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant…

 

Jesus was preparing to perform a duty usually carried out by the lowliest servant of the household. He was being the portrait of a servant-leader.

 

John 13:5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

 

The disciples wore sandals and walked just about everywhere they went. Their feet would have been dusty, grimy, calloused, and stinky. Yet Jesus was methodically, carefully, tenderly washing their feet. He gave them a much needed foot bath. A host usually ordered a servant to provide this welcomed service to His guests. But Jesus, the host and their master, performed this courtesy Himself.

 

John 13:6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” 7 Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.”

 

Peter questioned whether the Lord really intended to wash his feet. Jesus expressed that it might not make sense to Peter at that time, but later it would.

 

John 13:8 Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.”

 

Peter protested that he would never allow the Son of God to wash his feet. Cleansing went further than skin deep as far as Jesus was concerned. If He could not wash Peter’s feet, He could not include Peter as a part of His family; and Peter would not be with Him. He would be separated from Him forever. In like manner, if we are not cleansed by the blood of Jesus, if we do not trust Him for salvation, we cannot enter into the kingdom of God. The blood of Jesus’ sacrifice was the soap of His love.

 

John 13:9 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!”

 

Now that Peter “gets it,” he wants a complete bath! He realized he was a sinner in need of a Savior’s cleansing power.

 

John 13:10 Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

 

The apostles were already clean because they believed Jesus to be the Son of God and trusted in Him. Jesus knew there was one among them who did not truly trust – Judas Iscariot, the betrayer. But Jesus still served Him and washed His feet.


 

Q – Jesus taught that those who wanted to be the top dog, had to be willing to be at the bottom. Those who wanted to lead, needed to serve. He demonstrated this type of leadership by washing the disciples’ feet. Think of the leaders you admire the most. Are they dictatorial or are they servant-leaders? If you are given the opportunity to fill a leadership position, which will you be?

 

Gospel of John - Chapter 12 - Lesson 1

Posted on May 22, 2016 at 4:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Mary Anoints Jesus at Bethany

 

John 12:1 (ESV) Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table.

 

Since Passover was less than a week away, Jesus was staying with His good friends Mary, Martha, and Lazarus since Bethany was near Jerusalem and the temple. This was the Lazarus that Jesus had raised from the dead. They were the first “Singles’ Group,” remember? Jesus and Lazarus were relaxing or as the younger generation says, “chillaxing” at the table while Martha served the meal. Jesus’ friends were hosting this dinner in His honor. People had wondered whether Jesus would dare to show His face in Jerusalem for the Passover since the leaders were out to kill Him. Obviously, He did not let that threat keep Him away. HIS TIME HAD NOT YET COME, but it was very, very near.

 

John 12:3 Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

 

“Exactly what is nard?” you may ask.

 

Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language:

NARD, noun

1. A plant usually called spikenard, spica nardi; highly valued by the ancients, both as an article of luxury and of medicine. It is an odorous or aromatic plant.

2. An unguent prepared from the plant.

 

So, nard is an expensive, fragrant ointment with healing properties. It was customary for a servant to wash a guest’s feet since they wore sandals and were dirty, tired, and sore. Mary anointed Jesus’ feet with the expensive, perfumed, healing balm, something beyond the usual foot washing. She then bent down and wiped them off with her own hair with her face right by His feet. I wonder why no servant stepped in to offer her a towel at that point? Perhaps everyone was in shock that she would do such a thing in the first place. Do you think the people there realized there was a sacred exchange going on? Or did they think she was being a little weird? I wonder if she realized she was anointing Him for burial? Maybe she did or maybe she didn’t, but Jesus knew. I believe she was led by the Spirit to do so. Mary was always at Jesus’ feet, listening to Him intently, hanging on His every word.

 

Luke 10:39 (ESV) And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching.

 

Read the account in Luke 10 to learn more about the personalities of Martha and Mary and what Jesus had to say to them.

 

John 12:4 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, 5 “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?”

 

One denarius was a day’s wage for a laborer, so this ointment was worth almost a year’s salary! Judas questioned the extravagance of this seemingly wasteful gift. He seemed to think it was foolish to use up all the nard in this way. Judas made the supposedly benevolent suggestion that the nard could have been sold to support the needy.

 

John 12:6 He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it.

 

Judas’ desire was not relieving some poor person’s distress. It was self-interest because as treasurer of the disciples he could steal the money to line his own pockets. He didn’t really care about needy people but was just looking for a way to justify his indignant attitude toward Mary using the nard on Jesus’ feet.

 

John 12:7 Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. 8 For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.”

 

Jesus foreshadowed His imminent death and burial as He told Judas to leave her alone. He accepted her act of worship as preparation for the trial He was about to face. There would be other opportunities to help the poor, but this might be Mary’s last chance to minister to Jesus, to worship Him while He was living among them.

 

John 12:9 When the large crowd of the Jews learned that Jesus was there, they came, not only on account of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead.

 

The people wanted to see the Miracle Worker and the miracle recipient, Lazarus. Because he had been raised from the dead, Lazarus now drew crowds of his own. He was a walking billboard proclaiming that Jesus was Messiah, the Son of the Living God.

 

John 12:10 So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well, 11 because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus.

 

Now Lazarus’ picture was on a wanted poster! His testimony was bringing people to belief in Jesus as God. Therefore, he was as much a threat to the chief priests as Jesus Himself. Lazarus, Mary, and Martha could testify that Lazarus had been dead four days. Many of the Jews had witnessed this miracle as well, but their hearts remained hardened to the truth. All they could see was the threat to their political power and therefore, all the creature comforts that came with it.

 

Q – Mary gave all of the best thing she had, the expensive ointment. She withheld nothing, not even her dignity, as she knelt and wiped Jesus’ feet with her hair. Are you willing to lay everything at the feet of Jesus? Or does pride keep you from humbling yourself before Him and in front of others?