Light of the World - John 13:18-38

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On Sunday Jeremy talked about Jesus washing his disciples’ feet. It’s a powerful image, especially knowing that Jesus was the Word who was with God in the beginning, through whom all things were created. As his disciples today, we too are called to wash each other’s feet, both by living as humble servants, but also by taking an interest in each other’s “sanctification” (ongoing spiritual growth and cleansing).

Opening Discussion:

Have you ever observed or taken part in a footwashing service or ceremony? If so, what was your experience like?

Looking at Scripture:

Read John 13:18-30.

Who is “the disciple Jesus loved” in verse 23? What is John trying to get across by using this phrase? (see insert section on p. 39 if you’re stuck)

John likes to show us what is going on “behind the scenes” of the events of Jesus life. Last week we saw how he is foreshadowing a great cosmic clash between Jesus and Satan (12:31). This week, Satan enters the picture again, having “prompted” Judas to betray Jesus (v. 2), and later “entering” him (v. 27). How much freedom/responsibility do you think Judas exercised in his betrayal of Jesus? If John isn’t saying “the devil made him do it,” what else might he be saying?

How does Jesus’ statement “I know the ones I have chosen” in v. 18 apply to Judas?

How does the phrase “going out into the night” in verse 30 relate to one of the major themes of John’s gospel? What is the implication?

Read John 13:31-38.

Notice Jesus continues on the theme of “glory” that we looked at last week (12:28, etc.). Why do you think John and Jesus are emphasizing glory in such an increasingly dark moment?

Jesus gives his disciples a “new” commandment, to love each other. However, this isn’t really anything new—the Old Testament taught love as well (e.g. Lev 19:18). What is different about the kind of love Jesus is asking his disciples to show (especially in light of the what has just happened and what is about to happen)?

Jesus says that our love will be the proof of discipleship to the world at large. How did the early church live into this? How do you think we are doing today?

Personal Application

Do you think anyone would be able to point to the amount/quality of love in your life and identify you as a disciple of Jesus because of it? How can you show more love?

Peter thinks he is ready and willing to follow Jesus to his death, but Jesus knows better. What does this have to say about how Jesus sees our own commitment to him?