The Gospel of John – Lesson 36 – John 13:18-38

18 “I am not talking about all of you. I know those I have chosen. But this is so that the Scripture may be fulfilled: ‘One who eats bread with me has raised his heel against me.’ 19 I am telling you this right now before it happens, so that when it does happen, you may believe that I am he. 20 “Amen, Amen, I tell you: Whoever receives anyone I send, receives me. And whoever receives me, receives the one who sent me.” 21 After saying this, Jesus was troubled in his spirit and testified, “Amen, Amen, I tell you: One of you will betray me.” 22 The disciples were looking at each other, uncertain which of them he meant. 23 One of his disciples, the one Jesus loved, was reclining at Jesus’ side. 24 So Simon Peter motioned to him to find out which one he was talking about. 25 So leaning back against Jesus’ side, he asked, “Lord, who is it?” 26 Jesus replied, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread, after I have dipped it in the dish.” Then he dipped the piece of bread and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27 As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do more quickly.” 28 None of those reclining at the table understood why Jesus said this to him. 29 Because Judas kept the money box, some thought that Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the Festival,” or to give something to the poor. 30 As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night. 31 After Judas left, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify the Son in himself and will glorify him at once.” 33 “Dear children, I am going to be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come. 34 “A new commandment I give you: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, so also you are to love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” 36 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered, “Where I am going you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.” 37 Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you!” 38 Jesus replied, “Will you really lay down your life for me? Amen, Amen, I tell you: The rooster will not crow until you have denied me three times.”

Jesus had just shown an amazing act of love to his disciples. The Son of God got down on the floor and washed their feet. This washing pointed ahead to the spiritual washing he was about to give them and all of us by his death on the cross. But before it was time for this to happen Jesus had some important things to tell his disciples. His message will take us all the way to the end of John 17. But this message wasn’t meant only for the twelve men gathered with him to celebrate the Passover. His instructions are important for us and for all his followers today. Jesus began by sharing some difficult news.

The first troubling news Jesus had to tell his disciples was that one of them was about to betray Jesus. Imagine how hard this news must have hit the other disciples. They had been with Jesus for three years. They had been through so much together. They learned many things from Jesus. They witnessed his miracles. They believed that he is the true Son of God. They knew he was the “Christ” (the anointed one chosen by God to be our Savior). How could any of them even consider betraying Jesus? But that is what was about to happen. Judas Iscariot had already taken money from the chief priests and the teachers of the law to betray Jesus into their hands. (See Matthew 26:14-16) Jesus always knew this was going to happen. He quoted Psalm 41:9 to show this betrayal had already been prophesied in the Holy Scriptures. When Jesus exposed Judas as the one who would betray him the disciples still did not comprehend what was happening. But Jesus said that when these events took place the disciples would be further convinced that Jesus is the Christ because he promised this would happen.

The second piece of troubling news that Jesus delivered was that he was soon going to be leaving his disciples. Where he was going they could not follow them at the time. No one could walk the path of suffering and death that Jesus was about to walk. It was necessary for him to pay the debt of our sins completely alone.

Such news didn’t sit well with Peter. He didn’t want to believe he couldn’t follow Jesus anywhere he went. Even if Jesus was going to his death, Peter believed he could stay with him and endure everything his Lord endured. In response, Jesus revealed one more piece of difficult news. Peter’s faith was going to be put to the test that same night. Peter wouldn’t be up to the task. Three times that very night he would be called on to confess that he was a disciple of Jesus. On all three occasions he would deny that he even knew Jesus.

The news Jesus had to share with his disciples must have been difficult to hear. But Jesus also had some important good news to share. As soon as Judas departed, he announced “Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify the Son in himself and will glorify him at once.” Everything was happening exactly as God planned. It was necessary for Jesus to suffer and die alone. His suffering would be beyond our ability to fully comprehend. He would suffer while carrying the unimaginable burden of our sins. But Jesus foretold that he would be successful. God would be glorified as his plan of salvation was completed perfectly. All who trust in Jesus as their Savior would receive full pardon for all their sins and become heirs of eternal life. God is glorified by every soul that is saved and comes to eternal life. Through faith in Jesus we will also one day stand before the heavenly throne of our Lord and offer eternal thanks and praise to him for bringing salvation to us.

Discussion Questions

1 – Why did Jesus warn his disciples in advance that one of them was about to betray him?
Jesus indicated that when the betrayal occurred his disciples would believe that Jesus is the promised Savior. Even in the face of Judas’ sin, our Lord would achieve a good purpose. He would use this betrayal to bring himself to the cross where he won full pardon for all our guilt.

2 – What happened to Judas when he took the piece of bread that Jesus used to identify him as the betrayer?
We are told that Satan entered his heart. Judas rejected his Savior. He was now fully under the control of the devil. Judas would carry out his betrayal of Jesus. Later he would commit suicide. He died in his sins and he will suffer eternally because he rejected Jesus as his Lord and Savior.

3 – Jesus called his command to “love one another” a new command. God has always commanded that we love one another. Why did Jesus now call it a new command?
Because Jesus has fulfilled the Law for us, we now carry out God’s commands to show our thanks and love to our Lord. We love one another because out Lord first loved us.

4 – What important role does loving one another play in our Christian lives?
Jesus said that when we love one another we are showing that we are disciples of Jesus. As we love one another we give glory to God and encourage one another to do the same.

If you have any questions about the Word of God we studied in this lesson please contact Pastor Greg Tobison. You can send your questions to