Jesus, You have modeled and expressed ultimate love for God and people even in incredibly difficult moments. Grow Your Spirit’s presence in us, that we may better love both You and each other. In Your name we pray, amen.
Read John 13-14
John 13:1–30 Jews had to wash themselves before meeting God. But now, only Jesus can properly prepare a person to meet God. This is why Jesus did the servant’s job of washing His disciples’ feet before their meal together. Believers should also learn to serve each other in simple, everyday ways, even if that means they get a little “unclean.” Jesus predicted that Judas will betray His trust and help kill Him, bringing ultimate shame since Jesus has repeatedly fed him both spiritually and physically at His table (13:18).
John 13:31–14:17 Jesus teaches the disciples to prove they follow Him by loving and serving like He did. As Jesus talks about leaving them, the disciples are both confused and anxious, yet He assures them that if they’ve seen Him, they’ve seen God; that if they believe He’s from God (“I AM” 14:6), they will have great power; that if they love Him, they will do what He asks.
Jesus Himself has demonstrated the way to God that believers simply need to follow; Jesus will prepare their future home with God. What’s more, He will send the Holy Spirit to help believers and solidify their faith through obedience. And now, as part of God’s family, they’re guaranteed that God will meet their needs when they ask in Jesus’ name.
Notice that believers will be fully integrated into God’s family. In the process, they learn to love their new family, operate in a new culture, and communicate with their Father, receiving His care. Finally, there is space in the Father’s house, room at the Father’s table for them.
GOD THE SPIRIT
John 14:18–31 Jesus predicts what will happen so that the disciples will believe when it unfolds. More specifically, He tells them though He must leave them, the separation will not be permanent. Why? Because when believers live Jesus’ way, God’s presence is with them through the person of the Holy Spirit. Those who believe and act on Jesus’ words will be able to encounter God fully, even as those in rebellion can see nothing. Through God’s Spirit, disciples are reminded and taught by God in Jesus’ absence. He also gives them peace and fearlessness for the days to come.
At this point, it’s clear Jesus is radically modeling what it looks like to love God, by doing the kingdom work required of Him.
11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.
- Jesus is the ultimate model of the value of weakness (and all of Matt. 5); He permitted subordinate powers to plan to kill Him. With God, believers have to trust fully that the arrival of God’s kingdom is so solidly established that any temporary appearances of defeat are all part of the plan. Perhaps this is why believers are commanded to be at peace (14:27), even when the work God puts in front of them seems counter-intuitive to that command.
- Notice that throughout His life, Jesus was humble and peace-seeking. As believers, we also have the responsibility to model living like Jesus: consistently taking the low road of servanthood.
- Jesus repeatedly teaches believers to resist worry and anxiety. Based on John 14:1–7 and 14:27–29, write 4–6 ways believers can use Jesus’ words to speak truth to themselves and choose peace.
- Re-read John 14 and observe how, rather than arguing His disciples out of their doubts, Jesus often directs their attention to truths about God. Throughout John’s Gospel, Jesus makes descriptive claims about God’s nature with His “I AM” claims. Make a list of those claims in John 4, 6, 8, 10, and 11, and use the list to encourage and comfort yourself or others by repeating Jesus’ powerful statements. Look for other “I AM” claims as you finish reading John and add them to your list.