“That They May Be One”


John 13

The Gospel of John is referred to by John Calvin as exhibiting the soul of Jesus Christ, while “the three former [gospels] exhibit his body” (Ferguson[1]). John’s Gospel may be divided in two: the “Book of Signs”, which sets forth the work and public ministry of Christ (chapters 1-12) and the “Book of Passion”, the last nine chapters in which the glory of Jesus is hidden from all but His disciples (chapters 13-21).  John 13-17 comprises the “Farewell”, or “Upper Room Discourse” and focuses on the last conversations Christ has with His disciples at the Passover and before He is betrayed and crucified.

1.     What kind of mood or tone would these words of Christ’s take in light of where they took place? What kind of atmosphere would this upper room have?

2.     What import should we place on these deeds and words in light of what we know will soon happen to our Savior?

John 13 begins, “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….. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 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” (verses 1, 4b, 5, ESV).

3.     What does this act mean in light of the fact that “this task was usually performed by the lowliest member of the household, a slave or servant if the family could afford one”? (Reformation Study Bible note[2])

After He washed His disciples’ feet, Jesus sent away Judas Iscariot, who was under Satan’s influence (John 13:2, 27), to betray Him. Then He foretells Peter’s denial (verses 36-38).

4.     How poignant are these betrayals to Jesus at this moment? Check verse 21.

5.     What new commandment does Jesus give to His disciples?


Now, please take a few minutes to write on your timeline what you think is the theme of this chapter. Feel free to say as much or as little as you’d like, but please fill it in with what the Holy Spirit highlights in your reading today.