STUDY ONE
“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.

STUDY TWO

"That They May Be One."

John 14

“[T]he mutual indwelling of believers in Christ and of the Father and Son in believers offers an anticipation of our final destination” in heaven’s abode (Reformation Study Bible note on John 14:2). Here, in chapter 14, Jesus describes Himself as “the way, and the truth, and the life” (verse 6).

1.     To what is Jesus the way? Let’s check Hebrews 10: 19-25.

Jesus is spending hours sitting with His disciples, consoling and comforting them. He is aware of what He is about to endure and He knows the purpose for which He was sent. But the disciples could not understand, and in His compassion, Jesus goes to great lengths to assure them beforehand that they were not alone and that they could trust what He said (John 14:29).

2.     Who will Jesus send to be with the church forever (John 14:15)?

3.     How will we know Him?

4.     “I will not leave you as ______________” (John 14:18); why do you think Jesus uses this language, this word choice that speaks of family relationship, when He assures His disciples that they will not be alone?

5.     What are your thoughts on the power of the Trinity indwelling the individual Christian and the Church? What is your sense of the repetition of Christ’s words “I am in my Father, and you [will be] in me and I in you” (verse 20)?

 

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.

STUDY THREE

“That They May Be One”

John 15

Fruit is crucial to Christ’s exhortation to His disciples this Passover afternoon. “Nominal Christianity” is a bit of misnomer, one that reflects that we make a distinction between types of Christians that Christ Himself never made: “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples” (John 15:8). Membership of the visible church is not a guarantee of a saving relationship with Christ; abiding dependence upon saving grace through Christ and growing obedience to His commands are the fruit by which we will be judged (John 15:5).

1.     On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being “Totally able” and 1 being “Absolutely unable”, how capable are we to embark upon, progress in, and complete our salvation? (Hint:John 15:5, 16).

2.     Grab a dictionary and look up the word “abide”; what does it mean?

3.     At this point in the Upper Room Discourse, how many times has Jesus commanded us to “love one another”?

In verses 18-27, Jesus refers to the hatred of the world, warning His disciples: “If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore this world hates you… But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me”. The gospel of Matthew records Jesus teaching a parable some time before the Upper Room Discourse, the parable of the tenants.

4.     Can you see the connection between the public parable of the tenants in Matthew 21:33-46 and Christ’s private warning to the 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.

 

STUDY FOUR : 

“That They May Be One”

John 16

In the intimacy of this moment and the poignancy of the hour, Jesus knows “the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you [disciples] will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone” (John 16:32). Surrounded by people that Jesus knows will desert Him, He is not angry, withdrawn, or cynical: “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (33).

1.     How do you respond when you feel alone in a crowded room?

2.     What does Christ’s service to His disciples mere hours before His trial and condemnation say to us about the servant’s heart? About friendship?

3.     What do you make of Christ’s sending us the Holy Spirit to be with us in His absence?

4.     Can you hear the Trinity’s determination that it is not good for man to be alone (Genesis 2:18)? Did you know that when God referred to Eve as Adam’s “helper” in the beginning (ezer), He used a word that He often uses to describe Himself?

While sometimes Christians have been led to believe that the Christian life is easy, Jesus, in His kindness, became a man of sorrows – our sorrows – and doesn’t fault us for weeping, lamenting, feeling the anguish of being in this fallen world.

5.     What promise does Jesus make to us in John 16 about our sorrow? Check John 16:20-24.

 

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.