John 14:1-14 The Upper Room Discourse

Believe Also in Me

As we move into chapter fourteen we soon realize that the chapter division means nothing. This chapter is certainly connected to the last. By this time, Jesus’ farewell address has gotten off and running. The disciples would shortly be scattered by the fear of opposition. During that remaining time in the Upper Room, Jesus would strengthen His disciples with encouraging words and priceless teachings. He would prepare them, as much as possible, for chaos that would follow because “the ruler of this world” was coming and he had nothing to do with the Light. The Lord wanted those disciples to believe; trust in him, trust that there would be a place for them, trust that He had shown them the Father, trust in His works, and to trust in His name.

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Believe Also in Me [1]
There is no doubt that the tension was building in the Upper Room. The gathering had started as a celebratory meal which was interrupted by the radical event of the footwashing. Then Jesus went on to announced that He would be betrayed, Judas has left for who knows what reason, and Jesus said that Peter would betray Him before the night was out. The atmosphere was now down-right depressing. Jesus knows that the disciples would have a difficult time digesting all of this and can surely feel the tension in the room. As a result He says, “Let not your heart be troubled.” The same terms that Jesus uses for His disciples, John has already used of Jesus. Look back to 13:21 where it says, “He was troubled in spirit.” What is being described is a natural emotion. When things begin to deteriorate around us, we begin to get anxious. This word “troubled” means to be stirred up on the inside. Have you ever felt stirred up? A good illustration of this is how water can be stirred up. In fact, it is the same word that is used of the Pool of Bethesda is chapter five verse four. It is not a sin for your heart to be troubled, but you must soon collect yourself. Jesus was troubled, that trouble was passed on to the disciples, and Jesus then in effect says, “Do not continue to let your heart be troubled.”

Believers should never remain in a state of dismay because we believe in God. When your spirit is stirred up turn to God, trust in Him. These men that Jesus communed with had believed in God from the time that they could comprehend such. Jesus could say without reservation, “You believe in God.” They not only believed in a god, but were wholly committed to the God of Israel, Yahweh. He was their God. The very foundation of their being was encapsulated in the statement of Deuteronomy five, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”

Jesus then applies that belief that they had in God to Himself. Don’t miss what He is saying here. He is making a massive theological claim. There is no way to escape the divinity of Jesus in the Upper Room Discourse or in the whole of John’s Gospel. The Apostle is obviously fixed on displaying Jesus’ deity. He begins the book this way, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Because of the undeniable testimony of Scripture, we are people who worship the Lord Jesus Christ as God. Jesus says, “You believe in God, believe also in Me.” You see, “Faith in Jesus is not something additional to faith in God” (Morris). Christ puts Himself in the very place of God, as the object of trust and worship. “Faith in the Father in any meaningful sense is impossible apart from faith in” Christ (Morris). As that first chapter says, “No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.” This is truly a high Christology…

A Place for You [2-6]
First and foremost, the disciples had to trust Jesus. He was their Master and Teacher. Second, those men had to trust that they would have a permanent place with Jesus. This night had become very unstable in their estimation. There was awkwardness during the meal and Jesus went on to predict that there would be betrayal and denial from among members of their group. They were disoriented at best. The best thing to do would be to stick close to Jesus, right? Well, Jesus had already told them, “I shall be with you a little while longer” and “where I am going, you cannot come.” Without Jesus they would be deprived of a place in the world. In an extended response to Peter’s question in 13:36 “Lord, where are You going?” Jesus assures them that there is plenty of room for them in the Father’s house. The “Father’s house” must refer to heaven and the word “mansion” is better translated with another word such as “room.” Thus, Jesus is telling them that there is plenty of room in heaven for all of them. In that culture, the father’s house would be the original structure and when the sons married they would then build on more and more rooms. As a result there would be one very large house with many dwelling places for the children.

If this wasn’t the case, Jesus would not have told them that it is. Jesus never questions how things are beyond this world. He knows exactly how things are. He speaks of the Father’s house with full confidence. What preparations needed to be made? After pondering on this for over a week, I am confident that Jesus was talking about the cross. How did He prepare a place for us in heaven? Ephesians 1:7 tells us, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” The cross prepared your permanent dwelling in heaven with the Father.

This casts the picture in our minds of God leading Israel to the Promised Land. Moses testified in Deuteronomy 1:29-33 “Then I said to you, ‘Do not be terrified, or afraid of them. The LORD your God, who goes before you, He will fight for you, according to all He did for you in Egypt before your eyes, and in the wilderness where you saw how the LORD your God carried you, as a man carries his son, in all the way that you went until you came to this place.’ Yet, for all that, you did not believe the LORD your God, who went in the way before you to search out a place for you to pitch your tents, to show you the way you should go, in the fire by night and in the cloud by day.” As God prepared the way for Israel and the place in the Promised Land, likewise Jesus has prepared a permanent dwelling in the presence of the Father for each of those who trust in the sacrifice that He made on the cross.

“His return is as certain as His departure” (Tenney). As Jesus says pointedly, “I WILL COME AGAIN.” There is no wavering in that statement. If Jesus is going to prepare a place for His own, then surely He will ensure that they move in! The children of God will be with Him.

You can read all sorts of materials from other so-called religions on the subject of the hereafter, but I am here to tell you that the Bible has a unique doctrine of eternal life. Here are a couple examples: Islam teaches that in paradise each will have an innumerable amount of virgins and Mormonism teaches that each will become a god in the hereafter with several wives. This is not where we are going and these so-called religions do not teach the way. Christianity is exclusive, which has taken a lot of heat in recent times. The New Testament teaches that we are going to a unique place where everyone will not be and that there is only one way to get there.

Jesus gives us that famous line in verse six in response to Thomas’ question in verse five. He says, “I am the way…” Do you want to talk about the path to heaven or the road to heaven? There is only ONE way: the Lord Jesus Christ. This phrase “the way, the truth, and the life” is what the Jewish rabbis would call the Scriptures. Jesus makes an authoritative statement that we must deal with this morning. There is no indecisiveness on His part, but is there on your part? Either you believe this statement today or you do not. He says that He is the way, are you following Him? He says that He is the truth, do you believe Him? He says that He is the life, are you connected to the source? Hear the Lord speak this day and believe! May your spirit come alive this morning! A road must have a destination and this one leads to the Father. God is our reward- our happiness, our peace, our eternal joy. He gives life to all who trust in the Son.

You Know Him and have Seen Him [7-10]
Jesus is the image of the invisible God. He has declared the Father to us, though no man has ever seen God. He is the Word who became flesh. Yet, these disciples could not come to this realization. I can not be dogmatic about it, but I feel agony in Jesus’ response to Philip’s statement. He says, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me?” No one can show you who God is other than the Man, Jesus Christ. If you know Him, then you know the Father. This is what Christianity teaches: if you are a friend of Jesus, then you are a friend of God. If you trust Him, then you trust the Father. If you worship Him, you worship the Father. Once again, “Faith in the Father in any meaningful sense is impossible apart from faith in” Christ (Morris).

The Works that I Do [11-12]
Even if the disciples could not get a full grasp of what Jesus was talking about, they could believe Him just on the basis of what they had seen Him do. He had done mighty works among them. It would be very difficult to not believe if you had seen Him still the sea, walk on water, feed a crowd of thousands, heal the crippled, and so much more. So Jesus says, “…or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.” Now, in verse twelve, Jesus makes a promise. All the works He had done will be done by those who believe in Him. And He even extends it farther: “…and greater than these he will do…” How is that possible? “…I go to My Father.” Christ’s ministry on earth was very short in length. He had done many mighty works in only three years, but His disciples would work for many years more. They would not do greater quality works, but greater works in quantity.

Ask in My Name [13-14]
It is important to note that Jesus links the great works they would do to prayer. This is exactly what He told them in Mark nine. After failing to heal a boy of demon possession the disciples ask their Master, “Why could we not cast it out?” Jesus responds, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer.” Prayer is a continuing attitude of reliance on Christ. The disciples would not be able to do anything by relying on themselves and most definitely not for selfish reasons. They did not have the power to do miracles in and of themselves. Their source was God Almighty. The same can be said of us. If we are to do anything good in this world, anything that is productive and beneficial, we must rely on Jesus Christ.

Our Lord says, “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” What is it to ask in His name? Is it to say in Jesus’ name at the end of our prayers? Will that guarantee us that our prayer will be heard and approved? I think it is important to say that when praying, but I also think that Jesus means much more by this phrase. We have talked about this before. What does a name mean?
In ancient cultures, and in ours to some degree, a persons name meant everything. It was who they were. When I say the name “Jesus” you should immediately think of all the things that make Him who He is: the Word become flesh, the preacher, the teacher, the healer, the friend, the gentle one, the wrathful one, the advocate, the sinless sacrifice, the life, and on and on.

To pray in His name is to pray in accordance with His person. It is kind-of-like what Paul says, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus…” If you ask in anything in accordance with His words, attitude, humility, selflessness, person, He will do it!

These verses cover a lot of subjects. We may even be on overload by this time, but the main point is very simple. This is what you need to know: Trust in Christ.

Trust that there is a permanent place for you in heaven, purchased by the blood of Christ.
Trust that Christ has shown you the Father; know Him and you know God.
Trust in the works that He has done. He has done a mighty work in you.
And finally, trust in His name. Pray with all that you have in accordance with His person.

Day after day, moment after moment rely on Him and you will be safe.

John 13:31-38 The Upper Room Discourse

A New Commandment

People come up with all sorts of things to show their community associations. Even Christians have come up with all kinds of symbols to show that they belong to Christ. We label ourselves with this and that so that we are sure that everyone knows who we are. Yet, Christ tells us in this passage of Scripture that there is one distinguishing trait by which all will know that we are His disciples. You can label yourself with any word known to man, you can wear certain clothes to mark yourself out, you can put a big billboard in your front yard that says, “I AM A CHRISTIAN,” but without this one characteristic you are nothing. We will explore this for a few minutes today and pray that we are all enlightened to this very important sentence, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Love is a key theme in the Apostle John’s writings. He obviously learned what Jesus taught.
Let me read you a few verses from His Gospel and Epistles:
a) John 3:16 “For God so loved the world…”
b) John 13:1 “…having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.”
c) 1 John 3:11 “For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another…”
d) 1 John 3:16 “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”
e) 1 John 3:23 “And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.”
f) 1 John 4:11 “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
g) 2 John 1:5 “And now I plead with you, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment to you, but that which we have had from the beginning: that we love one another.”

Do you think that this is slightly important? Do you think that John learned something from the Lord Jesus Christ that he absolutely needed to impart? I think so…

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God is Glorified [31-32]
For us to have a good grasp of what verses thirty-one and thirty-two mean, we must look back to verse thirty which we read last week. It said, “Having received the piece of bread, he then went out immediately. And it was night.The New Commandment” This, of course, was speaking of Judas who John said had been possessed by Satan. When Judas took that piece of bread and exited the room, something was enacted. Yes, Judas’ scheme was initiated at that moment and yes, the Father’s plan had begun, but more importantly God was glorified in the Son of Man. The glory of God had commenced and it shows brightly from the pages of this Upper Room Discourse as we read.

Jesus used the title “Son of Man” to refer to Himself. It was a term that represented glory, honor, power, and His messianic role stemming from Daniel’s use of the term in the Old Testament. It is used twelve times in John’s Gospel with this being the last occurrence. Now make this note, outside of the New Testament “Son of Man” is associated with glory, yet within the Gospels it is often used of suffering. John brings both ideas together with his use of the phrase. As the Son of Man, Jesus’ suffering equals His ultimate glory (Carson). This one glorifying event includes suffering, crucifixion, and resurrection.

We must give a little thought to what it means to be glorified. We now know when it happened, but what was it that happened? “Glorified” for John was the entire episode of the Passion. The word is used five times here in these two verses. It can also be translated “exalt,” and we should probably have that in the back of our minds when we read the word. One person said that the last two times that it is used should be translated “exalt” (Tenney). It would read something like this, “Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in Him. If God is glorified in Him, God will also exalt Him in Himself, and exalt Him immediately.” The word glory refers to something’s weight or in this instance to someone’s value. For God to be glorified is for His value/worth to be put on display.

As another has said, “…the greatest moment of displayed glory, was in the shame of the cross” (Carson). When Judas fell to the temptation of Satan and left that room, the cross had already begun. Christ would suffer and die for the sins of the world. He would literally be exalted on that tree and He would symbolically be exalted above every other as the God who redeems His people. This is the value of our God. This is His worth. He is the greatest of all treasures!

You Cannot Come [33]
Jesus begins the next verse with “little children,” an endearment from a Rabbi to His disciples. John did not forget this phrase. He used it several times in his epistle from a pastor’s heart to his congregations. Jesus now tenderly speaks to His disciples and tells them that He will be leaving. Beginning with this verse we have what is called the “Farewell Discourse.” Judas has left and Jesus is now left with His eleven disciples to say His farewell and prepare them as much as possible for the next few hours and days. It is reported in this Gospel that Jesus told the Jews on two previous occasions that He was leaving to a place where they could not come (John 7:34; 8:21). He was quite forceful with them during those two instances and at that second time He told them that they would die in their sins. Here His tone is rather different. He is gentle and loving as He tells them that he is departing.

Love One Another [34-35]
Jesus now imparts to His closest followers His expectations for them in light of His parting. He gives them a new commandment that is really not new at all. It is the phrase “new commandment” that passed through the Latin language and gave us our term “Maundy,” hence Maundy Thursday. The newness is not in the sense of recent, but in the sense of fresh. This commandment was not recent at all, but had a long history dating back to the Mosaic Law (SEE Deut 6:5; Lev 19:18; also Mk 12:28-33; Rom 13:8-10; 1 Jn 2:7-8). The “new commandment” points to the footwashing which points to the cross. A fresh interpretation is given to the commandment by the Lord Jesus Himself. We are to love unselfishly and sacrificially. There is a new standard in light of the new covenant which is in Christ’s blood.

This is how everyone will know that we are Christ’s disciples: If we love the way He loved. He laid down His life for us and we ought to also lay down our lives for each other. We are to be living sacrifices. Our love must be different. Yes, we will love the world with compassion and evangelism, but we are distinct from the world. Our binding love is directed toward one another. That is what makes our love holy. On this verse many quote from Tertullian, a second century Christian leader, writer, and apologist. He reported how the pagans of his time marveled at the Christians and would say, “See how they love one another! are they ready even to die for one another!” Is that how the society at-large views us today? Do they see a unique love?

Most Assuredly, I Say to You [36-38]
Peter interrupts here and seemingly ignores verses thirty-four and thirty-five to go back to verse thirty-three. Of course this is no surprise to us who have gotten to know Peter fairly well. It is almost as if he says, “Wait a minute…wait a minute…what did you say? where are You going?” This is Peter’s second interruption and exchange with Jesus in the Upper Room Discourse. Peter could not follow Jesus immediately when He left, but he would at some point afterward. It would be death that would transport him to glory. Glory awaits those who die in Christ. We know that Jesus was going back to His Father (the rest of the discourse informs us of this) and that is where Peter would go at some point in the future. Likewise, we go to the Father when we die in Christ, unless He returns first!

Peter must have felt the threat of death though he did not completely comprehend it. He said in verse thirty-seven, “I will lay down my life for your sake.” Ironically, church tradition tells us that Peter did lay down his life for Christ’s sake, but it was not in the way that he could have thought that night. He must have thought that he would fight to the end to defend Jesus from the physical threats. In fact, he did draw his sword in the garden. And Jesus told Peter after the resurrection, “…when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.” Tradition says that Peter was crucified, upside down, because he said that he was not worthy to be crucified right-side-up like His Lord.

A chilling statement is made at the close of this chapter. Jesus foretells Peter’s denial. His denial will be extreme- three times! The rooster-crow was at some point between 12am and 3am and was considered to be the standard “alarm clock” just before day light in Palestine. What Jesus was saying was that before the night was even over, Peter would deny his Master three times. As one expositor said, “Sadly, good intentions in a secure room after good food are far less attractive in a darkened garden with a hostile mob.” Jesus knew that Peter would not be willing to stand and fight to the bitter end that night.

Notice how the love teaching follows the footwashing- Jesus demonstration shows them that this type of love is real, active, hands-on, and even dirty at times. The type of love that He expects of His followers is out of the norm; awkward and even uncomfortable. That is what makes it sacrifice. It is not an abstract thought for us to sit around and discuss, but is something that we must do. When Jesus says it to His first disciples it is not a suggestion of something that would be nice for them to do, but is something that will characterize them for all time. Those who follow this saying are really Christ’s disciples, truly Christians in every sense of the word.

Make sure that you know this: “The command to love has its first application within the Body of Christ” (Burge). We love the world, we love this community, we love the lost, but not in the same way. Our love is distinct and holy. There is not much that should trump it.

John 13:18-30 The Upper Room Discourse

One of You Will Betray Me

Can you imagine the scene that night in the upper room? Those twelve men and Jesus had gathered around a table to remember and celebrate the Passover. This is what every Jew would have been doing that day. The main meal would have been eaten in the afternoon, but the celebration would have continued into the night. They were to remember that God had rescued them from the oppression in Egypt. He was the One that lifted them up on eagle’s wings and carried them to the Promised Land. God fought a mighty battle that day for His children, Israel, and was victorious over her enemies. They were to remember how the angel of death swept through Egypt’s land during that last plague and how they were passed over because of the blood of a lamb that had been shed. But this Passover was a celebration unlike the first. The first was eaten in haste with everyone dressed to travel. This one was eaten in relaxation with more of a party atmosphere. Jewish custom said to relax at this meal…recline at the table…enjoy the freedom that they enjoyed as the people of God…

Though the disciples were ready for a celebration, their Master had other plans. Surely they enjoyed their time together and ate the meal in an enjoyable fashion, but Jesus would soon begin to change the mood of the room. The atmosphere would turn from merriment to grief. No one would be cutting up or joking around when Jesus took off His outer garments, girded Himself with a towel, and washed their feet. The party train came to a screeching halt when Jesus said, “You are not all clean.” No one enjoyed seeing Jesus “troubled in spirit” or hearing Him say, “Most assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me.”

No one wants a serious person at a party, but what could the disciples have done to stop Jesus? There was one time when Jesus began telling His disciples what would soon take place (He would go to Jerusalem, suffer many things, be murdered, and be raised back to life on the third day) and at that time Peter rebuked Him. He took Jesus aside in Matthew 16:22 and said, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” Do you remember how Jesus responded? “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” It was a daring effort to try and correct Jesus. No one would stop this plan. And what the disciples did not realize in that upper room was the fact that these things would happen the very next day! Christ would be betrayed that night and crucified the next day! He had many more things to say to them. He had to prepare them. They needed to know that He was in full control of the events that would soon take place.

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That the Scripture May be Fulfilled [18-19]
This is the third time in the upper room that betrayal is mentioned (SEE vv 2, 11, 18-19).
It will come in full-force from John’s perspective beginning with v21. The blessing that would come from following Jesus’ lead in humble service would not apply to Judas. We know the rest of his story: betrayal, guilt, and suicide. He would try to be self-sufficient by first being greedy and, after realizing that he had betrayed innocent blood, he would fix the problem on his own.
He could not rely on the grace of God. He caused the crisis and he would dig himself out. We see where that attitude will get someone…We must rest in faith…

Jesus knew who he had chosen. He had chosen all twelve men to be His disciples (the Apostles).
Yet, things were about to happen which would fulfill Scripture. You see, God knows the past perfectly, the present perfectly, and the future perfectly. He had said through David, long before the upper room events, “He who eats bread with Me has lifted up his heel against Me.” The verse stemmed from David’s life when he had been betrayed by close friends during a rebellion. Yet, it ultimately referred to the Messiah, as so many of the Psalms do. To eat bread with someone was an act of intimacy, friendship, and closeness. Eating bread at the table of a superior was considered a pledge of loyalty (Kostenberger). The phrase “lifted up his heel” has been interpreted several different ways. Some have said that it refers to a treacherous horse who strikes its master with its heels or that it refers to the wiping the dust off of one’s shoes in an act of disregard. I think it simply parallels our modern phrase of “turning your back on another.” When you turn your back on another you are lifting your heel, you are walking away as if to say I’m done with you. So, Jesus basically says, A close friend will turn his back to betray Me. That night Judas was done with Jesus and the eleven others. A treacherous act was committed.

Jesus was called a prophet by many simply because He could tell things that were to come. Jesus was divine, but in the incarnation He had given up the independent use of His divine attributes. In His humanity Jesus could not always know what was to come, but often times the Father would make the future known to Him. We can not know when Jesus became aware of Judas’ plot, but at some point Jesus realized what was to come. In fact, Jesus had this knowledge at least a year before it would happen. He asked His disciples in John 6:70, “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?” At that time, the disciples took the statement as a grain of salt. Judas himself had probably not even considered the evil he would do, yet Christ knew.
Though the disciples would not know what He was doing or saying in the upper room, He wanted them to know beforehand for one reason: “that…you may believe that I am.” After these happenings the disciples would realize that Jesus knew full-well what would come about. They would believe that He was all that He claimed to be: the Christ, the Son of God, the fulfillment of the Law, the fulfillment of all the prophecies, that He was/is the divine I AM.

Most Assuredly, I Say to You [20]
After vv18-19 Jesus returns to the teaching that sprung from the footwashing. In v20 He concludes that teaching before returning again to the issue of betrayal. We must look at v16 with v20 to understand what is being said. Both verses begin with the famous, “Most assuredly” or as the KJV puts it “Verily, Verily, I say unto you…” The proverb here in v20 is based on the master/servant principle. The disciples enjoyed what it meant to be accepted as one sent by their master, Jesus and they needed to accept Jesus, the One sent by the Father. Jesus wanted them to commit to these claims that He was making as the One who was sent by the Father.

One of You Will Betray Me [21-25]
Jesus was not afraid to show His emotions. It was clear to John that “He was troubled in spirit.”
This is the third time in the Gospel of John that Jesus was seen to be troubled in spirit.
SEE 11:33; 12:27; and now 13:21. Each of the three times that invoke emotion are the result of human death, the last two being His own.
He finally comes out and says it as bluntly as possible, “One of you will betray Me.” The disciples are no doubt caught off guard, though Jesus had been telling them all along. It may have become more and more real to them that this could be the case. They knew what kind of pressure was being heaped upon them, mainly Jesus. The authorities in Jerusalem wanted to permanently silence Him.

Traditionally, “the disciple whom Jesus loved” is the author of this gospel account, the Apostle John (son of Zebedee, brother of James). He was apparently in a place of honor to Jesus right and would have reclined toward Jesus’ chest. The custom for special feasts, such as the Passover, was to recline on cushions at a short, platform-type table in the floor. Each would lean on his left arm, eat with his right hand, and extend his feet away from the table. The table would be in a “U” shape with the host directly in the middle. Those who sat closest were considered to be in places of honor, right beside the host. SEE Mark 10:37. Peter wanted some answers so he motioned to John to find out who Jesus was talking about. Maybe he was thinking that he would get the guy to the side and straighten him out… John asks Jesus, “Lord who is it?”

A Piece of Bread [26-29]
John did not get a name, but he was shown who it would be. Jesus said it would be who He gave a morsel to…and it was Judas. Apparently Judas was on the left of Jesus, ironically in the highest place of honor. Jesus could reach to Him with that piece of bread. Dipping and passing a piece of bread to a guest was also considered an honorary gesture. O, how that upper room was filled with irony that night! O, how the love of Jesus was extended to His betrayer!

When Judas took the piece bread, the love of the Lord did not enter him, but Satan did. As one man said, “Receiving from Jesus is something vastly different from receiving Him” (Harrison). Judas had entertained the evil thought from the Devil to betray the Lord and now Satan has complete control of him. He has dined with the Son of God and now he has raised his heel against Him. Notice that Jesus sped up the process: “What you do, do quickly.” Judas has signed his fate, he had pledged his allegiance, he loved the darkness more than light. It was John who wrote in 3:19, “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”

The majority of the disciples did not know what he going on. Jesus had said something and Judas had left the house. They thought that Jesus had instructed Judas, the treasurer, to go out and buy necessities for the feast (of unleavened bread) or possibly to give alms at the Temple, which was Jewish tradition on the night of the Passover (the gates were left unlocked all night).

And it was Night [30]
Darkness could not overcome the light, but it had overcome Judas that night. Therefore, John concludes, “Having received the piece of bread, he then went out immediately. And it was night.” It was night literally night and darkness had spread of the city, but darkness had also figuratively flooded the heart of Judas. I think it is appropriate to apply what the Apostle Paul said in Romans 1:21 to Judas. It would read something like this, “Although [Judas] knew God, [he] did not glorify Him as God, nor [was] thankful, but became futile in [his] thoughts, and [his] foolish [heart was] darkened.”

Let us conclude this way: this text was all about Judas’ betrayal of Jesus. We read and ponder this from time to time and think to ourselves, How gross an act! Yet, do you not see how close Judas was to the light? He was so close that until that night, we read no where in the Gospels that Judas ever doubted Jesus or was anything other than devoted to His cause. In fact, he was a trusted disciple…he was the treasurer! From the evidence that we have in Scripture, it took only one night, a few short hours, for Judas to fall into the hands of the evil one and ultimately into “the place where he belongs” (Acts 1:25), namely Hell. One person put it this way, “Judas is the reminder that every day is judgment day and that on any day some faithful follower, like Judas—or like you and me—might turn tail on the light and stumble out into the darkness, caught up in evil or caught up by evil’s prince” (Bartlett).

Don’t misunderstand Jesus – believe that He is who He claims to be – trust Him.
Do not try to be self-sufficient – seeking your own well-being – fixing your own problems.
You can not pay for your own sins – simply trust in Jesus – rest in the grace of God!

John 13:1-17 The Upper Room Discourse

He Loved Them to the End

Most readers of the Gospel of John can agree that chapter 13 begins a new part in the book. I follow others in thinking “that verse I should be separated from the incident which immediately follows it, and regarded as an introduction to the whole of the remaining chapters” (Tasker 154), including the Upper Room Discourse. Christ public ministry is over and now He has a short time to prepare His disciples for the following events. Betrayal, deception, injustice, abuse, and murder would soon follow. Threats would prowl on every side. How could the Lord prepare them for this? What would He do? What could He say? That is what we learn in what’s called the Upper Room Discourse which is found in John chapters 13-17.

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The Extent of Love and Betrayal [verses 1-2]
We can see that right up-front the Apostle John is contrasting the extent of Jesus’ love and the extent of Judas’ betrayal. Verse 1 tells us that Jesus had loved His disciples all along. These were the men that He had chosen. These were the men who followed Him night and day, though many had withdrawn from Him because of a hard saying, political pressure, a certain miracle, etc.

John says that Jesus loved them all along and He loved them to the end. “To the end” can be interpreted in two different ways. The phrase could mean that Jesus loved them to the full extent, the uttermost or it could mean that He loved them to the end of His life, the end of the Father’s plan. I don’t think we would be wrong if we moved forward with both interpretations.

This introductory verse tells us of the full extent of His love, and it is begun to be unveiled even in the event of the footwashing. The rest of the book describes the extent of Jesus’ love. Christ is willing to go as far as it takes to bring to fruition His Father’s plans. He is willing to go to the full extent to show God’s love to His disciples. We will pick up more on it in next week’s sermon, but in verse 2 we can already see the extent of Judas’ betrayal as well. This is a satanic origination. A scheme derived in the heart of Satan is proposed to the heart of Judas and he accepts. He is willing to go as far as betray a friend. He is willing to betray an innocent man.

Jesus’ Full Awareness [verse 3]
Judas may have has some awareness of the situation. At least, he thought that he had everything under control, but contrast his awareness with that of Jesus. John was quick to point out, as Jesus is later in the discourse, that the Lord was fully aware of the entire situation and much more. Christ knew someone would betray Him, He knew who the betrayer was, He knew He was going to die (that was the Father’s plan), and most importantly He knew “that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God…” (verse 3).

Connective: You will notice that in John’s Upper Room Discourse, Jesus does not institute the Lord’s Supper like He does in the other Gospels. John’s readers would have known well that account (probably said it every week), so he instead gives them the account of the footwashing, which is also very vivid of the sacrifice Christ would make.

The Footwashing [verses 4-5]
The footwashing provides us with at least three pictures:
(1) The first picture that these verses invoke is of the incarnation. We know that this is a subject that John has thoroughly covered in the Gospel. The Apostle begins his Gospel account with statements about the incarnation: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (1:1). Later in that first chapter he says, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…” (1:14). The divinity of Christ is stressed throughout John’s writing and is no less seen in the footwashing event. It would be very difficult for any Christian to read this text and not think of its similarities with the Apostle Paul’s poetic writing in Philippians 2. There the Scripture says that Christ “made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men” (2:7). He literally emptied Himself. It is almost impossible to miss this picture in the footwashing narrative. In the incarnation Christ laid aside the “independent use of His divine attributes” (J. Barber) and lowered Himself to the position of a man.

(2) The second picture that I will mention is of the crucifixion. This is the main thrust of what Jesus is doing. It is the night before his death and we know that He is preparing His disciples for that horrific event. The sheep will be scattered because the Shepherd will be betrayed, unjustly condemned, and crucified. Yet, if they cannot accept that Jesus is willing to assume the position of a slave and wash their feet, they will never accept that He is willing to be murdered and suffer the penalty for sin. As one person said, “The footwashing was an acted parable…” (Tasker 154). It was to foreshadow what would immediately follow. In the crucifixion Christ laid aside His life “and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Phil 2:8).

(3) The final picture that this occasion must provide is of humility. There is no doubt that it was unthinkable for a rabbi to wash his disciples’ feet. It would be rare for a disciple to wash his rabbi’s feet. For both Jews and Gentiles this was viewed as the lowest of jobs, reserved for the most inferior slave of the house. Yet Christ, their “Lord and Teacher,” washed their feet. The description in verses 4-5 is the exact form of a slave: no top garments, girded with a towel, and a basin in hand. This is humility! In the footwashing Christ laid aside His garments and lowered Himself to the position of a slave.

I could easily preach a sermon on each of these three pictures. The footwashing event is rich with substance from which to learn. The first picture that I have stated is an idea pulled from the Apostolic teaching of the New Testament. The last two pictures are pulled from the immediate context of the Upper Room. Because the last two come from the immediate context, this next comment will only be about them. Both are applications that Jesus Himself points out to His disciples, yet neither should be confused. The footwashing may be viewed from either of the two perspectives, but not both at the same time. Christ is not telling His disciples that they must each die a unique, sacrificial, atoning death for one another. Only Christ could do that. So, yes, Christ is our example and even in the crucifixion He exemplifies godly lessons, but more than that He was able to do for us far more than any mere man would have ever been able to do. The footwashing was a show of the atoning sacrifice to come which could also show that the disciples must love/serve one another.

The Interaction with Peter [verses 6-11]
Peter’s Question - Jesus’ Response - Peter’s Rebuke - Jesus’ Response - Peter’s Response

Peter, as loud and challenging as ever, is flabbergasted at the thought of his Master washing his feet. He asks in utter bafflement, “Lord, are You washing my feet?” If only Peter understood what Jesus meant with the footwashing, he would hush up and let the Lord work. If only we would understand what Jesus is doing, we would hush up and allow Him to work. The footwashing was all about the crucifixion. Thus, Jesus says, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” Jesus had to die that sacrificial death on the cross, the disciples had to allow it, they had to understand it, they had to accept it, they had to believe in it…

It is interesting that Jesus did not wash the disciples’ feet when they first arrived. That was the custom. It would have been shocking then and it was even more outrageous that after the meal had begun, Jesus got up to do this. It tells me that He wanted their full attention. He wanted them to see Him lay aside His garments, gird Himself with a towel, and fill a basin with water. He wanted this to be a graphic pointer to His cross which would be the most scandalous and outrageous event in all of history! God would become flesh and blood to be crucified by men!

Here, Peter is out of line once again and Jesus corrects Him. He makes sure that Peter knows who is the Master is and who is the disciple. Others have acknowledged that Peter appears to represent so much of humanity. Here, he represents resistant men and women to the grace of God. He was only thinking of what was socially appropriate. He was humiliated by Christ’s humility. He was put in a vulnerable position, a place where he was not in control, and he did not like it at all. He was willing to wash Jesus’ feet, but not let Jesus wash his. He would rather work than submit. But this is the Gospel: there is nothing we can do to earn God’s grace except submit to the work of Christ. Stop fighting it and allow Christ to pay for your sins… Humanity wants to be independent…independent of God… I will take care of our own feet, thank you very much! I would have to humble myself to allow you to do something for me. I will help you, but you will never help me. I am above that. You see, this attitude will bring about the wrath of God because you can not save yourself. You can never do enough or pay enough for your own self. God is holy perfection and requires that of us. We have already fallen short of that before we even think of it. Allow Christ to be your means of salvation. The work is done, simply believe and you will have eternal life!

Notice in verse 11 that Jesus points out that not all of the disciples were clean. He knew that His betrayer was in the room. In fact, it would be hard to deny that Judas’ feet weren’t washed with the rest. Not only did Jesus take the form of a slave, but he even went as far as washing the feet of His betrayer! What does this tell you? Yes, love has no bounds. Yes, Jesus led by example the things that He taught (love your enemies). But I see something else jumping off of the page: association does not allegiance. Outward works do not ensure someone’s inward transformation.

The Explanation of the Footwashing [verses 12-17]
Jesus promises a blessing if His disciples will follow His example. Remember, this is an important application of what Jesus had just done. The footwashing was primarily to show the cross, but also to teach servanthood/humility. It was John in the third chapter who wrote, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son…” and it was John in the third chapter of His first epistle who wrote, “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” This is the Way: Christ’s death and sacrificial love of the brethren. This is the mark of Christianity. Not that we sacrifice others, but that we sacrifice ourselves. Our Master has done this and as His servants we are no greater. He stoops to this level and we stoop to this level. He dies in order to pay for our sins, and we live in order to tell others that He paid for their sins as well.

There are at least three pictures that come to mind from the footwashing with the primary being that of the crucifixion. Christ laid aside His life for you and me. He humbled Himself to the point of death, even death on a cross. This is surely the full extent of His love…surely the end of the Father’s plan. True cleansing comes from the blood of the sinless Christ who shed it on that cross. The footwashing points directly to that!