Jean Stockdale delivers our teaching for Week 10 of the Bellevue Women study "Glory Revealed."
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Week 10 – John 13-14
Revealed as The Way, The Truth, and The Life
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” John 14:6
Jesus, “knowing that His hour had come” (John 13:1), spent a final evening with His beloved disciples. His words to them in the Upper Room were meant to steel their resolve against the horrors of the coming days and to offer comfort, knowing these events were part of God’s redemptive plan.
The lesson draws our attention to the various responses of the disciples as the weight of the Lord’s words began to settle on their souls. So many lessons can be gleaned from this passage, but I want to try to lift out principles for how to faith-walk when your world crashes around you. In light of this passage, how then shall we live when our world is shattered?
I. The Humanity of Christ - John 13:1-38
In His humanity, Christ identified with His disciples, reassuring them as they prepared for life without Him.
A. The Example of His Humility - John 13:1-7
“Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God, got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself . . . and began to wash the disciples’ feet” (John 13:3-5).
Standing in the shadow of the cross, Jesus set His humanity on display and demonstrated His heart of a servant. The Lord Jesus traded His robes for the attire of a servant and knelt to wash the feet of the disciples, including Judas, knowing “the devil [had] already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him” (John 13:2). Washing feet was typically reserved for the lowliest servant of the household. King Jesus modeled true humility and commanded His followers to do likewise. True leadership is exercised through servanthood.
Peter resisted the Lord’s act of kindness saying, “Never shall You wash my feet” (John 13:8). His response is nothing short of self-assertive pride that refuses to accept the grace gift of service. Jesus’ response revealed the need for regular daily cleansing of the feet to remove the dirt accumulated by walking through the world. Peter, never known for his subtlety, requested his hands and head be washed as well. Jesus said, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean” (John 13:10). The act of foot washing demonstrated the Lord’s humility. Obviously, He had a deeper spiritual application for foot washing that dealt with salvation. Because Peter had believed in the Son of God and received salvation (spiritual cleansing), he was already clean. However, daily cleansing by the washing of the water of the Word is necessary to remove the dirt and grime that clings to us as we
navigate through the world. A full bathing depicts the initial act of repenting, believing, and receiving Jesus while the repeated washings symbolize forgiveness of ongoing sinful behavior.
How shall we live? Believe in Jesus. We must be in a right relationship with Jesus. Salvation is a free gift and is entered into by repentance and faith (Acts 20:17- 21). Repent. Believe. Receive.
When the foot-washing ended Jesus said, “You also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you” (John 13:14). Be an imitator, a follower, of Christ. This is not referring to a cheap copy, but rather we are called to be Holy Spirit infused and enabled ambassadors for Him.
How shall we live? Be imitators of Christ. “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice unto God as a fragrant aroma” (Ephesians 5:1).
B. The Exposure of His Enemy - John 13:18-32
Jesus said, “I do not speak of all of you” (John 13:18). The mood changed drastically. Judas sat at His table and had allowed the Lord to wash His feet, looking to all the world like he, too, believed and belonged to the Lord. Even the disciples had no idea a traitor was among them. Jesus said plainly, “One of you will betray Me” (John13:21). Judas’ deception was so complete that “the disciples began looking at one another, at a loss to know of which one He was speaking” (John 13:22). We can assume Judas feigned disbelief as credibly as the others. He was, after all, the treasurer, not the assignment typically given to one who might appear less than trustworthy and certainly not granted to one who might be suspected of high treason! Simon Peter gestured to John to inquire of the identity of the betrayer. Jesus answered, “That is the one for whom I shall dip the morsel and give it to him. So when He had dipped the morsel, He took and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. After the morsel, Satan then entered into him. Therefore Jesus said to him, “What you do, do quickly” (John 13:26-27).
It appears the disciples did not overhear the exchange between Jesus and Judas or perhaps did not grasp the meaning behind His words. “Satan then entered into him” (John 13:27). Up until this point, salvation was offered to Judas, grace had been extended. Now, Judas sealed his fate by rejecting the offer of grace from the King of Glory.
How shall we live? Trust Jesus, the Righteous Judge. As far as the disciples were concerned, Judas was a follower of Jesus. Counterfeit Christians abound within and without the church. Our job is to love one another and let the Lord sort the rest out. Jesus warned us that we should be careful about trying to separate the wheat from the tares (see Matthew 13). In Matthew 7:21 He said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.” Only the Lord knows the heart and recognizes those who belong to Him (Matthew 25:31-46).
C. The Exhortation of His Love - John 13:33-38
In preparation for the continuation of His ministry in His absence, Jesus gave a new commandment. We are to love one another as Jesus has loved us. Love is the birthmark, the distinguishing mark of all believers.
How shall we live? Love like Jesus. Despite personality differences, denominational lines, upbringing, racial lines, socio-economic delineations, or convictions on non-essentials of the faith, respond in love. God is big enough to manage the non-essential differences when we are faithful enough to love our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Peter, as well as the others, were probably quite confused by Jesus’ words. He couldn’t get past the fact that Jesus said He was going somewhere they could not follow. After three and a half years of ministry together, this did not compute. Peter protested, boasting he was willing to die for the Lord. Jesus foretold Peter’s threedenials which would happen at daybreak. Self-revelation is always stunning and brutal!
How shall we live? Repent. Failure is not final. For the child of God, our sin spoils the fellowship with the Father, but nothing can sever the relationship. Failure is part and parcel of our humanity. Praise God, repentance is the pathway back to full restoration. Peter would be restored (John 21:15-7) and pressed into service (Acts 2 and following) for the Kingdom of God. Peter found forgiveness and reinstatement after a catastrophic failure - and so can we.
II. The Deity of Christ - John 14:1-31
In this section, Christ emphasized His deity to strengthen and encourage His distraught disciples. He tried to contextualize His redemptive work and promise of eternity with Him, giving His disciples much needed clarity and comfort.
A. The Promise of His Preparation - John 14:1-15
Jesus reassured His disciples, knowing the impact His words were having. He used the illustration of a home to describe heaven. This was an example they could readily relate to. The emphasis was not on the lavish nature of the dwelling place, but in the sufficiency of Christ to prepare a place for all believers for eternity (2 Corinthians 5:1).
Thomas voiced the concern of all of His disciples, “We do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” This is His sixth “I AM” statement. Jesus is the Way, the Only Way. He is the Absolute Truth. He is the Author ofEternal Life. Philip speaks up, “Show us the Father.” Jesus responded, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:8-9). The ultimate self-disclosure of God is found in Christ. Jesus “is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation” (Colossians 1:15).
How shall we live? Follow Him. “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).
B. The Promise of His Presence - John 14:16-26; 28-31
Looking into the anxious faces of the eleven, Jesus promised the coming of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, who would abide with them and be in them. Jesus said, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:18).
Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him “Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us and not to the world” (John 14:22). As the narrative unfolds, we see a growing distinction between “the world” and “His own.” Obedience to His Word sets us apart from those outside a personal relationship with Him. A changed heart (should) produces a transformed life.
Jesus inexplicitly linked the coming of the Holy Spirit with obedience to His Word. The Word instructs us; the Spirit enables us. Speaking of the Spirit’s role Jesus said, “He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you” (John 14:26). The disciples had learned volumes of truth during their three and a half years with Jesus. This was far more than they could remember or understand without supernatural help. The promise of the indwelling Holy Spirit, while they could not fully unravel this mystery, would serve as a great source of comfort in the days and weeks to follow. He is the Helper, the Spirit of Truth who would be poured out to indwell all believers on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-13).
How shall we live? Remember what we already know. The Spirit of God reveals truth, gives us understanding and enables us to operate in obedience.
C. The Promise of His Peace-John 14:27
Before the foundation of the world, Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection had been planned as part of God’s redemptive work for those He had not yet created. The disciples had seen plenty of death and had been eyewitnesses to several resurrections. But this, this was something all together different. Jesus was speaking of His death, His resurrection, and His return to the Father. He would die as the Lamb of God, the once-for-all-time sacrifice for sin. He would be raised from the dead and would return to the Father. Confusion and great despair were etched in their faces as they tried to follow His teachings to their logical conclusion. They needed the assurance of peace. Not the artificial temporary illusion of peace the world had to offer, but the bedrock foundational peace only faith provides.
How shall we live? Appropriate the peace of God through prayer. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6- 7).
How then shall we live when our world is turned upside down? By faith. Faith, in its simplest form, is obedience to the Word of God, dependence on the Spirit of God, and confidence in the finished work of the Son of God. Jesus said, “So that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Fathercommanded Me” (John 14:31).
The disciples were filled with fear and anxiety as the reality of Jesus’ words rattled them. In His humanity, Jesus revealed Himself as a servant. In His deity, Jesus revealed Himself as the Savior. He promised the Comforter, the Holy Spirit and He offered His peace. As we face difficult days may we study His Word, trust His Spirit, and above all, may we look to Jesus! Beloved, this is Glory Revealed!