Lessons from John 13: Introduction to John 13
Let me ask you, what would you do if you knew that you or a loved one only had a few months, weeks, or even days left to live?
How would you choose to spend your time? And with whom would you spend it?
In this situation, you and I would come face to face with making some very difficult choices. Choices that could affect not only ourselves but also those we love.
In our lesson today, we see that several people faced the choice of what to do after Jesus announced in John 12:23 that His hour of glorification had now come.
We come across three major sections now in John 13.
- Jesus, knowing His time was short, set His mind and actions on being an example by becoming a servant, which is my first division: Jesus’ Example ~ John 13:1-11.
- And secondly, He took the time to explain what His example meant to those He loved. So my second division is Jesus’ Explanation ~ John 13:12-17.
- After revealing His time had now come, Jesus identified His expectation of betrayal. He identified Judas as the betrayer, which is my third division: Jesus’ Exposure ~ John 13:18-30.
Now as we anticipate what’s ahead we will see that John chapters 13-17 reflect a shift from Jesus’ public ministry to the preparation of the disciples for the days ahead of them. No longer will we see Jesus presenting Himself to the nation of Israel or its religious leaders.
These chapters are often called “The Book of Instructions” or the “Upper Room Discourse and the Farewell Address.”
I found it interesting to read in Dr. John Hannah’s commentary for these chapters that the word “love” was mentioned 12 times over the first 12 chapters of John. But now in chapters 13-17, we will encounter this word “love” over 40 times. Also, the word, “Father” is found 53 times. This helps us understand the emphasis of this next section. Jesus was getting ready to return to His father so He instructed His disciples to love in His absence.
This third and major section of John’s gospel message shows Jesus ministering to His disciples on the night before His death. This ministry was in light of the rejection by the nation and it involves two major aspects.
The first is in John 13:1-16:33. This is Jesus’ instruction of His disciples. Then in John 17, we see that, finally, the “hour” of His return had come.
If we compare the four gospels, we see that for the most part, John leaves out the early events of the Passover week.
John 13 puts us directly in the Upper Room where Jesus and His 12 disciples gathered for the Passover Feast. Jesus ate with His disciples for the last time and instituted the Lord’s Supper. He taught His disciples before He faced the betrayal of Judas and before His arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane.