John 13:21–14:7—Betrayals, Predictions & Comfort

21 Now Jesus was deeply troubled, and he exclaimed, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me!”
22 The disciples looked at each other, wondering whom he could mean. 23 The disciple Jesus loved was sitting next to Jesus at the table. 24 Simon Peter motioned to him to ask, “Who’s he talking about?” 25 So that disciple leaned over to Jesus and asked, “Lord, who is it?”
26 Jesus responded, “It is the one to whom I give the bread I dip in the bowl.” And when he had dipped it, he gave it to Judas, son of Simon Iscariot. 27 When Judas had eaten the bread, Satan entered into him. Then Jesus told him, “Hurry and do what you’re going to do.”28 None of the others at the table knew what Jesus meant. 29 Since Judas was their treasurer, some thought Jesus was telling him to go and pay for the food or to give some money to the poor. 30 So Judas left at once, going out into the night.
31 As soon as Judas left the room, Jesus said, “The time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory, and God will be glorified because of him. 32 And since God receives glory because of the Son, he will soon give glory to the Son. 33 Dear children, I will be with you only a little longer. And as I told the Jewish leaders, you will search for me, but you can’t come where I am going. 34 So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. 35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
36 Simon Peter asked, “Lord, where are you going?”
And Jesus replied, “You can’t go with me now, but you will follow me later.”
37 “But why can’t I come now, Lord?” he asked. “I’m ready to die for you.”
38 Jesus answered, “Die for me? I tell you the truth, Peter—before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.
14:1 “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. 2 There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? 3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.”
5 “No, we don’t know, Lord,” Thomas said. “We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. 7 If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!”

Points of Interest

  • ‘Now Jesus was deeply troubled’—Jesus has just finished telling them not to be unduly rattled by the coming betrayal; when the betrayal comes, it just means that things are proceeding according to plan. Nonetheless, it’s an emotionally upsetting circumstance. It doesn’t cause Jesus to doubt, but it does make him sad.
  • ‘disciple Jesus loved’—traditionally, Bible interpreters take this to be John the author.
  • ‘It is the one to whom I give the bread I dip in the bowl’—this seems like an elaborate way of going about it. He could just whisper, ‘It’s Judas.’ I think he’s consciously acting out Psalm 41:9 (see 13:18). It almost serves as a cue for the action to start.
  •  ‘God will be glorified because of him’—I think Jesus is glorifying God by trusting God with his very life. The glory Jesus receives in return is the glory of being raised from the dead. Jesus keeps talking about being ‘lifted up’ (3:14, 8:28, 12:32). It seems to me that the raising up will happen on three levels:
    • he’ll be literally raised up on a cross;
    • he’ll be raised from the dead;
    • and he’ll be ‘raised up’ as an example of faith in God and as a source of eternal life.
  •  ‘Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples’—love for one another is not just the way that they’ll be cared for in Jesus’ absence. It’s also the badge that they’re Jesus’ deputies. When people see how they love one another, they will say, ‘There’s something Jesus-like about these people.’
  •  ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life’—this reminds me once again of Jesus saying to Nathanael in the very beginning: ‘you will all see heaven open and the angels of God going up and down on the Son of Man, the one who is the stairway between heaven and earth’ (1:51). Jesus himself is somehow the pathway to heaven. They may not yet know exactly how to follow the path, but they do know the path.

Taking It Home

  • For you: How would you feel if your name preceded the clause, ‘the disciple Jesus loved’? You might not even feel like a disciple—not to mention especially loved—but for kicks let’s try it:

_______________________, the disciple Jesus loved.
(your name)

How does that settle with you? Does it feel true, or hard to accept? Ask Jesus to show you his love for you in a real way. Don’t settle for just knowing it in your head; ask Jesus to really speak to the core of your being about his love for you. Today look for ways that Jesus is showing you how much he loves you. A fun way that many people practice receiving Jesus’ love is called ‘soaking.’ It’s a good way to force yourself to receive from Jesus. Here’s how to try it: Play some quiet music, lie down or be somewhere you are super comfortable, ask Jesus to be with you, and then just lay there. Your only job is to keep your heart attuned to Jesus; that’s it.

  • For your 6: Pray today about anything that is troubling your 6. Ask Jesus to help your 6 in those situations. Pray that your 6 would trust Jesus in the midst of whatever is troubling them.
  • For our church: Being part of an entire community where everyone deeply loves and cares about everyone else sounds utterly remarkable, doesn’t it? It is, of course, one of those ‘easier said than done’ things, but we still think it’s worth aiming for. Of all the things we could be known for at our church, being known as a place that genuinely loves people does sound pretty compelling. Ask Jesus for his help to do it. Ask Jesus to fill us with so much of his love that it would easily overflow to others.