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John 13:21-38 (web)

Removing the Leaven: Part II

Dipping the Bread

21  When Jesus had said this, he was troubled in spirit,
and testified, "Most assuredly I tell you that one of you will betray me."
22  The disciples looked at one another, perplexed about whom he spoke.
23  One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was at the table, leaning against Jesus’ breast.
24  Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him,
and said to him, "Tell us who it is of whom he speaks."
25  He, leaning back, as he was, on Jesus’ breast, asked him, "Lord, who is it?"
26  Jesus therefore answered,
"It is he to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it."
So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot.
27  After the piece of bread, then Satan entered into him.
Then Jesus said to him, "What you do, do quickly."
28  Now no man at the table knew why he said this to him.
29  For some thought, because Judas had the money box,
that Jesus said to him, "Buy what things we need for the feast,"
or that he should give something to the poor.
30  Therefore, having received that morsel, he went out immediately. It was night.

31  When he had gone out, Jesus said,
"Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him.
32  If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself,
and he will glorify him immediately.

Going Away

33  Little children, I will be with you a little while longer.
You will seek me, and as I said to the Jews,
‘Where I am going, you can’t come,’ so now I tell you.
34  A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another,
just like I have loved you; that you also love one another.
35  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples,
if you have love for one another."

36  Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, where are you going?"
Jesus answered,
"Where I am going, you can’t follow now, but you will follow afterwards."
37  Peter said to him, "Lord, why can’t I follow you now?
I will lay down my life for you."
38  Jesus answered him,
"Will you lay down your life for me? Most assuredly I tell you,
the rooster won’t crow until you have denied me three times.

Discussion Questions

vs 21-22 Why did Jesus make such a statement which could provoke unnecessary suspicion and divisiveness among his disciples?
Should we also question ourselves and those around us concerning who is a true believer or who might potentially be a wolve among the sheep? Or is this too divisive?
Why did Jesus eat bread with Judas knowing what he was?
vs 31-32 Why was it at the moment Judas left that the Son of Man was glorified?
vs 33-35 As Christians are to love one another as Jesus loved his own, how would you characterize his treatement of his disciples? How might we apply such treatment to one another?
vs 36-38 How would you characterize Peter's level of commitment and level of maturity at this point?


vs 21-22 In being non-specific Jesus provoked each one to contemplate their own faithfulness and that of their fellow disciple. But doesn't that produce unnecessary suspicion and potential divisiveness in the assembly? Many modern assemblies being overy concerning about developing an artificial sense of unity ignore the potential wolves or other such leaven in their group. But we see otherwise in the Bible. Doesn't Paul say, "Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you— unless, of course, you fail the test?" 2Cor 13:5 and John, "don’t believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world." 1John 4:1

vs 23 The disciple of who it speaks here is probably John himself, though in humility he doesn't name himself as he had a position of honor with the Lord more so than the others. And so it is written, "Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; someone else, and not your own lips." Proverbs 27:2

vs 26 To fulfill the prophecy ‘He who eats bread with me has lifted up his heel against me.’ Jesus quite literally gave him his bread to eat symbolizing the artificial and duplicitous fellowship Judas represented in the Christian community.

vs 27-30 Jesus cut him loose to carry out his evil plans. One is reminded of Romans 1:28 "Even as they refused to have God in their knowledge, God gave them up to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not fitting." God does not condone such behavior, but if people are intent on doing evil, he does give them over to it at times. Jesus had given him every opportunity to repent in exposing his impending betrayal yet willfully Judas went ahead with his plans. Yet Jesus appeared to keep this rather a private matter, not exposing him so publically. Though it is not clear why. I would imagine that Judas in his state of mind he wasn't even paying attention. He no longer was listening to Jesus. And that is what happens when people disrepect you. They don't listen, or they only hear what they want to hear. Yet the others still did not recognize Judas for what he was. "he went out and it was night" What more can be said.

vs 31-32 "has been" is not quite accurate. The aorist is used which expresses a punctual idea. At the point that Judas left was the Son glorified. For his leaving represented the purification of the body of Christ which was the allegorical subject of the feet washing. Other allegorical equivalents may be the purifying of the assembly through his atoning sacrifice or the revelation of the true Assembly of believers in the end when the wheat and chaff (or sheep and goats) are separated. "Glorifying him in himself" I think refers to his ascension into heaven which is shortly to take place, though over a month away.

vs 33-35 The next few Chapters are a message to the disciples preparing them for his departure. The first and primary command is to love one another following Christ's example. But what was Christ's example of love? For Christ called his disciples to walk with him on a road of hardships in which they too will be despised and persecuted even to the death.  They endured sacrifices and much personal loss. Christ did not make their lives comfortable. And then he left them to carry out their own ministry. He gave them a mission to accomplish. So also we are to do the same for those brethren we love. This is not love from the world's perspective. Love from the world's perspective is to give people what they want. Love from God's perspective is to give people what they need. Another way he loved was by teaching them, and not just in words. He developed them in maturity till they were ready to take on responsibilities and walk on their own.

vs 36-38 Where Christ goes we will follow. But everything in its time. Peter thought he was further along in his commitment to Christ and in his regeneration than he actually was. And people often fall prey to the Sophomore effect when they've learned some and think they know more than they actually do. For education is also a matter of application and as they say "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing". Peter, though speaking confidently, has yet to learn what it means to lay down his life. So also Christians may speak confidently of their supposed convictions, but a man's real convictions are revealed by his applications.

The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources Jan 28,2022