Welcome to our 12-week Bible study, Come and See: Exploring the Gospel of John, covering the life, teachings, and miracles of Jesus. “Come and See” how the Gospel of John reveals the depth of God’s love and grace, and how it can transform your life.
Through this study, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of who Jesus is, what he accomplished, and how to respond to him in faith, obedience, and love. You’ll also learn about his role as the Son of God and what his life and death mean for us today.
Each week, we’ll explore a different theme from the Gospel of John, including love, grace, and forgiveness. We’ll also take time to reflect on what it means to be a follower of Christ and how we can apply these teachings to our lives.
If you haven’t registered, no problem at all. Register now (yes, right now!) for this in-person Bible study and experience a deeper understanding of the Scriptures, fellowship with other believers, and the joy of growing in your faith as you share the Gospel of Jesus with others.
Week 8: Overview
Here’s a quick recap of what we covered in Week 8 using Justin Buzzard’s John: A 12-Week Study (Knowing the Bible) as our weekly discussion guide:
- Why Jesus washed the feet of His disciples.
- What Jesus washing the feet of His disciples truly symbolizes and teaches us to do.
- What Jesus desires the most for us to honor God as His disciples.
- Why and how disciples are called to perform greater miracles and works than Jesus did.
In John 13, Jesus washes his disciples’ feet to demonstrate his love for them, to set an example of servanthood, and to symbolize the washing away of sins through his death. Startlingly, Jesus washes all of his disciples’ feet, including the feet of the one about to betray him — Judas. This scene is also unexpected because in first-century Jewish culture, foot washing was a task reserved for non-Jewish slaves. Here we have the Savior of the world washing the dirty feet of ordinary men, including the man about to betray him. What does this scene teach us about Jesus? What sticks out to you the most about this scene?
In John 13, Jesus’ act of washing his disciples’ feet illustrates his love and servant leadership, demonstrating that no task is too small for Him to do. Despite foot washing being a task reserved for lowly servants, Jesus humbly washes His disciples’ feet, including Judas, who He knew would betray Him. This act exemplifies that Jesus’ love and forgiveness extends to everyone, irrespective of their actions or worthiness.
In addition, this scene also symbolizes washing away sins through Jesus’ death on the cross. This scene also conveys that Jesus is a servant leader who forgives and loves unconditionally while showing us that we should follow his example of humility and servant leadership. What’s most intriguing about this scene is Jesus’ love and forgiveness towards Judas, even after knowing that he would betray Him.
Note the events and words surrounding Judas’s departure from the disciples in order to betray Jesus (13:21-30). How does Jesus feel, what does Jesus say, and what does Jesus know? What happens to Judas before leaving, and how does John 13:2 relate to 13:27? How do the other disciples react to what’s going on? What do you make of John’s closing words, “And it was night”?
In John 13:21-30, the events and words surrounding Judas’s departure from the disciples to betray Jesus are as follows:
- Jesus feels troubled in spirit and testifies that one of his disciples will betray Him.
- Jesus reveals that the betrayer is the one to whom He will give the bread after He dips it in the dish.
- Jesus knows that His time has come, and the betrayal must take place to fulfill the Scriptures.
- Judas dips his bread and Jesus tells him to do quickly what he has planned.
- Judas immediately leaves the room, and it is mentioned that it is night.
Before leaving, Judas dips his bread in the dish with Jesus, a sign of friendship and intimacy in Jewish culture. This action contrasts with the fact that he is about to betray Jesus. John 13:2 states that the devil had already prompted Judas to betray Jesus, which sets up the scene for his departure in verse 27.
The other disciples seem confused and do not immediately understand what is going on. They ask each other who the betrayer could be, and Peter even asks John to inquire of Jesus who it is.
John’s closing words, “And it was night,” may symbolize the spiritual darkness that was descending upon Judas as he left to betray Jesus. It could also serve as a contrast to the earlier statement that Jesus is the light of the world, emphasizing the betrayal and its consequences.
According to John 13:34, how does Jesus want his disciples to love one another? According to John 13:35, what is the result of such love? In light of Jesus’ subsequent death, what does it mean to love another “just as” Jesus has loved?
In John 13:34, Jesus wants His disciples to love one another as He has loved them. In John 13:35, the result of such love is that all people will know they are Jesus’ disciples.
To love another “just as” Jesus has loved means to love sacrificially, to put the needs of others before one’s own, and to be willing to lay down one’s life for others, just as Jesus did. This kind of love involves serving and caring for others with selflessness and humility.
Loving others as Jesus loved also means forgiving one another and extending grace and mercy, even when it may be difficult or uncomfortable. It is a love that is unconditional, sacrificial, and transformative.
Jesus says something startling to his disciples: “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father” (John 14:12). Because of the work Jesus is about to accomplish on the cross, and because God would send his Spirit to the church after Jesus’ ascension. Jesus tells his disciples that they will, in a sense, exercise a greater ministry than his. What do you think Jesus means by this statement? From what you know about the book of acts, what takes place in Acts and in the early church that did not take place in Jesus’ ministry?
We can interpret Jesus’ statement in John 14:12 as meaning His disciples will be able to perform greater miracles and works than He did because they will be empowered by the Holy Spirit. This is made possible by Jesus’ death and resurrection, which allows for the Holy Spirit to come and indwell believers.
In the book of Acts, we see the fulfillment of Jesus’ words, as the disciples perform miracles, healings, and conversions on a larger scale than Jesus did during His earthly ministry. Additionally, the early church experiences growth and expansion, spreading the gospel message beyond the confines of Jerusalem and throughout the known world. This was not something that Jesus was able to accomplish during His ministry on earth.
According to John 14:15, what would Jesus’ disciples do if they loved him? According to 14:24, what is the identifying mark of those who do not love Jesus?
Jesus’ disciples would keep His commandments if they love Him, and the identifying mark of those who do not love Jesus is that they do not follow or obey His words.
Review Jesus’ words about the Holy Spirit in John 14:15-26 and 16:4-15. According to these verses, who is the Holy Spirit, and what does he do?
Jesus speaks about the Holy Spirit and His role in the lives of his disciples emphasizing that the Holy Spirit is identified as the Counselor or Advocate, who is sent by the Father in Jesus’ name to be with His disciples forever. He also explains the Holy Spirit is also called the Spirit of Truth and is described as a helper who teaches and reminds the disciples of everything that Jesus has said.
Jesus shares that the Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin and righteousness and judgment, guides the disciples into all truth, and speaks what he hears from the Father and the Son. In addition, the Holy Spirit glorifies Jesus and reveals things to come.
Lastly, the Holy Spirit is presented as a divine and third person of the Trinity, distinct from the Father and the Son, who empowers and guides believers in their lives and ministries.
In John 15 Jesus gives the last of his seven “I am…” sayings. Summarize in a sentence what Jesus teaches in the metaphor that is used throughout this chapter.
In John 15, Jesus teaches that He is the true vine, and his disciples are the branches that must remain in Him to bear fruit and be fruitful, but those who do not remain in Him will be cut off and wither.
According to John 15:8, how do people glorify God and prove their allegiance to Jesus?
Jesus says that allegiance to Him will bear fruit that lasts and glorify God.
Jesus shares a wonderful reason for why he gives this Farewell Discourse to his disciples (John 15:11). How does this reason expand your conception of Jesus and what it means to follow him?
It’s not just obedience and love that Jesus desires from us, but He takes joy in being the source and fulfillment of our own joy. This shows that Jesus is not only concerned with rules and principles, though they are important. Jesus is also focused on fostering a relationship that enables us to experience the abundant life (a zoë life) and joy that comes from being in a relationship with Him.
John 17 narrates Jesus’ final prayer. Speaking to his Father, who had sent him to earth. Jesus gives an account of his earthly mission. Jesus prays for himself, then for his disciples, and finally for later believers. Share five truths this prayer teaches us.
Five truths that Jesus’ prayer in John 17 teaches us:
- Jesus desires unity among His followers: Jesus prays that His disciples and future believers would be one, just as He and the Father are one (John 17:11). This unity is a powerful witness to the world and is a reflection of the love and unity of the Godhead.
- Jesus’ mission was to reveal God’s character: Jesus prays that His disciples would know the Father and His character through Him (John 17:6-8). Jesus came to reveal the Father’s love and righteousness to the world.
- Jesus has given his followers a mission: Jesus prays for His disciples, asking the Father to send them into the world to continue his work (John 17:18). As His followers, we are called to continue His mission of revealing the Father’s love to the world.
- Jesus’ followers are not of this world: Jesus prays for His disciples, saying that they are not of the world, just as he is not of the world (John 17:14). As followers of Jesus, our identity is found in Him, not in the world.
- Jesus’ prayer for us is ongoing: Jesus prays not only for His disciples, but also for those who will believe in Him through their message (John 17:20). This includes us today. Jesus’ prayer for our unity, mission, and relationship with the Father continues even now.
Don’t forget to read through the three sections in Week 8 of Justin Buzzard’s John: A 12-Week Study (Knowing the Bible) on Gospel Glimpses, Whole-Bible Connections, and Theological Soundings. Then take time to reflect on the Personal Implications these sections are likely to have on your walk and relationship with Lord Christ Jesus and his people.
Take a moment now to ask for the Lord’s blessing and help as you engage in this study of John. And take a moment also to look back through this unit of study, to reflect on a few key things that the Lord may be teaching you — and perhaps to highlight or underline these to review again in the future.
We hope these notes have been helpful in catching up on what we’ve covered so far. We’re excited to continue our study of John together next week in Week 9!
In the meantime, explore a very engaging animation video from the Bible Project team that explains the first twelve chapters of the Gospel of John. Additionally, you can read Mark L. Strauss’ article “John: The Gospel of the Eternal Son Who Reveals the Father.”
Alvin Brown, the Lead Pastor of Mosaic Church Fort Worth, brings over a decade of pastoral ministry experience and more than 20 years of operational and technical leadership expertise. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Telecommunications Management from DeVry University and an MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management. He enjoys spending quality time with his wife, Mallary, and their three children and contributing as a writer to various media outlets.