Study Guide

Gospel of John Chapter 13

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Chapter 13

Workin' at the Foot Wash

  • It's just before Passover, and Jesus and his disciples are enjoying their last meal together. Jesus knows that he's going to die and that Judas is going to help him along.
  • During the meal, Jesus gets up from the table, takes off his robe, and ties a towel around himself. He pours water into a bowl, washes the disciples' feet, and wipes them with the towel.
  • When he comes to Peter, Peter tells Jesus not to wash his feet. He's not worthy!
  • Calm down, Jesus tells him. He has to wash Peter's feet, otherwise he's not going to get a good place among the disciples. Clean feet are, apparently, a major criterion for discipleship.
  • If that's the case, Peter replies, then wash my hands and face, too. Peter's always overdoing it.
  • Jesus tells him that it's cool. He's already clean and only needs to wash his feet. In fact, all the disciples are clean… except one. Looking at you, Judas.
  • After Jesus finishes washing the disciples' feet, he gets dressed and sits back down at the table. He tells the disciples that this is a thing now—he washed their feet, so they need to wash each other's, too. Sounds like a good system.

The Betrayer Unmasked

  • Jesus tells his disciples that one of them is going to betray him. Just thinking about this is pretty upsetting to him.
  • Even though he's told them all this before, the disciples are totally in the dark. They look at each other. Who could Jesus be talking about? Hint: Maybe it's the liar and the thief?
  • Peter asks one of the other disciples to question Jesus further. (The gospel tells us that this is the one that Jesus loved—the Beloved Disciple, if you will.) So, the Beloved Disciple asks the question on everyone's mind: who is it?
  • Jesus tells them that whoever he gives a piece of his bread to is the one. Behold, the power of bread.
  • Then, he hands the bread to Judas (da da dum!) and tells him to go ahead and do his dirty deed.
  • The other disciples are still kind of confused. Judas holds all their money (and steals from it, too). Did Jesus just send him out on an errand to buy food? Did Jesus just want him to give some money to the poor? The disciples can be a bit thick sometimes.
  • Judas high-tails it out of there. Did we mention it's also the middle of the night? Someone isn't walking in the light of day.

Love One Another

  • Now, Jesus begins, he's only going to be around a little bit longer. Then, he's going to a place the disciples can't visit. Maybe a nice time share or something?
  • But Jesus has a new commandment for them: love one another. Just like Jesus loves them, that's how they should treat each other. That's how people will know they're his disciples, because they'll be filled with love. Talk about your warm fuzzies.

There's No Denying It

  • Peter—who, again, just does not get it—asks Jesus where he's going.
  • Well, Jesus explains, you can't come just now, but you might be able to join me there later.
  • Peter wants to know why he can't come. He'd do anything for Jesus—even die for him. Bold words.
  • Really, Jesus says. It's funny you should say that because pretty soon, you're going to deny that you know me. Three times actually. So, yeah…
  • Awkward silence.

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