BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 6, Day 5: Romans 3:31

Summary of passage:  Faith upholds the law.

Questions:

11)  We can only be righteous if we are cleansed of our sins.  Jesus cleanses us of our sins so that we can live in Spirit.  For all of this to occur, we have to believe Jesus died for us.  Simple faith.

12)  One word:  Sin.  Sin occurs.  That’s what goes wrong.  God is holy.  He cannot abide sin.  Thus, we cannot be saved if we spit in His face and continue to purposely sin.

13)  Personal Question.  My answer:  He prods me when I’m on the wrong path until I turn.  And then He keeps prodding and adjusting my radius.  He is doing this now.  I know because I’m restless again.  When I get restless, it’s God saying “Um, yeah, you are not quite there yet.”

We all have free will to obey or not.  This is a gift from God as well.  If we wear His armor, we will persist and obey.  If we turn from Him, we will Fall.

Conclusions:   Notice how all of these questions refer to other passages. I’ve been in a pretty pessimistic mood this week if you couldn’t tell by my answers.

End Notes:  Paul will explore this more in Romans 4 (next week) but the law predicted the saving grace of faith and Jesus. Jesus establishes the law.

Antinomianism (Greek for “anti” against and nomos “law”) was a word coined by Martin Luther during the Reformation when people questioned salvation.  It means those who think they don’t have to obey the Law if they have Jesus.  God’s grace discounts moral effort.  Like I explained before, God cannot abide sin.  Purposely sinning goes against everything God says.  A new life in Christ means death to old evil desires (Galatians 5:24).

BSF referenced Romans 8:31, one of my favorite all-time verses.  Here’s Chris Tomlin’s song (again, one of my favorites) that uses this verse repeatedly.  Enjoy!

Conclusions to Lesson 6:  So we covered a whopping 5 verses.  But we read a ton more out of the Bible than just these. Next week we pick up the pace.  As much as I don’t really enjoy these slower lessons, it does allow the verses to sink in, for those of us who are drowning in “busy” work to catch up, and to explore more in depth what God is telling each of us.

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BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 1, Day 4: Romans 1:11-15

Summary of passage:  Paul tells the Romans how he has longed to see them for a while now but has been prevented from doing so as he has many commitments (as we all do!).  He wants to encourage them.

Questions:

9)  He wants to see the Romans to impart a spiritual gift of encouragement in their faith to them, but he has been prevented from doing do due to his other duties and the timing of God has not been right (the harvest time).

10)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Paul doesn’t forget the Romans.  He touches base with them.  He lets them know he is thinking about them and praying for them and is with them in spirit.  He tells them he is coming in God’s time.  Same with us.  We are all busy people.  But not forgetting commitments to others (and God) is important.  Trust in God to open the doors when He’s ready.

11)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Paul was called by God to preach to all.  He embraces it and is eager to perform his duty.  What we don’t read in Acts (Acts 26:19-23) is Paul doing exactly what God tells him to do.  He obeys unquestioningly.  I would say my attitude is similar to Paul’s.  It’s just something I do ambivalently.  I do His will.  Accept it and move on.

Conclusions:  I think it is important to honor our commitment to God and to others.  Here, in this passage, I believe it’s more of an emphasis of Paul’s to the Romans.  Acknowledge people.  Don’t keep them hanging or guessing.  Be honest and open.  Tell them why it’s not a good time right now but give them a time when it is.  I think people today appreciate forth righteousness more than flimsy excuses.

End Notes:  Note how Paul says he needs encouragement from the Romans!  This is something we often forget.  Our pastors need us to pray for them and journey alongside of them in their spiritual growth.

Paul realized he had an obligation to the Romans.  Remember in history this is the time of the Pax Romana, a time of unseen economic prosperity and growth for the first time in history.  It is in such an environment that Christianity could grow without being overwhelmed by the basic needs of mankind (like food and such).  Paul felt a duty to bring the gospel to those who enabled the gospel to spread.

Greeks here then are those who followed the Greek way of life.  Non-Greeks are the other Gentiles or barbarians in the eye of the Greeks.

Paul is ready to go–with only Christ by his side.  I’m sure Paul had a vision of sailing the calm Mediterranean, taking in the smell and sun of the sea, and landing on the coast of Italy.  Instead, he came as a shipwrecked prisoner (Acts 27-28).  However, he still fulfills God’s plan for his life.

2 Lessons to us:

1)  Pray for and encourage your pastor!

2)  Embrace God’s path, not yours.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 23, Day 2: John 17:1-5

Summary of passage:  Beautiful prayer of Jesus to his Father, saying the time has come to glorify Him through himself, defining eternal life as knowing God and himself, Jesus Christ.  Tearful!

Questions:

3)  The definition of glorify according to Webster’s Dictionary is:  “to make glorious by bestowing honor, praise, or admiration; to elevate to celestial glory; to light up brilliantly; to represent as glorious : extol; to cause to be or seem to be better than the actual condition; to give glory to (as in worship)”

Jesus asks God to glorify him so that He Himself would be glorified.

Glory according to Webster’s Dictionary is:  ” praise, honor, or distinction extended by common consent : renown; worshipful praise, honor, and thanksgiving; giving glory to God”.

It is time to give glory to God by bringing His plan to fruition and saving mankind for Himself.

4a)  Knowing about Jesus doesn’t mean you believe in Him.  Most people in the developed world know about Jesus.  Only those saved know who Jesus is and what he has done for them as sinners and be saved.  I know about Communism.  That doesn’t make me a communist.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  There have been signs recently in my life that time is of the essence and I need to get back to His path and quit dinkering around and being diverted by frivolous desires of my heart.  It is all about Him and I need to get on it!

5)  Before Jesus’ death, he had existed, taking a background to God.  After he was sent to die for mankind, God the Father elevated him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above all names.  All will bow in heaven and on earth before him and confess him as Lord and Savior.  He sits at God’s right hand in heaven.  God created the universe through Jesus.  He is heir to all things.  Jesus represents God’s being and radiates God’s glory.  His role in this world was amplified for humans.  Jesus was always there and important.  God just chose not to reveal this to mankind.

Conclusions:  I had missed that God made the universe through his Son!  Awesome how there are always new revelations to discover in His word.  Beautiful prayer to God.  Great questions about completing God’s work for us.

End Notes:  Commentators call this the greatest recorded prayer in the Bible.

Fun Fact:   This is the only long, continuous prayer of Jesus recorded in the Gospels.  It is sometimes called his High Priestly Prayer.

We see the nature and heart of Jesus.  This echoes the Lord’s prayer and we see what it’s like to have equals revere one another.  Amazing!

We see the customs of the time:  Jesus prayed with his eyes open towards heaven, very different from us bowing our heads today.

Jesus’ work being done on earth except to die, he prays.  Great lesson for us!  He will never again perform miracles or instruct his disciples.  He prays.  This is a victory prayer.

Note the words: Father . . . Your Son . . . Your Son . . . You. This is a prayer deep and rich with relationship. Jesus prayed with a full and deep sense of the familial relationship and the natural hierarchy or order that exists between God the Father and God the Son.  There is no Lord mentioned here.

This is often translated as “the hour has come”, which in my mind is better.  To Jesus, it is but one hour to suffer to him.  Great lesson for us who are stuck in the trenches of life’s tribulations.  It is but an hour before we will be glorified or our trials will appease.  Remember that!

Jesus is concerned for God’s glory only here.  It is the cross that brings glory to God and to Jesus.  If this doesn’t happen, then all if for naught.  God is glorified in His wisdom and power over evil.

All of our prayers need to have the desire to glorify God in them.  Are we looking for promotion so we can do God’s work?  Is it His desire or yours?

Verses 2-3:  Jesus has authority over all people (another claim to deity).  This is comforting to us as we evangelize cause Jesus is in control, not us.  With this authority, comes the authority to grant eternal life.  Jesus is God’s gift to us.  However, we are God’s gift to Jesus.  God gave Jesus US!  Powerful!

Everything Jesus did glorified the Father.  Jesus saw his work on the cross as finished.  Similarly, God sees the work in us as finished.  We just have to do it.

Jesus asks for the same glory God has.  Jesus relinquished some of this glory to accomplish his task. He asks for its return, confirming his preexistence and equality with the Father as One being.  This happens at Christ’s resurrection and exaltation at God’s right hand.

Fun Fact:  “World” occurs 18 times in this one prayer.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 22, Day 4: John 16:16-24

Summary of passage:  Jesus says he is leaving, but they disciples will see him again after the Resurrection and he appears before them..  The grief will turn to joy once they realize all Jesus’ death means.  When they see him again, they will know all.  If you ask for things in Jesus name, God will give them whatever they ask and they will have complete joy.

Questions:

8 )  When Jesus dies, they won’t see him.  When they die and ascend to heaven, they will see him.  More specifically, this is referring to the Resurrection and Jesus reveals himself to them.

9)  He tells them they will “weep and mourn…but their grief will turn to joy.”  He tells them they will have complete joy.

10)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I keep asking and keep listening.  They keep searching and asking and Jesus keeps answering until they get it.  The same goes for us.  Jesus will keep responding as long as we keep seeking until we do get it.

Conclusions:  Perhaps the greatest example in history of pain and grief bringing joy.  Great lesson for us in the throes of life.

End Notes:  The disciples didn’t know like we do that he is about to be arrested and crucified.  Jesus is telling them he will rise from the dead.  This obviously would confuse anyone.

The disciples are talking among themselves, asking if anyone knows what Jesus is saying here.  Jesus interrupts them to give them more clarity.  He says their grief will turn to joy once all is revealed.  This is true.  We see no writings of regret from the apostles.  They got it after all!

The disciples will have access to God through Jesus by speaking in Jesus’ name.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 21, Day 5: 1 John 4:7-5:21

Summary of passage:  1 John 4:7-21: God is love and showed it to us by sending His Son so that we may live.  We ought to love one another.  If you love, you know God.  If you acknowledge Jesus and God’s Son, then God lives in you.  You should have no fear.

1 John 5:  To love God is to obey His commands.  Only those who believe Jesus is the Son of God will overcome this world and have eternal life.  The Spirit, the water (baptism), and the blood all testify the truth.  If we ask anything according to his will, God hears us and will answer us.  We are born of God.  He keeps us safe from the evil one.  We are God’s children.  Jesus gives us understanding.  Stay with the truth.

Questions:

12)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  He sent His Son to dies for us so that we might live.  He has given us the Holy Spirit as a guide.  He has taken away our fear.  I am more loving towards others and compassionate.  Love overflows from God’s love.

13a)  We have eternal life through faith in Jesus.  We do not continue to sin as the Holy Spirit is our guide.

b)  We do not continue to sin and are kept safe from the evil one.  We are God’s children.  Christ gives us understanding so that we may know the truth.

Conclusions:  John repeats himself here, summing up what he just said and what’s most important:  loving God and others and obeying his commands.  Jesus’ baptism, death, and Spirit testify to who he is and are a gift from God to us.

End Notes: 1 John 4:  We love one another because and only because we are loved by God.  Otherwise, we’d all hate each other.  Man is still capable of love because we are made in God’s image.  But it’s imperfect and messy like man.  The Greek says is best:  agapetoi agapomen, “those who are loved, let us love.”

When you are born of God, you have a love you didn’t have before, one you weren’t capable of.  Because it’s God’s love, not man’s, which is non-existent without God.

This is the agape love, the love without expecting anything in return.  If we want to love one another more, we need to draw closer to God.  Love is a triangle with God at the apex.

God does everything out of love.  He’s righteous and holy and just because He loves us.  He is incapable of hating.

Love is also the giving of the Father as much as it is the sacrifice of the Son.  This should read only begotten Son, indicating God and the Son are of the same substance or being.

The love of the Father takes away our sin and allows us to live.  Both are important for we still deserve death but God wants us with Him.

His love for us initiates our relationship of love with Him, our love only responds to His love for us. We can’t love God the way we should unless we are receiving and living in His love.

Love is the constant.  Wherever there is love, there is God.  This is our evidence since we cannot see God that He exists and is working in our lives.  However, God is also spirit (John 3:24), light (1 John 1:5), righteous (1 John 2:29; 3:7), holy (1 John 2:20), powerful or great (1 John 4:4), faithful (1 John 1:9), true (1 John 5:20), and just (1 John 1:9).

We know (not hope) that Jesus is in us (through the Holy Spirit) and we are in him (giving us this knowledge is the Holy Spirit).

“We” are the disciples and the eyewitnesses.  Believers must acknowledge of confess that Jesus is the Son and believe God loves them even when they don’t feel His love.  God’s love will be complete on the day of Judgment.

Fear here is not the fear of God of his awesomeness but the fear that robs us of having a life full of peace in Him.  We should not fear judgment when Christ has taken it all on him.

“We love because he first loved us.”  We love God and Christ.  God has always loved us since before time.  Our love for God is always in response to His love for us; He initiates, and we respond. We never have to draw God to us; instead, He draws us to Himself.

Loving others is a choice and that is why it is a command from God.  We must choose to love others even when it’s not easy; otherwise, God is not in us if not.  To love God more is to love others more. If you want to love God move, love fellow Christians more.

1 John 5:  John wants to make sure you understand that you don’t earn salvation by loving others. You trust in Jesus and his atoning sacrifice on the cross to earn salvation.

Our love and obedience to God is a demonstration of love to the body of Christ.  Love for God will show itself in obedience.  Commandments are gifts from God to show us the most fulfilling life possible.  The Holy Spirit enables us to obey.

The key to victory is faith (reliance upon, trust, etc) in Jesus as Son and Savior.

“water and blood” has perplexed scholars for centuries.  What exactly did John mean here?  Some think water is our baptism and blood is communion (Luther and Calvin).  Some think this is the water and blood that flowed from Jesus when he was pierced with the spear at crucifixion (Augustine).  Others think the water is Jesus’ birth from the womb and the blood is his death.

Most likely, John means the water of Jesus’ baptism, and the blood of His crucifixion.  This was when Jesus’ ministry began and ended.  This explanation is the oldest recorded Christian understanding of the passage.  Jesus identified with man when he was baptized and saved us with his death.  This also supports John 3:5.

A priest was always ordained by sacrificial blood, cleansing water, and oil that spoke of the anointing of the Holy Spirit.  So Jesus also had these same three witnesses to His priestly ministry.

John keeps harping on this point because of the Gnostics.  If Jesus was not fully God at death, then his death was not sufficient to pay for our sins.

The Holy Spirit testifies that Jesus is the Son of God in two ways:  When the Spirit descended upon Jesus at his baptism and he continues to affirm this truth in the heart of believers.

Note on 1 John 5:7-8:  This passage is disputed.  Some words were added to the Latin manuscript that never appeared in any Greek manuscript that still appear in some Bible versions.  The NIV has it correct however.  Words were probably added to clarify the Trinity late in the Middle Ages.

If you reject Jesus, you are calling God a liar with your unbelief.

Eternal life is a gift from God receive in Jesus.

Ask anything and everything in His will.  Why doesn’t God just answer prayers?  God wants us to work with Him, and that means bringing our will and agenda into alignment with His. He wants us to care about the things He cares about, and He wants us to care about them enough to pray passionately about them.  God is delighted when we pray His promises. It shows our will aligned with His, our dependence on Him, and that we take His Word seriously.

We pray for our sinful brothers.  There are sins that lead to death but not all.  This could refer to the Gnostics adamant denial of the truth and their shameless immorality.  This is a spiritual death. Another view here is a physical death because a believer continues to sin so God takes their life (1 Corinthians 11:30).

If we are in Jesus, Satan cannot harm us.  Some bibles say “touch” instead of harm here.  It means “grasp” or “lay hold of”.  The only other place in his writings where John uses this particular verb for touch is in John 20:17, where He literally tells Mary to stop clinging to Me.

Significantly, this understanding must be given. We cannot attain it on our own. If God did not reveal Himself to us, we would never find Him.  Jesus is fully man and God.

Idols interfere with our relationship and fellowship with God.  Remember, putting anything (wealth, money, others, clothes, power, self, food, etc) above God is an idol.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 18, Day 3: John 13:36-38

Summary of passage:  Peter, of course, asks Jesus where he’s going (none of them quite understanding Jesus’ words).  Jesus says they will follow him to where he’s going later.  Peter protests, saying he wants to go with the Lord now.  Jesus calls him on his bluff, saying he’s about to disown him 3 times in less than 24  hours!

Questions:

6)  Jesus says Peter is will disown him 3 times before the rooster crows.  Peter will be more able to strengthen his brothers, having been wrung through the wringer by Satan and then confessed his sin.  He can better relate to people having denied Jesus out of fear and then come to him stronger.

7)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It gives me courage to do His will for my life when I am scared of losing income because I know He will bless me much more in the long term which will lead to me being able to touch many more lives than I do already.

Conclusions:  How many of us know a Peter in our lives?  Someone who is gung-ho on everything and then when the time comes to put the talk into action, they back down or freeze up or come up with an excuse.  How encouraging for us that even though we may freeze up in that moment for Jesus, he forgives us and strengthens us and moves us forward according to His will.  Great stuff!

End Notes:  Jesus tells Peter he will eventually follow him.  He just doesn’t mention the after you die part.

Peter is 100% committed as a disciple of Jesus.  He says he’ll lay down his life for him.  At this moment.  Later, he fails because he let emotion get in the way.

Peter’s denial of Jesus is not the same as Judas’.  Judas planned his and is deliberate.  Peter’s is in the heat of the moment, based on fickle passions, and is accidental.  It is still bad but not as bad as Judas’.  This is a whole different level.

Christ must die for Peter FIRST; then Peter can die for Jesus.

Peter denies Jesus off of very human emotions of being laughed at.  He was embarrassed.  The girl’s tongue is sharper than a sword!  Peter denies he even knows Jesus, let alone denying he will lay his life down for him.  Peter does go from bad to worse. However, Jesus forgives those who make very human mistakes (all of us) with the right heart.  Dark hearts (like Judas’) are not forgiven.

Jesus knows Peter’s heart here and says so!

The time is halfway between midnight and dawn is when the rooster crows.  It was the 3rd of 4 Roman nightwatches.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 17, Day 5: John 13:1-30

Summary of passage:  It’s just before Passover and Jesus’ time is limited.  Judas has already betrayed him and now Jesus is sitting down for the Last Supper with his disciples.  He dresses himself as a slave and washed his disciples’ feet. Peter protests and Jesus tells him to let him. When he is finished, he dresses and sits with them. He explains that they need to serve others and no one is greater than they.  Jesus says he knows the hearts of all he has chosen and whoever whoever accepts those in his name (such as the disciples) accepts Jesus and thus accepts God.  Jesus knows Judas will betray him and he indicates this by giving him bread. Judas takes it and Jesus tells him to betray him quickly and Judas leaves.  The disciples (clueless as ever) don’t understand.

Questions:

10)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus still showed Judas love.  He didn’t condemn him, leaving the final choice up to Judas.  He offered him another chance to not do what he was about to do.  Jesus keeps fighting for you to the end.

11)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  This act revealed the true character of God himself.  In it we see it’s the acceptance of what Jesus did for us and does for us that matters. We have to accept his cleansing or it’s meaningless.  It was a spiritual cleaning, not a physical.  Once we are bathed in Jesus, we still need to seek him and wash in him.  Jesus explained his actions so he was sure they got it. They needed to have the same attitude and service as him. We must wash one another’s feet–do for others. Following Jesus’ example, doing the acts of service leads to blessings.  For me, it’s about helping others and putting others first and being bless by it (either in the moment or later).  It’s loving others as much as Jesus loved us.

Conclusions:  This is like Day 6 questions.  We see the crux of this passage here:  Jesus loves us so much he’ll forgive anything–even an act that leads to his own death!  It’s incomprehensible how deep the Father’s love for us is but this passage gives us at least a little bit more understanding of it.  Great stuff!

End Notes:  Alexander Maclaren wrote of this remarkable section, John 13:1-17: “Nowhere else is His speech at once so simple and so deep. Nowhere else have we the heart of God so unveiled to us…The immortal words which Christ spoke in that upper chamber are His highest self-revelation in speech, even as the Cross to which they led up is His most perfect self-revelation in act.”

John has by far the longest account of the upper room, but he says nothing of the Lord’s Supper. We get most of what Jesus said that night from John.  He devotes 1/3 of his book to the 24 hour period immediately preceding Jesus’ death.  Chapters 13-17 describe the long day and night of the Last Supper.  Nothing else like this exists in the Bible.  We have an intimate portrait of Jesus’ most anguished moments.

John focuses on the emotional currents and not the physical details.  Jesus is direct with the disciples, not speaking in parables but painstakingly answering their questions until they finally seem to get it.  Still, most won’t make sense until later after his death when the Holy Spirit arrives.  John’s purpose is to prove that Jesus is the Son of God.  He handpicks these incidents or signs to make his point.  You either believe he is or he isn’t.  There is no middle ground.

The Greek noun agape (love) and the verb agapao (love) appear only 8 times in John Chapters 1-12 but 31 times in Chapters 13-17. Chapters 13-14 take place at the Last Supper. The discourses in Chapters 15-16 are probably spoken on the way to Gethsemane.

We have a time reference but still scholars disagree if this was on Passover or celebrated the day before when the traditional Passover meal was taken. This affects whether Jesus was crucified on the day of Passover or the day after.

Jesus had less than 24 hours to live. He is preparing his disciples for their work after he is gone.

The cross is not specifically mentioned in this passage, but it hangs in the actions and the words.

Jesus’ love for his own is greater because we have a response back. I picture Jesus holding us close to him.

In this scene we have the thinking of Jesus as well (either he told John or John was more observant than the other writers). Instead of it being all about that person (at the end of your life it can be), Jesus focuses on others and shows his love even though he knows he will be abandoned by them. Jesus never abandons us. Jesus did every part of this act himself–an act in Jewish custom that no one else would ever do.

Luke tells us that the disciples were debating who was the greatest when they entered the room. Jesus showed what true greatness was.

It was customary to wash feet before the meal started. However, this didn’t happen. At that time, the meal was eaten at a low table called a triclinium. It was U-shaped. The higher status guests sat the closest to the host. They leaned on pillows with their feet behind them. The disciples were willing to wash Jesus’ feet but not the others’ because it would put him below them. Hence, no one’s feet got washed–until Jesus did it.

Jesus showed the disciples humility. Scholars see this act as a comparison the cross. Jesus rose from supper (from his throne in heaven). He took off his clothes (he took off his glory). He poured water to clean (he poured out his blood to cleanse us).

This act revealed the true character of God himself. In it we see it’s the acceptance of what Jesus did for us and does for us that matters. We have to accept his cleansing or it’s meaningless. Peter protested out of a misplaced humility and pride. Peter again didn’t get it: it’s receiving Jesus into our lives that matter. It was a spiritual cleaning, not a physical, that Peter needed.

First, Peter says don’t do it. Then he says do more! He’s telling Jesus what to do here.

Once we are bathed in Jesus, we still need to seek him and wash in him.

Jesus explained his actions so he was sure they got it. They needed to have the same attitude and service as him. We must wash one another’s feet–do for others. Following Jesus’ example, doing the acts of service leads to blessings.

Some believe this act was meant to be performed by Christians today. Most scholars agree it’s the message beneath that is important.

Christ washing the disciples’ feet was a favorite amongst painters. My favorite HERE

Jesus is predicting his betrayal for the other disciples’ sake. He doesn’t want their faith to waver in him. Hence, he’s telling him he knew all along Judas would betray him. And Jesus is pointing out rejecting him as the one God sent is rejecting God.

Jesus loves Judas and thus is moved (and probably hurt) by the impending betrayal. By telling all he knows about the betrayal, this shows Jesus is the one in control, not Satan or Judas.

The other disciples are confused because up to this point Judas has been one of them, doing everything and going through the motions of faith like so many do today. They may have even thought Jesus was speaking of an unintended betrayal.

Peter, curious as always, asks John to ask Jesus whom he is speaking to. One can imagine that in Peter’s mind, he’s gonna be the superhero here and stop the betrayal before it happens. This also indicates to scholars that Peter is not sitting next to Jesus or he would have asked him himself.

FUN FACT: This is the first of 4 times John refers to himself as “the one Jesus loved”. The 4 are:

· Here in the upper room (John 13:23)

· At the cross of Jesus (John 19:26)

· At the empty tomb (John 20:2)

· With the risen Jesus at the Sea of Galilee (John 21:20)

All of these are connected with the cross and all indicate that John did not boast of this egotistically but out of the love of Jesus.

SPOILER ALERT FOR ART FANS: The famous paintings you see of the Last Supper are all false (like this one HERE and HERE). At a special or ceremonial meal like this they would lay on their stomachs around a U-shaped table, leaning on their left elbow and eating with their right hand their head towards the table, much like the Romans did at the time. It seems that from John’s position next to Jesus, he could lean back and be close enough to speak quietly to Jesus and still be heard. Bear in mind most of the artwork we associate with the Last Supper was painted 1000 years after the fact. Times change and man for the most part had transitioned to eating sitting up at tables. Hence, the depiction.

Picture this: On each side of Jesus sat a disciple. Spurgeon says it best: “One of them was John the divine, and the other was Judas the devil. One of them was the seer of the Apocalypse, the other was the son of perdition.”

Another scholar, Morris, says this: “The place of honor was to the left of, and thus slightly behind the principal person. The second place was to his right, and the guest there would have his head on the breast of the host. Plainly this was the position occupied by the beloved disciple.

The normal posture at a table was sitting, as rabbinical sources indicate; reclining was the posture reserved for special meals, such as parties, wedding feasts, etc.

Giving of dipped bread is like a toast today. It was a special honor. Jesus is still showing love to Judas even at the last hour. Like he will to many of us at the Second Coming. Jesus is showing how to love your enemies to the last and even offering Judas one last chance to repent.

Judas is in the place of honor and Jesus could speak to him without being overheard. Also, scholars speculate that only John heard Jesus indicate Judas as the betrayer, being on Jesus’ other side. Peter is the man of action, the superhero, and the one to defend Jesus with gusto and bravado and sometimes without thinking (like we’ll see in the Garden). John did nothing to stop Judas from leaving and we are not told why. He could have been shocked or he could have trusted Jesus to have it all under control. We don’t know. All we are told is “no one understood Jesus”.

FUN FACT: This is the only time John uses the name Satan in his Gospel.

Judas rejects Jesus’ final act of love and Satan then completely takes over. It’s a choice of Free Will. And Judas will pay the ultimate price.

With the words “do quickly” Jesus is indicating he’s the one in control. He would die as he directed, not as his opponents determined.

The disciples just thought Judas, as the one in charge of the money, had left to pay the bill or give alms to the poor. Note how even though Jesus and them had little money they still gave what they could. It’s not the amount you give but the heart that matters.

No one is immune from the devil. Judas was one of the 12. He lived with Jesus. He listened to Jesus. He watched Jesus perform miracle after miracle. He was one of the best and still he was lost. Man needs more than an example and good teaching. It’s a turn of the heart. If that doesn’t happen, there is no hope.