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.

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BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 17, Day 5: Leviticus 26-27

Summary of passage:  Leviticus 26:  God repeats His rewards for obedience and His promises for His people:  to keep His covenant with them, to provide for them, to give them peace in the land, to defeat their enemies, to increase their numbers, to walk with them.  God warns the people if they don’t obey He will set His face against them, bring on diseases, and be conquered.  God will punish them 7 times over and not give them good harvests.  God will be hostile towards them and lay waste to the land and their cities.  They will eat but never be satisfied.  They will be scattered amongst the nations and God will abhor them.

But if the Israelites confess their sins, God will remember His covenant with Abraham and Isaac and even if they don’t confess their sins, God won’t totally destroy them because of this covenant.

Leviticus 27:  God tells Moses the regulations for those dedicating themselves or others to Him and the values of those people.  He tells the if an animal is dedicated to Him, it becomes holy and if he wishes to substitute the animal, the substitute becomes holy as well.  The Lord gives rules for dedicating houses, land and fields to Him as well.

No one can dedicate the firstborn to Him because it is already His.  Nothing devoted to the Lord may be sold or redeemed because it is now holy to God.  A tithe belongs to the Lord and is holy to Him.

Questions:

10a)  “Do not make idols or set up an image or a sacred stone for yourselves and do not place a carved stone in your land to bow down before it”.  (Verse 1)  “Observe my Sabbaths and have reverence for my sanctuary: (Verse 2)

b)  “I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees of the field their fruit” (Verse 4)  “Your threshing will continue until grape harvest and the grape harvest will continue until planting and you will eat all the food you want and live in safety in your land” (Verse 5)

“I will grant peace in the land, and you will lie down and no one will make you afraid.  I will remove savage beast from the land, and the sword will not pass through your country.” (Verse 6)  “Your enemies will fall by the sword before you” (Verse 8)

“I will look on you with favor and make you fruitful and increase your numbers and I will keep my covenant with you.” (Verse 9).  “You will still be eating last year’s harvest when you will have to move it out to make room for the new” (Verse 10).  “I will put my dwelling place among you, and I will not abhor you” (Verse 11)

“I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people” (Verse 12).

c)  “I will bring upon you sudden terror, wasting diseases and fever that will destroy your sight and drain away your life.  You will plant see in vain, because your enemies will eat it.” (Verse 16).  “I will set my face against you so that you will be defeated by your enemies; those who hate you will rule over you, and you will flee even when no one is pursuing you” (Verse 17).

“I will punish you for your sins seven times over” (Verse 18).  “I will break down your stubborn pride and make the sky above you like iron and the ground beneath you like bronze” (Verse 19).  “Your strength will be spent in vain, because your soil will not yield its crops, nor will the trees of the land yield their fruit” (Verse 20).

“I will multiply your afflictions seven times over as your sins deserve” (Verse 21 & 24 & 28)  “I will send wild animals against you, and they will rob you of your children, destroy your cattle, and make you so few in number that your roads will be deserted” (Verse 22).

“I will break the sword upon you to avenge the breaking of the covenant.  When you withdraw into your cities, I will send a plague among you , and you will be given into enemy hands” (Verse 25).  “You will eat but you will not be satisfied” (Verse 26).

“You will eat the flesh of your sons and your daughters” (Verse 29″.  “I will destroy your high places, cut down your incense altars, and pile your dead bodies on the lifeless forms of your idols, and I will abhor you” (Verse 30).  “I will turn your cities into ruins and lay waste your sanctuaries, and I will take no delight in the please aroma of your offerings” (Verse 31)

“I will lay waste the land, so that your enemies who live there will be appalled” (Verse 32).  “I will scatter you among the nations and will draw out my sword and pursue you.  Your land will be laid waste, and you cities will lie in ruins” (Verse 33).

11a)  If the Israelites will confess their sins, then God would remember His covenant with Jacob and Isaac and Abraham and He will remember the land.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Well, no matter what, God will never forget His people. This is encouraging when we sin.  If we confess, we are forgiven.  If we don’t confess, God does not abandon us. I have hope every day that I can be a better person when sometimes it seems I am remaining stagnant in my growth with God.

12a)  Persons (verses 2-8).  Animals (verses 9-13).  House (verses 14-15).  Family land (Verses 16-21).  A field he has bought (verses 22-25).

b)  “Nothing that a man owns and devotes to the Lord–whether man or animal or family land–may be sold or redeemed” (Verse 28).

Conclusions:  On question 10, I stopped at Leviticus 26:35 and left out the remnant because I couldn’t take any more typing so there’s more answers to that question if you are so inclined.

I am ambivalent towards questions that require us to type up whole passages of Scripture.  In one sense it’s good because it forces you to read God’s word closer and dwell upon it more as you type it.  Some people learn better this way anyways rather than just reading it.  Yet, at the same time, it’s redundant and time-consuming.  For this question, you could literally just open the Bible and read all of Leviticus 26 to answer it in class because all of Leviticus 26 is the answer to 10 and 11.

I don’t know about you, but I quaked when I thought of God abhorring me.  Not a pretty picture.

Whooo0-hooo!  Done with Leviticus!  On to Numbers!

End Notes:  Leviticus 26: God’s desire was to show Himself through the Israelites and He was giving them the choice:  either follow my commands and I will bless you beyond measure to show my glory or disobey my commands and I will curse you beyond measure to show my judgments and power.

This chapter very closely follows ancient treaties between peoples and their kings at the time it was made/written.

Here we see God foreshadowing Gideon and Jonathan’s defeat of much larger forces when He promises  verse 8.  The Old Testament is full of examples of these blessings and warnings coming to light.  Another is the Queen of Sheba in 1 Kings 10 where she is overwhelmed by the wealth she sees and she praises God because of it.

Sadly, the disobediences also played out in the Old Testament and even the worst punishments like eating your own son or daughter came to be (2 Kings 6:26-29).

Yet the chapter ends with God’s mercy upon His people to never forsake them.  So even with all this horror there is hope.  And with Jesus, there is no more curses for he bore it all.  With Jesus God’s mercy is complete.

Leviticus 27:  These vows were separate from the priesthood; this was for those who wanted to dedicate themselves to God but was not of the tribe of Levi.  Everyone was assigned a value according to age and usefulness to society and being primarily agricultural, the young men were worth more.

A person could redeem things vowed to the Lord such as animals, houses or land.  One could not redeem those things devoted to the Lord, which included those who were set to be executed for crimes committed.

Fun Fact:  “The Lord said to Moses” occurs more than 60 times in the book of Leviticus.  It is the most words recorded that God spoke personally in the Bible.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 17, Day 5: Genesis 21:22-34

Summary of passage:  Abimelech makes a treaty with Abraham probably because he doesn’t trust him.  Abraham said that some of Abimelech’s servants had seized a well. Abraham gifted sheep and cattle to Abimelech and set aside 7 ewe lambs to prove he dug the well.  The place was called Beersheba.  Abimelech returned to Philistine and Abraham planted a tree and called upon the name of the Lord.  Abraham stayed here a long time.

Questions:

12a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Outwardly, Abraham has accomplished things only God could.  He rescued Lot and defeated the 4 kings.  He has prospered materially with all his herds of sheep and cattle and other signs of wealth.  He seems to have dealt with everyone with integrity, which we all admire in people.

And I’m sure when you looked at Abraham you could see a contentment, a peace, a security that only God can bring.  I’m stopping short of saying the Holy Spirit because that was only after Jesus died did we receive the Holy Spirit but something similar I would wager.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Others see whether you live by God or by the world.  Your actions show it.  A God-centered life is abundant indeed.  I learn to be cognizant of this and try to reflect God wherever I go.

13a)  Abraham swore by God.  Abraham offers up lambs as proof of his work so he backs up his words with action.  Abraham planted a tree as a sign he called upon the Lord.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  This is a hard one because I don’t trust other people so I’m sure I come off as untrustworthy myself.  And part of me doesn’t care if others trust me or not or even if I am trustworthy because I don’t care what others think most of the time.  But I can pray about it and be more like Jesus.

Conclusions:  Easy lesson with no right or wrong answers since they are all opinion questions.  Abraham got along with his neighbors and treated them fairly and rightly as Jesus would do.  And others recognized this in him.  Seems like something we should all strive for.

End Note:  The Abimelech in Genesis 21 is NOT the same Abimelech in Genesis 20. Abimelech was a generic title for ruler amongst the Canaanites and is not a specific name.

Simple Map of Beersheba:  http://www.keyway.ca/htm2002/beersheb.htm