John 13 Lesson

Free will

What was going through Jesus’ mind as He prepared for His crucifixion?

Was He nervous?

Was He excited to leave behind all the people trying to harm Him and return to His Father in heaven?

It is hard to say.   His actions show us that He came to serve others, as demonstrated by His washing of the disciples’ feet.   It is a humbling thing to have somebody else wash your feet.   Jesus was teaching His disciples how to serve others and how to be humble all the way until the very end.

  • “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” – Mathew 20:28.

Later, Jesus predicts His betrayal.   He says very succinctly:

  • “Truly, truly, I say to you, that one of you will betray Me.” – John 13:21.  

He lets Judas know that He is aware that Judas is planning to betray Him and turn Him in to be crucified.  

It must have hurt a great deal to be betrayed like that.  

Jesus was no stranger to pain. While on earth He experienced all the emotions and temptations that we also experience. By doing so, Jesus made it so He can relate to our feelings and understand our struggles. The following two scriptures tell us that:

  1. “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things just as we are, yet without sin.” – Hebrews 4:15.
  2. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,who, as He already existed in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,but emptied Himself by taking the form of a bond-servant and being born in the likeness of men.And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death: death on a cross. ” – Philippians 2:5-8.

Jesus knew what was in front of Him.   He knew that one of His closest friends was about to betray Him by turning Him in.   He also knew that another one of His friends was going to deny even knowing Him, not once, but three times!  

Despite all the pain and suffering that awaited Him, Jesus was ready to do what He came to do. He was ready to die for our sins.

The end of chapter 13 shows us how Jesus lets us make horrible decisions and hopefully learn from them.   We have that free will.

Think about Peter, when He hears Jesus say that He is leaving them, and they can no longer be with Him.  Peter hears what Jesus is saying but he does not understand.   There is a difference between hearing and understanding.   Peter hears Jesus say that He is leaving, but he does not understand that Jesus is talking about His death and returning to be in heaven with God, His Father.  

Peter asks:

  • “Lord, where are You going?” - John 13:36 (a). 

Jesus responds:

  • “Where I go, you cannot follow Me now; but you will follow later.” - John 13:36 (b).  

Peter persists:

  • “Lord, why can I not follow You right now?   I will lay down my life for You.”  - John 13:37.

Jesus answers:

  • “Will you lay down your life for Me? Truly, truly, I say to you, a rooster will not crow until you deny Me three times.” – John 13:38.

Note how Jesus knew EXACTLY what Peter was going to do to Him.   Jesus does not get angry, or bitter.   Jesus allows Peter to go down this hurtful path without trying to intervene.   God gives us free will and uses life experiences to teach us and to shape us.   Some of our decisions are better than others.   God is always waiting with open arms to forgive us, when we let Him know we are sorry and that we are going to try to do better.   We will soon read about how Peter denies Jesus, exactly as Jesus told him that he would.   In the same way, God allows us to make poor decisions.   If we are wise, we will seek ways to learn from these experiences, and constantly adjust to be more and more like Jesus.

We will conclude today’s lesson with the following scripture:

  • When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I  became a man, I did away with childish things.” – 1 Corinthians 13:11.



Unfortunately, people deny Jesus in all sorts of ways.

From not attending church, to selfishly focusing only on our fleshly pleasures, and every time that we put something else before Him.

It takes a commitment to be a disciple of Jesus. When we get things mixed up, we can repent and return to Him and He will receive us with open arm.

Claudine Eivazians

Love this

Pat Dermody
Claudine Eivazians

Jesus tells us that everyone will know his followers by the love they show one another. Today, during these turbulent times, it is important not only to know his word but to put his word into actions of loving one another.