Bible Study series No.20 from the Gospel of John "The New Commandment"




Chapter 13 is well known as "The Last Supper."

The Last Supper is also written about in the Synoptic Gospels: (Matthew 26:17-30, Mark 14:12-26, Luke 22:7-30) John's version is quite different from the Synoptic Gospels. In the Synoptic Gospels, Jesus gave bread and wine as "His body" and "His blood", respectively, to his disciples as a memorial after prayer. 

This is an important sacrament practiced by Christians today. 


On the other hand, in the Gospel of John, there is no mention of bread and wine, but there is an event when Jesus washes the disciples' feet during dinner. This ceremony is performed by some churches.

Jesus Christ gave the disciples His model, telling them to wash each other's feet. But the disciples had no idea where their Lord was going. 

They also didn't know the meaning of His death. 

Jesus foretold what would happen for them in verse 7, "What I am doing you do not understand now, but later you will understand," and He said, "Even if you don't understand now, trust in Me." 


 It's hard for us to know what the Bible is saying exactly or what Jesus means. But God will lead us to understand little by little. We do not need to be in a hurry because the time will surely come when we will know if we keep seeking.


Whenever I imagine Jesus himself washing the dirty feet of his disciples as if he were a servant, I am amazed and touched by how he tried to show his love to them with all his heart.


As an aside, I remember that at the evening service of the church (Holiness Yodobashi Church) to which we belonged when we left for Africa as medical missionaries, a missionary who was returning to Canada after completing his mission in Japan played the role of Jesus. And my husband and I  became Jesus's disciples and participated in this skit of washing feet.  When we were in the U.S., we often saw these kinds of Bible skits as part of the program at the beginning of worship services in Baptist churches. I think it would be great to have skits at your church, too, because they help you to feel the feelings of the Bible characters.


Here, I can't help but wonder how Jesus felt when He washed Judas Iscariot's feet, just like He did for the other disciples, even though He knew of Judas's betrayal.

How do you feel about this?


Many Christians may be in denial, and John, the author of this book, condemns Judas to the point where it is clear that he does not think the same way as I do.

 However, I dare say, that it is here that I feel the Lord's deep compassion, mercy, and hope. I believe that no matter how Judas betrayed the Lord and died, Jesus would have held him tightly with tears in His eyes. 

Don't get me wrong, I don't think Judas's sin was light or that this act was necessary for Jesus to go to the cross (a necessary evil). 

There is no doubt that it was a terrible sin and betrayal.


In verse 27, it says, "As soon as he had received this morsel, Satan entered Judas." I won't go into the existence of Satan more here, but I will say that ultimately the cross of Jesus triumphed over Satan.

Because Jesus went to the cross for sinners, Jesus must have forgiven the sins of Judas.


To stretch my imagination even further, I sometimes wonder, "If Judas had a friend among the disciples with whom he could share his problems and frustrations, would he have made such a terrible choice?"

Even these days, many people have no one around them to understand them, no one to talk to, no one to turn to for help, and many people who fall into loneliness eventually become disappointed and take their own lives. Or they may end up destroying their own lives by committing atrocious crimes, which has become more common in recent years. We need to share.


In verse 34, Jesus tells us about a new way of life.
"I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. 


So what was the “old commandment"?

To summarize, it can be called "the Law of Moses.

There are differences in the way of the "Sabbath".


In Matthew 22:36-39, one of the scribes asked Jesus a question. "Teacher, which commandment in the law is the most important? 

Jesus said, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and most important. 

Jesus continued to say, "The second is the same: "Love your neighbor as you love yourself. "

These are the same words found in Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18. 

This teaching was an "old commandment" that the Israelites had received from the beginning.

The two commandments are not contradictory.

Then, what is the difference?


These commandments contain the meaning of a covenant (promise) between God and man. In other words, they are "based on man's righteous acts" and are often so-called "do not do" acts. 

The Israelites were zealous in keeping these commandments.

But don't we already feel that the more we try to keep the commandments, the weaker we are in not being able to do so? 

That was the limitation of the old commandments.

But if this new commandment is unworkable for us, it will be just like the old commandment. 

In reality, we do not have the nature to love God and love others.


In the Bible, there are the words "together" and "one another" 

We can not live alone. We can say that "love one another" refers to close people, or people who have no connection with us, but need our love and help.


The old commandments had punishments and rewards, but we don't have to live in fear of them anymore. Jesus is fully aware of our weaknesses in not believing and not loving enough, so let us honestly acknowledge them and move forward with new strength from above.