After eating the Passover meal, the Savior washed His Apostles’ feet, identified Judas as His betrayer, and gave His Apostles a “new commandment” (John 13:34). During the final week of His mortal ministry, Jesus Christ focused His teachings on obedience, service, and love—attributes that defined His life and should define our lives as His disciples.
Jesus washes His Apostles’ feet
Ponder the following questions:
Where would you place yourself on this continuum?
Would you like to be happier than you currently are?
Can you think of someone you would like to help become happier?
As you study John 13, look for a principle that teaches what we can do to be happier.
After Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, He celebrated the Passover feast with His Apostles. John 13:1–3 recounts that as Jesus shared this meal (the Last Supper) with His Apostles, He knew that He would soon die and His spirit would return to His Heavenly Father.
Read John 13:4–5, looking for what Jesus did after He and His Apostles finished eating the Passover meal. The phrase “laid aside his garments” in John 13:4 means that Jesus took off an outer garment. It is similar to someone removing a jacket in our day.
“In New Testament times, people wore open sandals, walked on mostly dirt roads that accumulated the filth of beasts, and had only irregular access to bathing water. Their feet became very dirty, and washing another person’s feet could have been a distasteful task. … This custom of hospitality was usually performed by the lowest level of servants” (New Testament Student Manual [Church Educational System manual, 2014], 242).
Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
If you had been there when Jesus washed His Apostles’ feet, how might you have reacted if Jesus had started washing your feet?
What does the act of washing His Apostles’ feet reveal about Jesus’s character?
Next, read Joseph Smith Translation, John 13:9–10 (in the Bible appendix), looking for Peter’s response to what the Lord told him.
In John 13:9, what do we learn about Peter from his response to what the Lord told him?
By washing His Apostles’ feet, the Savior not only performed a beautiful act of service, but He also fulfilled a part of the law of Moses and instituted a sacred ordinance to help His faithful followers become clean from sin. This ordinance was restored in our dispensation through the Prophet Joseph Smith (see D&C 88:74–75, 137–41).
Read John 13:11, looking for why Jesus said the Apostles were “clean, but not all.”
He was referring to Judas Iscariot, who would shortly betray Him.
Read John 13:12–17, looking for what the Savior taught His Apostles after He washed their feet. Consider marking the phrases that describe the example the Savior set and invited His Apostles to follow.
Based on the Savior’s promise to His Apostles recorded in John 13:17, what blessing will we receive as we follow His example by serving others? Answer this question by completing the following principle: As we follow the Savior’s example by serving others, we will be ____________________.
Complete the following in your scripture study journal:
Answer the following question: Why do you think we will be happier if we serve others as the Savior did?
Write about a time when you were happy because you followed the Savior’s example by serving others.
Read the following statement by Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, looking for what he said we can do to find opportunities to serve others: “In your morning prayer each new day, ask Heavenly Father to guide you to recognize an opportunity to serve one of His precious children. Then go throughout the day with your heart full of faith and love, looking for someone to help. … If you do this, your spiritual sensitivities will be enlarged and you will discover opportunities to serve that you never before realized were possible” (“Be Anxiously Engaged,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2012, 31).
Consider writing Elder Ballard’s statement on a separate piece of paper and placing it where it can remind you to pray for opportunities to serve others. You might want to record in your scripture study journal and share with others how your prayers are answered as you apply Elder Ballard’s counsel.
Jesus identifies His betrayer
According to John 13:18–30, after Jesus taught His Apostles that they would be happy if they served others, He said that one of them would betray Him. When John asked the Savior who would betray Him, Jesus told him that it would be “he … to whom I shall give a sop [small piece of bread]” (John 13:26), and He gave it to Judas Iscariot.
Jesus teaches His disciples to love one another
Has anyone ever accused you of not being a Christian, or a true follower of Jesus Christ, because you are a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? This could be because of certain unique beliefs we have because of the Restoration, such as our belief in the Book of Mormon and that the members of the Godhead are three separate and distinct beings. How did you respond? (Or, if you haven’t had that experience, how would you respond to someone who told you that you are not a Christian?) ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Notice that John 13:35 states that others would know that the Apostles were disciples of Jesus Christ if the Apostles loved one another as Jesus loved them. From these verses we learn that as we love one another as Jesus Christ loves us, others will know that we are His disciples.
According to what you have studied this year about Jesus Christ, list in your scripture study journal five ways He shows that He loves people.
Read the following account, which was related by Elder Paul E. Koelliker of the Seventy, looking for how the missionaries described in this account followed the Lord’s counsel to love one another:
“Two young missionaries knocked on a door, hoping to find someone to receive their message. The door opened, and a rather large man greeted them in a less-than-friendly voice: ‘I thought I told you not to knock on my door again. I warned you before that if you ever came back, it would not be a pleasant experience. Now leave me alone.’ He quickly closed the door.
“As the elders walked away, the older, more experienced missionary put his arm on the younger missionary’s shoulder to comfort and encourage him. Unknown to them, the man watched them through the window to be sure they understood his message. He fully expected to see them laugh and make light of his curt response to their attempted visit. However, as he witnessed the expression of kindness between the two missionaries, his heart was instantly softened. He reopened the door and asked the missionaries to come back and share their message with him.
“… This principle of having love one to another and developing our ability to be Christ-centered in how we think, speak, and act is fundamental in becoming disciples of Christ and teachers of His gospel” (“He Truly Loves Us,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2012, 17).
Read the lyrics to “Love One Another” (Hymns, no. 308), and think about someone you know who is easily recognizable as a disciple of Jesus Christ because of the love he or she shows to others. In your scripture study journal, write about how this person shows love for others and in what ways you would like to follow his or her example. Also write a goal regarding what you will do to love others as the Savior loves them.
According to John 13:36–38, after Peter declared that he would lay down his life for Jesus Christ, Jesus told Peter that he would deny Him three times before the cock crowed.
Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied John 13 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: