Lesson 10: The Last Night–Jesus Takes Centre Stage

This Lesson is part of John’s Gospel Easy Notes Series. 

Let us look at the last night of Jesus on earth. John devotes Chapters 13 to 19 to the last twenty-four hours of Jesus on earth.

I Am He!
We find Jesus predicting his betrayal to the Twelve. Then he makes this statement:

“I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am He (John 13:19).”

Background verses: Jesus is using God’s name I Am Who I Am. Read Exodus 3:14 where God reveals this name, his personal name, YHWH name to Moses. In Deuteronomy 32:39, God says, “See now that I myself am He!” You also find a similar usage in Isaiah 43:10, “so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he.”

Jesus says that “I am he” or “I am the one I claim to be” in John 8:25 and 28 too. His claim represents the timelessness of God and the eternal being of Christ. It equates him with God.

Jesus in Complete Control
“It was as he dismissed Judas that he most fully and closely demonstrated his right to have such a title. He gave him the sop and took complete command of the situation: ‘Do quickly what you are going to do (v. 27b).’ He acted as if he were in complete control—as indeed he was—even of the evil Judas hatefully intended. He thus displayed God’s complete sovereignty* over all that was intended to lead to his own death (compare Acts 2:23, 3:18).”  – Ronald S. Wallace
[*Sovereignty means having supreme power or authority.]

And It Was Night
John, as we noted earlier, is not just telling the facts about the life of Jesus. He is also helping us understand the meaning of what happened. Here, as soon as Judas leaves, John comments, “And it was night (John 13:30).”

He was not just reporting the fact that it was night. He had already mentioned about the evening meal (13:2). Therefore the mention of night is not just reporting the fact that night had set in. Instead it is a recollection of the darkness that came into their hearts at that time.

Judas, at that point in time, as the door closed behind him was going out from the light of the world into “outer darkness.”

The next time John reports of dawn was when Jesus was risen from the dead: “Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, . . . (John 20:2). The stone from the entrance of the tomb had been removed. Night and darkness had given way to Sonrise even as it gave way to sunrise— the break of dawn!

Are you passing through some “night experience” in your life right now? Is there some mistake that happened that you can do nothing about? Has some habit of sin taken a strong hold in your life? Are you sorrowing over a personal loss? Is your career in trouble? Are there difficulties in marriage? Are finances running out?

Jesus never promised a life without problems. But let us look beyond the night and wait expectantly for the Risen Christ to bring light and hope into our troubled lives. Read also Psalm 18:28, Isaiah 50:10, Micah 7:8, 9 regarding God’s light shining in our darkness and keeping our lamps burning!

Recall: When John reported the sign of Jesus walking on the water (John 6:16—21), there are two things that he had in mind.

    • One, the darkness around them and the trouble they faced and the absence of Jesus. A night experience is one in which you feel keenly the absence of Jesus.
    • Two, the fact that Jesus came to them. He did not leave them alone in their difficulty and John records that when Jesus came and they took him into the boat, “immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.” John is emphasising the difference Jesus makes when he is with us in our “night experiences.”

When Judas Was Gone
In verse 31 of Chapter 14, which reads, “And when he was gone, Jesus said,” we find more than a mention of time!

The going out of Judas from among them gave some relief to Jesus. For Judas, with his heart of unbelief, was a barrier for Jesus preventing him from opening up his heart to his disciples.

Only after Judas leaves, Jesus speaks so lovingly to The Eleven. He addresses them as “My children (13:33)” and he calls them “friends (15:15)” and gives them a new command to love each other (13:34, 15:12) and demands obedience as proof of their love for him (14:21).

Is Jesus your friend?
Do you love him?
If you love him, do you obey his commands?
Is love for others real in your life?

The Hatred of the World
Jesus speaks realistically about the hatred the world will show towards his disciples because the world persecuted him and hated both Jesus and the Father (John 15:18—25).

Read more on “friendship with the world is hatred toward God” in James 4:4. We need to understand this because one of the key emphases in John’s gospel is the hate of the world against God the Father: “He who hates me hates my Father as well (John 15:23).”

We too will be party in the hatred as we make friendship with the world. John uses the words the “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2:15—17 KJV)” to describe our love for the world.

The Love of the Father
The assurance that the Father himself loves the disciples was given (John 16:27). The reason for the Father’s love is that they had loved Jesus and had believed that he came from God (John 16:27).  When Jesus reached this stage he was speaking plainly about going back to the Father (v. 28).

The Moment of Belief
The disciples were relieved with what they seemed to understand and said so: “This makes us believe that you came from God (v. 30b).” What a moment it is when Jesus says, “You believe at last (v. 31)!” But then Jesus tells them plainly that they are all going to leave him all alone. At the same time Jesus said, “Yet I am not alone for my Father is with me (v. 32b).”

The Gift of His Peace
He tells the disciples that they are going to experience grief (John 16:20) but their grief will turn to joy. The promise that prayer in his name will be answered and answers to prayer will bring joy was given (16:24).

He ends by telling them the purpose of his farewell address: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world (John 17:33).” Two things are clear here. Jesus never promised an easy life to any of his disciples. Instead he realistically told them and us too that we will have trouble in this world.

But he has promised, “In me you may have peace.” The gift of his peace is something we can all be assured about. Ask him for his peace in all the troubles of your life and it will be given to you. We often pray for removal of our troubles. But shouldn’t we first ask for his peace in our situations? Think about it.

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