To Know & Be Known (John 13:21-38)

To Know & Be Known (John 13:21-38)


Question 1: What is your supreme satisfaction in this age and the age to come? 

Answer: To know and be known by God now and forevermore in the new heaven and new earth.

MPS: God’s desire is for us to know Him and we can take joy in being known by Him.

Judas was known by God to be a traitor. (21-30)

The disciples remained unaware of the traitor in their midst until the moment that Jesus was arrested. Jesus is all-knowing but His disciples are not. Judas’ plan to hand Jesus over to the authorities was known by Jesus. They had spent the better part of three years together; all 12 disciples along with Jesus. This group dined and lived together. They worked together in the mission of Kingdom work and sat under the teaching of God Himself. Yet no one saw the treachery of Judas coming except for Jesus.

The trouble in Jesus’ spirit points to His humanness as He anticipated the events that would transpire over the coming days.

Jesus loves all of His disciples, but verse 23 likely indicated the Apostle John as His “Beloved Disciple”. Jesus of course loved all of His disciples, but He had a particular love for John. We even see that at the cross shortly before His death, Jesus asked John to look after His mother. John was part of the inner circle that included Peter and James. This is another aspect of the story that points to His human nature. Humans are only capable of a few close relationships. Relationships in which you share the deepest parts of your heart. We can see here that Jesus chooses John and John didn’t immediately share what Jesus’ answer was to Peter’s question.

Only the beloved disciple heard Jesus’ statement regarding the morsel and the knowledge was not intended for wide distribution. This is demonstrated in verse 29 as the disciples provided two acceptable reasons as to why Judas left. It wasn’t odd for the money man- Judas to go off by himself. It was the passover and a time in which extra food would need to be purchased and caring for the poor was emphasized more than usual. 

Jesus then took this morsel of food and gave it to Judas telling him that what he was about to do, he should do it quickly. This is the act that helps Judas make up his mind to betray his Master. Satan had fully overtaken his heart and mind. His motives would lead to evil but the irony is that Satan’s purposes, Judas’ act of betrayal, would lead to the greatest act of love known to man. It led to the defeat of darkness and sin. It led to the redemption of God’s people. This of course was God’s plan. God knew Judas and more than Judas even knew himself. Yet Judas didn’t truly know God.

We live our lives not knowing what the future holds. There is evil and pain all around us. In the midst of the fray we can have joy knowing that all things are kept in the hands of God and known by Him. He knows our pain, situation, and enemies. He knows His plan for us, our family and community, and knows the plan for our church. Nothing comes to pass without God using it as an opportunity to point to His glory.

Our anxiety about the things of tomorrow and the things that are out of our control are a result of our lack of trust in God. Rest and comfort are found in Jesus as the Father works all things for good for those who love Him. We must trust that God will continually care for us, His people. He will take care of our broken relationships. He will protect us by seeing us persevere in the faith. He will point us to His glory and work things together so that we might grow up into the likeness of His Son.

Jesus desires for the world to know who His disciples are. (31-38)

What the disciples are about to witness will be incredibly disheartening for them. So Jesus reminds them that whatever they are about to see that it’s the reason for His coming. The time of Jesus’ glory is impending; The Father is glorified by the Son’s death; The Son is glorified by the Father’s resurrecting Him. This is the reason for Jesus to come, that He would glorify the Father and in so doing He Himself is glorified. God is always for God. He redeems for Himself a people to display His mercy. This glory is to fill the hearts of God’s people, casting a shadow on all other things in this life.

Jesus goes on to share with His disciples how they will be known in this world. For Jesus like any good Lord and Master wants the world to know who His disciples are. Israelites were known by the world to be God’s people based on their adherence to the Law. The Church is known by the world to be Jesus’ disciples by the way they love one another. If you ask the world today many will say that they do not know the church for it’s love for one another but quite the opposite. 

The church is simply a collection of Jesus’ disciples who commit to community, fellowship, and mission together. How do they show their love for one another? In Acts 2 we see that they were spending time daily with one another. They were learning from the Word of God together. They meet each other’s spiritual and physical needs. In Galatians 6 we see that the Church bears one another’s burdens, which includes physical needs but also sees brothers and sisters helping one another with the daily struggles of sin and the fallenness of the world. We see in 1 Corinthians that the church is a place where our collective and personal sin should be repented of and where we receive the encouragement of forgiveness. It is where you are accepted with love unabated by your background, regardless of your political affiliation, or how much money you have. The color of your skin, place of birth, and prior life have no merit here. You are accepted solely upon the work of Christ as expressed through your profession of faith. You are known by God and He saves you according to His own pleasure and purposes.

Jesus; disciples are unable to go with Him regardless of their dedication because His proper place is at the right hand of God. Jesus only returns to the Father after His death and resurrection. Peter is committed to the point that he would die for his Master and the irony is that His Master dies for him while even though he denies his Master to the authorities three times. Jesus is going to the Father and Peter cannot follow just yet because Peter is unable to go where Jesus is going until Jesus secures for Peter and the rest of His disciples eternal life. With eternal life comes his citizenship that is found in the New Heavens and New Earth.

What’s strange is that Peter was willing to kill for Jesus but unwilling to die for Him, as evidenced in cutting off the ear of the guard. (Jn. 18:10) This would be the greatest moment of Peter’s shame. He’d be forever known as the disciple who rejected association with His Savior when prompted by the authorities. Jesus still knew that this would happen, yet He still charged Peter with being the first among equals. He knew that Peter would reject Him yet He still calls Peter to feed the sheep. When most Rabbis and Teachers would have disowned such a coward, Jesus embraced Him with love, forgiveness and encouragement.

Aren’t we like Peter? Are we not the ones who are quick to shy away from the truth even though we have it in our hearts. Don’t we daily seek the things of this world in spite of God’s miraculous work in our hearts? Do we not lust after the creation rather than behold the glory of the Creator? This isn’t a surprise to God. You haven’t let Him down. Your shame is only your shame because you allow it to be. What the world sees as shame is manifestation of light and God’s glory, because in the midst of your depravity, sin, and shame God forgives and sees only the righteousness that has been given to you by Christ.

Because each of us is a partaker of God’s glory having been saved by His Son and experienced the immensity of His forgiving mercy we realize that as Disciples of Jesus we are not known by the world by our perfection but the love we have for one another, which has been given to us by Jesus.


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