Questions about John 13-14

These questions were made for the Friday meeting at the Christian Student Union in Trondheim (TKS) as a tool for Bible exposition, and they were used yesterday. Some of the groups complained that the questions were a bit too hard. At first I thought that was strange, because I meant I was quite clear with what I meant to ask. Later I figured the reason could be that some of those who used the questions were thinking quite differently around these chapters compared to me. Reading with a complete different understanding of the text will easily rip the questions of any sensible meaning. So; if you think the questions do not make sense, try to think outside your own box of understanding. As I understand the text the questions make perfect sense. It doesn’t mean you will agree with all the questions and answers, but perhaps they can still aid in provoking thought processes that deepen your understanding of the text!

General reminder: Remember that the gospel of John (and the whole Bible) was written without chapter and verse divisions. Try to think freely, think in context and see how coherent the text actually is!

13,36: Where is Jesus going?
(Comp 7,34-39 and 8,21-26)

13,36: Jesus says that the disciples will follow him later.

  • Why later?
  • When is he talking about?
  • How could they follow him, and does this apply to us?[Hint: 14,3 and 14,17-18 and also 16,7 and 16]

14,1: What does Jesus mean with the statement “In my Father’s house are many rooms”?
[Hint: The Greek word here used for room is monē and is again used in 14,23: “… make our home with him.” A more accurate translation of the word seems to be a staying, abiding, dwelling, abode.]

14,2: “I am going there to prepare a place for you…”.

  • Where is Jesus going — does this have anything with 13,36 to do?
  • What does it mean that he is preparing a place?

14,3: Jesus is coming back to take his disciples with him so that they can be where he is. What is he talking about here?
[Hint: 14,17-18]

14, 15: What does Jesus command?

14,22: Judas asks a question

  • Why was this a natural question for the disciples to ask?
  • Do you understand the answer Jesus gives?

Finally; a take-home chewing gum for later spiritual breath refreshment:
15,2: To bear fruit is often thought of as going out in the world winning souls for Christ. Read the first part of chapter 15 and decide for yourself whether or not this is what Jesus is referring to as fruit e.g. in verse 2.

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Beneath you can find my suggested answers:

13,36: Where is Jesus going? (Comp 7,34-39 and 8,21-26)
Suggested answer: Jesus is going back to the Father (see 14:28), who sent him. See also 16,5-10.

13,36: Jesus says that the disciples will follow him later.

  • Why later?
  • When is he talking about?
  • How could they follow him, and does this apply to us?[Hint: 14,3 and 14,17-18 and also 16,7 and 16]

Suggested answer: The disciples could not follow him now because he was going to the Father, and Jesus had not yet died to make the way for us in to the Father. Therefore Jesus is referring to the time after his death, when the holy spirit (14,17) is given to everybody who believe that Jesus is the Son of God (7,39). This is very clear from 7,34-39 and 8,21-26. To follow Jesus, means to follow him to the Father (he was going to the Father). To be with the Father means to live by his spirit — to receive the holy spirit and live in it. Then we have room with the Father himself (14,1). just like Jesus did(and only through what Jesus did). Therefore; this applies to us inasmuch as we believe that Jesus is whom he claimed to be and receive the Holy Spirit.

14,1: What does Jesus mean with the statement “In my Father’s house are many rooms”?
[Hint: The Greek word here used for room is monē and is again used in 14,23: “… make our home with him.” A more accurate translation of the word seems to be a staying, abiding, dwelling, abode.]
Suggested answer: As from last question: To have a room with God means to let his spirit abide in you (14,17 and 20). The Greek monē means “an abiding place”, and in 14,23 Jesus explains how the Father will come to live (abide) inside of us through his holy spirit. Think how unbelievable it must have been for a Jew to hear such words! The God that they had been taught to fear and tremble before (and we should still do so!) was now said to be their personal Father and live inside of them! Unbelievable…

14,2: “I am going there to prepare a place for you…”.

  • Where is Jesus going — does this have anything with 13,36 to do?
  • What does it mean that he is preparing a place?

Suggested answer: Yes, this indeed is connected to 13:36, just like it is also connected to what is written in e.g. 16,10 and 17: Jesus is talking about the same thing! So again: The place Jesus was going to prepare was the disciple’s (and our) rooms in the Father’s house. He prepared the way for us to go there and inhabit these rooms by dying for us on the cross. So; these rooms then, are contained in having the holy spirit inside ourselves and thus knowing the father personally (sidetrack: see 17,3).

14,3: Jesus is coming back to take his disciples with him so that they can be where he is. What is he talking about here? [Hint: 14,17-18]
Suggested answer: Again Jesus is referring to the unity we have with God, through Jesus. Jesus always had the full measure of the holy spirit and only did what the Father commanded. Now he is telling his disciples that they will take part in this spirit, too; the spirit of truth — the counselor. So, therefore; he doesn’t leave us as orphans; he is coming (14,18) back, in the sense that we will come to him; we will have the holy spirit (14,17).

14, 15: What does Jesus command?
Suggested answer: Jesus has given his disciples a new command: To love each other (13, 34). He clearly showed what he meant by first washing his disciple’s feet. Later he will show it a last time as a human being on this earth by dying for his friends (15, 13). And don’t forget what Jesus said after washing his disciples feet: ” Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples – if you have love for one another.” (13,35). In chapter 15 Jesus is focusing in on this command again (see 15,12 and 17).

14,22: Judas asks a question

  • Why was this a natural question for the disciples to ask?
  • Do you understand the answer Jesus gives?

Suggested answer: The Jews were waiting for Messiah — a king that was going to reestablish the fallen Kingdom of Israel (see e.g. Amo 9,11 ff) and revenge them on their enemies. The Jews had already conspired to make Jesus king by brute force (6,15), and until now the disciples could still not understand why Jesus did not show himself as king to the world. Why did he only show himself to those who already believed? From a human perspective it must have seemed little strategic. The answer to this is that only the one who has the spirit of God is a member of the new kingdom (and thus sees Jesus as king). Jesus was not intending to take the power in Israel and the rest of the world by physical brutality at this point in time. Rather each and everyone who takes part in the holy spirit will take part in this new kingdom. Jesus, therefore, was not going to show himself to the world, but to each and everyone who has the spirit. His answer to Judas puts it neatly: ” If anyone loves me, he will obey my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and take up residence with him. The person who does not love me does not obey my words.” (14,23-24).

A last take-home chewing gum for later spiritual breath refreshment:
15,2: To bear fruit is often thought of as going out in the world winning souls for Christ. Read the first part of chapter 15 and decide for yourself whether or not this is what Jesus is referring to as fruit e.g. in verse 2.

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