John signified that the final stage of Jesus’ ministry was about to begin as Jesus washed His disciples’ feet just before the Passover Festival. The foot-washing episode anticipated the Passover meal, where Jesus taught the disciples to follow His pattern of self-sacrificial love. Passages from the Old Testament cast a framework for understanding Judas’s betrayal of Jesus and Jesus’ command that His disciples love one another.
(1) In John 13:18, Jesus said that Ps 41:9 was fulfilled when Judas betrayed Him. In Psalm 41, the psalmist recounts how his enemies have risen up against him, plotting deceitfully to cause him harm. In Ps 41:9, the psalmist lamented that one of his own friends—one with whom he had enjoyed table fellowship—had turned against him. After Jesus had washed the disciples’ feet and taught them that they should follow His example of loving, servant leadership (John 13:1-17), Jesus said that He was not speaking to all of the twelve gathered there but only to eleven of them. “I know those I have chosen,” Jesus said, “But the Scripture must be fulfilled: ‘The one who eats My bread had raised his heel against Me’” (John 13:18b). Troubled in spirit, Jesus stated plainly that one of the twelve would betray Him. All of the disciples became troubled as well, wondering who it would be. Jesus identified His betrayer by dipping bread into the cup and giving it to Judas. Satan entered Judas and Judas departed the room at night to betray Jesus (Matt 26:20-25//Mark 14:17-21//Luke 22:21-23//John 13:21-30).
(2) In John 13:34-35, Jesus elevated the standard of the love command in Lev 19:18. In Leviticus 19, Moses commanded Israel to represent God in their ethical and cultic practices. They were to have integrity in how they dressed, farmed, and treated one another. In Lev 19:18, Moses said, “Do not take revenge or bear a grudge against members of your community but love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus’ teaching in John 13:34-35 reflected Lev 19:18 but also expressed the new covenant He would establish in His forthcoming death and resurrection. First, Jesus instituted a new standard for love amongst His followers saying that they should love each other just as He loved them. Second, Jesus stated that as His followers demonstrated sacrificial love for each other, all peoples would recognize that they were followers of Jesus.
(3) In John 14:2-4 and 23, Jesus stated that He and the Father would dwell with those who believed His word and obeyed, reflecting Moses’ statements that God would dwell among His people in Canaan. In Deuteronomy, Moses summarized and applied the covenant God made with Israel on Mount Sinai in Exodus 19-31. In Deut 4:1-9, Moses told Israel that God had given them the law so that they would go into Canaan and dwell there to represent Him in the eyes of the nations. As those nations observed Israel living according to the old covenant, they would recognize God’s presence among His people. In Jesus’ final address, He did not promise His disciples a plot of land on earth, but God’s presence with them wherever they would go, saying, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him” (John 14:23). Jesus promised His followers an eternal home in heaven, announcing, “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you. If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come back and receive you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also” (John 14:2-4).