This painting, by Benevenuto Tisi, made in about 1520, measures about 14x20 inches. It is currently in the collection of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Notice the varied expressions on the different disciples. John, normally pictured as youthful and without a beard (here almost looking like a girl with beautiful golden hair), is looking to others for explanation. Peter, pictured as an older man and here having his foot washed, seems resistant. His hand on his chest is a gesture of self-sufficiency. The figure near the left, turned in no less than three directions at once, is likely a depiction of Judas, indicating that he really was conflicted about what he was doing. While some of the disciples are speaking among themselves, notice one in the left background is watching and thinking. All receive the action of Jesus as a servant of all in a different way. Yet he is persisting in serving them all. Notice the apparent light sources. There are shadows indicating light coming from different directions, all focused on Jesus. He is the proper focus of our attention. Yet, consistent with the picture John paints of Jesus and his disciples, the disciples are not unified in their attention. Jesus' focus is present, not on the actual washing, but on the need of his disciple Peter.
Book - John (there are many different "books" in the one book of the Bible),
Chapter - Normally found as a big numeric heading. John has 21 chapters,
Verse - a segment usually about a sentence long.
The chapter and verse markings were added to the text as a handy index about 800 years ago. They are the same in virtually every different translation.
Here's a link to John chapter 13. You can also compare the text in several different languages and translations.
If you want a copy of John's Gospel in print, we're happy to meet you around the Mizzou campus and put one into your hand!
1. In John 13 Jesus, despite knowing the plan of Judas to betray him, cares for his disciples, washing their feet the way a slave would do so. What does this tell you about Jesus' attitude? What do the various reactions to Jesus show you?
2. How does Jesus' explanation of his actions, given in verses 12 and following, help you understand what Jesus' plan is? How do we act in light of this passage?
3. Jesus speaks in verses 21 and following about one of his disciples betraying him. How do you understand this? Why is it significant that one of the people Jesus chose acts as his betrayer?
4. How does Jesus' command to love one another contrast with the actions of Judas? How can we live out this command?
5. What hope do we have if, like Judas and like Peter, we deny Jesus in what we say or do?
Be sure to ask your questions and share your ideas in the comments for this post!