These small group studies of John contain outlines, cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, and applications.  Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group.

John 13:31-14:7 Inductive Bible Study


I. Jesus announces His future departure (31-35)
II. Jesus announces Peter’s future denial (36-38)
III. Jesus announces the future rapture, taking the church to heaven (14:1-7)

Today we are going to learn about ELS. No, it’s not an English Language School. It is Exhort. Learn. And Scare!

Verse by Verse Commentary:

Jesus announces His future departure. Exhort (Exhort to love)

Philippians 2:4-11 – Jesus gave up His own rights in order to glorify God. God also exalts Jesus above everything else. (If you glorify God with your life, He will lift you up)

John 7:33-34 – Jesus told the Jews they would seek Him, but not be able to find Him.

Deuteronomy 6:5, Leviticus 19:18 – Commands to love God and one’s neighbor.

Luke 6:32-36 – Love like God, not like those in the world. Don’t only love those who love you.

John 13:12 – Jesus showed His love by washing their feet.

Romans 5:8 – He showed His love by giving His life for us.

What does the title “Son of Man” convey?

What kind of love should we have for each other?

Judas left. Jesus announced that the coming event would result in God’s glory, both the Father’s and the Son’s. This is yet another evidence that Jesus is God. God doesn’t share glory, but Jesus said that He Himself would be glorified by the Father. This is because He is God.

Why won’t they be able to find Jesus? Where was He going?

He now told the disciples what He had told the Jews a while before, that He was departing. He uses ambiguous terms, but is speaking about His coming death.

Why does Jesus say this a new commandment? Wasn’t there already a command to love for a long time?

How did Jesus love them/us (hint: he had just shown it by washing their feet, and was about to do something even more amazing)?

On the eve of His death Jesus gives them a great and new commandment. It wasn’t a new command to love. That command had been given before including Deuteronomy and Leviticus. But it was a new command to love as sacrificially as Jesus loved His disciples. Old Testament commandments to love generally prescribed how to do it. For example, one was to leave the corners of his field unharvested so that the poor could glean from it. That was a way to show love to the poor. Here, Jesus’ command to love goes beyond any previous command. Not only is one supposed to love his neighbor as himself, but one is supposed to love others AS JESUS LOVED US. Jesus loved us with everything that was in Him. He had just finished washing the disciple’s feet, which was a demeaning and lowly task. And soon He would bear the worst pain in the history of the world for each of us individually and all of us as a whole. That is serious love. Jesus commands us to love each other like that. We must be completely selfless.

What is the difference in the world’s love and the kind of love we are supposed to have that will set us apart?

The world’s love doesn’t even approach this love. The world’s love rarely rises above eros, the self-gratifying love. The guys who tell their girlfriends that they love them and then want to sleep together before marriage. The business owner who treats some executives to dinner because he hopes to cement a business deal with them. The person who gives a gift to another person only because they received one or want to receive one. The person who is nice to their elderly relatives hoping they will leave them in the will. The student who tries to make friends with the teacher to get better grades. The Jason who compliments Christy so that she will make him a nice dinner. The world’s love is often self-centered. But ANYONE can love someone who is nice to them. Even murderers will generally do that. Do you have this love for others? Give some examples where you haven’t had this love for others. Give some examples where you have.

Do you think you do a good job of consistently and faithfully showing this kind of love to others?

How can you improve? Give some specific ways.

We all struggle loving others like we should. What are some practical ways to work on our love for others?

Here are some ideas I had:

Write down some goals every week on how to show love to those around us. Evaluate at the end of the week.

Practice purposely reaching out and showing love to those who can’t possibly repay us.

Asking our close friends and family what are some things we can do to show our love to them more.

Memorize these verses on love and recite them to ourselves every day.

Having love for each other is the mark by which the world is supposed to know that we belong to Christ! Why? Because the world doesn’t have this and we should! Sadly, Christians are not living up to this standard at all. In many cases unbelievers say they don’t want to go to church or be a Christian there because the people who do are hypocrites and hateful. This is a terrible testimony! As believers, we need to make sure no one can ever say that about us. Think of some clear ways to show the love of Christ and then put it into action.

Jesus announces Peter’s future denial (36-38) Learn (Learn from Peter)

What did Jesus mean that Peter could follow later? How did Peter die?

Jesus tells Peter that right now he can’t follow Him (to die), but that later he would. Tradition says that Peter was also crucified and that he was crucified upside down because he didn’t consider himself worthy to die the same death as Jesus did.

Jesus knows the future and it is completely certain that Peter will deny Jesus. At the same time, Peter is completely responsible for his denial.

We should learn from Peter. Peter had a good heart. I truly believe he wanted to follow Jesus. He never planned to deny Jesus or go his own way. But it happened. It happened largely because Peter was prideful. He didn’t listen to Jesus’ warnings, but thought that he was strong and it would never happen to him. Pride comes before the fall. Don’t ever think you are too strong, too mature, to fall. If we have that attitude we will fall. Always protect yourself. Always have accountability. And always rely on God’s strength and prayer. Satan is looking for a puffed up balloon. They are easy to pop.

Jesus announces the future rapture, taking believers to heaven (14:1-7) Scare (“scare” us to be ready)

On the eve of His death, what was Jesus focused on doing (comforting others, not receiving it)?

John 14:1 is very touching to me and shows even deeper how much Jesus loved the disciples, how completely selfless He was. Most people on the eve of their deaths would be introverts. They would be gloomily thinking about their life and how it was about to end. They would be looking for others to reach out and comfort them. But Jesus was the opposite. He wasn’t looking for others to comfort Him. Instead He was reaching out to encourage them and strengthen them! Here was Jesus, about to die the worst death in history and pay the price for the sins of the world, telling others not to be troubled! Completely selfless until the end.

Next comes an extremely important passage forming one of the cornerstones of a key Christian doctrine. What doctrine? What does the phrase “dwelling places” mean?

What is one thing Jesus is doing now?

What does this passage teach Jesus will do in the future? What promise does it contain?

What doctrine does this passage teach? Does this refer to the second coming? (trick question)?

First let’s go over the passage and discuss what it says. It says that Jesus was going (up to His Father’s house, in heaven). While there, Jesus will prepare a place for us. Then He will come back again and take us to heaven to be with Him there. Clearly He wasn’t speaking just to the disciples since Jesus didn’t come back and take them up to heaven. Also at no time since Jesus’ promise has He come back and taken believers up to heaven. Therefore the time is still future. It is referred to as the rapture.

What is the rapture?

First let’s look at a couple of key rapture passages and draw some conclusions. The group please share your observations about the facts of the rapture.

Corinthians 15:51-53 – Rapture passage.

1 Thess 4:13-18 – Rapture passage.

Tell me what will happen at the second coming?

Is there any difference between this and the rapture?

So this is the fact of the rapture. Some people say that the rapture is the same time and the same event as the second coming, let’s look at some distinctions between the rapture and the second coming. I can give you guys a sheet with the verses where these distinctions came from if you want to read over them yourself.

In the air; to the earth

Comes for His saints; comes with His saints

Christ claims His bride; comes for His bride

Not in the Old Testament; Predicted often in the Old Testament

No signs. It is imminent.; Portended by many signs

A time of blessing and comfort; a time of destruction and judgment

Involves only believers; involves all men

Only His own will see Him; every eye will see Him

No reference to Satan; Satan bound

Tribulation begins; Millennium begins.

Christ comes as the Bright Morning Star; Christ comes as the sun of righteousness

Now we’ll look at some other biblical support for the rapture.

Not first time

Genesis 5:21-25, Hebrews 11:5 – Enoch taken up to heaven.

2 Kings 2:11-12 – Elijah taken up to heaven.

Rescuing believers out of His judging wrath

Genesis 7:1, 19:12-17, Exodus 12 – Examples of God sparing believers His wrath.

1 Thess 1:10 – He rescues us from the wrath to come.


2 Corinthians 5:20 – We are His ambassadors (countries call their ambassadors home before going to war).


Does this future stuff have any kind of application for how we live our lives today? Examples.

Now we come to the most important aspect of the promise of the rapture. What do you think that is? APPLICATION! Thinking about end time events and what is yet to come is not just a mental exercise or meaningless theology. It should have a very real effect on how we live our lives. Jesus could come at any time, any second. This means that we must be ready. We must be alert. We must keep our life in order so that when Jesus catches us up we are not caught unaware and surprised, but can welcome Him with joy.

What should our attitude be about the rapture?

We should be excited that Jesus will come soon.

Do you often think about it?

We should think about it every day.

Do you pray for it to come?

We should, but sometimes we want Him to delay until we have done certain things in our lives.

Do you look forward to it or do you dread it?

Sometimes we dread it because we are not doing what we should be doing. This is not something to dread. It should spur is to godly lives so that we are excited He may come soon. The early church was constantly hoping for Jesus’ coming. They even greeted each other with the word “Maranatha” (what does that mean Woody?) And the early church was generally pure and extremely evangelistic.

Are you ready for it?

We must live our lives to be ready for it every day.

Why don’t you look forward to it more?

Probably because we love this world too much. We love our job or sports or our gf or wife or possible future wife. Or we may have some goals that we want to accomplish first. Or we may fear because we know we aren’t living how we are supposed to.

So how do we fix this problem?

We need to live expectantly, with our eyes on the future, not just living for ourself and our own time like they were in the days of Noah. Read and discuss Luke 17:26-36

If you could choose for the rapture to come, when would you choose?

Why is Jesus delaying? So what is our task while we wait?

Read and discuss the verses below.

Matthew 24:45-51 25:13-30 – We should live expectantly.

2 Timothy 4:7-8 – A key verse. A crown of righteousness for all those who love His appearing.

But some people say, “come on, it has been almost two thousand years since Jesus promise. It’s not true” or “perhaps Christians are misinterpreting it”. Every day goes on and it remains hard to imagine that something like this could happen and change everything so fast. Well, God has a reminder for us in 2 Peter 3:1-7. In the ancient world they were saying the same thing. They thought Noah was a loony. It had never rained and they couldn’t imagine their world would change. But it did, and then it was too late for them. Let us not make the same mistake. Jesus will keep His promise and many will regret that they weren’t ready.

Read and discuss this 6th “I AM”.

We already saw how Jesus is the way and the life. In this verse He adds “truth”. These days it is very popular to believe in relative truth. Some people think that one person’s truth is not another’s. They think that if you believe something it is true and that if you don’t believe something it is not true. Others say there is no way to know truth for sure. Even teachers and experts include many words in their theories such as “probably”, “I think”, and “maybe”.

Jesus wasn’t like that. This is an absolute claim. There is no middle. When Jesus taught, He taught with “authority” (Luke 4:32). He is truth and we can know truth through Him and through His life. It is possible to know truth and be certain of it because Jesus revealed it to us. Do not go through life wandering and confused like a chicken without it’s head on. Do not go through life discouraged because you don’t know what is right and wrong or have any absolute standard to live by. Instead believe in Jesus and His words.

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