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Bible Study: Are you loyal to Jesus?

NASHVILLE (BP) – This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with Lifeway Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, Lifeway publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.

This week’s Bible study is adapted from the Bible Studies For Life curriculum.

Bible Passages: John 13:21-27, 31-35

Discussion Question: Who’s someone you think of when it comes to loyalty?

Food for Thought by Brandon Hiltibidal*:

I’ve never met anyone named Judas. My wife and I have three children, so three times we’ve brainstormed names for a new human entering the world. Judas never made the list. Even in an age when the limits of baby-naming creativity have been stretched, we just don’t meet any baby Judases. That’s because Judas was the most famous betrayer in the history of broken humanity. He didn’t betray just anybody; he betrayed God Himself and nudged the Rescuer of the world closer to crucifixion.

Judas may be an uncommon name, but betrayal is a common behavior. We encounter it in nearly every area of life. We sometimes see it in ourselves. We might even see it in the people of God. In John 13 we’ll encounter Judas, but we’ll also see Jesus. We’ll see His glory on display, even on such a heartbreaking occasion. We’ll have the opportunity to rekindle our own loyalty to Jesus as we seek to live life connected to Him.

John 13 begins with an account of Jesus’ last meeting with His 12 apostles before His crucifixion, and it included awkward, even painful moments. We’ve all been in meetings involving uncomfortable conversations, veiled accusations or cringeworthy use of web cameras in virtual meetings. But this discussion between Jesus and the men He’d chosen to change the world suddenly went from feet washing and servant leadership to accusations of betrayal. Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.”

Can you imagine your boss saying that in a meeting? Or maybe the leader of your kid’s sports team. The reaction of the disciples was much like what you would expect, regardless of the meeting context. They wanted to know who it could possibly be. Who’s the betrayer? How does Jesus know there’s a betrayer? What will the betrayer do? Am I the betrayer?

Clearly, the disciples were confused. If this had been a modern meeting, they would have been texting each other trying to figure out what was going on. In fact Peter signaled to John, who was sitting next to Jesus, to find out whom He was talking about.

The influence of Satan is uncomfortably clear. What’s less clear was the degree of the disloyalty at that table. “The disciples started looking at one another” (v. 22). Is it you? Do you think it is me? The sad reality is that, while Judas was the major betrayer and the one who would never turn from his disloyalty, he was not the only disciple in the room capable of turning against the One who had led them and loved them.

We don’t have to be named Judas to be disloyal to Jesus. We only have to be sinners. And we are. This passage should cause our hearts to break for Judas, but it should also cause us to look for the loose threads of disloyalty in our own lives. Let’s pray that we can live consistently devoted to Him because He’s been consistently devoted to us. We can be loyal to Jesus as we stay closely connected to Him.

Bible Studies for Life

Bible Studies for Life connects the Bible to life for adults, students and kids. Bible Studies for Life helps individuals and groups know God’s Word through trustworthy content, creates biblical community through engaging and conversational group studies, and helps people engage the culture missionally by unpacking what the Bible says about real-life issues. More information can be found at biblestudiesforlife.com.

*Brandon Hiltibidal is a Lifeway discipleship strategist.

    About the Author

  • Staff/Lifeway Christian Resources