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Week 11: Matthew 26:1-46; Mark 14:1-42; Luke 22:1-46; John 13:18–17:26

Sunday (Matthew 26:1-16; Mark 14:1-11; Luke 22:1-6; John 13:18-30)

Matthew

The Plot Against Jesus

26:1 When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he told his disciples, 26:2 “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.” 26:3 Then the chief priests and the elders of the people met together in the palace of the high priest, who was named Caiaphas. 26:4 They planned to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him. 26:5 But they said, “Not during the feast, so that there won’t be a riot among the people.”

Jesus’ Anointing

26:6 Now while Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, 26:7 a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of expensive perfumed oil, and she poured it on his head as he was at the table. 26:8 When the disciples saw this, they became indignant and said, “Why this waste? 26:9 It could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor!” 26:10 When Jesus learned of this, he said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a good service for me. 26:11 For you will always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me! 26:12 When she poured this oil on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. 26:13 I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.”

The Plan to Betray Jesus

26:14 Then one of the twelve, the one named Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 26:15 and said, “What will you give me to betray him into your hands?” So they set out thirty silver coins for him. 26:16 From that time on, Judas began looking for an opportunity to betray him.

Mark

The Plot Against Jesus

14:1 Two days before the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the chief priests and the experts in the law were trying to find a way to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him. 14:2 For they said, “Not during the feast, so there won’t be a riot among the people.”

Jesus’ Anointing

14:3 Now while Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, reclining at the table, a woman came with an alabaster jar of costly aromatic oil from pure nard. After breaking open the jar, she poured it on his head. 14:4 But some who were present indignantly said to one another, “Why this waste of expensive ointment? 14:5 It could have been sold for more than three hundred silver coins and the money given to the poor!” So they spoke angrily to her. 14:6 But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why are you bothering her? She has done a good service for me. 14:7 For you will always have the poor with you, and you can do good for them whenever you want. But you will not always have me! 14:8 She did what she could. She anointed my body beforehand for burial. 14:9 I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.”

The Plan to Betray Jesus

14:10 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus into their hands. 14:11 When they heard this, they were delighted and promised to give him money. So Judas began looking for an opportunity to betray him.

Luke

Judas’ Decision to Betray Jesus

22:1 Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover, was approaching. 22:2 The chief priests and the experts in the law were trying to find some way to execute Jesus, for they were afraid of the people.

22:3 Then Satan entered Judas, the one called Iscariot, who was one of the twelve. 22:4 He went away and discussed with the chief priests and officers of the temple guard how he might betray Jesus, handing him over to them. 22:5 They were delighted and arranged to give him money. 22:6 So Judas agreed and began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus when no crowd was present.

John

The Announcement of Jesus’ Betrayal

13:18 “What I am saying does not refer to all of you. I know the ones I have chosen. But this is to fulfill the scripture, ‘The one who eats my bread has turned against me.’ 13:19 I am telling you this now, before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe that I am he. 13:20 I tell you the solemn truth, whoever accepts the one I send accepts me, and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me.”

13:21 When he had said these things, Jesus was greatly distressed in spirit, and testified, “I tell you the solemn truth, one of you will betray me.” 13:22 The disciples began to look at one another, worried and perplexed to know which of them he was talking about. 13:23 One of his disciples, the one Jesus loved, was at the table to the right of Jesus in a place of honor. 13:24 So Simon Peter gestured to this disciple to ask Jesus who it was he was referring to. 13:25 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved leaned back against Jesus’ chest and asked him, “Lord, who is it?” 13:26 Jesus replied, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread after I have dipped it in the dish.” Then he dipped the piece of bread in the dish and gave it to Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son. 13:27 And after Judas took the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” 13:28 (Now none of those present at the table understood why Jesus said this to Judas. 13:29 Some thought that, because Judas had the money box, Jesus was telling him to buy whatever they needed for the feast, or to give something to the poor.) 13:30 Judas took the piece of bread and went out immediately. (Now it was night.)

Prayer

Lord, Mary was humble and focused on Jesus, enabling her to do things right. May I also keep the eyes of my heart focused on You.

Scripture In Perspective

The plot against Jesus unfolds, with Jesus identifying the traitor as Judas (“the one to whom I will give this piece of bread,” John 13:26) and the apostles missing the meaning of His words (“none of those present at the table understood,” vs. 28). Satan enters Judas, who then goes to the religious leaders to finalize his evil plan. Judas asks them, “What will you give me to betray him?” (Matt. 26:15) — the leaders give him money. [Note: Judas had a history of betraying God by stealing from the collections for the poor, thus he had already opened a gateway for Satan, and so was readily able to rationalize betraying Jesus based on any number of pretexts.]

Jesus is anointed with precious oil by Mary. The disciples are indignant and corporately identified as challenging her poor stewardship by saying, “Why this waste?” (Matt. 26:8). Judas is identified as the speaker who says, “Why wasn’t this oil sold...and the money given to the poor?” (John 12:5). John points out that Judas said this “because he was a thief” (vs. 6) and concerned he would have less to rob from the till, not because he was concerned for the poor.

Jesus informs His disciples that her sacrifice was “to prepare Me for burial” (Matt. 26:12). Her action would be retold “in memory of her” (vs. 13) spiritual perception and faithful action.

Faith In Action

Consider

The humility of Mary allowed her to foresee, albeit subconsciously, Jesus’ imminent death, whereas the sometimes-pompous apostles missed seeing it altogether.

Ponder a situation where you recognized God at work and acted in a profoundly faithful and sacrificial way. How did God bless that? Share this story as an encouragement and a witness to others.

Reflect

There are times and places in life where we may rationalize something we think of as ‘small sin.’ If you have ever rationalized a sin, have you repented and reconciled yourself with God?

Have you observed a leader in Christian fellowship wrongly challenging the faith-based actions of a fellow Believer?

Pray

Ask the Holy Spirit to show you where you are rationalizing sin. Pray for the strength to repent and be restored by God.

Act

I will ask a fellow Believer to pray with me as I partner with the Holy Spirit to stop rationalizing sin, even the smallest sin.

I will pray the Lord’s blessing upon someone who is responding to Him in a sacrificial manner and ask to be shown how to encourage them.

Be Specific _____________________________________________

Monday (Matthew 26:17-30; Mark 14:12-26; Luke 22:7-20)

Matthew

The Passover

26:17 Now on the first day of the feast of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover?” 26:18 He said, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says, “My time is near. I will observe the Passover with my disciples at your house.”‘” 26:19 So the disciples did as Jesus had instructed them, and they prepared the Passover. 26:20 When it was evening, he took his place at the table with the twelve. 26:21 And while they were eating he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.” 26:22 They became greatly distressed and each one began to say to him, “Surely not I, Lord?” 26:23 He answered, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. 26:24 The Son of Man will go as it is written about him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would be better for him if he had never been born.” 26:25 Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, “Surely not I, Rabbi?” Jesus replied, “You have said it yourself.”

The Lord’s Supper

26:26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after giving thanks he broke it, gave it to his disciples, and said, “Take, eat, this is my body.” 26:27 And after taking the cup and giving thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you, 26:28 for this is my blood, the blood of the covenant, that is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 26:29 I tell you, from now on I will not drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” 26:30 After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Mark

The Passover

14:12 Now on the first day of the feast of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed, Jesus’ disciples said to him, “Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover?” 14:13 He sent two of his disciples and told them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him. 14:14 Wherever he enters, tell the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher says, “Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”‘ 14:15 He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.” 14:16 So the disciples left, went into the city, and found things just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.

14:17 Then, when it was evening, he came to the house with the twelve. 14:18 While they were at the table eating, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, one of you eating with me will betray me.” 14:19 They were distressed, and one by one said to him, “Surely not I?” 14:20 He said to them, “It is one of the twelve, one who dips his hand with me into the bowl. 14:21 For the Son of Man will go as it is written about him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would be better for him if he had never been born.”

The Lord’s Supper

14:22 While they were eating, he took bread, and after giving thanks he broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take it. This is my body.” 14:23 And after taking the cup and giving thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 14:24 He said to them, “This is my blood, the blood of the covenant, that is poured out for many. 14:25 I tell you the truth, I will no longer drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” 14:26 After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Luke

The Passover

22:7 Then the day for the feast of Unleavened Bread came, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. 22:8 Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us to eat.” 22:9 They said to him, “Where do you want us to prepare it?” 22:10 He said to them, “Listen, when you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him into the house that he enters, 22:11 and tell the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher says to you, “Where is the guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”‘ 22:12 Then he will show you a large furnished room upstairs. Make preparations there.” 22:13 So they went and found things just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.

The Lord’s Supper

22:14 Now when the hour came, Jesus took his place at the table and the apostles joined him. 22:15 And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 22:16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 22:17 Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves. 22:18 For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 22:19 Then he took bread, and after giving thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 22:20 And in the same way he took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.

Prayer

Lord, may I always remember the forgiveness Jesus made alive through His sacrifice, as is made clear to me through the taking of the bread and the wine. And may my taking communion never become mere ritual.

Scripture In Perspective

Jesus uses the occasion of the Passover celebration to release Judas to his evil intent. He says of Judas, who would soon betray Him, “it would be better for him if he had never been born” (Matt. 26:24).

While serving the accompanying Lord’s Supper to His loyal apostles, Jesus symbolically teaches them the purpose of and profit in His coming sacrifice.

Sharing with His apostles the traditional Passover meal and singing hymns with them (reportedly, Psalms 113-118), Jesus then provides a symbolic understanding of how, in both an individual and corporate manner, they will become like Him:

He takes the bread [He is the bread of life] and has the disciples divide it amongst themselves [He is distributing Himself amongst them]. Their eating of the bread makes it a profound internalized relationship experience for them. In like manner, Jesus shares the wine [His blood of the new covenant] with His faithful disciples. He reinterprets the Passover as the time when He will “make a new agreement [covenant] with the people” (Jer. 31:31), an agreement sealed by two reciprocal acts: First, His life blood poured out during His crucifixion, which provides the Way to be reconciled to God; second, His living blood poured into His followers during their taking of the wine, which provides eternal fellowship with the Father.

[Note: Communion may be celebrated in a corporate fellowship gathering, although a religious leader serving the bread and wine is not a Biblical requirement. Or communion may be served at home with a fellowship of Believers. Especially note, the Bible instructs that those harboring unforgiveness toward a brother be reconciled with them prior to communion (see 1 Cor. 11:17-34, Matt. 5:21-26).]

[Note: Jews celebrated the Passover with five small cups of wine, each with a unique symbolic meaning. The first was freedom from Egypt, the second freedom from slavery, the third powerful redemption, the fourth renewed national identity, and the fifth was reserved for Elijah (his rhetorical presence was that of the anticipated Messiah – that cup was not touched). Some assert that it was the fourth cup which Jesus held during the Last Supper.

It is reasonable to assert that it was all five, but with new covenant in-Christ altered meanings. The Passover tradition of Matzah bread, removing and dividing it in two, was also symbolic as half was wrapped in white linen and hidden (Jesus was wrapped in linen in the Tomb) and the children would search for the unleavened bread in the white linen (His followers searched for Him after the Resurrection). Whoever found the hidden bread would receive a redemption.]

Faith In Action

Consider

Jesus is the new “Passover”: Believers are in captivity to sin and away from their Heavenly home; then Jesus comes to them with the promise to ‘pass over’ their sins and restore them to Himself.

Are the elements of the Lord’s Supper (unleavened bread and wine) important as to their literal form or are they merely symbolic, and therefore any solid and liquid are equally acceptable? Often, the intent and spiritual application of a Biblical passage can be lost if the words are taken too literally.

Reflect

Read Psalms 113-118 and consider the meaning of the words to Jews living throughout history, a meaning forever altered. Then contemplate the new meaning imparted by Jesus at the last Passover.

Pray

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you an unsaved Jew who is considering Christ and share with him these texts concerning the completion of the Passover promise.

Act

Today I will pause to thank Jesus that He chose to sacrifice Himself for my salvation and to provide for me a way Home.

Be Specific ____________________________________________

Tuesday (Matthew 26:31-35; Mark 14:27-31; Luke 22:21-38; John 13:31-38)

Matthew

The Prediction of Peter’s Denial

26:31 Then Jesus said to them, “This night you will all fall away because of me, for it is written:

‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’

26:32 But after I am raised, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.” 26:33 Peter said to him, “If they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away!” 26:34 Jesus said to him, “I tell you the truth, on this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” 26:35 Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will never deny you.” And all the disciples said the same thing.

Mark

The Prediction of Peter’s Denial

14:27 Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away, for it is written,

‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’

14:28 But after I am raised, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.” 14:29 Peter said to him, “Even if they all fall away, I will not!” 14:30 Jesus said to him, “I tell you the truth, today – this very night – before a rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” 14:31 But Peter insisted emphatically, “Even if I must die with you, I will never deny you.” And all of them said the same thing.

Luke

A Final Discourse

22:21 “But look, the hand of the one who betrays me is with me on the table. 22:22 For the Son of Man is to go just as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!” 22:23 So they began to question one another as to which of them it could possibly be who would do this.

22:24 A dispute also started among them over which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. 22:25 So Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those in authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’ 22:26 Not so with you; instead the one who is greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the one who serves. 22:27 For who is greater, the one who is seated at the table, or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is seated at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.

22:28 “You are the ones who have remained with me in my trials. 22:29 Thus I grant to you a kingdom, just as my Father granted to me, 22:30 that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

22:31 “Simon, Simon, pay attention! Satan has demanded to have you all, to sift you like wheat, 22:32 but I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. When you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” 22:33 But Peter said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death!” 22:34 Jesus replied, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow today until you have denied three times that you know me.”

22:35 Then Jesus said to them, “When I sent you out with no money bag, or traveler’s bag, or sandals, you didn’t lack anything, did you?” They replied, “Nothing.” 22:36 He said to them, “But now, the one who has a money bag must take it, and likewise a traveler’s bag too. And the one who has no sword must sell his cloak and buy one. 22:37 For I tell you that this scripture must be fulfilled in me, ‘And he was counted with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me is being fulfilled.” 22:38 So they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” Then he told them, “It is enough.”

John

The Prediction of Peter’s Denial

13:31 When Judas had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in him. 13:32 If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and he will glorify him right away. 13:33 Children, I am still with you for a little while. You will look for me, and just as I said to the Jewish religious leaders, ‘Where I am going you cannot come,’ now I tell you the same.

13:34 “I give you a new commandment – to love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 13:35 Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples – if you have love for one another.”

13:36 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow me now, but you will follow later.” 13:37 Peter said to him, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you!” 13:38 Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? I tell you the solemn truth, the rooster will not crow until you have denied me three times!

Prayer

Lord, I am easily distracted from what You have told me is really important, as were the Apostles. May I concern myself with loyalty and obedience to You. Your gift of salvation is far more than I deserve.

Scripture In Perspective

A dispute breaks out among the apostles as to “which of them was to be regarded as the greatest” (Luke 22:24). Jesus corrects them, as He had previously when John and James competed for special consideration, reminding them of His requirement for humility and a servant’s heart.

Jesus reminds his disciples “where I am going you cannot come” (John 13:33) and commands them to love one another as He has humbly and sacrificially loved them — “everyone will know by this that you are My disciples” (vs. 35).

Jesus promises that, because they had remained with Him “in His trials” (Luke 22:28), He would reward them with significant roles as judges “in My kingdom, and you will sit on thrones” (vs. 30).

After getting especially Peter’s attention, Jesus instructs His disciples that Satan has demanded “to sift you like wheat” (Luke 22:31). He tells Peter He has prayed for him and that, after he returns from his sifting, he will need to encourage and strengthen the others. [Peter was the strongest personality, a natural leader; he needed to be humbled and restored, if he was to not be a distraction and a poor role model.]

The prediction of Peter’s denial of being a follower of Jesus is shocking, in that it illustrates how weak even those who had been in the presence of God in the flesh could be when their worldly health and safety was threatened. The disciples deny that they would ever consider any path but loyalty and ultimate sacrifice alongside of Jesus — Peter insists, “if they all fall away...I will never fall away!” (Matt. 26:33) and “all the disciples said the same thing” (vs. 35).

Jesus reminds them of the times He had sent them out with no resources, dependent only on the Holy Spirit to provide all that they needed — “you didn’t lack anything, did you?” (Luke 22:35). He now cautions that they need to be prepared to handle things on their own, while “what is written about Me is being fulfilled” (vs. 37) — “And He was counted with the transgressors” (see Isa. 53:12). “Though completely innocent, Jesus dies as if He were a criminal” (NET sn).

Faith In Action

Consider

Satan especially attacks leaders within the Christian community, therefore discernment, spiritual preparation, and prayers in agreement for their protection are needed. When leaders are attacked they will, by nature of being merely human, respond imperfectly; reeling from that failure to be perfect, they need encouragement and prayer, so they may encourage others. We must pray for, and not heap expectations of perfection upon, our Christian leaders.

Would it be apparent to nonbelievers that we are Believers by the way that we love one another, or have we been neglecting Jesus’ command to love one another?

Reflect

A number of your relationships are with those whom you believe to be fellow children of God. Do those relationships truly provide evidence of your obedience to the new commandment, to love one another even as Jesus has loved you?

Bring to mind a Believer who is a role model for loving fellow Believers, especially the hard to love ones, and how their modeling of love impacts others — especially nonbelievers observing.

Pray

Ask the Holy Spirit to help direct your prayers to include both a leader who needs strength and encouragement and a fellow Believer with whom you need to repair a damaged relationship.

Act

Today I will pray for a Christian leader, not necessarily someone well known or with a title, but someone whose life evidences a heart sold out to Jesus — by the witness of their walk more so than their words — and demonstrates that they are one of His chosen leaders.

I will also pray for a fellow Believer, one with whom I have a troubled relationship, and seek a way to mend that relationship.

Be Specific _____________________________________________

Wednesday (John 14–15:17)

Jesus’ Parting Words to His Disciples

14:1 “Do not let your hearts be distressed. You believe in God; believe also in me. 14:2 There are many dwelling places in my Father’s house. Otherwise, I would have told you, because I am going away to make ready a place for you. 14:3 And if I go and make ready a place for you, I will come again and take you to be with me, so that where I am you may be too. 14:4 And you know the way where I am going.”

14:5 Thomas said, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 14:6 Jesus replied, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 14:7 If you have known me, you will know my Father too. And from now on you do know him and have seen him.”

14:8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be content.” 14:9 Jesus replied, “Have I been with you for so long, and you have not known me, Philip? The person who has seen me has seen the Father! How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 14:10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you, I do not speak on my own initiative, but the Father residing in me performs his miraculous deeds. 14:11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father is in me, but if you do not believe me, believe because of the miraculous deeds themselves. 14:12 I tell you the solemn truth, the person who believes in me will perform the miraculous deeds that I am doing, and will perform greater deeds than these, because I am going to the Father. 14:13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14:14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.

Teaching on the Holy Spirit

14:15 “If you love me, you will obey my commandments. 14:16 Then I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you forever – 14:17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept, because it does not see him or know him. But you know him, because he resides with you and will be in you.

14:18 “I will not abandon you as orphans, I will come to you. 14:19 In a little while the world will not see me any longer, but you will see me; because I live, you will live too. 14:20 You will know at that time that I am in my Father and you are in me and I am in you. 14:21 The person who has my commandments and obeys them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and will reveal myself to him.”

14:22 “Lord,” Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “what has happened that you are going to reveal yourself to us and not to the world?” 14:23 Jesus replied, “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. 14:24 The person who does not love me does not obey my words. And the word you hear is not mine, but the Father’s who sent me.

14:25 “I have spoken these things while staying with you. 14:26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and will cause you to remember everything I said to you.

14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; I do not give it to you as the world does. Do not let your hearts be distressed or lacking in courage. 14:28 You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I am. 14:29 I have told you now before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe. 14:30 I will not speak with you much longer, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no power over me, 14:31 but I am doing just what the Father commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Get up, let us go from here.”

The Vine and the Branches

15:1 “I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener. 15:2 He takes away every branch that does not bear fruit in me. He prunes every branch that bears fruit so that it will bear more fruit. 15:3 You are clean already because of the word that I have spoken to you. 15:4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it remains in the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me.

15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me – and I in him – bears much fruit, because apart from me you can accomplish nothing. 15:6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is thrown out like a branch, and dries up; and such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire, and are burned up. 15:7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you want, and it will be done for you. 15:8 My Father is honored by this, that you bear much fruit and show that you are my disciples.

15:9 “Just as the Father has loved me, I have also loved you; remain in my love. 15:10 If you obey my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. 15:11 I have told you these things so that my joy may be in you, and your joy may be complete. 15:12 My commandment is this – to love one another just as I have loved you. 15:13 No one has greater love than this – that one lays down his life for his friends. 15:14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15:15 I no longer call you slaves, because the slave does not understand what his master is doing. But I have called you friends, because I have revealed to you everything I heard from my Father. 15:16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that remains, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you. 15:17 This I command you – to love one another.

Prayer

Lord, You desire that none should perish and have made salvation available to all men. Only some respond to Your invitation. Salvation is an undeserved gift, and I have been grafted in to Your original plan for the salvation of the Jews. May I always make myself available as Your tool to draw others near.

Scripture In Perspective

Comforting His disciples with some parting words, Jesus says: “Do not...be distressed. You believe [trust] in God; believe [trust] also in Me (John “if you have known [in intimate spiritual relationship] Me, you will know My Father too” (vs. 7).

Jesus affirms His deity (“I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me,” vs. 11) to leave no doubt in the minds of His disciples Who He is.

The miracles Jesus performs reveal the Father in the Son: “If you do not believe Me, believe because of the miraculous deeds” (vs. 11). Our performing even “greater deeds than these” (vs. 12), if we ask in His name, are done “so that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (vs. 13).

Jesus notes the essentials of true salvation by saying, “If you love Me you will obey my commandments” (vs. 15). He explains that the Father will send the Spirit of Truth as an “Advocate to be with you forever” (vs. 16). He then comforts them, saying that He will not abandon them, but will be with them through the indwelling Holy Spirit, who “resides with you and will be in you,” (vs. 17).

Jesus encourages with, “My peace I give to you” (vs. 27), peace which has freed them from bondage to the Enemy ending in death (which was once a just wage for the Law-based sin in their lives).

Using an illustration of the vine and the branches, Jesus declares that God, like a good “gardener” (15:1), takes away dead and unproductive branches in order to encourage health and productivity in the branches which remain. He then prunes the living branches so they will “bear more fruit” (vs. 2). Jesus encourages His chosen twelve to be continuously honoring of God through their productivity — “bear much fruit and show that you are My disciples” (vs. 8).

No longer calling them “slaves...but...friends” (vs. 15), Jesus notes that His disciples have transitioned from obedient but ignorant followers to informed and responsive members of His family — “I have revealed to you everything I have heard from My Father” (vs. 15).

[Note: “You did not choose Me, but I chose you” (vs. 16) is often misused to justify a fatalistic view of the Gospel — one that asserts that a man is chosen by God and predestined to be saved. A descriptive term for this doctrine may be “fatalistic double-predestination”: Some are chosen for Heaven, the rest are doomed to Hell — no human has any volitional impact upon their own eternal destiny.

This fatalistic view negates the freewill God gave man to choose his own destiny. The Bible does not teach that only those men chosen before Creation are welcomed into the family of God. Rather, all men who choose to believe and who rightly respond to Truth are welcomed.

At one point Jesus did choose, He chose twelve as representative of all imperfect beings. Jesus invested a great deal of time in building the twelve into faithful followers who would become leaders of others. Although they frequently failed to understand His teaching, He repeated it over and over until they got it right. One, Judas, never did.

Jesus called each of His disciples after having looked into their hearts and knowing they would respond rightly to Truth. Judas was chosen because he played a role in the necessity of the Cross and the fulfillment of prophesy.]

Faith In Action

Consider

Jesus sacrificed Himself for us. Contemplate His commandment that we be sacrificial in our love, so that we attract others who may decide to share in the joy of salvation.

Knowing that we are the extension of Jesus in the world (the branches) and He was the human extension of God in the world (the vine), are we intentionally bearing the fruit for which He was so severely pruned?

Reflect

Jesus promised the Holy Spirit as the conduit to God for all Believers. Are we sensitive to the presence of the Holy Spirit of God and intentionally surrendering to Him in thought and deed?

Recall when it became clear to you that a volitional response to the invitation of Jesus was required for your salvation. How long thereafter did you place everything at His feet and stand emptied before Him, absolutely surrendered and totally trusting?

Pray

Ask the Lord God to reveal where you have been especially faithful in your sacrificial service and where you have fallen short.

Act

Today I will celebrate what the Holy Spirit has done to equip me for service and partner with Him to overcome my fears and insecurities. I will unreservedly ask for and receive the preparation I need to be His instrument of discipleship and evangelistic mission.

Be Specific ____________________________________________

Thursday (John 15:18–16:33)

The World’s Hatred

15:18 “If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me first. 15:19 If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. However, because you do not belong to the world, but I chose you out of the world, for this reason the world hates you. 15:20 Remember what I told you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they obeyed my word, they will obey yours too. 15:21 But they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know the one who sent me. 15:22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. But they no longer have any excuse for their sin. 15:23 The one who hates me hates my Father too. 15:24 If I had not performed among them the miraculous deeds that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen the deeds and have hated both me and my Father. 15:25 Now this happened to fulfill the word that is written in their law, ‘They hated me without reason.’ 15:26 When the Advocate comes, whom I will send you from the Father – the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father – he will testify about me, 15:27 and you also will testify, because you have been with me from the beginning.

16:1 “I have told you all these things so that you will not fall away. 16:2 They will put you out of the synagogue, yet a time is coming when the one who kills you will think he is offering service to God. 16:3 They will do these things because they have not known the Father or me. 16:4 But I have told you these things so that when their time comes, you will remember that I told you about them.

“I did not tell you these things from the beginning because I was with you. 16:5 But now I am going to the one who sent me, and not one of you is asking me, ‘Where are you going?’ 16:6 Instead your hearts are filled with sadness because I have said these things to you. 16:7 But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I am going away. For if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you, but if I go, I will send him to you. 16:8 And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong concerning sin and righteousness and judgment – 16:9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 16:10 concerning righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; 16:11 and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.

16:12 “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 16:13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. For he will not speak on his own authority, but will speak whatever he hears, and will tell you what is to come. 16:14 He will glorify me, because he will receive from me what is mine and will tell it to you. 16:15 Everything that the Father has is mine; that is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what is mine and will tell it to you. 16:16 In a little while you will see me no longer; again after a little while, you will see me.”

16:17 Then some of his disciples said to one another, “What is the meaning of what he is saying, ‘In a little while you will not see me; again after a little while, you will see me,’ and, ‘because I am going to the Father’?” 16:18 So they kept on repeating, “What is the meaning of what he says, ‘In a little while’? We do not understand what he is talking about.”

16:19 Jesus could see that they wanted to ask him about these things, so he said to them, “Are you asking each other about this – that I said, ‘In a little while you will not see me; again after a little while, you will see me’? 16:20 I tell you the solemn truth, you will weep and wail, but the world will rejoice; you will be sad, but your sadness will turn into joy. 16:21 When a woman gives birth, she has distress because her time has come, but when her child is born, she no longer remembers the suffering because of her joy that a human being has been born into the world. 16:22 So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you. 16:23 At that time you will ask me nothing. I tell you the solemn truth, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you. 16:24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive it, so that your joy may be complete.

16:25 “I have told you these things in obscure figures of speech; a time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in obscure figures, but will tell you plainly about the Father. 16:26 At that time you will ask in my name, and I do not say that I will ask the Father on your behalf. 16:27 For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. 16:28 I came from the Father and entered into the world, but in turn, I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.”

16:29 His disciples said, “Look, now you are speaking plainly and not in obscure figures of speech! 16:30 Now we know that you know everything and do not need anyone to ask you anything. Because of this we believe that you have come from God.”

16:31 Jesus replied, “Do you now believe? 16:32 Look, a time is coming – and has come – when you will be scattered, each one to his own home, and I will be left alone. Yet I am not alone, because my Father is with me. 16:33 I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In the world you have trouble and suffering, but take courage – I have conquered the world.”

Prayer

Lord, You have warned us of challenges to our faith-walk with You, and You have provided Your Holy Spirit to help us overcome them. May I have confidence and courage while enduring the challenges, knowing that You are faithful and omnipotent.

Scripture In Perspective

Jesus warns the disciples again of the trouble that is to come because they are His: “I chose you...for this reason, the world hates you” (John 15:19). The world’s hatred of Him (and by extension, His followers) is because it stands condemned of sin due to their rebellion, the refusal to listen to and believe the Truth — “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin” (vs. 22). The world is looking for someone to blame.

Jesus encourages them that, although He will leave them to return to “the One Who sent Me” (John 16:5), He will send the “Advocate” (vs. 7), the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will “guide you in all truth” (vs. 13) and empower to do what needs to be done until Christ’s return.

Speaking as God-incarnate, Jesus explains the way His ministry of salvation and discipleship will work within the Triune Godhead: No member of the Trinity speaks independently of the other, as they are inseparably One — “the Spirit will receive from Me what is Mine and will tell it to you” (John 16:15).

Jesus assures that although He will leave for a time, referring to His death on the Cross, He will surely return “after a little while” (John 16:16), referring to his post-resurrection appearances to them. His disciples respond, “‘In a little while? We do not understand what He is talking about’“ (John 16:18). Comforting them in their confusion, Jesus encourages them to look past the momentary sadness — “I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice,” (vs. 22).

Although reminded of the prophesies about Jesus, they remain confused. The wrong teaching by religious leaders about a military/political “messiah” to come; the fact that they could not accept that Jesus might leave them; and because He had been describing things to come using “obscure figures of speech,” (vs. 25) — not to be intentionally obtuse, but so as not to frighten them — all contributed to their confusion.

Jesus advises that their relationship with the Father will be transformed. As a result of His death, resurrection, and ascension, a pathway through prayer will opened between Believers and the Lord God — “You will ask in My name, and I do not say that I will ask the Father on your behalf” (vs. 26). He reminds that His glorious Self, the same eternal heavenly essence as the Father and the Holy Spirit, will return “back to the Father” (vs. 28) once His work on earth is finished.

Jesus warns they will both deny and forsake Him (“you will be scattered, each one to his own home,” vs. 32), then protects them against overwhelming guilt by reminding them that His Father is with Him. “Take courage – I have conquered the world” encourages them to cling to the peace that only faith in Him can bring, to be strong through the suffering to come, and to know that He is God and in control.

What began with His and the disciples’ small incursions into the temporary kingdom of Satan will end in victory in the eternal Kingdom of Jesus: “Take courage — I have conquered the world” (John 16:33). Satan, and the death he brings, will be powerless over a child of God.

Faith In Action

Consider

Encouragement, perspective, and strength come with certain knowledge that God has overcome Satan and in the understanding that both the End of Time and Eternity are owned by God.

When the Holy Spirit of God took up eternal residence in each of us, we were transformed in many ways.

Reflect

Jesus taught that people in rebellion against God, the majority of mankind, are unteachable and resentful. Feeling they look bad in contrast to a genuine Christian, they try to avoid, compromise, and destroy true Believers.

The fruits the Holy Spirit flows through you and into the lives of others brings glory to His name. These God-given fruits accomplish His great plan and are worthy of being shared.

Pray

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you a time when He caused His fruit to be poured out through you as a blessing to others.

Act

Today I will celebrate the times the fruits of the Holy Spirit flow though me and into the lives of others, bringing glory to His name and accomplishing His great plan. I will share these times remembered with a fellow Believer, as encouragement and testimony, and will celebrate God’s willingness to allow me partner with Him in His work.

Be Specific _____________________________________________

Friday (John 17)

Jesus Prays for the Father to Glorify Him

17:1 When Jesus had finished saying these things, he looked upward to heaven and said, “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, so that your Son may glorify you – 17:2 just as you have given him authority over all humanity, so that he may give eternal life to everyone you have given him. 17:3 Now this is eternal life – that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you sent. 17:4 I glorified you on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. 17:5 And now, Father, glorify me at your side with the glory I had with you before the world was created.

Jesus Prays for the Disciples

17:6 “I have revealed your name to the men you gave me out of the world. They belonged to you, and you gave them to me, and they have obeyed your word. 17:7 Now they understand that everything you have given me comes from you, 17:8 because I have given them the words you have given me. They accepted them and really understand that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. 17:9 I am praying on behalf of them. I am not praying on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those you have given me, because they belong to you. 17:10 Everything I have belongs to you, and everything you have belongs to me, and I have been glorified by them. 17:11 I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them safe in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are one. 17:12 When I was with them I kept them safe and watched over them in your name that you have given me. Not one of them was lost except the one destined for destruction, so that the scripture could be fulfilled. 17:13 But now I am coming to you, and I am saying these things in the world, so they may experience my joy completed in themselves. 17:14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them, because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 17:15 I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but that you keep them safe from the evil one. 17:16 They do not belong to the world just as I do not belong to the world. 17:17 Set them apart in the truth; your word is truth. 17:18 Just as you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world. 17:19 And I set myself apart on their behalf, so that they too may be truly set apart.

Jesus Prays for Believers Everywhere

17:20 “I am not praying only on their behalf, but also on behalf of those who believe in me through their testimony, 17:21 that they will all be one, just as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. I pray that they will be in us, so that the world will believe that you sent me. 17:22 The glory you gave to me I have given to them, that they may be one just as we are one – 17:23 I in them and you in me – that they may be completely one, so that the world will know that you sent me, and you have loved them just as you have loved me.

17:24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, so that they can see my glory that you gave me because you loved me before the creation of the world. 17:25 Righteous Father, even if the world does not know you, I know you, and these men know that you sent me. 17:26 I made known your name to them, and I will continue to make it known, so that the love you have loved me with may be in them, and I may be in them.”

Prayer

Lord, You have always been and will always be. Your love for us is endless. I pray to always stay close to You, in order to better resist deception, and to be a valuable instrument of Yours in this fallen world.

Scripture In Perspective

Jesus prays “the time has come” (John 17:1) for the Father to glorify Him, as His time on earth is nearly completed and He will return soon to “the glory I had with You before the world was created” (vs. 5).

A milestone is Jesus’ acknowledgement that His disciples have come to “really understand [come to know] that I came from You” (vs. 8), because they had been troubled by misunderstanding and unbelief so often. Praying for His disciples, that they will be preserved in their relationship with God and kept safe from deception, Jesus asks the Father to “set them apart” (vs. 17) in Truth from the confused world, so that they may continue in His work.

Jesus prays for Believers everywhere, His disciples and “those who believe in Me” (vs. 20) through their testimony, for their preservation and for them to be unified in love.

By declaring, “You loved Me before the creation of the world” (17:24), Jesus reiterates His fellowship with the Father prior to the beginning of time (see John 1:1).

Faith In Action

Consider

The deity of Christ is reiterated so many times it is beyond dispute. Consider anew the incredible choice of Jesus, God the Son, to leave His glory behind in Heaven in order to come to earth as a mere human being, so that our relationship with God might be restored.

There are many practical ways that we might be protected by the Holy Spirit and proactive in being “kept safe from deception” and “set apart” in Truth, that we may partner with God to continue the work of Jesus.

Reflect

Consider the ways that God brings, confirms, preserves, and pours out His Truth to and through us.

Pray

Ask the Holy Spirit to remind you of someone who is considering Christ, and pray that when He speaks to them they will have open their ears to hear.

Act

Today I will prayerfully seek opportunity to show someone the John 17 text; and, with the excitement, love, courage, and wisdom of the indwelling Holy Spirit, share with them how amazed I am that God would do what He has done (and continues to do) for me and for them!

Be Specific _____________________________________________

Saturday (Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-46)

Matthew

Gethsemane 

26:36 Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 26:37 He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and became anguished and distressed. 26:38 Then he said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, even to the point of death. Remain here and stay awake with me.” 26:39 Going a little farther, he threw himself down with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if possible, let this cup pass from me! Yet not what I will, but what you will.” 26:40 Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. He said to Peter, “So, couldn’t you stay awake with me for one hour? 26:41 Stay awake and pray that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 26:42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it, your will must be done.” 26:43 He came again and found them sleeping; they could not keep their eyes open. 26:44 So leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same thing once more. 26:45 Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is approaching, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 26:46 Get up, let us go. Look! My betrayer is approaching!”

Mark

Gethsemane 

14:32 Then they went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 14:33 He took Peter, James, and John with him, and became very troubled and distressed. 14:34 He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, even to the point of death. Remain here and stay alert.” 14:35 Going a little farther, he threw himself to the ground and prayed that if it were possible the hour would pass from him. 14:36 He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Take this cup away from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” 14:37 Then he came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Couldn’t you stay awake for one hour? 14:38 Stay awake and pray that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 14:39 He went away again and prayed the same thing. 14:40 When he came again he found them sleeping; they could not keep their eyes open. And they did not know what to tell him. 14:41 He came a third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough of that! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 14:42 Get up, let us go. Look! My betrayer is approaching!”

Luke

On the Mount of Olives

22:39 Then Jesus went out and made his way, as he customarily did, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. 22:40 When he came to the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” 22:41 He went away from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed, 22:42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me. Yet not my will but yours be done.” 22:43 [Then an angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 22:44 And in his anguish he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.] 22:45 When he got up from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping, exhausted from grief. 22:46 So he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you will not fall into temptation!”

Prayer

Lord, You give so much, more than any mere human deserves and beyond what we could ever give in return to You or to others. In gratitude, may I never tire of learning, growing, and serving.

Scripture In Perspective

Jesus brings three disciples with Him to a place on the Mount of Olives and instructs them to “pray that you will not fall into temptation” (Luke 22:40), the temptation of “Satan’s challenge to them to defect, like what happened to Judas and what will happen to Peter” (NET sn). Jesus knows that “the hour is approaching” (Matt. 26:45) when things will get rough, and they will especially need the protection of prayer.

Jesus withdraws three times to pray in quiet aloneness, and on each occasion He returns to find them sleeping, literally and spiritually — Exhausted both emotionally and physically, they are resistant to engaging Him at the spiritual level. “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough of that!” (Mark 14:41), which “can be taken either as a question or a sarcastic command” (NET tn).

In prayer, Jesus (in His temporary flesh) rhetorically asks the Father if there is another way to accomplish what He is about to endure, for He’d rather the Father “take this cup” (Luke 22:42). [Note: “This cup alludes to the wrath of God that Jesus would experience (in the form of suffering and death) for us” (NET sn).] He then affirms with certainty that He is willing to, metaphorically, drink from this cup if it is the Father’s will. These moments of anguish are affirmation of the humanity and the divinity of Jesus and that, no matter how horrific the task ahead, He is unwilling to waver.

Faith In Action

Consider

How many times has God found you sleeping when you should have been in prayer? Or depressed and defeated by the unrelenting attacks of the world, with your eyes off of God and on yourself, as though the victory were coming from you and not God?

When have you asked others to pray for you and found that they had forgotten, being distracted by the busyness of life? Did you have a sense of the betrayal of fellowship that Jesus must have felt?

Reflect

Consider when the Holy Spirit within has led you to prayer and then into action, despite your fears of what the future may hold.

When has God asked you to do for Him something really challenging, and you asked Him if there was any way that task could pass from you? When the Holy Spirit continued to convict you of the need to act, did you say with conviction, “Not my will but Yours be done”?

Pray

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you places where and times when you are sleeping yet should be learning, growing, and serving.

Act

Today I will confess to God the times I spiritually sleep to avoid dealing with those things He has told me to pray about in preparation for. I will ask for and accept His forgiveness, my heart repentant and in need of restoration. I will thank God for not giving up on me and be grateful that He is patient and persistent in leading me to be a useful part in His great plan of restoration.

Be Specific ____________________________________________

All Bible text is from the NET unless otherwise indicated - http://bible.org

Note 1: These Studies often rely upon the guidance of the NET Translators from their associated notes. Careful attention has been given to cite that source where it has been quoted directly or closely paraphrased. Feedback is encouraged where credit has not been sufficiently assigned.

Note 2: When NET text is quoted in commentary and discussion all pronouns referring to God are capitalized, though they are lower-case in the original NET text.

Commentary text is from David M. Colburn, D.Min. unless otherwise noted.

Copyright © 2012 by David M. Colburn. This is a BibleSeven Study –”The Chronological Gospels” – “Week 11 of 12” - prepared by David M. Colburn and edited for bible.org in July of 2012. This text may be used for non-profit educational purposes only, with credit; all other usage requires prior written consent of the author.

 

Related Topics: Devotionals, Curriculum