Seminary Lessons: John chapters 12-14

I recently was a substitute for our Ward’s early morning Seminary. I’m amazed at these kids who get to the Church building at 6am for some scripture study. I had it easy with release time. I took seminary as if it were a regular class in high school. Anyhow, the next few posts will be a few of the lessons we had. I was able to finish the last half of the Gospel of John.

John chapters 12-14

  • importance of love
  • putting Christ before our own selfish desires

(write on the board) “If you loved me, you would ____________ .” How might these people fill in the blank… a mother, a sister, Edward Collins, a father, a bad boyfriend, a good girlfriend

(read) John 14:15 How would Jesus respond.

  • (ask) Why is obedience an expression of love?
  • Here I shared a story of when I wanted my son to do something specific, like wash his hands and come to the table for dinner. He wanted to clean of the sink, and the mirror, and take a long time. I got frustrated and told him to hurry up. He said something about wanting to help, to clean. I said I don’t want you to do that, I just want you to obey. In that experience, I caught a glimpse of what Heavenly Father must feel as He asks us to do things, and we try to do all of these extra or other things instead. He doesn’t want us to clean or whatever, He just wants us to obey.

Forms of the word “love” are used 34 times in John chapters 13-17. Two great expressions of love found in John chapter 12 and 13.

John 12: 1-8 Mary annoints Jesus feet, using her hair to wash them. Think of the symbolism of using your hair to wash feet, the great love she must have had for him. Think of the Jewish tradition to wash a guest’s feet. They wore sandals at that time, walked everywhere on dirt streets which were shared with animals. A great show of love, and symbolic of the annointing of Jesus body after the crucifiction.

John 13: 1-7 Jesus washes the feet of his apostles. Jesus, himself, was the guest, but put himself in the position as the servant by doing this service for his followers. It showed great love and set the example that leaders are to serve those who follow, not to be domineering over them. (see also JST John 13:8-10)


The old testament way of love is seen Leviticus 19: 18. We are commanded to love others the same way we love ourselves, which is admittedly imperfect, speckled with thoughts of pride.

Jesus updates the commandment to love in John 13: 34-35. Jesus commands us to love others as he loves us, unconditionally and absolutely.

  • (ask) What’s the difference?

President Howard W. Hunter taught: “We need to be kinder with one another, more gentle and more forgiving. We need to be slower to anger and more prompt to help. We need to extend the hand of friendship and resist the hand of retribution [revenge]. In short, we need to love one another with the pure love of Christ, with genuine charity and compassion and, if necessary, shared suffering, for that is the way God loves us” (“Come to the God of All Truth,” Ensign, Sept. 1994, 72).

John 14: 16-27 Jesus gives us promises for loving him.

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