After Judas' departure from the upper room, Jesus’ concern turns to preparing his disciples for his departure. Jesus begins to lay out for them what He expects of them while He is away. He gives them a new command that is to be their distinguishing mark, 'love one another, just as I have loved you, you are to love one another'. Jesus desires for them to have a sincere, mutual affection for one another on account of Christ’s great love for them. It is not that disciples are to love the world less, but they are to love one another more. Jesus is creating a new thing in the world, a community held together by love, not affinities for the same thing or geographic similarities nor ethnicity, but by love.
As the disciples continued in ministry with Jesus, they were filled with so much pride and self-absorption, that an argument broke out among them about who of them was the greatest. Meanwhile, in an act of shocking condescension, Jesus washes his disciples' feet. Their Lord and Savior, takes on the role of a servant and does for them what the would not do for one another. Jesus' act of humble service powerfully points forward to the work He will do on the cross, which is mere hours away. And it becomes a pattern, an example for all his disciples to follow.
In John 12, the public ministry of Jesus comes to a close. He will spend the remaining time before his crucifixion preparing his disciples. But before that, in Jesus' concluding words to the crowds, He tells them that He is going to be lifted up (crucified) and his crucifixion is part of his exaltation. His crucifixion shall bring judgment to the world, defeat satan and be the means by which He draws all men to himself. John also aids our understanding of Jesus' words by explaining that Jesus is the Suffering Servant Isaiah saw and prophesied about.
John presents us with a powerful contrast between two people. John intentionally juxtaposes two people for us, both of which are close and dear to Jesus. One treasures Jesus and worships him and the other is lured away and enticed by the pleasures of this world and falls away, leading to his damnation. This text should stand as a sobering warning for us all to keep our hearts from becoming deceived and thus treasuring anything more than Christ.