From John 13-15
Jesus knows his hour is coming when he will be glorified on the cross. How would you approach your death? Jesus approaches his death, uses some of his last moments to serve others. To wash them clean. Jesus shows us what it means to be a servant leader. He is our servant king. He commands us to follow his example. Is Jesus your king and will you follow his example?
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
Jesus has arrived in Jerusalem (Jn 12.12). He knows his hour is coming. The hour of his death. In today’s passage we learn Jesus is our servant king.
13 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. (Jn 13:1)
What would you want to do if you knew you only had a short time to live? What is your bucket list? Jesus knows he is about to die and all he can think about is the people around him.
He loves his own to the end.
He had this mindset just before the Passover. The event that remembers Israel’s salvation from slavery in Egypt. Jesus death will bring about a greater Passover. One where his people are saved from sin and death.
2 During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4 rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. (Jn 13:2-5)
The chess pieces are moving into their preordained places. Judas is prepared to betray Jesus. According to the plan of God. Judas will do it for his own greed and stupidity. God sends Jesus for the salvation of his people.
Jesus knowing all this and knowing these final moments are his last wants to make them count. To teach and impart on his disciples what really matters.
He humbles himself and washes his disciples feet. What humility and what kind of love is this that the Lord of all should lower himself and serve others?
Did you know Jesus is the reason why humility has become a virtue? Sometimes actions mean more than words. Jesus teaches us through his actions as well as his words.
6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?”
7 Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.”
8 Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.”
9 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” (Jn 13:6-9)
Most of the disciples are probably questioning what is going on, but allow it to continue. Peter being Peter has to say something brash.
Peter does not want Jesus to wash his feet because he recognises Jesus as his Lord. Peter has never seen something like this. Where the superior humbles himself to serve an inferior. Peter does not want Jesus to lower himself to serve him.
But there is something else going on here. Jesus is washing their feet. Jesus is washing them.
When Jesus washes people, they become clean. The ugly things we have done are washed away by Jesus act of humble service.
Jesus’ washes them so they can share fellowship with him. When Peter hears this he goes to the extreme other position. Now he wants Jesus to wash his whole body.
10 Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.”
11 For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.” (Jn 13:10-11)
Jesus assures them all he has to do is wash their feet and they are completely clean. Jesus has washed their feet so they are clean.
Except one. The one who will betray him.
12 When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. (Jn 13:12-15)
Jesus gives them an example by his actions. Jesus leads by example. If the Lord, God of the universe has humbled himself to serve others, should not all others do the same? Jesus commands his followers to do the same.
Would you follow someone who lowered himself for your good? Will you confess before others this servant leader Jesus as your Lord and follow him?
16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. (Jn 13:16-17)
Those who serve know whom they ultimately serve and where they stand in relation to him.
The disciples will serve others, but they know Jesus as their master. He is the one who commanded them to do so. The disciples will go out and share the gospel in the service of others. They do so because they are sent by Jesus.
Jesus wants them to know, that when they humble themselves to serve others, they do it because they are serving him.
18 I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ 19 I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he. (Jn 13:18-19)
The gospel fulfills the prophecies and promises of God. Jesus alludes to the fulfillment of Psalm 41.9. Judas is inadvertently fulfilling God’s ancient plan to have Jesus crucified.
Jesus says, ‘I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he.’
Who do you believe Jesus is? That he is the one predicted to come in scripture? Will you place your trust in him? Listen to his word and follow his example?
20 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.” (Jn 13:20)
Jesus is recorded as saying this and it serves to advise later listeners of the gospel to receive the apostles and those who share the gospel well. To give them hospitality.
Jesus is king of the world. Yet he is willing to lower himself to serve others. What we learn about Jesus is that he is our servant king. He cares deeply for those he loves and will lay down his life for their good. Jesus died and rose again to wash our sins away.
His great act of service was on the cross. Dying in our stead to wash us clean.
Jesus now commands us to imitate him. Not to die for others sins. Only he could do that. But to share with them the good news. To share what we know of Jesus with them. To be attentive to their needs and seek to help them.
Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2015. All Rights Reserved.