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Gospel of John - Chapter 13 - Lesson 1

Posted on June 5, 2016 at 9:50 PM

Jesus Washes the Disciples' Feet

 

John 13:1 (ESV) 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.

 

Jesus knew that His time had almost finally come. Being God, He knew what He was facing and that His method of death would be excruciating, both physically and spiritually. It would be humiliating to be crucified because the Old Testament said to be hung on a tree was to be cursed. Unlike the paintings of the Lord on the cross, people were crucified completely naked, another embarrassing humiliation. His humiliation, pain, and degradation was all worth it to Him for the sparing of those who would believe, those He loved, in order to save them from sin. Although their sin and ours would nail Him to the tree, He continued to love His disciples to the end.

 

John 13:2 During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him,

 

God the Father sovereignly gave the devil freedom to influence Judas’ betrayal of Jesus. Judas chose to give in to that temptation of his own will.

 

John 13:3 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.

 

Jesus was completely aware of who His Father was and where He had come from. He was equally aware that after the ordeal of the cross, He would arise victoriously from the dead and return to His Father’s side to be glorified. Knowing this, Jesus humbly took on the role of a servant by laying aside His outer garments and tying a towel around His waist. Jesus did not wield His power to conquer Rome and set up an earthly kingdom. Jesus’ strength was demonstrated in humility. Jesus laid aside His power as God to fulfill the requirements of the cross, but first He laid aside His dignity and right to have everyone bow down to Him as Lord in order to lower Himself to the floor to take on the role of a servant.

 

Philippians 2:6-7a (ESV) …who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant…

 

Jesus was preparing to perform a duty usually carried out by the lowliest servant of the household. He was being the portrait of a servant-leader.

 

John 13:5 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.

 

The disciples wore sandals and walked just about everywhere they went. Their feet would have been dusty, grimy, calloused, and stinky. Yet Jesus was methodically, carefully, tenderly washing their feet. He gave them a much needed foot bath. A host usually ordered a servant to provide this welcomed service to His guests. But Jesus, the host and their master, performed this courtesy Himself.

 

John 13:6 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.”

 

Peter questioned whether the Lord really intended to wash his feet. Jesus expressed that it might not make sense to Peter at that time, but later it would.

 

John 13:8 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.”

 

Peter protested that he would never allow the Son of God to wash his feet. Cleansing went further than skin deep as far as Jesus was concerned. If He could not wash Peter’s feet, He could not include Peter as a part of His family; and Peter would not be with Him. He would be separated from Him forever. In like manner, if we are not cleansed by the blood of Jesus, if we do not trust Him for salvation, we cannot enter into the kingdom of God. The blood of Jesus’ sacrifice was the soap of His love.

 

John 13:9 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!”

 

Now that Peter “gets it,” he wants a complete bath! He realized he was a sinner in need of a Savior’s cleansing power.

 

John 13:10 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.”

 

The apostles were already clean because they believed Jesus to be the Son of God and trusted in Him. Jesus knew there was one among them who did not truly trust – Judas Iscariot, the betrayer. But Jesus still served Him and washed His feet.


 

Q – Jesus taught that those who wanted to be the top dog, had to be willing to be at the bottom. Those who wanted to lead, needed to serve. He demonstrated this type of leadership by washing the disciples’ feet. Think of the leaders you admire the most. Are they dictatorial or are they servant-leaders? If you are given the opportunity to fill a leadership position, which will you be?

 

Categories: Gospel of John, Humility, Judas Iscariot

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