The Scriptures covered in this post are from John 13:1-17
John 13:1-4 NASB reads as follows: “Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus, knowing that His hour had come that He would depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. And during supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had handed all things over to Him, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God, got up from supper and laid His outer garments aside; and He took a towel and tied it around Himself.”
One cannot help but be aware of the timing and the specific Feast involved (the Feast of the Passover) associated with the hour that Jesus had come to fulfill. As you recall, this particular Feast commemorates the time when God delivered Israel from the death of all the first born in Egypt, in preparation for their eventual release from Egypt’s control. And, as directed by God, the blood of an unblemished sacrificed lamb was put around the door frames of their dwellings so that those within those dwellings were spared from the death of Egypt’s firstborn that followed. If you wish to refresh your memory on the significance of this particular feast, and how it is associated with Jesus, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, please click here.
The Apostle John tells us that Jesus loved His disciples, who were in the world, and that His love for them never changed or wavered, that it was steadfast throughout, right up to the moment where Jesus died on the cross. There is an interesting statement here, where John tells us that the Father had handed all things over to Jesus. To me that means that Jesus was in control of everything that took place, prior to, during and after His crucification. There is a Scripture verse that comes to mind, John 10:18 NASB, which reads as follows: “No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it back. This commandment I received from My Father.” This correlates with what John tells us about the Father handing all things over to Jesus. And it is authoritative, because you will note that Jesus says “This commandment I received from My Father”. Keep that thought in the back of your mind as we go through this chapter and all that follows pertaining to the crucification. What Jesus chose to endure and what He could have stopped at any time, but didn’t.
John 13:4-10 NASB reads as follows: “Then He poured water into the basin, and began washing the disciples’ feet and wiping them with the towel which He had tied around Himself. So He came to Simon Peter. He said to Him, “Lord, You are washing my feet?” Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing, you do not realize right now, but you will understand later.” Peter said to Him, “Never shall You wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no place with Me.” Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet; otherwise he is completely clean. And you are clean—but not all of you.”
Did you notice that Peter was the only one who actually took it upon himself to basically say, “Lord, why are YOU washing MY feet?” One can almost hear the thought going through Peter’s mind saying, “Shouldn’t I be the one washing YOUR feet?” Apparently, according to John, the others who Jesus had already washed their feet, said nothing. Put yourself in their feet, so to speak, what would you have said? Peter is the Apostle who wears his heart on his sleeve. He speaks what most think. He tries when others watch (Jesus walking on the water) and he bitterly cries after denying knowing Jesus. And in spite of Peter’s rashness and failures, Peter is the one that Jesus tells to feed His sheep. There is something really beautiful and comforting about the love between Peter and Jesus, which speaks to all of us.
Then we have Peter saying, “Well if you’re going to wash my feet, also please do my hands and head!”. Jesus says it’s not necessary. They knew who Jesus was. And as Jesus indicates, after His death and resurrection they would understand that He is the source of their righteousness, bought by His shed blood. They are indeed in the world but not of the world. And why the feet? Because the feet is what makes contact with the sinful world. Remember Jesus telling the disciples to shake the dust off of their feet if their message was rejected? Here’s a once over lightly from gotquestions.org that gives a good summary on this “feet”aspect.
Above and beyond the reality of coming in contact with the sinful world, I also think we are dealing with the reality of sin, while being Christians, in these earthly bodies. Because we can still sin, we need to confess that sin in order to be cleansed of that sin and unrighteousness. 1 John 1:8-9 NASB comes to mind: “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous, so that He will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” So I see a necessity of us asking God to cleanse us daily. In addition, Jesus instructs us to wash one another’s feet. That is where we forgive those who have sinned against us, as we have been forgiven.
John 13:11-17 NASB reads as follows: “For He knew the one who was betraying Him; it was for this reason that He said, “Not all of you are clean.” Then, when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the tableagain, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done for you? You call Me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord’; and you are correct, for so I am. So if I, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example, so that you also would do just as I did for you. Truly, truly I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.”
John 13:11 explains John 13:10, the unclean one obviously is referring to Judas. Then Jesus reinforces the meaning behind what He has done and why He has done it. And the long and the short of it is, that if we are forgiven and cleansed from our unrighteousness, by our Master and Lord, then we are to do likewise for each other. Ephesians 4:32 NASB comes to mind: “Be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”
And the rationale or logic Jesus gives us is straight forward, if Jesus, our Lord, forgives us, and we are certainly not greater that our Lord, it behooves us to also forgive those who sin against us. And the blessing that comes with this knowledge about how forgiveness from God works, is given to those who know it and actually do it.
We see this same rationale in the Lord’s Prayer where Jesus states in Luke 11:4 NASB: “And forgive us our sins, For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation.’”
More to follow:
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!
A thorough and valuable study in the gospel of John, written in an easy to read step by step approach. Thank you for this Bruce, God bless you brother.
Thanks Alan and God’s blessings to you and yours!
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We were always advised to start a new convert in the book of John when discipling them.
That is what I always recommend also! Blessings!
I love the way it says Jesus knew He had come from the Father and was returning to the Father, SO … He washed their feet. Knowing who we are makes us secure, so we can have the freedom to be humble.
Hi Annie, yes, absolutely, and if the Master, who had more than ample reason not to, can , then so can we all. In fact, for us, it’s not even remotely close. Blessings.
Edifying read before my Bible stufy tonight
You’re a dear brother Jim, may our Lord bless you richly in Him.
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God bless you
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