-Before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus was knowing that His time had come to offer up His body for the sins of the entire world. This was the fullness of time, which was coming for the redemption of mankind and the glory of God. Jesus would soon depart out of this world back to the Father. God’s love for those in the world that were His by faith propelled the Son to the greatest love ever known. Agape was never ending and persistent all the way through. As the disciples were having supper, the devil already in full control of the heart of the son of Simon, Judas Iscariot, began to stir up the spirit of betrayal against the Messiah. Jesus, with full awareness of all that was going on, got up from the table, laid aside His garments, and girded Himself with a towel. Then He poured water into the basin and began to wash His disciples’ feet wiping them clean with His towel. As He came to Simon Peter in this solemn occasion, there was a conversation designed to teach us all. Initially Peter did not want the Lord to wash his feet thinking this was undignified for the Messiah to do. Therefore, Peter asked, “Lord, do You wash my feet?” After all, John the Baptist had earlier stated that as human, we were unworthy to even untie this Man’s sandal (John 1:27). This seemed unbelievable to the disciples that the Lord God would stoop down and wash their feet. But Jesus responded, “What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter.” Peter became indignant, “Never shall You wash my feet!” Jesus answered, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” Simon Peter now got the point and submissively spoke, “Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and head.” Jesus now went deeper, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are completely clean (in a spiritual sense), but not all of you.” God knew who was to betray Him, but He washed all of their feet in spite of this. Afterwards, He took His garments back and reclined at the table again in this intimate setting. He asked them, “Do you know what I have done to you?” He began to instruct them citing their respect He had as their Teacher and Lord. They had done well, and He received those accolades that they bestowed on Him as appropriate. But, He let them know that His sacrificial example was to be emulated as a Kingdom principle. He said this, “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.” Then He revealed details about His choosing and the fact that the betrayer was in their midst. This was in fulfillment of the Scriptures concerning Him (Psalm 41:9). He let them know these things beforehand to let them know that it was His plan, and that He had all knowledge and control of the situation. This was done so that His beloved would believe. Then He concluded with a statement, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.” The Son had truly been sent by the Father for the saving of the world through faith (John 13:1-20).
-After this conversation, Jesus became very troubled in His Spirit. He plainly called out the enemy, “Truly, truly, I say to you, that one of you will betray Me.” This dumbfounded most all of the disciples, except of course Judas Iscariot. They were at a loss and wondered aloud who could possibly do such a thing. Jesus told them that it was the one for whom He would dip the morsel and give. This was the honored guest’s right and privilege. Jesus was hurling coals upon the head of the demon spirit (Romans 12:20). He gave Judas Iscariot the morsel according to the tradition of the feast and told him, “What you do, do quickly.” Satan had truly entered this man, but those reclining at the table were slow to pick up on this encounter. They supposed that Judas Iscariot was departing to go and get things needed for the feast, since he was the man in charge of the money box. They also erroneously postulated that he might be receiving commands to go and give something to the poor. From this, we can speculate that this was a routine occurrence with the disciples. A giving spirit prevailed. None-the-less, Judas Iscariot departed into the night with corruption premeditated (John 13:21-30).
-When Judas Iscariot had left, the Lord continued His conversation among those He so dearly loved, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him; if God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and will glorify Him immediately. Little children, I am with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, now I also say to you. ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this will all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” Simon Peter wanted to know exactly where He was going. Jesus assured him that although he couldn’t follow him now, he would be able to later. Peter then boldly stated that wherever Jesus was going, he would follow, even if it meant laying down his life for the cause. Jesus prophesied now, “Will you lay down your life for Me? Truly, truly, I say to you, a rooster will not crow until you deny Me three times (John 13:31-38).”
-*Application*- Christ’s sacrificial spirit is abundantly evident to us as we read this passage with hopes of carrying out His sayings. There are some denominations that include feet washings as an ordinance in the church. Despite what we might think of this, the humbling of ourselves for others’ benefit is indeed powerful and helps us understand the Kingdom Spirit in a whole new way. I encourage us all to participate in a feet washing gathering with brothers and/or sisters in Christ. Further, the Lord gives us the key to a united church with a vibrant testimony in this passage. Loving one another just like Christ has loved us is so rare in this age of the Church, but it remains the mark of true discipleship. Let us all work on loving each other better as the future unfolds. It is a command of Christ Jesus, not a suggestion. This command actually is deeper and more involved than the Old Testament command to love your neighbor as yourself. Loving with Christ Jesus’ love is total agape and exceeds our natural limitations. It is supernatural to love as Christ loves, a Divine gift of grace. This necessitates the filling of the Holy Spirit into our born-again existence. It cannot come by our own power.
Verse to Memorize: John 13:34-35