Jesus calls us to love one another
John’s life, ministry, and scriptural writings would be characterized by love. Perhaps all of that began with this transformative experience when Jesus washed the disciples feet on his final evening with them. Jesus showed them radical love in the face of heartache and betrayal and then called them to show that same love to others.
We are making our way through the life story of Jesus as told by His best friend and closest disciple.
There are figures in history that everyone knows the key facts about, the important moments, but something that is delightful is when you can get a glimpse behind the scenes, get a backstage pass into the life of one of these figures by seeing them through the eyes of someone close to them, someone who was with them in the big public moments and small private moments.
When John wrote His biography of Jesus’ life He told us that wrote out all the signs and statements that would help us believe Jesus is the Son of God and so believing we might have life. When it comes to the final week of Jesus’ life, John gives us a backstage, behind the scenes look at Jesus life that is not available elsewhere.
While John’s account is corroborated by the other gospels, it is very different.
If you and I witnessed an accident here at the intersection, we could all testify to the same thing, but we’d testify from different perspectives, because we were standing in different places. A passenger in the car could testify with far greater details than any bystander could… They could for instance tell us that the driver was texting…
They could give us a glimpse into the focus or distraction of the driver. John is riding shotgun with Jesus through this final week of Jesus’ life. He tells us here about the state of mind of Jesus. He tells us what Jesus was focused on.
So let’s look at John 13 together.
Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.
2And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him;
3Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God;
John tells us 4 important facts about Jesus’ mindset here.
Jesus knows His hour has come.
John knows that because Jesus has stated in John 12 that the hour is now here. So John wants us to remember that in the events that are about to take place, Jesus is fully aware of the fact that the cross is eminent.
Why does John want us to keep this in mind?
Let me ask you, if you knew you had hours to live, what would you do? Jesus knew He had hours to live, this is what He did.
Jesus’ final moments are punctuated with LOVE.
“having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.”
Something that we’ve all probably been moved by at some point is watching someone care for their ailing spouse until the very end. Showing their love for them until the very end. That’s what Jesus does here.
Jesus knows that Judas is His betrayer.
v.2 tells us that Satan had already put it into the heart of Judas to betray Jesus. Now sometimes we can stumble over this wording to take it to mean that Judas had no choice in this, that He was forced by Satan, since Satan put it into his heart.
The idea is that Judas was tempted. Satan had whispered this temptation to Judas, and Judas had taken it to heart.
Why? Well, John gave us a foreshadowing of this in the previous chapter when he told us the reason Judas objected to Mary’s extravagant gift was not that he was fiscally conservative but because he was greedy.
Judas didn’t have heart for Jesus then, and now he was considering the temptation of Satan to sell Jesus out for money. Jesus knows Judas is mulling over the option to sell Jesus out. Christ later says to the disciples, I am telling you these about my betrayer things that you might believe once it happens. He knew what was going to happen, but that’s different from making it happen.
Jesus is clear on His identity.
3 Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God;
Sometimes we serve because we think have to, because it’s our place, because we don’t deserve anything better than servant status. Jesus was not serving the disciples because He was having a moment of insecurity and thought, well this is what I deserve… Jesus performs this humble act of love and service knowing full well that He is worthy of all praise.
Earlier we sang
Worthy of every song we could ever sing – Worthy of all the praise we could ever bring – Worthy of every breath we could ever breathe.
We live for you
Jesus the name above every other name
Jesus the only one who could save
Holy there is no one like you
There is none beside you
Open up my eyes in wonder
Show me who you are and fill me
With your heart and lead me
In your love to those around me
Jesus doesn’t act out of uncertainty of His rightful place. He knows He is the King of Glory. Christ Jesus is fully aware He is God. Yet, he stoops low. That’s humility. This humility is not born out of Jesus thinking less of Himself, but rather setting that aside to wash our dirty feet…
I’ve never watched the show Undercover Boss, but the premise is the the CEO or owner of the company dresses up like one of the lowest level employees and works among them, in disguise, seeing what it’s like among the every day employees… Jesus not only came to be among us, He didn’t just go slumming by hanging out with mere mortals, rather He came to serve us.
Read John 13:4-10
The washing of feet was an act of service, but it is also a symbolic of cleansing.
Jesus is cleaning the disciples feet of the dirt and grime they would have picked up along the way of their journeys. This was customary to have a place to clean your feet when you came into the house. People of great means would have a servant who would do this for the guests of the house. Because it was something servants did, people would often act as if it were beneath them. They would act as if they were someone with status and someone should wash their feet.
Servants washed the feet of others. The Middle Class washed their own feet. High Class people had their feet washed.
Jesus is showing the disciples He has come to be a servant and to cleanse them. This because very clear in Jesus’ conversation with Peter. Peter objects to Jesus washing his feet, and Jesus says, unless I cleanse you, you have no part with me.
If you are not cleansed, you have no part with Jesus. Please, I beg you, hear me on this point. For the sake of your soul, lock in with me here. Peter says, you will never wash my feet! He’s saying Jesus this is beneath you. You are worthy to have your feet washed, not that you would wash others feet!
Jesus says, you have no part with me if I do not cleanse you. Jesus is saying, unless I cleanse you of your sins, you have no place with me. Why can’t we come in contact with God? Because God’s righteousness and our sin cannot coexist. They do not mix.
If we are not cleansed of our sin, we have no part with Jesus.
Jesus came to cleanse us from sin. If our only way to have a part with God is to be cleanses by Him, we should have the heart of Peter, well Jesus if that is the case, clean me all over! Don’t stop with my feet! The attitude is not, what do I need to do to be good enough? The attitude is not, what’s the least I can do and still skate by, Jesus.
Rather, it is do your best work Jesus, redeem every broken piece of me. Get a hold of every part of my life, from the top of my head to the bottoms of my feet, I want to be wholly cleansed Jesus! Jesus also makes it clear here that this ceremonial cleansing is nothing more than that, just ceremony. Because he says-
“but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.”
You can be very involved and not be cleansed by Jesus. Judas wasn’t.
Judas had just had his feet washed by Jesus, Jesus washed the feet of His betrayer, but Judas wasn’t cleansed! His heart wasn’t clean! Some of you are putting your hope in the fact that you went through the baptistry years ago, you’re putting your hope in your church attendance, but your heart is far from God. You’ve asked, what the least I can do and get your grace Jesus? You’ve done what you feel is the minimum and you’re coasting!
I had lunch with a couple pastors here in Chandler this past week and something we all expressed concern about was that there are people in all of our churches that have never submitted to Christ…
You can be baptized, attend church every Sunday, have a position within the church, and still not submit your heart to Jesus. You know how I know? Because Judas had his feet washed by the hands of Jesus and then left the meal to betray Him. Even more mind boggling is that throughout this chapter Jesus makes references to what’s going on and the disciples don’t see it.
29 For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor.
In fact, when Jesus explicitly says to Judas, what you do, do it quickly the disciples assume Jesus has given Judas an errand of purchasing supplies for the passover or making a donation to the poor. They never see it coming! I once heard a preacher say that Heaven will be full of surprises, many of which will be our surprise at who is and is not there.
Do not put your confidence in some practice or ritual.
What’s extremely interesting is that one of the key moments in the final week of Jesus’ life, the last supper, the meal that instituted the practice of communion, John doesn’t tell us about that… Instead He tells us this aspect of that final meal.
John didn’t disregard the institution of communion, but rather He focused on another grand demonstration of Christ’s love. This moment was so significant to John he would retell it with great detail and he would be marked by love, hence the passage of scripture we read earlier in the service.
It’s not about ritual or religion, it’s about Jesus. Insofar as our rituals help us stay focused on Jesus, they serve us. Whenever they take the place of Jesus, they doom us! John doesn’t tell us about Communion, but he tells us about the washing of the disciples feet and gives us the words of Jesus that follow.
Let’s look at those in verses 12-17, 31-35
What Jesus did in John 13 was just a demonstration of these truths, these principles.
If I’m your master and I have done these things for you, you should do these thing for one another.
No one is exempt from showing love and serving others… There is no one that is beyond this… Jesus wasn’t. Why would you be exempt?Jesus says that if we do these things, we’ll be happy.
Serving others brings happiness!
It was hot yesterday… I think every year is the hottest Chandler Day on record… You know what I noticed in the middle of all of it? Smiles… People were having fun serving others. “If you know these things, happy are ye if you do them.”
For Jesus, this was service born out of love… It wasn’t the power of the basin or the towel. There wasn’t something special about the cleansing of feet… It was a need. Jesus met the need.
Today, this looks like listening or
loving on children in the nursery or
running the sound board or
visiting someone in the nursing home or
sending a note, a text, making a call, giving an invite or
inviting someone to sit around a bonfire with you or
inviting them to sit at your table and eat with you.
Part of me wants to assign you stuff to do…I think if your heart is shaped like Jesus, I won’t be able to assign you anything… The love of Jesus transformed John’s life and reproduced in Him a powerful love that would be poured out on the people John would serve.
Looking for a church in the Evansville area?
We’d love to have you join us for worship this Sunday at 9:30 or 11:00!
See how close we are and get directions in Google Maps.