The Gospel of John, The Period of Conference, Transition, Christ Washes His Disciple's Feet, Part V, John 13:1-8 - Lesson 113
In chapter 13 we enter into his intimate ministry to those that he called to serve as disciples.
Even knowing that his hour had come, indeed the very week, Jesus Christ continued to love those whom the Father had given him.
Jesus Christ demonstrates to his disciples and to all believers what he said in:
Mat 20:27,28, And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
The perfect example of servant hood is demonstrated in this passage.
Verse John 13:1 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.
We are told that this event happened before the feast of the Passover.
Jesus knew that his hour was come.
This was the eve before he was to die.
But he had instruction for his own, loving them unto the end.
Note that in spite or being rejected by national Israel John tells us that he had a small band that he called "his own."
His own, an example of the remnant.
We are not our own, we are his own.
His own, bought with a price, the precious blood of Christ.
We see Jesus Christ whose hour had come when he was to face the hatred of man.
But the same hour would bring his return unto the Father and in it all he loves them unto the end.
This end is not in terms of time but it means to the furthest extent, to the uttermost.
John 13:2 And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him;
But not all were there to be instructed.
Not all were his own.
The devil had claimed one who had walked with Jesus Christ and had witnessed the same glory that the others had witnessed.
But instead of receiving Jesus Christ as Lord he had received Satan as his Lord.
Satan had found and conquered one, Judas, of the twelve.
John 13:3 Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God;
In full consciousness of his deity, fully knowing that he was come from God and he would go to God he chooses to become a bond slave of his own.
He made himself of no reputation and humbled himself to wash the feet of his disciples.
In so doing we are instructed by Christ himself in what must occur if we desire to be in fellowship with our Master.
John 13:4,5, He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.
There had been no one to wash the feet of Jesus and the disciples before they came to the room to dine.
Most likely there was no slave to perform this usual function.
Dinner would be enjoyed in the semi-prone position so feet were prominent in a setting like we see here.
It was important that feet were attended to so they would not offend.
They wore open sandals walking in the dusty paths and feet were dirty.
It was not right to fellowship together in such close arrangements with dirty feet.
Fellowship with Jesus Christ requires clean feet.
Twelve disciples plus Jesus Christ at the supper table.
All knew of the need for clean feet.
Each one wondered, who is going to get up and wash our feet?
Each one had the opportunity to serve each of the others and their Master by taking the position of servant and washing their feet.
But none moved to satisfy this important need.
Peter wash the feet of John?
Andrew wash the feet of Phillip?
Who will wash the feet of Judas?
They might deign to wash the feet of Jesus because he was their Master, but to wash the feet of other disciples!
They had their pride, didn't they?
They certainly were not inferior to any of the other disciples were they?
What was the precedence?
Who was first among them?
Only Jesus Christ moved.
And by so doing he teaches his own a most beautiful and necessary lesson.
Jesus Christ is deliberate in his service.
He does all decently and in order.
He removes, his outer garments, generally taken off to work and also used as a cover for sleep.
Girding himself with a towel handy for wiping dry the feet of his disciples, he fills a basin with water and begins to wash the feet of the disciples.
24 dirty feet to wash.
No speeches, no discussions, just service to those who are supposed to be serving him.
We are given to see in this passage the Lord of Glory.
The Lord whom angels adore.
The Lord whom angels fall in worship and praise.
This same Lord who left the glories of heaven we now see on his knees.
He carries a basin of water, a towel covering his nakedness and he wipes the wet but clean feet of twelve men.
He loves his own to the uttermost.
He teaches them that to have uninterrupted fellowship with him he must wash their feet to remove the dirt and grime that the feet gather as his disciples take their daily walk.
This is a picture of Jesus Christ's washing of sin by the word of God.
To have fellowship with Jesus Christ there must be a spiritual washing by the word of God.
And he teaches the principle of service without pride of ones position or power.
He teaches that his disciples are to serve one another in humility and love.
But Peter does not understand the significance of the principles that Jesus Christ is teaching as we see in:
John 13:6 Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet?
Peter has watched his Lord washing the feet of his fellow disciples.
They have accepted his service in silence and without opposing Jesus Christ's service.
But this was not so to be with Peter.
He was not going to let his Master stoop so low.
No! not Peter!
Lord, dost thou wash my feet?
Peter's question is a normal question from a worldly point of view.
It shows his worldly mindset.
The world says that serving is low.
But Christ is high.
Therefore a person of Jesus Christ's high and lifted up position should not lower himself to serve, according to Peter!
But that is a worldly position.
That is not a Christian position.
That is not the mind of God!
The Christian position is that service is high.
The Christian's position is that servant hood is the highest position in God's order of things.
To hinder someone from service is to indicate that service is of low value.
And to hinder God's benefits, to shun God's service is to lift up oneself with pride as if not in need of those benefits.
Does not God serve us daily?
Are we not daily loaded with his benefits.
Are we not to daily serve others by sharing those benefits, sharing that found honey with others?
Servant hood is the example that God continually gives us Peter!
But Jesus admits to Peter that he knows that Peter does not know what is going on.
He admits to him that he will grow to know what this all means.
John 13:7, Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.
Jesus Christ wants Peter to learn that what he is doing now by washing the feet of his disciples is a picture.
It is a sample of the work which he will perform for his people when he returns to the Father.
Peter, you do not see this now but you will when the Holy Spirit teaches you all things.
This is a gentle rebuke to you Peter.
Faith should have guided you in your speech and your thoughts.
Does not the Lord do all things well?
If he wants to wash your feet, should you question that?
Peter does for in John 13:8, he says: Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.
The language here is imperative.
Peter is saying, Lord, you will never wash my feet at any time or at any place.
Why should I the servant, be washed by my Master?
You will never, never, never, wash my feet!
But Jesus says:
If I wash thee not you will have no part with me.
You cannot wash yourself into being a Christian.
Christ only saves those whom he washes.
And those who will to wash themselves do not have the right cleansing agent for the job.
It can't be done.
And this is true not only for the saving of our souls where the washing of the whole man is required but for the washing of our defiled walk.
Our feet get dirty and require a daily cleansing.
Not by ourselves but by Jesus Christ, by the word of God.
Jesus Christ is telling Peter in this passage that fellowship with him requires Peter to submit his feet to Jesus Christ.
Peter must submit his feet that have gotten dirty that day, to the word of God so the word of God can wash off the dirt of his daily walk.
Peter, this is not simply confession of sin and God's forgiveness.
Peter, it is the searching out of the word of that which leads you and me into sin.
Peter, it is allowing the light of the word of God to do a work of grace in your heart.
Let the light in and search out those ways in your heart that are your ways, ways that are not God's ways.
It is the attitude of the Psalmist:
Psa 139:23,24 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
That is why it is so important to daily study God's word so God can do the washing away of the dirt of our daily walk.
God does not take us away from the dirt of this world.
As long as we are in this world our feet will get dirty.
God knows that but he has provided a remedy to remove the dirt, and that remedy is the word of God.
Don't avail yourself of the washing of the word and your feet will continue to be dirty and fellowship with Jesus Christ is broken.
You will have no part with him, Peter!