Staying Close to Christ, Part V John 13:10-15
Jesus Christ, the greatest teacher that ever lived, has performed a cleansing of the feet of his disciples.
At first glance, its purpose was simply to change dirty feet into clean feet.
But in everything that Jesus does we are to pay attention to the deeper instruction He intends for us to receive.
For there was far more for the disciples to come away with than clean feet.
And Jesus will make sure that that deeper instruction is given for He uses the physical to teach the spiritual.
And this is inferred in John 13:12, So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?
Now it was obvious what he had done to them, he had cleaned their feet but this question was asked to spur thought on the part of the disciples.
There was a deeper meaning.
So we are to notice the method that Jesus uses here to teach his disciples.
This washing of their feet and the questions of Jesus show how it is his way to teach us afterwards the good which he has already done for us.
Perhaps you are going through very difficult times and you wonder what it is all about.
You can be assured that God will in His own good time reveal to you what it is all about.
Jesus Christ wants us to know and appreciate what he has done.
You should often reflect and ponder the things that Jesus Christ has done for you.
Think about the path you have been given when you decided to follow Jesus.
For everything he has done is for our good!
And in everything he wants us to know the whys and the wherefores of what he has done.
He does not wish for ignorant disciples, he does not wish for robots to follow him.
He does not wish for followers who follow him out of habit or tradition or because it is a family thing.
He desires his followers to know, to be knowledgeable, that they give glory to Him.
We must realize as we study Christ that everything he did was full of meaning, everything he did is intended to serve a purpose.
And there are few examples more full of meaning than the washing of his discipleís feet so he wants his disciples to know what he had done to them in the fullest sense.
Know ye what I have done to you?
John 13:13-15, Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
He reminds his disciples of what he is to them.
He is Lord, he is Master and if they call him Lord, if they call him Master, then honesty demands that they believe him and obey him.
Do not call Jesus Christ, Lord if Lord means nothing.
Calling someone Master means that you are under His command.
Calling someone Lord means that you obey him.
Jesus Christ tells his disciples that it is right and well to call him Lord and Master.
He validates those titles for them and us.
This is what we ought to call him, but it must be accompanied by believing and obedience.
If you do not obey the one you call Lord you are nothing but a hypocrite, a liar and a deceiver.
Everything Jesus Christ does provides examples for his followers to follow.
Does not God intend his children to be conformed to his Son?
So he provides us spiritual lessons by example.
He says to his disciples, observe what I have just done so that ye may do the same.
I have washed your feet. Ye also ought to wash one another's feet.
Jesus Christ, Lord and Master is teaching a lesson to his disciples.
He uses this example to tell the disciples that what he has done to them he expects them also to do to each other.
But it involves much more than the physical act of washing dirty feet.
Note that the Lord Jesus Christ accepted the fact their feet were dirty.
He did not point this out to them in a critical and judging manner.
He did not compare their feet among themselves, saying that Peter's feet were dirtier than Andrew's feet or John's feet were cleaner than Judas's feet.
He simply washed their feet.
By this he demonstrated that every disciple had dirty feet that needed cleaning.
He demonstrated that he was the cleansing agent whereby dirty feet were made clean.
This is the lesson that Jesus Christ desired to teach his disciples.
He wants them to relate to one another in the matter of cleansing in the same way that he has related to them.
We may look at the feet of our brethren, we will see that they are dirty.
We are not to ignore the dirt, pretending that it is not there.
We are not to call the feet of our brothers clean when we know they are dirty.
Every foot on every brother or sister in Christ is dirty.
But we are not to judge his feet dirtier than our own feet or the feet of others.
What are we to do? We are simply to wash one another's feet.
The Lord Jesus Christ was talking about a spiritual washing and that is what I'm talking about
I have to get down to my brother's spiritual feet to wash them.
I have to humble myself to get into the right position to participate in the washing of his feet.
My flesh has to be subdued if the spirit is to work on behalf of my brother's spirit.
Jesus Christ is simply demonstrating the same thing that Paul said in:
Gal 6:1,2, Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
But if I am to restore such an one in the spirit of meekness there is required a submission of my brother as Peter said in:
1 Pet 5:5, Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
So cleasing is a two part act. Jesus cleans, the disciples yield.
Brothers clean by the washing of the word to brothers who yield.
In this vein your Pastor is in the foot washing business by preaching the word of God.
I as your Sunday School teacher am likewise in the foot washing business.
And you as a brother or sister in Christ are in the foot washing business.
As children of God Jesus Christ expects us to enter into the business of submitting ourselves one to another that the washing of the word take place.
We are to use the same cleansing agent on our brother or sister that Jesus Christ used on the feet of the disciples.
We are to use the word of God.
The word of God, Jesus Christ, cleaned the discipleís feet and that is still the cleansing agent that God expects us to use on our brother or sister.
The word of God is the restorative agent we are to use in the spirit of meekness and by doing this we fulfill the law of Christ.
As Christians we are not given any other cleansing agent to apply to our brother or sister but only the same cleansing agent that washed the feet of the disciples; the precious word of God.
We cannot clean the feet of the brethren with morality, or psychology or education or any of the isms that fill the world.
All those only cover the feet but the dirt of the world remains.
Jesus Christ said to Peter, If I wash not your feet you have no part with me.
This was Jesus Christ's lesson in fellowship, this was his lesson in restoration.
We are here given an example, we are here given a lesson on being an imitator of God.
We, as conforming ones of the image of God's Son, are to be a witness of God.
We are to be a light of God before our brothers in Christ.
And in so doing we participate in the washing away of the influence of this world on our brother.
This is Christ like!
We are to be patient with our brother's faults, we are to apply the word of God to his case, we are to daily intercede in prayer for him.
And in doing this we have participated in the washing of our brother's feet!
We are to have a clean slate each day in the eyes of the Lord and his disciples.
A cleaning each day by the washing of the word of God.
And in this we are to be little Christís as God conforms us to the image of his Son.
Jesus continues in John 13:16, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.
Of a truth, of a truth.
Jesus Christ reminds his disciples that he who is the Lord of all does not think it beneath his dignity to perform this menial service for them.
If this is so then they should not think it beneath their dignity to do likewise for others for they are not greater than their Lord.
John 13:17, If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.
By this simple sentence Jesus Christ gives us an important principle of Christian living.
It is not enough to hear, to understand, to approve what is right; one must do it to be happy.
Knowing the will of God is not enough, it is the doing of the will of God where happiness will be found.
As Matthew in: Mat 7:21, Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
And James who said, Be ye doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
John 13:18,19, I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me. Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he.
I speak not of you all, Judas.
This lesson in fellowship does not apply to you.
You say Lord, Lord but it is only words.
You do not do the will of my Father.
But you will do what you will do that the scripture may be fulfilled.
You do your own will, but my Father will use your will to fulfill his will.
Judas, you are the one that will fulfill the scripture of:
Psa 41:9, Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.
Disciples! I tell you before it come in order to help you believe that I am he.
I tell you because what will shortly come to pass will stagger your faith.
You will remember what I have told you and you will believe who I am.
The apostasy of Judas, one of you, will astound you and may cause you to stumble but I tell you ahead of the event in order to steady your faith.
The scripture will be fulfilled!
John 13:20,21, Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.
In spite of his announcement that one of those who eats with him shall betray him Jesus Christ encourages the disciples.
What a wonderful promise he gives to those that are sent!
Jesus Christ connects those who are sent, directly to the Father.
In this one verse he connects those whom he sends, to himself and also to the father.
He bolsters the disciples in this hour of betrayal by telling them that they represent the ultimate kingdom.
He reminds them that those whom he sends are ambassadors of the God of Heaven, the one who sent him.
Those who receive his sent ones are not only receiving them but they are receiving Christ and his Father.
What a reminder to us to be careful in our reception of God's servants.
Because when we receive God's servants or reject God's servants we are receiving Christ and God or rejecting Christ and God.
He is also saying in these words of encouragement:
Disciples, do not concern yourselves with a traitor amongst you, because my kingdom is assured.
Those who I send will be successful because they are sent by the same one who sent me.
The efforts of a traitor under the control of his father, the devil will not prevail.
Be not downhearted, disciples. Look not on the actions of men, remember who you represent!
This is that message that Christ leaves for all of his disciples. Remember who you serve!
John 13:22 Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake.
Confusion dominated the table.
The testimony of Judas was such that no one suspected him to be the betrayer.
Every day that Judas attended to the bag and to the duties of the treasurer Jesus had treated him as a friend and a faithful follower.
Jesus Christ had not exhibited anything against him that revealed to the disciples what Judas was.
Jesus Christ bore with patience the traitor in his midst.