August 7, 2008

Jesus Washes His Disciples’ Feet

Posted in Devotionals, Stories at 3:58 pm by Sarah Bosse

JOHN 13 (ESV)

Jesus Washes His Disciples’ Feet
1 Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. He now showed the disciples the full extent of his love.* 2 It was time for supper, and the Devil had already enticed Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, to carry out his plan to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. 4 So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, 5 and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel he had around him.

6 When he came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, “Lord, why are you going to wash my feet?” 7 Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now why I am doing it; someday you will.” 8 “No,” Peter protested, “you will never wash my feet!” Jesus replied, “But if I don’t wash you, you won’t belong to me.” 9 Simon Peter exclaimed, “Then wash my hands and head as well, Lord, not just my feet!”

10 Jesus replied, “A person who has bathed all over does not need to wash, except for the feet,* to be entirely clean. And you are clean, but that isn’t true of everyone here.” 11 For Jesus knew who would betray him. That is what he meant when he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

12 After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? 13 You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because it is true. 14 And since I, the Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. 15 I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. 16 How true it is that a servant is not greater than the master. Nor are messengers more important than the one who sends them. 17 You know these things—now do them! That is the path of blessing.

Jesus Predicts His Betrayal

18 “I am not saying these things to all of you; I know so well each one of you I chose. The Scriptures declare, ‘The one who shares my food has turned against me,’* and this will soon come true. 19 I tell you this now, so that when it happens you will believe I am the Messiah. 20 Truly, anyone who welcomes my messenger is welcoming me, and anyone who welcomes me is welcoming the Father who sent me.”

21 Now Jesus was in great anguish of spirit, and he exclaimed, “The truth is, one of you will betray me!”

22 The disciples looked at each other, wondering whom he could mean. 23 One of Jesus’ disciples, the one Jesus loved, was sitting next to Jesus at the table.* 24 Simon Peter motioned to him to ask who would do this terrible thing. 25 Leaning toward Jesus, he asked, “Lord, who is it?”

26 Jesus said, “It is the one to whom I give the bread dipped in the sauce.” And when he had dipped it, he gave it to Judas, son of Simon Iscariot. 27 As soon as Judas had eaten the bread, Satan entered into him. Then Jesus told him, “Hurry. Do it now.” 28 None of the others at the table knew what Jesus meant. 29 Since Judas was their treasurer, some thought Jesus was telling him to go and pay for the food or to give some money to the poor. 30 So Judas left at once, going out into the night.

Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial

31 As soon as Judas left the room, Jesus said, “The time has come for me, the Son of Man, to enter into my glory, and God will receive glory because of all that happens to me. 32 And God will bring* me into my glory very soon. 33 Dear children, how brief are these moments before I must go away and leave you! Then, though you search for me, you cannot come to me—just as I told the Jewish leaders. 34 So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. 35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

36 Simon Peter said, “Lord, where are you going?” And Jesus replied, “You can’t go with me now, but you will follow me later.” 37 “But why can’t I come now, Lord?” he asked. “I am ready to die for you.” 38 Jesus answered, “Die for me? No, before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.

You can see the picture in your mind.  The Lord humbly washes the feet of His faithful disciples who would go on to do great works for the Kingdom…preaching the Gospel, writing the books of the New Testament, intensely suffering for the sake of Christ.  But can you see this Jesus washing the feet of Judas Iscariot, the one who would betray Him most horrifically with a kiss?  Do your soul a favor and consider this!  Isaiah 52:7 “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns!”  The feet of the One who brings good news; these feet, which had traveled many a dusty road to Bethlehem, Galilee, and Judea; these dusty feet were not the feet which would be washed.  Rather, the Owner of these beautiful feet was to wash feet pre-stained with blood and abominable guilt; the feet of the one who would be used by Satan to bring about the will of the Father – the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.  It is more than just a great humility that Jesus portrays here, for He knew that Satan had already enticed Judas (John 13:2) and that Judas was about to betray Him (John 13:11, 13: 21, 13:26, 13:27, etc.).  In verse 18, Jesus says, “I am not saying these things to all of you; I know so well each one of you I chose. The Scriptures declare, ‘The one who shares my food has turned against me,’ and this will soon come true.”  Jesus intimately knew the hearts of his disciples.  The disciples were dreadfully wrong concerning their steadfastness in obedience and faith, as demonstrated by Peter and Jesus in verses 37-38.  Jesus washed the feet of those who would disown Him and flee from the scene in scandalous fear, knowing they would sin before they did so.  Psalm 41:9 says, “Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me (KJV).”  John 13:21 “Now Jesus was in great anguish of spirit, and he exclaimed, “The truth is, one of you will betray me!””  May we not trivialize the anguish of Jesus’ spirit!  Judas did not object to Jesus washing his feet as did Peter.  Peter – the disciple who never walks the middle ground, but rather either walked the waves or drowned in the tempest – this Peter perhaps understood his position of servitude before his Master, and willed that his Master not humiliate Himself by washing the feet of servants.  Peter and the disciples were naive to the fact that Jesus would soon demonstrate servitude with an infinitely more severe cost when He hung on the cross for each of them and the rest of chosen humanity.  What did Satan think when the King of Glory, in human form, de-robed and wrapped in a towel, kneeling on a dirt floor in a dark room with a basin of water, removed sandals and dirt from the feet of fishermen and tax collectors?  What did Satan think as Jesus looked up into the eyes of his friend and betrayer, as His spirit inwardly groaned?  Did Satan see weakness only and believe for a moment that he would have the final victory over Christ – that Christ might bow to him and accept his tempting offer (Matthew 4:8-10, 4:6-7)?  Or did Satan cower at the evidence of Christ’s great meekness and disguised power?

Let’s glean several things from this text.  First, let’s recognize the depth of humility and meekness Jesus showed before this Passover meal.  Second, let’s hear what Jesus is clearly calling us to do in response.  John 13:12-17 “After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? 13 You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because it is true. 14 And since I, the Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. 15 I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. 16 How true it is that a servant is not greater than the master. Nor are messengers more important than the one who sends them. 17 You know these things—now do them! That is the path of blessing.”  John 13:34-35 “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. 35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

MEEKNESS & MAJESTY

Meekness and majesty, manhood and deity,
In perfect harmony – the man who is God;
Lord of eternity, dwells in humanity,
Kneels in humility, and washes our feet.

Oh, what a mystery –
Meekness and majesty;
Bow down and worship,
For this is your God,
This is your God!

Father’s pure radiance, perfect in innocence,
Yet learns obedience to death on a cross;
Suffering to give us life,
Conquering through sacrifice –
And as they crucify, prays, ‘Father, forgive.’

Oh, what a mystery –
Meekness and majesty;
Bow down and worship,
For this is your God,
This is your God!

Wisdom unsearchable, God the invisible,
Love indestructible in frailty appears;
Lord of infinity, stooping so tenderly
Lifts our humanity
To the heights of his throne.

Oh, what a mystery –  Meekness and majesty;
Bow down and worship,
For this is your God,
This is your God!

Graham Kendrick

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2 Comments »

  1. Alex said,

    Your blog is interesting!

    Keep up the good work!

  2. trulygodsgrace said,

    Thank you.


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