Jesus Washes the Disciples’ Feet:
(Read John 13:1-2)
As Jesus prepares his disciples for his death and departure, he assured them that he loves them to the end (13:1). John gives the account of Lord's private ministry to his disciples from chapter 13 to 17. This is also known as the upper room discourse of Jesus. These disciples are Christ's treasured gift from the Father. Jesus knew that his appointed time has come to leave the world (12:27). There is no love like the love of the dying Savior (Rom 8:39). Jesus came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). Jesus practiced what He preached (John 13:1-20). The scene was the last supper. Jesus longed to fellowship with His disciples before his death. At Passover Jesus was going to die as the Sacrificial Lamb of God. Meanwhile the disciples were arguing among themselves asking "Who would be the greatest in the coming kingdom" (Luke 22:24). And the Satan had already enticed Judas Iscariot to betray Jesus.
Jesus Washes His Disciples’ feet:
(Read John 13:3-17)
Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over all things. As Jesus humbly washes the disciples' feet, it symbolizes the cleansing of the heart that Christ will accomplish through his death on the cross. It was customary in the oriental homes for servant to wash the feet of guests. The disciples were too proud to perform this menial task. Peter's refusal to be washed demonstrates our natural resistance to God's grace. By this lowly act, Jesus demonstrated that true greatness is realized in serving others. This was a graphic illustration of his humility, love and compassion. Peter was only thinking about physical washing. Jesus said to him "If I don't wash you, you have no share with me" (13:8). Unless we are willing to admit that we are unclean and in need of washing by the blood of Christ, we can't be saved. We are washed by the blood of Christ when we got saved (Titus 3:5). Since our feet get dirty in this sinful world, we need daily washing to have fellowship with God (1 John 1:7-9). But disciples did not get this message. Jesus said, "Since I, the Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other's feet" (13:14). Christ did not institute an ordinance of foot washing here. The baptism and the Lord's Supper are the only two ordinances given to the New Testament Church. Those who trust Jesus as their Lord and Savior should be willing to serve one another. Jesus demonstrated the spiritual cleansing we need daily. Jesus said "If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them (13:17). True joy and blessing come only when we practice a life of humility. Jesus should become our Savior before he becomes our example. Christ's gracious love should motivate us to serve one another.
Jesus Predicts His Betrayal:
Jesus came to do what we could never do for ourselves. In the upper room Jesus begins to feel the agony of his coming suffering. Jesus warned the disciples about his betrayal (13:21). The disciples were very sorrowful. Jesus did not identify betrayer by name but by giving him a piece of bread, dipped in sauce. This was a token of friendship. Even in his betrayal, Jesus loved Judas and given him a chance to repent. But he chose to be a hypocrite and traitor. Satan possessed Judas and he went out to betray Jesus. And it was night. Judas plunged into the darkness of the blackness of sin. This shows the depravity of human heart. Judas was remorseful but not repentant of his sin (Matt 27:3-5). Repentance is a deliberate change of mind that leads life into a new direction. How do we make sense that a close disciple could betray the Lord? Only God's grace can explain why any of us would turn from sin to put our trust in Jesus. Only godly sorrow can lead a sinner into repentance (2 Cor 7:10). With the exit of Judas, Jesus knew that his death is at hand. Jesus also knew that the Father would glorify the Son by his death, resurrection and ascension.
A New Commandment:
(Read John 13:31-35)
Christ commands the disciple to love one another just as He has loved them. It can be understood only in light of the finished work of Jesus on the cross. Christ gave a new definition to the old command (Rom 5:8). God wanted Israel to love their neighbors (Leviticus 19:18). Christ loved the whole world. It is the sacrificial love. We are commanded to love our enemies. Jesus said "By this all people would know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another" (13:35) It is not through our orthodoxy we make a difference in this world but by our love for one another. The disciples were different in their personalities and temperaments. Because they have experienced the gracious love of Christ now they are motivated to love others. Christians are called to love the unlovely and oppressed (Rom 5:5). Our worship, ministry and sacrifice are of no eternal value if they are not motivated by love (1 Cor 13:1-3). Someone has said "To show God's love Jesus died for us, to show our love we live for Him".
Jesus predicts Peter’s Denial:
(Read John 13:36-38)
Peter wanted to follow Christ always. Jesus said to him "You can't follow me now, but you will follow me afterward". Peter said "I will lay down my life for you". He was ready even to die for Christ. Jesus knew all about Peter and predicted that he will deny Him three times before rooster crows. Perhaps Jesus wanted to teach Peter that he should find his confidence in the Lord rather than in his own strength. Jesus promised Peter that he would restore him to usefulness. The Lord knows how weak we are without him. We can do nothing without Christ (15:5; 21:17). Pray that God would enable us to live and serve him in the power of the Holy spirit.