This is the sermon for Wednesday, September 9th, 2009.

John part 58

Jesus:  The humble Servant King.

John 13:1-17.

John 13:1-17 ESV – 1Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2During supper, when the devil had already put it 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 had come from God and was going back to God, 4rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. 6He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” 7 Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” 8 Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” 9Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.”12When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. 16Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.

INTRODUCTION

As chapter 13 begins, Jesus’ public ministry to Israel has ended.  Now, before His betrayal, arrest, trial, torture, and death He is spending some focused time with His disciples (the Twelve).  He has many things to share with them and many examples to live before them before His “dark night of the soul.”

These moments really show His love for His disciples.

Jesus also shows us a very important principle:  While He is the King of all kings – He humbled Himself to serve us for our salvation.

Matthew 20:28 ESV – The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Let’s begin looking into what our text would say to us.

The timing of the narrative.

John 13:1a ESV – Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father…

The complete time period is just before, and then also during the Passover meal.  The reason I say this is because the next 7 chapters are all in this time period.

John goes into much greater detail than all the other Gospels do on things that occurred and were said during this time, Why?  Well, I feel because John in his Gospel is emphazing Christ’s love; so this goes right to our next point.

The great love of Christ toward His disciples.

John 13:1b ESV – … having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

Notice the phrase, “He loved them to the end.” The Greek word for, “to the end,” is Telos. It means, “until an accomplished purpose.”  It doesn’t mean that Jesus quit loving them after He died.  What it means is He would continue to show them this specific love, even during times like Peter’s betrayal and when the disciples will later scatter in fear during His arrest.  He would continue to love them; that would not change.

He is about to show His love for them in a way that will surprise them greatly.

Jesus expresses His love for them by humbling Himself to wash their feet.

John 13:2-5 ESV – 2During supper, when the devil had already put it 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 had come from God and was going back to God, 4rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

Some facts concerning these verses:

  • The meal was already in progress (verse 2)
  • The devil was already working on Judas to betray Christ (verse2)
  • Jesus was fully aware of where He came from and where He was going, plus the authority He had (verse 3)
  • Jesus – the All-powerful One humbles Himself (takes off His outer clothing) and puts the servant’s towel around his waist; poured water, and commenced to wash the disciples feet; including the feet of Judas the betrayer (verse 4-5&11)

Some important things to learn:

  • While we will rule and reign with Christ, we are called to be servants
  • We not only serve one another, we serve those who are enemies of the cross – the lost

Peter’s rejection; Christ’s response.

John 13:6-9 ESV – 6He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” 7 Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” 8 Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” 9Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!”

Peter is highly offended that his Master would humble Himself like this.  He initially refuses to allow the Lord to wash His feet (verse 8).

Jesus’ response is rather important here:  “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” In Tense, Voice, and Mood in Greek Grammar, this is called a THIRD CLASS CONDITIONAL SENTENCE.  This means that more was happening here than a mere object lesson.  Jesus is emphasizing His coming work on the cross.

When Jesus said, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand,” I believe this is referring to after the cross and resurrection Peter would come to understand what Jesus was doing.

1 Peter 5:5b-6 ESV – 5Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you.

Notice Peter’s response:  “Not my feet only but also my hands and my head.” While Peter didn’t fully understand what Jesus was offering, he still wanted it all.

Jesus speaks of redemption.

John 13:10-11 ESV – 10Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

In the Jewish culture, people had to bathe before participating in the Holy meals and festivals.  But when they went to the place for the meal, all they had to do was just wash their feet; they didn’t need to take another bath to be considered ceremonially clean in order to partake of the meal.  The reason they would wash their feet is because of the dirt that would get on their feet from the travel, because at the dinner table, they didn’t set in chairs, but was reclined next to one another, making the feet closer to the food and the people eating.

The disciples were already clean, or bathed, by the words that Christ Jesus spoke.

John 15:3 ESV – Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.

What can we learn here?

  • We have been washed through Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 6:11b ESV – But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

  • We have continued cleansing from this world through the confession of our sins to the Lord.

1 John 1:8-9 ESV – 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Disciples of Christ are to follow the example that Christ left us.

John 13:12-17 ESV – 12When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. 16Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.

I don’t believe that Jesus is setting up a foot washing ordinance.  What is important here is not so much the foot-washing, but the servant-hood we should display to each other.  We will be blessed in our servant-hood.

CONCLUSION

God has called each believer to be a servant:  of servant of His; a servant of each other; and a servant to the world.  Let’s endeavor to be that and lay aside our agenda’s and reach out with the willingness to serve.

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