Summary: Jesus' washing of His disciples feet provided a lesson in servanthood far more impressive than any verbal message.
A Cleansing Christ-like Distinctive: Washing Feet
This past Wednesday was Ash Wednesday, and for the next six weeks we are going to spend some time considering Jesus’ Lessons to His Disciples in the Upper Room, which basically covers day leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion. Jesus’ notoriety soared with the raising of Lazarus from the dead (which pointed to His own resurrection) followed by Palm Sunday’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, and in John 12:42-50 we read:
42 Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue ; 43 for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God. 44 And Jesus cried out and said, "He who believes in Me, does not believe in Me but in Him who sent Me. 45 "He who sees Me sees the One who sent Me. 46 "I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness. 47 "If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 "He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day. 49 "For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. 50 "I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me."
John 13:1: “Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.”
I. A Scriptural Statement of Christ’s Love: “He loved HIS OWN to the End.”
He loved them to the uttermost; He loved them with total fullness of love. Jesus loved them to perfection. Although Jesus would give His life within a day, although He would suffer the punishment of an eternity of God’s wrath upon sin before that time, He was not pre-occupied with the pain but rather with a totally perfect consuming love for His own... All the way to the cross, all the way through the grave, all the way through eternity.
Jesus loves HIS OWN fully, totally, completely, to the uttermost, to the absolute limit. There is no greater word to define Christ’s love for those that He would give His Life than “loving them to the end.” There’s no superior word that can better define Christ’s kind of love. He loved them to the end.
John 13:2 During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him, (Amazing…the Pure love of Jesus side by side with the destructive hatred of Judas. We talked about this during the week: HOW CAN PEOPLE have all the evidence before them, and yet reject GRACE! Judas had been daily in the presence of Christ’s love, a witness of His Love and Power, but yet Judas denied its power, and He had never come to receive its forgiveness. Today it’s the same way: Men and women hear the statements concerning the Love of God in Christ, but in the hardness of their own hearts they resist it, and as a result, they will be without it for all eternity.)
Look at Verse 3: “Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God, 4 got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself.” That verse really says it all: Jesus came from the highest, He returned to the Highest, He possesses ALL that IS because God gave it ALL into His hands!
Then what? John 13:5: “Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.” He went from having ALL THINGS GIVEN TO Him in Heaven and on Earth, and then go, not only to washing dirty feet, but washing the dirty feet of SINNERS; You have two extreme contrasts immediately: the hatred of Judas and the love of Jesus, and the Greatest of all Exaltation in Christ over all, over every single thing and Christ’s greatest humiliation in stooping, not only to wash the feet of sinners, but to die for sinners! And so the Savior stoops to wash the filthy feet, as if He were the lowest of the menial household slaves. That’s what He is demonstrating here!