Summary: You can't do anything for Jesus until you grasp what he has done for you
? The idea of box sets has become a real phenomenon in modern day television. The whole craze started a few years ago with the American series ‘24’, which went from one cliffhanger to the next, for 24 episodes. And then it went from one season to the next.
? The most annoying thing I found about 24 is that you made your way through a whole season of 24 episodes, and the very last one, where you wanted to have a nice finish that wraps everything up, so you can get on with the rest of your life – the last show ended with another cliffhanger, so you had to tune in to season 2.
o And season 2 pretty much had the same characters, with a different plot, and lots more cliffhangers.
• Now when we come to John 13, we’re really coming to Season 2 of John’s Gospel. Same plot – Jesus is still on his way to the cross - but different characters. The first half of the Gospel is all about Jesus’ evangelistic mission to the world.
? But now in ch.13 the scene changes dramatically, and Jesus focuses on his own disciples. A little bit like ‘24’, ch.13-17 is the teaching of a single night - the Thursday night before Good Friday. Every hour counts, every word matters.
? As Jesus prepares himself for the cross the next day, he wants his disciples to understand what it means to follow him, now that he is about to leave them and return to heaven.
• In chs 14 to 16 Jesus will teach his disciples about the challenges ahead, and their call to bring the Gospel to a hostile world. But he begins by helping them understand what he will do for them on the cross.
This is where discipleship begins. We can’t be disciples until we understand what Jesus has done for us at the cross. All our worship, all our serving, our giving, our sacrifice is fuelled by, inspired by, what Jesus has done for us.
This passage teaches us 3 things that Jesus has done for us that form the basis for everything we will ever do for him.
• He has loved us (1-5)
• John has already told us that God loves the whole world - even those who reject him. But he has a particular love for his own people that is deeper and more intimate than anything he shares with the world.
(v. 1) ‘having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them til the end.’ The NIV translates it ‘he now showed them the full extent of his love.’
• And before we move on to the foot washing, just pause a minute here. Jesus was about to die a horrific death, within just a few hours. A death that was so troubling to him that he bent double in Gethsemane with blood like sweat pouring to the ground.
And yet what was foremost on his mind before he walked to Gethsemane was showing his disciples how much he loved them. That is extraordinary.
If I was heading to my death I would be in too much personal turmoil to have time to think of anyone, or anything else. Men on death row often have their favourite meal specially prepared for them, and the chance to have counselling with a priest on the day they die. But Jesus gathered his closest friends for a special meal where he would wash their feet and calm their fears and tell them how much he loved them.
And if you add to that the fact that Judas was also at this last supper – (v.2) says the Devil had already put it in Judas’ heart to betray Jesus, and Jesus knew it - and yet Jesus washed Judas’ feet, and planned and shared this meal with Judas. As the childrens’ chorus says in rather dodgy English, ‘Jesus’ love is very wonderful’.
• The specific way Christ demonstrated his love in this famous scene, was to get down from the table and wash their feet. (v.3) ‘Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hand, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured the water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet.’
The introduction of this foot washing is key. Jesus knew that God had given him authority over everyone and everything. He knew that he was Lord of heaven and earth, and the Greek text adds ‘so’…’so he get down from the table and washed their feet.
Illust I was struck by the story of Ade Goodchild, a factory worker who won 71M on the national lottery. He said, ‘I'm not one of these winners who is going to say this win won't change me. It will or at least I'll give it a good go!"