Summary: A study of the Gospel of John 13: 1 – 17
John 13: 1 – 17
1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. 2 And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, 4 rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. 5 After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. 6 Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, “Lord, are You washing my feet?” 7 Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.” 8 Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” 9 Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!” 10 Jesus said to him, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.” 11 For He knew who would betray Him; therefore He said, “You are not all clean.” 12 So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13 You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. 16 Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
In another chapter 13 of different book in the bible named 1 Corinthians we read this statement penned by the apostle Paul in verse 13, “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
When we were young our lives existed individually. Everything was about us. But as we grew it should have been extended to care about others. In fact the apostle Paul said in the eleventh verse, “When I was a child, I spoke as a child; I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”
We naturally should love our parents, our brothers and sisters, friends, grandparents, and other relatives. In other words we should move from being totally self-centered to others centered. This transformation can occur in a thousand different ways, but I have never seen it occur without the insight that we are on this earth for a greater purpose than just serving ourselves. You are constantly preoccupied with “me” and what you like and what others think of you and why things aren’t going your way. It reminds me of the joke about the gorgeous girl who spoke about herself endlessly and then tried to make amends “But enough about me. Let’s talk about you. Tell me what you like about me.”
The ultimate ‘others centered’ person is the servant of others. In teaching His disciples we read in the Gospel of Matthew this instruction, “But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant.”
Our Lord Jesus Is going to show His disciples and us that He was ready to be the prophesied ‘Suffering Servant’. Father God proclaimed Him to be His Anointed Holy One Who would give His life a ransom for others including you and me when He proclaimed, “Behold! My Servant whom I have chosen, My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased! I will put My Spirit upon Him, and He will declare justice to the Gentiles.
Two major lessons come out from this passage. The first is that of the example that our Lord Jesus was giving of true humility in love and service. He stressed that His disciples were similarly to behave as He has (13.13-17). The second is what is to be learned from His statement to Peter about the need for those who have already been bathed only to wash their feet. It was indicating that He was the source both of their initial cleansing and of their daily cleansing, and that the former was permanent in its effectiveness. Once a person has been truly cleansed by Him the effectiveness of that cleansing is permanent. All that is then required is to deal with daily sins as they occur.