Summary: A message on the sovereignty of God
So when [Jesus] had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you? 13 "You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. 14 "If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 "For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. 16 "Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. 17 "If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. 18 "I do not speak of all of you. I know the ones I have chosen; but it is that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ’HE WHO EATS MY BREAD HAS LIFTED UP HIS HEEL AGAINST ME.’ 19 "From now on I am telling you before it comes to pass, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am He. 20 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me."
Jesus - a Man with a Purpose
Nobody in the history of the world has foreknown and foretold and carried out his life and death and resurrection the way Jesus did. The overwhelming impact of reading the gospel accounts of the life of Jesus is that here is a man who knows what is coming, describes what is coming, and performs what is coming, according the purpose of God foretold in Scripture, that he was sent to fulfil. He sets his face like flint to do everything written of him, and he will not turn to the right hand or to the left lest one prediction of his Father in the Old Testament should fall to the ground.
Do you recall what Jesus said when Peter struck off Malchus’ ear in the garden the night before Jesus was crucified? In Matthew 26:53-54 Jesus says, "Do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? How then will the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way?" Do you see what he is saying? "I am carrying out predictions of my Father. I am governing my life according to plan. I am sovereignly guiding these affairs so that everything happens according to my Father’s plan."
Remember what he said in John 10:17-18: "I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again." In other words, it may look to bystanders as though Jesus is the victim of betrayal and conspiracy and mob violence and mock trials and fickle governors. But what Jesus says is: I am in charge here. "Nobody takes my life from me. I lay it down. I take it up." His was a sovereign sacrifice. Jesus was in charge of when he died, how he died, and when he rose from the dead.
Two Ways to Experience the Impact in Your Life
Now there are two ways I want you to experience the personal impact of this in your life this morning. 1) One is to realize that this sovereign, intentional sacrifice of Jesus’ life is a sacrifice for sin. 2) And the other is to realize that the saving, eternal-life-giving effect of this sovereign sacrifice for sin becomes yours by faith in Jesus.
1. Jesus’ Death Was a Sacrifice for Sins
Jesus’ death was not just a model for how to endure unjust suffering. It was a substitutionary sacrifice for sins. When Jesus died, he died as the perfectly innocent Son of God in the place of guilty sinners. This is the heart of the Christian gospel - the good news. Here’s the way the apostle Paul put it in 1 Corinthians 15:1-3: "I make known to you the gospel . . . that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day." Or in another place he says, "While we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly" (Romans 5:6).
Here’s the way the apostle John says it in 1 John 4:10: "[God] loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." "Propitiation" means that the death of Christ takes away the anger of God - propitiates God’s wrath - from those who trust Jesus.