Summary: We learn three truths about the love of Jesus.
On the night of Jesus’ betrayal and arrest, he had his last supper with his disciples. This was when Jesus instituted what we know today as the Lord’s Supper, which has been eaten by Christians for almost two millennia.
John’s Gospel has the most detailed account of what happened during Jesus’ last supper with his disciples. John 13-17 contains the final discourse and prayer of our Lord with his disciples prior to his betrayal, arrest and crucifixion, and teaching about heaven, the new commandment, the person and work of the Holy Spirit, the mutual union of Christ with his disciples, and prayer.
Let us read John 13:1-17:
1 Now 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. 2 During supper, when the devil had 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 back to God, 4 rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5 Then 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. 6 He 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.” 9 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10 Jesus 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.”
12 When 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. 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 also should do just as I have done to you. 16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. (John 13:1-17)
We could easily spend several weeks on this text of Scripture. Tonight, however, I want to direct your attention primarily to the second part of verse 1: “… having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.”
The Scriptures teach us that God makes a distinction between “the world” and those who are Christ’s “own.” The Scriptures further teach that God has done some things for all men, that is, for everyone in the world. God has created them, sustained them, kept them from the worst that is possible, even tolerated them and thus kept them for a time from hell. In theology, we call this common grace.