Summary: The humility that’s needed if we are to serve the Lord.
Washing feet for Jesus John 13: 1-17
A young lady called her boyfriend one evening and said, “Will you come over here and help me, I’ve got a new jigsaw puzzle and I can’t even seem to get it started.” He said, “What’s it supposed to be?” And she said, “According to the picture on the box, it’s a tiger.” Well, he had nothing else to do so he decided to go over and give her a hand. She lets him in and shows him the puzzle spread all over the kitchen table. He studies the pieces for a minute, then looks at the picture on the box and turns to her and says, “First of all, no matter what we do, we’re not going to be able to assemble these pieces so that they’ll look anything like that tiger on the box.” And then he took her hand said, “I want you to relax. Let’s have a nice cup of tea and then we’ll put all the Frosted Flakes back in the box.”
This story shows us that not everybody knows everything. And I’m certainly one of those people, so you’ll have to be a little bit patient with me as I try to deal with this portion of scripture both this week and next.
Now, according to verse 1 Jesus and His disciples were gathered in the upper room for the Passover celebration. And you have to understand that the upper room was just a large empty room that probably had a low table for the food and not much else. This room would have been rented out to anybody during the Passover season or any other Jewish celebration. They’d probably have afternoon and evening rentals. And remember that this was the time of the year when all Jews everywhere paused to observe a thanksgiving feast in honor of God’s deliverance from Egypt.
So, they would come and have a meal where each of the foods had something to do with what God did for His people during the night of their deliverance from the Egyptians. And during this meal they’d share what the scriptures had to say about the first Passover. And in this passage they may have done all that and afterwards Jesus gave them a message. And the message begins in chapter 13 and ends in chapter 17 and it’s the longest message that Jesus ever gave that we have a record of. It’s commonly referred to as the upper room discourse simply because that was where He gave it.
And basically, Jesus uses this opportunity to prepare His disciples for the dramatic events which are about to unfold. And here He speaks of His betrayal by Judas, the denial of Peter, of their home in heaven, the coming of the Holy Spirit, the rejection of the world and His impending death, burial and resurrection. And all this is in the next four chapters.
In verses 1-3 of chapter 13 we have the introduction and it’s not introducing just this first chapter but it’s introducing the entire message. We often gloss over verse I in an attempt to move into the action parts of the message but I believe there is a wealth of information here about the heart and mind of Jesus and particularly in the latter part of verse one.
Look at it again, “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.” And the first thing it says is that He knew that His hour had come. And ‘His hour’ is a term that is used several times by Jesus in the gospels.
In John 2:4 when He was speaking to His mother Mary at the wedding in Cana it says, “Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.” In John 7:30 it says, “Therefore, they sought to take Him; but no one laid a hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come.” And then in John 8:20, it says, “These words Jesus spoke in the treasury, as He taught in the temple; and no one laid hands on Him, for His hour had not yet come.” In John 12:23, “But Jesus answered them, saying, ‘The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified.’” And John 17:1, “Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven and said, ‘Father, the hour has come. Glorify your son, that your Son also may glorify You.” And then in Mark 14:41 it says, “Then He came the third time and said to them, ‘Are you still sleeping and resting? It is enough the hour has come; behold, the son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners.’”