Friday, January 20, 2012

John 13:1-15

1 Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.
2 And supper being ended, the devil having now put 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 was come from God, and went to God;
4 He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.
5 After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.
6 Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet?
7 Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.
8 Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.
9 Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.
10 Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.
11 For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean.
12 So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?
13 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.
14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet.
15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.

Key Observation:
In the midst of the end of Jesus’ life, He takes time to teach servanthood.

This chapter marks the beginning of the end. It may be surprising to see that the cross is being written about already, since chapter 13 is little more than halfway through the book, but the resurrection is central to my foundation as a Christian. Without the resurrection I have nothing, no afterlife, no anything—all of my faith rests on the resurrection, for in the resurrection Jesus has conquered sin in my behalf. I could never be sure of sufficient coverage but for the fact of the resurrection, which symbolizes the triumph of life over death, of the power of Christ over sin. Because He arose, I can know He reigns supreme, and I am certain His promises are altogether faithful. He tells me that belief in Him as the Son of God is sufficient to invoke all the power of God in my behalf, and again the resurrection is the confirmation of that power. Death could not keep my Lord—actually the Bible teaches the opposite, for it is God who demonstrates His power even over this in the resurrection.

I notice that those who are not real believers usually have little to say on the resurrection, and often they have much to say about taking away from the deity of my Lord. Be careful of those who would present to you another Jesus, other than the Bible presents. In fact, all of the gospels place a heavy emphasis on the last days of Jesus. Says McGee: “So about one-third of the gospel records deal with the last few days and place the emphasis on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.” All of the writers are agreed; the amount of their writing about the resurrection is there to make us know it is a key point of Christianity. The hope of Christianity is founded on Jesus dying for our sins, and being raised again for our justification. Paul writes: “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.”

Jesus has reminded us throughout John that He lays His own life down and no man takes it from Him. Obviously men hung Him from the cross—they condemned and mocked Him. So what is Jesus saying to us here? Matthew tells us: “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?” (Mt. 26:53) Until I realize that at every point, the sacrifice of Jesus was purely voluntary, I have no chance either of recognizing the richness of His gift, or of recognizing the power and sovereignty of our God.

And it is precisely because I see that power and sovereignty that the next action of my Lord is even more humbling. What does He do but gird Himself with towel and water, and begin washing the feet of his disciples? Most often I do not identify much with Peter, wanting to be more like what I see John to be, but in this instance I am sure I would share Peter’s feelings: “Thou shalt never wash my feet.” The utter power of the illustration floods my soul with humility, and wants to chase out the last vestiges of pride with my fellow servants. Reminded I am of Philippians 2: “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus; Who, being in the very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, But made himself nothing.”

I wonder what a different world there might be if we all learned to love and serve like that, falling to our faces before our brothers in energetic endeavors to serve. How many more might have listened to my message, had I been more careful to exhibit the role of the servant to others? How many more might have become interested in the message of the cross if, instead of all the infighting, and divisions, and pretenses, instead we were known for being Christ-like?

I know that it is fashionable in our world to believe that God reaches every person He wants to, but that is not in accord with Scripture: “God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” “For God so loved the world.” The Word also says: “And how can they hear without someone preaching to them.” Much has been said over this last verse (Romans 10), but I wonder what it would look like if I could just tweak it a bit. Is is not true that someone must preach? If that someone is hanging on pride, putting down others, and not following Christ, will non-Christians even bother to listen? As I look back over the history of Christianity, there are too many flavors of pride, selfishness, and arrogance for the flavor of the mild milk of the Word to even be tasted. We have much to answer for in our foolishness, and much humility to presently learn, if we wish to be used for revival.

McGee, J. Vernon (1990-01-30). Thru the Bible 1-5 (5 Volume Set) (Kindle Locations 102262-102263). Grupo Nelson. Kindle Edition.

Up From the Grave He Arose

Low in the grave He lay,
Jesus my Savior,
Waiting the coming day,
Jesus my Lord!

Up from the grave He arose,
With a mighty triumph o’er His foes,
He arose a Victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever, with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose!
Hallelujah! Christ arose!

Vainly they watch His bed,
Jesus my Savior;
Vainly they seal the dead,
Jesus my Lord!

Death cannot keep its Prey,
Jesus my Savior;
He tore the bars away,
Jesus my Lord!

Author: Robert Lowery

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