Daily Bible Studies
|Series Theme: John's Gospel Studies|
Chapter: John 13
Passage: John 13:1-5
A. Find Out:
1. When was it and what did Jesus know? v.1a
2. What had he done and so what did he now do? v.1b
3. What had Satan done? v.2
4. Yet what did Jesus know? v.3
5. So what did he then do? v.4
6. And we did then proceed to do? v.5
The end is coming, and Jesus knows it! Again and again John shows us that Jesus had complete understanding of what was happening and was in full control of it all. Note that he is fully aware of what Judas has been doing but that is simply part of the plan and will not distract him from his time with his closest followers. Note also, in what follows that Judas is completely included in what Jesus does!
Jesus has faithfully loved and kept this motley bunch of disciples, who came no where near understanding what it was all about, and now he goes to perform an act of selfless love by washing their feet before the meal. It was customary, after travelling, to come in and have a servant wash your feet. However no servant is available, it seems, and none of the disciples volunteer to do it, so Jesus himself takes on the role of servant to these men. Here we find an amazing form of teaching. In like circumstances we would probably instruct those below us what they should be doing, but Jesus gives no word of admonition but simply does what needs to be done. What a powerful form of teaching that also conveys the sort of heart that he is looking for! Jesus always showed by example when he wanted others to follow.
1. Jesus KNOWS and is in FULL CONTROL - then and now!
2. Jesus taught by example. Do we?
A. Find Out:
1. What did Peter ask? v.6
2. What did Jesus first tell him? v.7
3. What did Jesus tell him when he refused to let Jesus wash him? v.8
4. What was Peter's response to that? v.9
5. What principle did Jesus then state? v.10a
6. What did he say about them all? v.10b,11
It seems fairly obvious from the dialogue in these verses that Jesus is communicating some spiritual truths by his physical actions. What are they? Note first of all, that Peter objects to having Jesus wash his feet for him. He knows it is usual to have your feet washed when you arrive, because the combination of sandals and dusty roads make for dirty feet, but he doesn't think “the Master” should do it. He is yet to learn something about leadership and servanthood.
But Jesus is insistent that he needs washing. Well, says Peter, if you are going to wash me, do the whole of me please. No it's all right, says Jesus, you are clean generally, it's just your feet that have picked up dirt. Now it is at this point that we begin to get a sense that Jesus means more that just a physical literal meaning, especially when he starts referring to one of them (the betrayer) not being “clean”. Being “clean” therefore, in this sense, must refer to the general absence of wrong doing in their lives. Judas by comparison, has submitted to Satan's leading and is not, therefore, “clean”. Washing of feet must therefore, indicate the need we have to receive daily washing by Jesus of the small things we pick up each day that mar our “cleanness”. We are saved but we still need daily washing from “dirt” picked up.
1. Do we let Jesus “wash” us daily?
2. Beware the accumulation of “dirt” from living in a sinful world.
A. Find Out:
1. What did Jesus ask the disciples? v.12
2. What did he acknowledge he was? v.13
3. What did he say they should do? v.14
4. What did he say he had done? v.15
5. Who is not greater than whom? v.16
6. So how are we blessed? v.17
Having washed their feet, Jesus now explains his intentions. Very well, he says, you've seen what I've just done, now I want you to remember it, and you to do it. Does he mean he simply wants them to wash each other's feet whenever they come to the end of a journey? No, the meaning is far greater than that. Outward action follows inward attitude. Jesus wants his disciples to have a humble servant attitude, not merely towards Jesus himself, but towards each other as well.
Look, says Jesus, I am your teacher and Lord and if I can do this, then so can you. Again and again Jesus taught by example: watch what I do, and now you do it. It had happened in respect of prayer and ministry and now, in his closing hours with them, he paints a graphic picture that they will remember, to communicate what is at the heart of all that he is: servant-heartedness. No wonder the apostle Paul taught that we are to esteem others better than ourselves (Phil 2:3) and that we were to submit to one another (Eph 5:21) for this is the heart of Christian life and service. How tragic it is when we elevate leaders to positions of power and prestige, when all of Jesus' teaching was about weakness and humility in service. Leaders (and followers) are all called to be servants of Christ and thus of the people. May it be so.
1. Christ calls us to be humble servants.
2. Servants aren't worried about doing lowly jobs.
A. Find Out:
1. What Scripture did Jesus refer to? v.18
2. Why did he say he was telling them this now? v.19
3. What did he tell them? v.21
4. What was the disciples' response and what did they do? v.22-25
5. How did Jesus indicate who it was? v.26
6. What then happened in respect of Judas? v.27-30
Some things here are obvious, others less so. It is obvious that Jesus is fully aware of what has been going on in Judas and that Judas will betray him, so he communicates this first by a scripture reference (v.18), then by direct statement (v.21), and then by act (v.26).
Satan had already prompted Judas to go and tell on Jesus (v.2), and had agreed a sum to betray Jesus (see Mt 26:14-16). Now was coming the time when Judas would actually go and tell the authorities where they could easily apprehend Jesus. When Jesus points him out with the bread, it is as if Judas's resolve is hardened and he let's Satan push him to the point of perhaps saying, “Right! I'll do it!”. Whether Judas thought Jesus wanted him to do it is unclear. Whatever it was, he got up and went out to do it.
The rest of the disciples are confused. This comes like a bolt out of the blue! One of us betray you? The “disciple whom Jesus loved” is probably the writer John and he, being the closest to Jesus, asks him who he means. After he shows them there seems to be no further comment from them, Jesus is just holding centre stage, and he is more concerned to encourage the rest of them than condemn Judas.
1. Jesus knows everything about us. He knows when we are going to fail
him - and he allows us to do it! He has given us free will.
2. We can choose whether or not to submit to Satan's suggestions; we will
never be forced to go his way, we do it voluntarily.
A. Find Out:
1. What did Jesus say would now happen to him? v.31,32
2. What did he say about what was to happen? v.33
3. What command did he give them and how were they to do it? v.34
4. What did Peter ask and what was Jesus' response? v.35
5. What did Peter then ask and then declare? v.37
6. What did Jesus then ask and then declare? v.38
Judas has left to inform the authorities, so time is getting short. By letting Judas go Jesus is setting in motion all of the hatred of mankind against him that will culminate in the Cross. The whole thing has started, so already he IS glorified. In heaven the Father and all the angels look on and glory is now being given to the Son who is stepping into the place of supreme judgement in history, and as it is so, so also is the Father praised and worshipped for the wonder of it all!
So, says Jesus, soon I won't be with you and you won't be able to come after me - at least not yet - but in the meantime I want to leave you with a new command: you are to love each other like I have loved you. How had Jesus done that? Selflessly, graciously, accepting them as they were, laying down his very life for them, as a servant! When you love like that, says Jesus, then everyone else will know that you are my disciples.
Peter, as always, speaks out. I'll come with you Lord, I'll even lay down my life for you if need be. Really, asks Jesus, will you really do that? No, the truth is you will lie about your relationship with me and deny me. Jesus knows exactly what will happen.
1. We are to love one another as he loved us - selflessly & sacrificially.
2. Jesus knows we will fail him, but he also knows that our heart intent is to
follow him, even when we do fail. He loves us as we are!
In this third group of 5 studies we have seen :
The time is getting short, betrayal is at hand, so Jesus communicates some basic essentials: be servant hearted, love one another with a sacrificial love, whatever else you do, do these things. These are foundation issues in the kingdom of God and yet they so often seem absent in Christian life. We must change that!
Jesus also indicates his complete awareness of what is coming, the failure of two of his closest followers, but he does not reject them. The Lord knows our shortcomings but does not reject us. That is not to make us complacent but it is to bring us comfort.
1. Jesus taught by example. Do we?
2. Jesus calls us to be servant hearted. Are we?
3. Jesus knows when we will let him down - but still loves us!
4. Jesus calls us to love one another with a sacrificial love.
Ask the Lord to help you be servant hearted, available to do whatever he gives you to do, loving others with His love.
PART 4 : "Comfort & Encouragement"
In the final Part of this set of Studies, watch for how Jesus turns from warning to encouragement. Watch for the many different ways he encourages his disciples.