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Showing Love

John 13:1

Real love will always be expressed, sometimes in surprising ways. John wrote this verse to introduce the very unusual evening when Jesus washed His disciples’ feet. Jesus knew that within 44 days He would be with Father God in heaven. And He knew that He would be crucified within 24 hours. The prospect of death always concentrates the mind; but instead of thinking about Himself, Jesus focussed on serving His disciples. But that was strange: after all, He was their Master and they were His pupils, learning from Him. They served Him and would never have expected Him to serve them.

Spiritual Authority

John 13:2-3

Many people think that good and evil are equal opposites, and that God and the devil are equally matched enemies. As Jesus approached His great battle with evil on the cross, John tells us that Satan had already tempted Judas to betray Jesus. At the end of the chapter we read that Satan entered into Judas.

Servant Hearted Leadership

John 13:4-9

Hygiene and comfort go together: so do holiness and cleansing. In a hot dusty land, without hot and cold running water, visitors to a large house would be greeted by a servant who would remove the guest’s sandals and then wash their feet with fresh water and carefully dry them with a towel. It was a mark of hospitality, a very personal way to honour the guests. However, at the Last Supper, there was no servant in the borrowed home (Matthew 26:18-19).

Bathing In God's Word

John 13:10-11

Courteous and hygienic foot washing is no substitute for a bath. Jesus had taken the servant’s role in washing the disciples’ feet but Simon Peter objected. How could His Master serve him? But washing dirty feet was only a slight indignity for Jesus compared to bearing the sins of the world when He died on the cross. If Peter would not submit to having his feet washed, how could he submit to having his guilt washed away? Refusal would be like saying, “I don’t belong to You”!

Serving Each Other

John 13:12-17

Jesus had just washed His disciples’ feet. But they did not really understand. So He explained that, although He was their Teacher and Master, it was not wrong for Him to serve them. Indeed, it was essential. Although we might think we can do whatever we want by ourselves, it is not true. We cannot. There are many things which only God can do for us. That is why Jesus came: so that our sins could be taken away and we could be filled with the Holy Spirit and welcomed into God’s presence.

Betrayed But Not Surprised

John 13:18-20 

Jesus was sharing the Passover supper with His disciples, but knew that one person in the room was about to betray Him. All the others had been chosen to build His church; Judas had been chosen to betray Him. What Judas would do was no surprise; Jesus knew his heart and would use that man’s wickedness to focus the hatred of the world on His head. But it was personally painful.

Darkness Within The Fellowship

John 13:21-30

Only two people knew. Jesus knew that Judas would betray Him, and Judas knew the contract he had entered: 30 pieces of silver exchanged for the body of Jesus. But Jesus was not the only one betrayed. The other disciples, although they knew that Judas was a thief (John 12:6), had no idea of the evil he had agreed to do (Luke 22:1-6). So when Jesus announced that one of them would betray him they were very sad.

Glory Revealed To The Saints

John 13:31-32

Judas had gone. Only those disciples who would become the apostles of the early Church remained with Jesus. His ‘last words before death’ (John 13:31-17:36) would be etched into the apostles’ minds and hearts. Jesus started by talking about glory. The glory of God is the ultimate effect of God in all He does. It is the goal of His nature and the pleasure of all that He has created.

The Secret Place Of God's Judgement

John 13:33

Jesus called His disciples by the tender name ‘little children’. That word (in Greek) is strongly affectionate and reflects the deep trust between parents and children, teachers and their students (John uses it 7 times in his first epistle referring to Christians in the early church). Jesus knew He was going to the cross and wanted to reassure His disciples that His route to heaven and theirs will be different. Although many of the apostles would face a violent death, they would never face what Jesus suffered on the cross.

Commanded To Love

John 13:34-35

Behind closed doors, Jesus briefed His apostles. They would be the leaders of Christ’s new church, and they needed to know how to do it. Obviously, as it was Jesus’ church, they must relate together in the same way that He had treated them. Love was the key component of His character and was expressed in everything He did. So, Jesus commanded the eleven men (Judas had now left the team so that he could betray Jesus) to love each other. If they could love each other the remarkable way Jesus loved them, their lifestyle would be the greatest advertisement of their faith.