Sunday, March 20, 2016, 6:00 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song, “Jesus Paid It All.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read John 13:1-17 (ESV).
He Loved His Own (vv. 1-4)
Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God, got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself.
Jesus, who was fully God, yet fully man when he walked this earth, had come to the earth from his throne in heaven for this very purpose, to die for the sins of the entire world. Jesus Christ is not only the Son of God, but he is God, the second person of our triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He was with God in the beginning, and he is the creator of all things which were created (See: John 1). That means he is all knowing, all powerful, and, in the Spirit (not in human flesh), is present everywhere. Thus, not only did he choose these twelve men to be his followers, but he created them. He knew them inside and out. So, that also means that, I believe, when he chose Judas to be one of his disciples, he knew that he would one day betray him over to death, but that was all in God’s perfect plan for Jesus.
Jesus loved his disciples, but not just the eleven, but even the one who he knew would one day betray him to death. And, he teaches us that we are to love our enemies, too. He also loved Peter, who he knew would deny him three times, and Thomas who he knew would be a doubter and hard to convince of Jesus’ resurrection. He loved them all, even though he knew they would all desert him when he was taken away to be tried and crucified. And, we, too, need to love those who have hurt, abandoned, betrayed, and denied us, or who have mistreated us in any way. We need to love others as Jesus loved us, and gave his life up for us. We need to love them like Jesus loved us when he saved us out of the depths of sin, even though we were dead in our sins, and we did nothing to deserve his grace to us.
Jesus did not fear death, though in his flesh he did battle with the reality of what he must go through so that we could be saved from our sins. Yet, even in that, he yielded to the Father and to the will of God. So, he was not afraid of what was about to happen to him. He did not fear humans and what they might do to him, and neither should we. He trusted in his Father in heaven, and we need to place that same type of trust and confidence in our Lord, that he is completely sovereign over every aspect of our lives, that he has a purpose in all he allows us to go through, and that he will carry us through to the very end. He does not promise us that we will never have to suffer. In fact, he says we will suffer disgrace, hatred, rejection, abandonment and even death for our testimonies for Jesus Christ.
If I Do Not Wash You (vv. 5-11)
Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. So He came to Simon Peter. He said to Him, “Lord, do You wash my feet?” Jesus answered and said to him, “What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter.” Peter said to Him, “Never shall You wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.” Jesus said to him, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.” For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, “Not all of you are clean.”
So, even though Jesus knew that Judas would betray him, that Peter would deny him three times, and that all would desert him, still he humbly served them, and he taught them by his example how to be servants of the Most High God, and how to serve one another, too. And, this is how we need to love and serve others, not just those we consider to be our friends, but even those we know are our enemies. We need to keep in mind that God’s grace to us was not given to us because we deserved it, or because we were so wonderful. We are all born into sin, and not one of us is deserving of his grace. All have sinned and have come up short of attaining God’s divine approval. It is only because of God’s great love to us, and due to his grace to us in providing the way of our redemption, that any of us can be saved from our sins and have the hope of eternal life with God in heaven.
Jesus, though, was not just teaching them about foot washing. He was teaching them humility, love and servanthood. And, he was illustrating for them a greater principle, and that is how his love extended to us provides the way in which we can be cleansed of our sins, and made right with God, and how we can daily have our walks of faith made clean by the power of the blood of Jesus Christ in our lives.
Notice with me how Jesus told Peter that if Jesus did not wash his feet, that he had no part with him, but it was not because Peter was not clean, he was. So, what did Jesus mean? What he was illustrating for his disciples is that following Jesus Christ is not just a matter of initial cleansing from sin when we are born again of the Spirit from above. We are not saved, then we live our lives however we want, and then one day we go to heaven when we die. Jesus said that if anyone would come after him, he must deny self, take up his cross daily (die daily to sin and self) and follow (obey) him. Our feet are what we walk on, so they represent our spiritual journey. We need to be cleansed daily, i.e. die daily to sin. Paul said that if we walk in the flesh we will die, but if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live. Faith in Jesus Christ is not a one-time experience. True faith in Jesus is continuous, ongoing, and it endures to the end.
You Also Ought to Do (vv. 12-17)
So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. I do not speak of all of you. I know the ones I have chosen; but it is that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘He who eats My bread has lifted up his heel against Me.’ From now on I am telling you before it comes to pass, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am He. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.”
Again, Jesus was not merely demonstrating for his disciples that they should wash one another’s feet, nor is this saying that we need to go around washing other people’s feet. What he was teaching them and us is that we need to love and serve others as Jesus loved and served us. What this means, is that we should not take this passage of scripture as Jesus merely demonstrating some type of physical service to others, but we need to apply the deeper principles taught here to our lives and service, as well. We need to love all people, even our enemies, as Jesus loved the people of this world and gave his life up for all, that we might be saved. Even if people are mistreating us, we need to love them.
In washing the disciples’ feet, Jesus was not only showing us how to humbly love and serve others, but he was showing us how we need to forgive daily, and how we need to teach others how to walk daily in Christ’s love and grace in surrender to his will for our lives, and in obedience to his instructions to us in holy living. Jesus told Peter that if he would not allow Jesus to wash his feet, i.e. cleanse his daily walk, he had no part in him. He is saying the same thing to us. Paul said that Jesus died that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. Many, many scriptures teach that we must persevere, continue, and endure to the end in our faith in Christ if we want to have eternal life. Being saved is a spiritual journey. If we profess to have fellowship with God, but we walk (conduct our lives) in darkness (sin), we are liars, and the truth is not in us (1 Jn. 1:6). So, walk in the Light!
When Jesus died for our sins, he redeemed us back for God, away from Satan and sin. He is now our Lord (master/owner), and we are his bond-slaves. Our lives our not our own to live how we want. When we were under the control of sin, we were free from the control of righteousness, but now that we have been set free from sin, we should be slaves of righteousness (Ro. 6). We should live holy lives, set apart from (different, unlike) this sinful world, because we are becoming like Jesus. So, walk in his love, follow where he leads you, and obey his teachings. In this way we show our Lord that we love him, too.
Jesus Paid It All / Elvina M. Hall / John T. Grape
… your sins… they shall be as white as snow… Isaiah 1:18
I hear the Savior say, “Thy strength indeed is small;
Child of weakness, watch and pray, Find in Me thine all in all.”
For nothing good have I whereby Thy grace to claim,
I’ll wash my garments white in the blood of Calv’ry’s Lamb.
And now complete in Him my robe His righteousness,
Close sheltered ’neath His side, I am divinely blest.
Lord, now indeed I find Thy power and Thine alone,
Can change the leper’s spots and melt the heart of stone.
When from my dying bed my ransomed soul shall rise,
“Jesus died my soul to save,” shall rend the vaulted skies.
And when before the throne I stand in Him complete,
I’ll lay my trophies down all down at Jesus’ feet.
Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.