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 supper being ended, the devil having already put it 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 had come from God and was going to God, 4 rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. 5 After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. 6 Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, “Lord, are You washing my feet?” ~ John 13″1-6
Remarkable. This passage should take our breath away. John’s Gospel is to set forth Jesus as the Eternal Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, in whom we will find Eternal Life. v. 1 sets the stage at the time of passover – the yearly event when all of Israel came to the city to celebrate by offering a pures spotless lamb for their sin. Blood would have poured out from the channel in the temple down into the valley below. Jesus has come now – the true Passover Lamb ready to lay down his life.
And Now we look into the Eternal mind and heart of God the Father and Son. We see and realize this moment is going to happen and take place for Jesus was sent to earth for the very purpose of the cross. Jesus knew the hour had come – the hour signifying the time of his sacrifice for which he was sent. He was fully aware of what was about to take place in the following days. He knew He would return to the Father, but it would be by means of the cross.
Read these verses again slowly and note the contrast: And supper being ended, the devil having already put it 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 had come from God and was going to God…
Do you see the picture of Satan entering Judas’ heart in the plot to kill Jesus. That is a big deal but it is just a part of the story. The real story is that “Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God.” Who is in control of these events? Oh it is not the devil. He is just a pawn in God’s grand plan of redemption. We sometimes fear the devil, and yet God uses sinful man and the devil to bring about his greatest victory at the cross.
The Father and the Son were in full control… and Jesus had a full understanding of who He was and is – knowing the Father had given all things into his hands and that He had come from God and was going to God. John is telling us that Jesus knows He is Royalty and Deity and He is preparing to return to heaven, and so the following verses should leave us in amazement.
(He) rose from supper… What’s next? Maybe he puts on his Superman cape, heads to Herod and takes the crown from his head, goes to the temples and reveals his full glory and the priests fall to their knees, or ascends a mountain to reveal his glory as lighting, thunder and earthquakes announce his heavenly presence. None of the above.
He rose and laid aside his garments and took up a towel and a basin prepared to take the role of a servant to wash feet. This is a beautiful symbolic picture of the incarnation and really the crucifixion. It is the humiliation of Jesus, allowing himself to take the role of a human being (laying aside his heavenly garments) and taking up the towel to serve (wrapping himself in earthly flesh as a man). This is one of most powerful symbolic moments of the heart of Jesus and the Father.
The One who fully knew who He was (Son of God, The Glorious King, The Ancient of Days) rose up and then went low for the sake of the world. He washed feet that night, a symbol of his need to come wash the sin of the world. If the King stays high and does not lay aside his garments of glory to meet us in the flesh and serve us in our brokenness, we are nothing but damned. God wouldn’t let us go like that. He came, he pursued us, he served us. He humbled himself and died for us that he might wash us.
If you do not let him wash you, then you have no part with him. Have you humbled yourself fully before the humble Son of God? Has he washed your sin away?
Apply: Honestly, I am humbled as I reflect on John 13. It is powerful and so beautiful. Living as a believer is such a wonderful paradox. The Lord calls us into knowing our and walking in our Identity as sons and daughters – to walk in confidence in our calling. And yet, the only way their is for him to wash us, to cleanse us. Jesus stepped out of heaven not to be served, but take the position of a servant to a lost and rebellious world. We must allow the Son of God to fully serve our hearts and souls, and continue to let him do so, that we might in turn serve the world. Our strength to serve the world only comes as Jesus serves us, fill us, and speaks into the depths of our souls.
We need to meet the Savior who fully knows who He is as the Almighty, Sovereign Son of God, and we must let Him come to us in humility to wash us – though we deserve it not. We must humbly stand still and let him wash us clean. And we must see His path to greatness is never to proclaim our greatness but to follow the path of His servant’s heart. The one who gives himself for the sake of others will find His joy in the end.
RESPOND: I find myself just wanting to kneel in prayer before Him. I am caught by this story – His glory, His power, His willingness to lay down his life. His Sovereign control and understanding is on display. His full majesty is so powerfully revealed in His act of humility. I just think, What kind of King is this? Why do I seek my own glory when He laid his down? I want to lay down my rights to this King, and just do what he says.