Sunday, April 11, 2010

Jesus Promoted Faith By Washing Feet, Predicting Betrayal, Commanding Love, And Foretelling Denial: John 13:1-38

Text: John 13:1-38

Theme: "And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name." (20:30-31).

3. Preparatory Persuasion
     C. Of disciples (13-17)

Here, Jesus washes the disciples' feet (v1-20), predicts Judas' betrayal (v21-30), commands them to love each other (v31-35), and foretells Peter's denial (v36-38). 

What is the significance of the fact that Jesus washed the disciple's feet? This is debatable, but there seem to be two truths involved here. For one thing, it shows the disciples need to be cleansed, by Jesus, from their daily sins. For another, it shows that greatness comes through humility. 

First, washing the disciple's feet seems to show their need for Jesus' cleansing of their daily sins. Since Judas was an unbeliever, and was the only one who was not already "clean", Jesus', statement that they were already "clean" probably refers to His once-for-all cleansing of their sins, made possible through faith in His blood (Ephesians 4:32; Hebrews 10:10). But why then does one who is already "clean", need to have his feet washed? 1 John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (NAS). Confessing our sins is not a term for getting or staying saved. Rather, God, on the basis of Christ's shed blood, cleanses us from our daily sins, when we admit them to Him. This maintains our fellowship, but makes no change in our position as saved children of God.

Another reason Jesus washed the disciple's feet was to show that true greatness comes through humility. Luke 22:24-30 indicates the disciples got into a dispute over which of them would be the greatest in Jesus' kingdom. Thus, by washing their feet, Jesus was showing them to "let him who is greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as the servant." Humility and daily confession and cleansing from sin is crucial to promoting faith in Christ.

Later that evening, Jesus predicted betrayal (v21-30). The disciples had no idea who He was talking about. To fulfil the Scriptures, however, Jesus had chosen a disciple who would lift up his heels against Him. This event was illustrated in the OT, when Ahithophel, king David's counselor, betrayed him. Jesus' divine knowledge of future events confirms His deity, and would promote faith in His disciples when the Scripture was fulfilled.

It seems only fitting that, after Judas departed, Jesus commanded the true disciples to "love one another". The OT had instructed them to love their neighbor as themselves, but Jesus said to love each other as "He" loved them. Since He was about to give His life for them, they too should sacrifice for each other's well being. This is not a term for salvation, but a great fruit of salvation which proves to the world that one is a disciple of Jesus (v31-35).

To prepare Peter for the events which would follow His arrest, Jesus predicted his denial (v36-38). Peter was bold to say that, though he must die for Him, He would not deny Jesus. By warning him of the future, Jesus both curbed Peter's pride, and made provision for him to avoid the pitfalls of discouragement.

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