Throughout the Bible, God has a pattern of cleansing people before He launches them into service. John 13 is an example of that. Jesus is pointing the disciples to the cleansing work that He will do, and then commissioning them into service for Him. What we see is: Jesus washes us of our sin and commissions us into His service.
1. We Acknowledge Our Need to be Washed: v.1-11
In considering this cleansing and commission, what is first seen is that we must come to a place where we realize our need to be cleansed. In a dramatic fashion, Jesus draws this out as He washes the disciple’s feet. The foot-washing, while an incredible act of humility and service, (Jesus will draw upon this as the disciples model of service, so we don’t want to totally lose that) is primarily meant to point to the cleansing work that Jesus will do on the cross. We see that our need to be washed is motivated by Jesus’ love for us. It’s our pride that rejects this gift. Peter’s response in verses 6-9 demonstrates this. Jesus is offering an incredible gift of grace that is initially rejected by Peter because of His pride. We too can be guilty of rejecting God’s gifts of grace to us. We mentioned four potential ways that we do that in our lives today: I reject God’s grace when…
1. I fail to believe Jesus death is enough
2. I choose not to pray
3. I reject other’s help
4. I don’t forgive
As we consider what Jesus is doing in this moment, are you aware of your need to be washed and cleansed by Him? Can you identify your sin and how Jesus addresses it on your behalf?
2. We Embrace Our Call to Serve: v.12-20
Jesus moves from a posture of serving to a position of teaching. He makes clear for the disciples that if He can serve, then they too should function as servants. Jesus’ model of service illustrates that we’re to embrace our call to serve as a way of life. If the most despicable act of service wasn’t below Jesus then in what context do you and I have the freedom to say, “I won’t do that,” or “that’s below me.” We are to function as servants! Then Jesus makes clear that the blessing of service is found in doing it, not simply knowing about it. He makes this clear in both verses 15 and 17. God help us that we would be characterized and typified as people who live as servants.
3. We Rest in Jesus’ Sovereign Plan: v.21-30
In this second episode, the narrative shifts its focus onto Judas’ betrayal. What’s intriguing about this is that while it is a chaotic scene, there is incredible rest for the disciples. This is because even in His betrayal, Jesus is fully in control of what’s going on. This is what allows true disciples of Jesus to rest, even in the most demanding of life situations. It’s not that they will all be easy, it’s that we can trust His sovereign leading over us. Loved one, will you rest in the fact that God is in control of all things? Will you trust that God sees every single thing that’s unfolding in your life…even the ones you can’t see? Will you believe that God is working good, even if you can’t identify it in the moment? Will you live in the confidence that you are loved?