Feet Washing Type of Love (John 13)

It is the night of Jesus? betrayal and He sits in the
upper room with His disciples, partaking of the meal. He has not yet instituted
the Lord?s Supper and will do as much in a short while, but first He must deal
with some issues. One of which is how His disciples are to live after He?s

It?s great how John has organized his information giving us
a three point overview of this entire discussion in the first few verses. Jesus
loved those who were His own and loved them to the end (Jn 13:1)?a matter of
separateness; The Devil has already placed in the heart of Judas Iscariot to
betray Him (Jn 13:2)?a matter of hatred; lastly Jesus knows that He is going
back to God (Jn 13:3)?a matter of Christ?s going. So as Jesus begins this
discussion which will stretch from chapter 13 to s16, culminating in a prayer
in chapter 17 we can also be comforted and established.

The first thing Jesus does is to wash the disciples? feet.
He removes His outer clothes and gets down on His knees, taking the form of a
servant and doing that which any one of these followers should have done long
before this part of the meal. Luke would tell us that soon they will even be bickering
about who would be the greatest (Luke 22:24)
and here Jesus makes a point of what it means to be a servant no greater than
Him, the master (Jn 13:1516).

Jesus washed His disciples? feet to give them an example of
cleansing. But what does this mean? Is this an instituted ordinance of foot
washing, like the bread and wine or baptism? Is this a mere watching each
other?s back to make sure your brother doesn?t stumble? Perhaps correcting and
exhorting with the Word?

?I have given you an example that you also should do as I
have done to you.? (Jn 13:15). What is it that Christ has done which is
symbolized by the foot washing? Mind you, this foot washing is not the same as
the initial cleansing of bathing all over (Jn 13:6-9), nor should it be
expected from the one who hates Christ, although He may partake of the fruit of
foot washing (Jn < 13:10, 11). This enacted
example will be plainly restated by Christ after the betrayer has left (Jn 13:27-30). It is an example of sacrificial

What is this sacrificial love? Is it dying for your

There in the warmth of the upper room where disciple leans on
disciple listening to Jesus? words the Lord answers this problem of sacrificial
love now that He?s to go away?but He must prepare them for the counterpoint of
their love. There was also tremendous hatred in that room and Jesus had to
expose it. He had to point out that He had always known that this one would
betray Him (Jn 13:19).

Jesus becomes greatly troubled and exposes the impending
betrayel (Jn 13:21). The thought is
provoked by the quoted words of the Psalmist (Ps. 41:9); that His good friend
who He has trusted, the one who eats His bread has lifted up his heel against Him
(Jn 13:18).

Knowing that he was a crook and a betrayer, the Lord presents
a morsel to Judas?not only as a sign for others, but as a request and a middle-eastern
peace offering of love. ?You sit at my table, Judas. I offer you my bread,
Judas. We are friends. It is wrong to betray a friend who has fed you.? Judas
takes it, gets up with the full intent to betray finalized in his mind, and
turns to leave.

Jesus? love towards the man knows no bounds and as He speaks
to the now Satan possessed Judas to take care of this matter quickly (Jn 13:27), His voice remains calm. He speaks in
the same manner as ?Can you drop off the bills on your way out?? No one even noticed
the significance of what transpired as this exposure of hatred resulted in the
person of Satan in the very place where the Incarnate God lovingly taught His

The lesson is one of holiness or separateness reflected in
sacrificial love for each other and holiness reflected in sacrificial love in
the midst of tremendous hatred. As the door downstairs closes, the Lord exults
in what is to come. Betrayal, hatred, persecution and suffering await and He is
glorifying God.

This self-sacrifice is now reiterated, not so much with the
enacted parable but rather with the explicit words of the Lord. He closes this
part of the lesson by letting them know that He is going away but He is leaving
a new commandment?that they are to love one another as He has loved them (Jn
13:34) for this example of love will prove their discipleship to Christ before
all men (Jn 13:35).

This self-sacrifice then is not merely physically dying for
each other but living for each other as well. It?s a bit harder to lay down your
life if it means helping out even those abrasive Brillo Brethren who tend to
rub you the wrong way. I mean, sure any Christian would help out a Brother Paul
of Tarsus or a Brother Peter of Jerusalem,
or a Sister Phoebe of Rome; but
what about a loudmouthed Brother Rey of New York?
You know, that rarely wrong, purely stubborn Brother?would you sacrifice your
pride to wash his feet? Comfort him when he?s weak? Spend time with him when
he?s down and out?

Or what about in the midst of tremendous hatred; can you and
I love our enemies to the point of constantly giving of ourselves to show the
love of Christ? Love Osama? Love Saddam? Love the bully in our yard? Sometimes
I wonder if we?re too quick to kick the sand off our sandals…

So let us realize the example of love that the Lord has left
us, who set aside the joy before Him (Heb 12:2) and not considering His
equality with God to be something to be grasped at (Phil 2:6), humbled Himself
and became a servant?obedient to the point of death (Phil 2:7-8). Demonstrating
His love while we were yet repeat-offenders of sin (Rom 5:8) and enemies of
God, this one left us an example that we are to do to each other, and in the
midst of hatred, as unto the Lord.


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