John Bible Study - 4/3

Journey Through John - Day 27

By Jamie George, April 04, 2020

Day 27 - Friday, April 3

The Hour Had Come

DAILY READING - Jn 13:1-17

Jesus knew “the hour had come”. He knew that the Pharisees would capture Him and the Sanhedrin would convict him. He knew He would hang on the Cross. This wouldn’t be an ordinary hanging, if there is such a thing. This was a sacrificial hanging for humanity. Jesus knew that His life was in the Father’s hands. He knew His suffering and death would glorify God and He suffered obediently. Intense suffering was approaching. With this in mind, Jesus gathered with His disciples for the Passover meal to prepare them for what was to come. Jesus knew it would be His last meal. He spent it with His best friends.

Chapter 13 begins the farewell discourse of Christ. For the next several chapters, through chapter 17, Jesus does everything He can to prepare the disciples for His death and departure. 13:1 says, “He his who were in the world, he loved them to the .”

What does this tell us about the kind of love Jesus had for the disciples?

Jesus loved the disciples in the possessive. They were His own. In the sentence, the disciples are the object of Christ’s love. Think about how you might describe the people that are closest to you. They are “your” people. I say that about our Grace community. Grace people are “my” people. It’s not that I own the people. It’s that I am deeply tied to the people. An intimate and spiritual connection exists which ties us in belonging. The disciples belong with Jesus and Jesus belongs with the disciples. Yet, it is time for him to go. He will leave physically, but, there is a bond so unique that it won’t be broken by the separation of physical presence. Surely you have felt this in your life.

Have you ever had a good friend move away? Have you had a family member leave your physical presence and enter eternity? Have you ever had to say goodbye to someone that belonged with you? What is that like?

Jesus begins a very long good-bye. He’s saying everything He needs to say to get these guys ready for His departure from His physical presence. If you were Jesus what would you want them to know?

In John’s Gospel, Jesus begins the long discourse with an act of service. What do you think John wants us to know about Jesus by placing this act of service first?

The text tells us that Jesus knew Judas would betray Him. Verse 3 tells us that Jesus also knew that the Father had put all things under His power. Jesus had all the sovereign power to do whatever He wanted to do. Jesus could have slayed the devil, forever, right then and there.

Read Matthew 4:1-11. In verse 9, what does the devil try to give Jesus?

In Matthew’s Gospel, Satan tempts Jesus by offering sovereignty. It’s not Satan’s to give. The offer is a lie. Jesus responds to Satan saying, “Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only” (NIV, Matthew 4:10). Now turn back to John 13:3 and read how the sovereignty of the Lord is given to Jesus. The Lord gives Jesus power. The offer is real. Jesus could have slayed the devil and all would be well in the world.

Why do you think Jesus would resist this?

Jesus does not slay in power, He serves. We have a God that uses His power to love and serve. God allows us the choice to be obedient or to not be obedient. God allows us the choice to love and serve Him in response to the love He pours out to us. The presence of Satan in the world presents an opportunity for us to follow Jesus more closely. Like Jesus, we have the opportunity to tell Satan that his offers are lies. The power is God’s alone.

What does it mean to you that you have been given the choice to follow Jesus?

Judas was given the choice to follow. Jesus knew that Judas would betray him. Jesus got up from the dinner table and poured water into a basin and began washing the disciples' feet. Washing feet was a task for the lowest servant in the house. Jesus, the one that was given the highest sovereign power, took on the lowest menial task. He poured the water into the basin as He poured out love to the disciples. Even Judas. Jesus loves us all. Even when He knows that we will betray Him, He loves us. That deeply, Jesus loves us. When we are our dirtiest, He washes us clean by pouring out love.

Close your eyes for a minute and imagine yourself at this dinner. Imagine Jesus pouring clean water all over you. Imagine the water is the love of Christ being poured all over you and washing you clean. Spend some time just imagining what that feels like.

What did that feel like to you?

In 13:8, we come to dear Simon Peter who doesn’t want to allow Jesus to wash his feet. Why does Peter say, “No, you shall never wash my feet.”?

Peter struggled with allowing Jesus to wash his feet because it was socially unacceptable. Peter cannot see beyond the cultural norms. We have a hard time seeing the intentions of Jesus when we are limited by cultural expectations. Also, Peter was a bit prideful. He had a hard time allowing Jesus to serve him. I think many Western people can relate. Generally, I think we like to serve more than we like being served.

How does this posture limit our relationship with Jesus?

Jesus told Peter that he could have no part with Him unless Jesus washed his feet. Allowing Jesus to serve us is necessary. Allowing Jesus to wash us clean is essential. We must evaluate our pride and posture before Jesus. We must be vulnerable with Jesus if we want all that He has to offer us. Peter finally sees the light and asks Jesus to cover him in water. He said, “Not just my feet, but my hands and my head as well!” (NIV, John 13:9). It is as if Peter is saying, “OH. I get it. Cover me, Lord. I want all that you have to offer, Lord.” Peter’s eyes are opened and he receives what Jesus is serving. In this acceptance, Peter becomes spiritually clean.

Jesus washes all of the disciples' feet and declares them clean. But, He said that not all of them were clean. He knew that betrayal was coming. While the physical feet were clean, not all of them had received the spiritual cleansing that was intended in the foot washing. Judas had clean feet. He did not have a clean heart.

How is this a warning to baptized Christians?

A ritual cleansing on the outside is not always indicative of what happens on the inside. Baptism is an outward sign of an inward grace. It is to be a physical sign of an inward spiritual acceptance. Sometimes, parents do this on behalf of a child. The child, then, needs to come into their own confirmation of Christ. The behavior of Judas is a warning to all baptized Christians. His spirit was not willing. Judas did not allow Jesus to fully cleanse him. His heart was in jeopardy because of his inability to accept Christ. The consequence of this will become apparent in tomorrow’s reading.

For now, read verses 14-15. What does Jesus say is the purpose of this foot washing service?

What does it mean to you that Jesus wants you to wash feet AND have your feet washed by fellow disciples?