Morning Devotions: John 13
I greet you in the wonderful name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We are on Day 14 of locked on and in Chapter 13 of the Gospel of John. I'm going to read from God's Word, explain some of the meaning of God's Word, apply God's Word into our lives, and then I'm going to close in a word of prayer. Listen now to John 13, beginning at first one.
John 13 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)
13 Before the Passover Festival, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2 Now when it was time for supper, the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas, Simon Iscariot’s son, to betray him. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had given everything into his hands, that he had come from God, and that he was going back to God. 4 So he got up from supper, laid aside his outer clothing, took a towel, and tied it around himself. 5 Next, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel tied around him. 6 He came to Simon Peter, who asked him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” 7 Jesus answered him, “What I’m doing you don’t realize now, but afterward you will understand.” 8 “You will never wash my feet,” Peter said. Jesus replied, “If I don’t wash you, you have no part with me.” 9 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.” 10 “One who has bathed,” Jesus told him, “doesn’t need to wash anything except his feet, but he is completely clean. You are clean, but not all of you.” 11 For he knew who would betray him. This is why he said, “Not all of you are clean.” 12 When Jesus had washed their feet and put on his outer clothing, he reclined again and said to them, “Do you know what I have done for you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are speaking rightly, since that is what I am. 14 So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done for you. 16 “Truly I tell you, a servant is not greater than his master, and a messenger is not greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. 18 “I’m not speaking about all of you; I know those I have chosen. But the Scripture must be fulfilled: The one who eats my bread has raised his heel against me. 19 I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am he. 20 Truly I tell you, whoever receives anyone I send receives me, and the one who receives me receives him who sent me.” 21 When Jesus had said this, he was troubled in his spirit and testified, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.” 22 The disciples started looking at one another—uncertain which one he was speaking about. 23 One of his disciples, the one Jesus loved, was reclining close beside Jesus. 24 Simon Peter motioned to him to find out who it was he was talking about. 25 So he leaned back against Jesus and asked him, “Lord, who is it?” 26 Jesus replied, “He’s the one I give the piece of bread to after I have dipped it.” When he had dipped the bread, he gave it to Judas, Simon Iscariot’s son. 27 After Judas ate the piece of bread, Satan entered him. So Jesus told him, “What you’re doing, do quickly.” 28 None of those reclining at the table knew why he said this to him. 29 Since Judas kept the money-bag, some thought that Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the festival,” or that he should give something to the poor. 30 After receiving the piece of bread, he immediately left. And it was night. 31 When he had left, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. 33 Children, I am with you a little while longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so now I tell you: ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ 34 “I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” 36 “Lord,” Simon Peter said to him, “where are you going?” Jesus answered, “Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow later.” 37 “Lord,” Peter asked, “why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” 38 Jesus replied, “Will you lay down your life for me? Truly I tell you, a rooster will not crow until you have denied me three times.
I want us to consider this idea of Christ's hour and that it had not yet come. We've been seeing that as we've worked through the Gospel of John over and over again. It began in Chapter 2:4 where Jesus was answering his mother at that first sign, changing of water into wine in Cana of Galilee said to her, “What does this have to do with you and me woman?” Jesus asked. “My hour has not yet come.” In John 7:30, after Jesus had identified himself as God, the Jews “…tried to seize him, yet no one laid a hand on him because his hour had not yet come.” In John 8, similar circumstances, “He spoke these words by the treasury, while teaching in the temple. But no one seized him, because his hour had not yet come.” In John 12:23, “Jesus replied to them, “The hour has for come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” That was in the previous chapter as Jesus could love them to the end, is not going to spend time with his disciples as we enter into the Passion Week, this last week of Christ's life. In John 12:27 again, his Soul troubled and, “What should I say – Father, save me from this hour? But this is why I came to this hour.
Now, in John Chapter 13 the opening words, “Before the Passover Festival, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world to the Father.” Bottom line is, the timetable was set and Jesus knew exactly what was going on. Jesus, in this moment as he's loving his disciples to the end, decides to use the opportunity to demonstrate to them how they ought to love one another. So, taking his outer garments off and wrapping a towel around himself, he begins to do the most menial job. A servant of a household could do. He begins to wash the grimy, journey, filthy feet of his disciples. In John 13:15, we read him saying, “For I have given you an example that you also should do just as I have done for you. Christ servant leadership on display reminds us of another portion of scripture in another gospel, where the gospel is given. Its highlighted, key verse, in these words, “The Son of man did not come to be served but to serve and give up his life for many.”
In Chapter 13, we have two men that are placed before us, one a betrayer and the other, a denier. The betrayer as Judas Iscariot, who for a few silver coins passes Jesus Christ into the hands of his accuser. The denier is Jesus Christ's most fervent follower, Peter. And we will see as this narrative unfolds how these two men differ. The one repenting and finding forgiveness, and the other unrepentant and finding a grim death.
Lastly, this chapter is a great chapter about love. It's a chapter about how we are to love, how we ought to love one another that the watching world might see who we are in Christ. That really brings us to application doesn't it?
If you're an unbeliever, reading John Chapter 13 for the first time, how might you go about understanding what's going on and how it applies to you? Let me start off by saying, you could really read with intent and scratching your head. John 13:31, Jesus says, “Now the Son of God is glorified and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once.” How on earth could a cool cross, a bloodied bruised body of a man hanging on a tree in any way glorify God? Let me tell you like this. God is Holy. It's who he is. He separated from sin. God is just, and sinners will get what they deserve. God is altogether righteous to stand before him, one must be in right standing. With God is full of wrath. He's wrath abides on sinner still (John 3:36). But in the cross, the love of God is demonstrated in this that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.
In the cross, God is glorified in this that His perfect justice is meted out on his Son. God saved you from himself. God saved you by himself. And God saved you for himself and for his own glory's sake. The call and your life is to look at the death of Christ for your sins, to look at the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave, and to repent from your sins to turn and to put your faith and your trust in Jesus Christ that you might live, that you might glorify God in this life and glorify him even in the life to come.
If you're a seeker and you reading John Chapter 13 for the first time, or a first time in a long time, how might you apply this chapter? Let me say that you can look at Jesus Christ’s own words as he refers to himself as teacher and Lord in John chapter 13 verse 13. He says, “You call me teacher and Lord - and you are speaking rightly, since that is what I am.” Jesus Christ is the teacher. He brings the Word of God to man. He is the Word of God to man and he’s Lord. The Greek word, Kurios casts are minds back in terms of the way that Jesus Christ uses it to the Old Testament use of the word Lord. The reality is Jesus Christ is the Lord, the Creator of the heavens and the earth. Jesus came into this world, he died and he rose and he ascended into heaven. And one day, soon, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that he is King of kings and Lord of lords. Friends, if you want to be right with God, if you want to be reconciled to God in this life and be prepared for the next, then you must accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and your Saviour. Now, you must put your faith and your trust in him that you might live.
There is a type of backsliding in John Chapter 13 that I want to talk about. It's the kind of backsliding which has the worst possible end. And it's in the person of Judas. Judas would have looked great on the outside. He would have been one of those whitewashed tombs - painted white and beautiful on the outside, but a rotting corpse on the inside. By painted white and looking good on the outside, I mean, he would have been the kind of person that went to church, sang all the right songs, and lifted the hands at the right time, said amen and hallelujah. He'd have been the kind of person who would have gotten baptised, the kind of person who'd pay tithes, the kind of person who helped out where he could, who when the disciples were told that one of you will betray me, they would look around at each other and say well who could be? The last person on their mind would have been Judas whom they trusted with the money bags.
Maybe you're a backslider like that. Maybe in reality you do everything right, so that men might sing your praises, but in reality, you know that you do not know God. How might you know God friend? Well you can know that you know him if you obey his Commandments. And he has commanded all men everywhere to repent for the forgiveness of sins. You need to turn away from your sin of unbelief, your sin of hypocrisy, and put your faith and your trust in Jesus Christ, even this day.
If you’re new convert, I want to point you to that wonderful passage that talks about love, where Jesus talks to his disciples about love. In John 13:34-35, we read, “I give you a new command: love one another just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” New convert, you can love because you have been saved by the god of love. God is love and he's given you his Holy Spirit that he might well love up from inside of you. And I'm not talking about the kind of love that the world knows. I'm talking about agape love. It is a self-sacrificing love. It is the kind of love which would sacrifice everything about myself for the benefit of another. That’s the kind of love that we need to have between one another, within the context of our church community because that is the kind of love that our watching world gazes upon and finds attractive. It's the kind of love that points people to the God who's won our Salvation.
Believer, how much you apply this text? Well, if you look at John 13:15, it reads, “I have given you an example, so that you should do just as I have done for you. What did Jesus do? He washed the disciples’ feet. But what did that represent? It represented the Son of God, the Creator of the heavens and earth, not considering equality with God something to be grasped but emptied himself and coming in human flesh and dying, even death on a cross (Phil 2:6-8). It's the kind of self-sacrificing servanthood which Jesus Christ is put on display that you are called to. That's how we must serve one another. It is the kind of service that costs us something. It's the kind of service which mean something to the object of our affection. Ultimately, when we serve people, we are serving our Lord and our God. Every sacrifice we make, he sees and it pleases him. Friend, Jesus Christ gave us an example that we might do likewise. Now going do, serve one another to God's praise and to his glory.
Let’s close in a word of prayer.
Father God in heaven, thank you for John chapter 13. Thank you for Jesus Christ Our Lord and our Saviour. Thank you for his example that we might follow him. Help us by the power of your spirit within us. Empower us to do just that that we might do the works which you prepared for us before the foundation of the world to your praise until Glory. But Lord God even more than his example, we do thank and praise you for his sacrificial death that we live. For indeed, the Spotless Lamb of God died that we wretches as we are, might stand one day in glory, with the Royal Robes of Christ upon Our shoulders. This we praise you for, both now and then into eternity to come. Amen.
May the Lord bless you.