November 4, 2015
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
As I read through the gospel of John, I always pause at the opening verses of chapter 13. In the first five verses is one of the greatest anticlimactic scenes ever!
Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had
come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved
His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. And supper
being ended, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot,
Simon’s son, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all
things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to
God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and gird-
ed Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash
the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was
Think of this as a stage production. Think of all the preparation and build-up to this scene:
• John 13:1 – “…Jesus knew that His hour had come ….” This refers to the central hour – the chief event – of all history! Paul wrote of this in Galatians 4:4: “But when the fulness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law….” Jesus – God manifested in human flesh – appeared in “…the fulness of time….” But He ‘appeared ’ for the purpose of redeeming mankind from sin and rescuing them from Satan’s control! (See Mark 10:45; Luke 19:10; Galatians 4:5; I John 3:8). So the central ‘hour’ of all history is the cross!
• John 13:1 – “…that He should depart from this world to the Father….” Philippians 2:5 and 7 (English Standard Version) describes what is known as kenosis:
…Jesus…though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God
a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant,
being born in the likeness of men.
Kenosis was a voluntary veiling of His own divine attributes when He came to earth. He lived His earthly life as a humble man – but it was as a man totally dependent upon God and empowered by the Holy Spirit!
But now He was about to complete His task. He was going back to the Father to reclaim all the glories of heaven in His exalted position at the Father’s right hand! (See Philippians 2:9-11).
• John 13:1 – “…having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.” There is more than just the act of loving implied here. In His high-priestly prayer recorded in John 17, Jesus prayed in verse 12, “While I was with them in the world, I kept them in your name….and none of them is lost except the son of perdition….” This is love – that not one whom the Father entrusted to the care of the Son was lost – except Judas! Not even Peter was lost after he denied the Lord three times! (See Luke 22:32).
• John 13:2 – “And supper being ended….” According to Luke 22:16, Jesus would “…no longer eat of it [the Passover meal] until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” Implied here also is that He would not eat anything again before He went to the cross. That’s why it is called The Last Supper.
• John 13:2 – “…the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son to betray Him….” It was Satan’s ultimate triumph when he engineered the cross – and that plan involved getting one of Jesus’ own – Judas – to turn on Him! At least the devil thought he had devised this devious scheme to get rid of the Savior! But God had planned the crucifixion “…before the foundation of the world.” (Revelation 13:8). Paul wrote in I Corinthians 2:8 that “…none of the rulers of this age knew [God planned the cross to redeem man and destroy the devil], for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” So Satan’s ultimate victory turned out to be his ultimate defeat!
• John 13:3 – “…Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands….” The Son knew He had created all things (see John 1:3; Colossians 1:16); and He sustained their being as well (see Colossians 1:17; Hebrews 1:3). Now, having completed His mission, He would soon rule all things! (See Isaiah 9:6, 7; Acts 10:36; I Corinthians 15:28; Revelation 12:5). It is like the lyrics of that old spiritual: “He’s got the whole world in His hands.”
We will continue A Humbling Example in Friday’s blog.