John 13:1-17 Blessed Are The Servants

by | May 31, 2024 | John, New Testament

I. Jesus’ Mind & Heart Vs. 1-3

A. His Soon Departure

1. V. 1a– Passover Feast: A time of commemoration and expectation.
2. V. 1b– Jesus was fully aware that the time of His death had arrived. The washing of the feet was done with the knowledge that a beating, a scourging, and the crucifixion would happen in the next 24 hours.
3. Application- when people realize they are terminal, some fulfill their “bucket list” living it up as much as possible before they die. Others may feel cheated, and complain. Others try to make amends with people. Jesus took the job of a slave.

B. His Love For His Disciples

1. V. 1c- to the end– termination, the limit at which a thing ceases to be. He never stopped.

C. His Betrayal

1. V. 2- Jesus served with the knowledge that Judas would betray Him for money, and that the other Eleven would abandon Him.
2. Application- We need to learn to serve those who mistreat us. Follow Jesus in this.

D. His Self-Awareness

1. V. 3- Jesus had tremendous self-awareness of His origin, his power, and his future. Yet He didn’t focus on Himself or talk about those divine privileges.
2. Application- Many people imagine themselves to be more important than they are, and then spend a lot of energy trying to convince people about how important they are. Instead, we should realize that whatever importance we have is given to us by God, and is given to us that we may serve others, and not seek to be served ourselves.

II. Jesus’ Actions Vs. 4-11

A. Washing The Feet Of The Ten

1. V. 4- “laid aside His garments…girded Himself with a towel”.

a. It was the job of the lowest household slave to do this job.
b. Jesus deliberately took off his “non-slave” attire and dressed as a slave.
c. There is something very humbling and shocking about Jesus getting up and changing Himself into a slave. The flow of the evening comes to a halt.
d. Observation: This is illustrative of what Jesus did in becoming man:
John 1: 14a And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
e. Application: I order to serve like Jesus, we must step down from any actual or assumed “higher place”, and we must “put on slave clothes”.

2. V. 5- Again we see Jesus moving very deliberately, and probably not rushing.

a. The time that it took for Jesus to wash their feet must have felt like an eternity to them.
b. The disciples understood the inappropriateness of Jesus serving as the lowest one in the room. They must have felt terribly ashamed.

B. Washing The Feet Of Peter

1. V. 6- Peter says what they probably all wanted to say, but were afraid to say.
2. V. 7- They knew that it was inappropriate for Jesus to act as the slave, but their understanding was limited to knowing only that at that moment.
3. V. 8- Peter speaks from what he does understand, not from what he is yet to understand.

a. Peter tries to stop Jesus from taking the place of the slave, but then he treats Him like one by telling Him what he can and can’t do. (“Don’t wash my feet”)
b. Jesus warns Peter that he will “have no part” with Jesus if Peter refuses Jesus.

i. Part- a part due or assigned to one; one of the constituent parts of the whole.
ii. NLT- “Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me.”
iii. J.B. Phillips- “Unless you let me wash you…you cannot share my lot.”

c. This speaks of either Peter being cleansed of his sins and being saved; or, it speaks of the daily washing that we experience as we walk with Jesus.
d. We know that we need both things: salvation and daily cleansing.

4. V. 9– Peter impulsively asks for a washing from head to toe.
5. Vs. 10, 11– Jesus seems to be saying that Peter doesn’t need a head to toe washing, for he has/is “cleansed”. Peter and the others only needed a washing of the feet. Metaphorically and spiritually, they were all clan already, except for Judas, the betrayer.
6. My conviction- Jesus seems to be saying they were overall cleansed, but just needed to have their feet washed. The Christian is cleansed by faith in Jesus, and yet as we walk through this sinful world, we acquire the grime of the world. We need to be cleansed daily, so that we can (as best as possible), continue to be a part of what Jesus is doing.

a. Titus 3:5, 6- 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior…
b. Ephesians 5:25-27 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.

7. Application- We need to be saved and then cleansed daily by Jesus. We may object to either or both of these needs, being ashamed of the “dirt” in our lives. Jesus will speak to us through His word, and through His people. Being cleansed by prayer, counseling, etc., can be very humbling, but it is needed, and Jesus invites us to that cleansing.

III. Jesus’ Lesson Vs. 12-17

A. No One Is Better Than Anyone Else

1. V. 12- Jesus asked them to reflect on what He did. Their master had washed their feet.
2. V. 13- Jesus affirmed His lordship over them. (the same is true for us)

B. Follow Jesus’ Example Of Serving Others

1. V. 14- This speaks to the fact that no one is above serving anyone else, regardless of who they are, or how dirty their life is.
2. V. 15- The truth is not just in the knowing or agreeing, but in the doing.
3. V. 16- If we think this doesn’t apply to us, then in essence, we think we are better than Jesus. He has and does send us, and we are not better than Him who is sending us.

C. You Will Be Blessed If You Do This

1. V. 17a- Do you agree with this? That’s step one.
2. V. 17b- This command is something to do, not just agree with.

a. Blessed- makarios- happy, blessed, blissful, when God extends His benefits.

3. Observation, application– This blessedness of serving others cannot come when we live in isolation. We cannot receive nor give this blessing if we live apart from others.

D. Summary

Jesus washed their feet because 1- He loved them. 2- To demonstrate humility. 3- To teach
them/us the importance of spiritual cleansing. 4- To set an example for them/us to follow.