Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. He had loved his disciples during his ministry on earth, and now he loved them to the very end. 2 It was time for supper, and the devil had already prompted Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. 4 So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, 5 and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him. 6 When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” 7 Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.” 8 “No,” Peter protested, “you will never ever wash my feet!” Jesus replied, “Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me.” 9 Simon Peter exclaimed, “Then wash my hands and head as well, Lord, not just my feet!” 10 Jesus replied, “A person who has bathed all over does not need to wash, except for the feet, to be entirely clean. And you disciples are clean, but not all of you.” 11 For Jesus knew who would betray him. That is what he meant when he said, “Not all of you are clean.” 12 After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? 13 You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. 14 And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. 15 I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. 16 I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. Nor is the messenger more important than the one who sends the message. 17 Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them.
In Jesus’ final hours before getting arrested, he had dinner with his disciples and shared with them a lot of very important things. Before he began to teach about these things, he led them in an example that they should follow and teach future disciples to also follow. From the first three verses in John chapter 12 he is clear about three things that Jesus knew before he began: 1.) his time was coming to an end, 2.) Judas already decided to betray him, and 3.) the Father had given him all authority over everything.
This detail should further amplify the level of love and humility that Jesus shows in this moment. Knowing that he had been betrayed while having authority over everything, instead of addressing Judas in judgement, Jesus decides to use this moment to wash each and every one of their feet. Peter becomes so uncomfortable that he protested, but Jesus wouldn’t have it any other way.
Our God is not a God who is out to get us at every turn and dangle our sin in front of us; but models for us the kind of love and devotion that saves. For us it’s such a dirty and uncomfortable thing, but for Jesus it was his main purpose. “Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them.”
Jesus, teach us how to love others even when we know about their failures.
Kx. Ntshiab Suav
Senior Pastor of FHAC.