Current Message‎ > ‎

Sunday, March 17, 2019

posted Mar 18, 2019, 8:45 PM by Site Administrator

THE FULL EXTENT OF HIS LOVE

 

John 13:1-17

Key Verse 13:14

 

Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.

 

John chapters 13-16 are called the upper room dialogues.Now Jesus had only a few hours before his arrest and death. During these last hours of his life, Jesus gave his disciples most important and serious instructions, showing them the meaning of his suffering, death, and resurrection, and what they should do and how they should live as his disciples. With these instructions, Jesus prepared his disciples so that, even when he was not with them physically any longer, they would still function as his disciples doing what God wanted them to do. Now Jesus is not present in our life physically - the very situation Jesus was anticipating when he gave these instructions to his apostles. So, through the upper room dialogue, we can see what Jesus wants us to do and how we must live our life as his disciples. Let's pray and accept his instructions personally.

 

First, The full extent of his love (1-8). Look at verse 1. It was just before the Passover. It was the Passover night when the Jews killed the lambs in preparation for the Passover meal. During this night, Jesus and his twelve disciples were all seated together in an upper room ready to eat the Passover meal. In verses 1 and 3, we see the expression, Jesus knew that…repeated. Verse 1 reads: Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. This means that Jesus knew what’s going to happen to him and what’s the meaning of it; he came into the world to serve God’s mission through his death on the cross, and after completing his mission, he would go back to his Father. Verse 3 also reads: Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God. Here, the expression, Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, shows that Jesus was not a victim to Judas Iscariot’s betrayal; instead, knowing all things – what would happen, and how God’s salvation work would be fulfilled – Jesus arranged all things and proceeded things one by one to fulfill God’s will. He was in full control. The expression, Jesus knew that he had come from God, shows that now he fully understood who he was, why he was there – he was God himself who came into the world in a human form to fulfill God’s salvation purpose.  

 

Now Jesus knew that he had only a few hours left in this world. He already felt the heavy burden of dying a painful death. Now with these few remaining hours in this world, what did Jesus do? Verse 1 says, Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love. Jesus chose to use the last few hours of his life to show his love to his own. This shows that to Jesus, his own were the most precious treasures in the world. He valued them most highly. Who were his own? Of course, his twelve apostles! They were the very ones who remained in him to the end. While all others - thousands, maybe, several ten or even hundred thousand people - just came to his Bible studies, enjoyed his grace, but eventually left him, these apostles stayed together with him to the end. While all those people who came to Jesus’ Bible studies or who heard his messages were called the crowd or those who are outside, the apostles who had made their true commitment to Jesus were called his own. They were the fruit of his ministry in this world. Jesus treasured them so greatly that when he had only a few hours left in this world, he chose to use those hours for them, to have fellowship with them - that was the expression of his love for them - he loved them to the end. To Jesus, they were most precious; they were his treasured possession who loved him with all their hearts.

 

How did the last supper go? Look at verses 4 and 5. Let’s read these verses together:

 

4So he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

While the twelve apostles were happy and busy eating, Jesus got up, took off his outer clothes, and wrapped a towel around his waist. He then poured water into a basin and amazingly began to wash his disciples’ feet. As Jesus came to the Apostle John, not saying a word, he knelt down, grabbed his feet, poured water on them, and gently rubbed his feet. At this, the whole room was silent and all were stunned at the sight as they watched their master take such a lowly position. They could not understand what he was doing. They were so amazed. As he was rubbing the Apostle John’s feet, John became speechless, and Jesus continued to pour gently the water on his feet. He kept doing this until his feet were cleansed from all dirt and filth, and then he dried them with the towel. John didn’t understand what Jesus was doing, but nonetheless, he felt so good – he could sense his master’s love for him; he was so touched – it was the full extent of his love. After he was finished, Jesus got up and then came to Matthew, knelt down, and with the same kind of touch, washed his feet also. Then afterwards he came to Philip, James, and so on. As Jesus washed his disciples’ feet, their hearts were greatly touched; no one had ever touched their hearts in the way Jesus did. As Jesus washed their feet, suddenly a wave of love and warmth filled their hearts – it was a heavenly moment as Jesus’ love became so real to them. 

 

Jesus washed his disciples’ feet! This is remarkable! The Apostle John was so touched at this scene that he described it in such a precise detail and called this event the full extent of his love. What Jesus did here is an expression of the full extent of his love. On a person’s body, feet are the smelliest and yuckiest part. Nobody wants to touch such smelly and dirty feet. Feet are disgusting and even after touching your own feet, you run to the tap water and wash your hands thoroughly with soap. People feel so burdensome about them. Also, in those days, washing feet was a lowly slave’s job. But Jesus, the Master of the universe, loved his disciples so much that he was willing to get down on His knees, and wash his disciples’ dirty and disgusting feet, all twelve of them, one by one. Through this, the apostle John saw how much Jesus loved them, how much he loved his own. Jesus went this much in love for his disciples, taking even the form of a lowly slave for them – it was the full extent of his love for his own.

 

What kind of person was John? Jesus gave him a nickname, “Boanerge” which meant, “son of thunder,” showing that he was a hot tempered and emotional person. When a Samarian village people did not welcome Jesus, John was so angry that he asked Jesus, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven and burn them?” He was that kind of person – full of anger, violence and hot temper. But at the same time, when we think about how he described Jesus’ action in today’s passage – the full extent of his love, we can see that he was a person who received love very well; when someone showed him some favor, he was the one who appreciated it deeply; he received Jesus’ love very well. When Jesus showed him an action of love, he was very touched, appreciating it deeply. Who could imagine that this hot tempered person who used to behave like a thunder had such great point, enjoying and responding to Jesus’ love so well. The love relationship between Jesus and John was very mutual. And because he responded to Jesus’ love and enjoyed it very well, eventually his character was beautified and his inner person became mature that he became a man of love, an apostle of love.

 

But Judas Iscariot was different. Even though Jesus washed his feet also, nothing happened to him. Maybe, at first, he was shocked when Jesus washed his feet, but instead of opening his heart toward Jesus and accepting his love for him, he struggled hard to not respond. Why did he do so? It’s because he wanted to hold onto his own desire for money; he wanted to secure money, so he rejected Jesus’ love for him. As a result, he remained unclean, even though Jesus washed his feet. When he refused to open his heart to Jesus this way, he was inviting Satan into his heart, and he became an instrument of Satan. It’s unbelievable that an apostle of Christ became an instrument of Satan, but that’s what happened. When Jesus’ love comes to us, we must respond to it with an open heart. Let his love flow into your heart and change you freely as God desires. Then, his love will purify you, making you clean. His love will establish as beautiful children of God.

 

What happened when Jesus came to Simon Peter? Look at verses 6 through 8. Peter could not believe what he was about to see. In his eyes, Jesus was such a glorious man of God, a highly respected and honored Rabbi, and his beloved master who deserved honor and praise. Jesus was his Lord and King and no way should he kneel down to wash his dirty and stinky feet. Sowhen Jesus came to him to wash his feet, he said to Jesus, Lord, are you going to wash my feet? Jesus said to Peter, You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand. But Peter responded, saying, No, you shall never wash my feet. In respect and honor of Jesus, Peter could not see Jesus doing such a lowly job for him. So, he refused to stick out his feet. His love for Jesus was very genuine, but he didn’t understand Jesus’ love for him yet. 

 

Then, Jesus responded, Unless I wash you, you have no part with me. Now Jesus here explains the spiritual meaning of washing his disciples’ feet. It meant Jesus washing away his disciples’ sins, and making them clean. Jesus loved them as his own – they were the ones who were completely committed to him; they were the fruit of his life here on earth; he treasured them in his heart and loved them so much. How then does Jesus express his love for his own? By touching their most smelly parts and making them clean and fragrant! This is the expression of Jesus' love for his own. People casually say, Jesus loves me.By the way, what does it mean? What is the expression of his love for them? He loves them so much that he wants to remove all filth, dirtiness from them and make them clean, fragrant, and wholesome. He loves them so much that he is willing to touch and deal with their smelly parts, smelly sin problems. Jesus loves us so much, so he never wants us to live with shame, dirtiness and uncleanness; so he wants to wash away our sins.

 

How should we respond to Jesus’ love for us? We must accept his love for us, his burning desire to make us clean, by sticking out our smelly sin problem to him, by confessing our sins and repenting. Even though we are dedicated to God fully, it does not mean that we are perfect; we have our own unique weakness and sin problems; sometimes, the desire for success or desire for flesh rises in our hearts and we are so bombarded. Sometimes, we are simply driven by our own sinful nature that we do some crazy or even shameful things only to regret terribly. Jesus knows this very well, and in love, he wants to cleanse us from our sins and character-flaws so that we may become clean, fragrant and beautiful in our words and actions. This is Jesus expression of love for us, and we must accept it. We must stick out our smelly sins to him, confessing and repenting. Some people feel ashamed to talk about their shameful sins or weak points; some people do not want to talk about it, but want to entertain their sinful desires; but we must remember that, when the top disciple Peter refused to stick out his smelly feet to Jesus, even out of his respect for him, he still would have no part with Jesus. Peter was the top disciple; he had served God's work a lot; he had attended worship service all the time. But unless he let Jesus wash his smelly feet, he would have no part with Jesus, he would have no relationship with Jesus, he would have no life together with Jesus. 

Second, Full bath and foot-washing (9-11). Look at verse 9. Then, Lord Simon Peter replied, not just my feet but my hands and my head as well! Here, Then, Lord, meant, If there was such a profound meaning and reason in this, or If that's the case,... Simon was willing to do anything and everything if he could have life together with Jesus; if anything would help him develop better relationship with Jesus, he would do it. Simon’s response shows us that he really loved Jesus and wanted to have intimate fellowship with him; he wanted to have life together with Jesus. So, he asked Jesus to give him a full bath. Not just my feet, but my hands and head as well! Simon Peter made so many mistakes in his Christian life; he denied Jesus three times, gave up his mission, and Satan used him; but despite all these, he loved Jesus. Peter’s love for Jesus was hot and real. It was genuine. That’s why in all circumstances, despite all his terrible failures and mistakes, still he could say to Jesus, You know that I love you. Jesus knew Peter’s heart very well too. Based on this love relationship, Jesus helped him continually and finally Simon grew up to be a spiritual giant.

 

What was Jesus’ response? Look at verse 10. Let’s read this verse together:

 

Jesus answered, A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.

 

Here, we see that there are two kinds of cleansing. One is a full bath, and the other is foot washing. Simon Peter had already taken the full bath. There was no need for Jesus to give him a full bath again. The full bath means cleansing of one’s whole life; it refers to complete turning to God, which is called, conversion. When Jesus came to Peter while he was fishing and living his own life for himself, he said to him, Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of men. Peter accepted Jesus’ calling and left everything behind; he had a 180 degreeturning from his life of catching fish to the life of catching men, from the self-seeking life to the life of seeking God. This was the turning point in Peter’s life. Even though Peter was a Jew, had the Bible, and attended worship service all his life, it wasn’t until he turned his life from living for himself to living for God that he took the full bath and became clean. Simply, it can mean the true meaning of baptism with the water – actually, baptism is a full bath; with the baptism, your old self that has lived for yourself dies in the water, and a new self that lives for God comes to appear; so, with the baptism, it is no longer you that lives in you, but Christ Jesus. Jesus said to the twelve, You are clean.  

 

Jesus also said, But not every one of you referring to Judas Iscariot. Judas had served God’s work together with Jesus and the eleven disciples for three and a half years. He heard Jesus’ words, had many worship services and occupied a very important position in Jesus' ministry - he was the treasurer. Outwardly, it seemed that he was living for God, but in the true sense, despite his participation in Jesus’ ministry, he was not living for God, but for his own purpose – he was pursuing money, not God. Outwardly, it seemed that he took a full bath; of course, he received the baptism, most likely from Jesus, but when his heart was not turned toward God, such a ceremony of receiving the baptism with water could not cleanse him. Now at the last supper, Jesus even washed his feet, the symbolic action of taking away his sins; but when he did not repent, when he did not accept Jesus’ love for him, when he held onto his own desire for money continually, he remained unclean. This is really shocking. I saw one brother who said that he received the baptism from a well known servant of God – he took great pride in it; but his life was not turned toward God, and thereby, he still remained unclean. I saw another person who took great pride that he received a counseling service from a great man of God, but again, he too did not turn to God, but lived for himself, even though he went to church – thus, he remained unclean. People need to be sincere before God; God is not so concerned about what kind of ceremony they do, but about their hearts – God wants people to repent and turn to him and live for him. We must be sincere before God – he is a Person, not a thing or a certain principle. The apostle John writes: We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, I know him, but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. (1Jn 2:3-6) Judas remained unclean even though Jesus washed his feet. Despite his life together with Jesus for three years, Judas could not enter this love relationship with Jesus as long as he was unwilling to let go of his secret desire for money. Today, accept Jesus’ love for you and turn to God really.

 

Jesus says, A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet. Even though the 11 apostles had taken a full bath, they still needed to wash their feet. In those days, they used to wear sandals, or even barefooted. The streets were unpaved. As they walked on the unpaved streets with sandals, their feet got dirty quickly and they needed to wash them every day. In the same way, even after conversion to Jesus Christ, we still get dirty with sin and thereby, need to be forgiven and cleansed of it. Let’s say, you finally accept Jesus Christ and turn to him, with a heart’s determination that you will live for God alone; you say, Okay, let’s go and do God’s work. And you boldly go out to the campus and struggle to do God’s work. Then, the world attacks you, delivering its messages to you continually to corrupt you. As soon as you go out, you see fancy cars passing by, and you say, Wow! Look at that! Porshe! Bentz! Or you see fancy cell phones – Iphone X! Galaxy 10! You just want to have them, and in this way, the desire for things of this world tries to creep into your heart. At school, you are tempted about relationships or pleasure-seeking life or success in the world. Indeed, sin is everywhere, at work, at school, on the streets, and even at home. Indeed, as the Bible says, we are surrounded by enemies who try to corrupt us. Then, when you come back to the church at night, you are so confused and bombarded with the worldly desires and fleshly desires; simply, in the morning you were clean, but now your feet are unclean. At that time, we come to Jesus and talk to him, confessing our sins and asking him for his help, then, Jesus is right there to help us, right there to cleanse us of our sins and remove all filth from our hearts and make us clean, innocent and healthy again. Then, the next day, we can go out and do God’s work again with a refreshed heart. The apostle John later wrote: Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. (1Jn 2:15-17) Again, we must accept the love of Jesus each and every day, by letting him wash our smelly feet and take away all filth and dirtiness from our hearts and life, then, we can recognize that God’s love for us is real, and that we are in him and he in us – at that time, our joy is complete and we are happy with God. Jesus says, Unless I wash you, you have no part with me. He also says, A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean.  

 

Third, Wash one another’s feet (12-17). Look at verses 12 through 15. After having finished washing their feet, Jesus put on his clothes and returned to his place and said, Do you understand what I have done for you? You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.

 

Now Jesus explains the practical reason why he washed his disciples’ feet. In short, he set an example so that his disciples might do the same thing. As the disciples lived together, all of their weak points and character flaws were exposed. Matthew, the former tax collector’s selfishness must have been terrifying to others. Maybe, Judas the Zealot, always caused conflicts with others because of his nationalist’s view. Maybe, some of them put their smelly socks on the beds. Mostly, they were so political and worldly that they were competing with each other to be the prime minister in Jesus’ kingdom. Even while Jesus was heavily burdened about his impending death on the cross and shared with them about it, they were just discussing about who was the greatest among them, to see who would be the prime minister. Jesus could have been mad at their worldliness and childishness. But instead, he had been bearing their weaknesses, character flaws and even sin problems. Jesus had borne their childishness until then. Because of that, they had a chance to grow up as spiritual leaders overcoming their weaknesses and sin problems. That’s how Jesus had washed his disciples’ feet. Now, by demonstration at the last supper, he showed them that they too must do the same thing, washing one another’s feet. Now Jesus was going back to his Father leaving them behind. His utmost concern was that, even when was with them physically any longer, they would still function as his disciples, advancing God's kingdom powerfully in one mind and heart. Jesus never wanted them to fight with each other, blaming each other all the way, and then, be divided and destroyed. How would they be able to do so? It would be possible only when they formed unity of love among themselves by washing one another's feet, by bearing one another's weaknesses and faults. Washing one another's feet was the first topic Jesus issued in his upper room dialogue - maybe, the most important instruction for his disciples. Just like a mother who is leaving her children, with such earnestness Jesus gave them this instruction - wash one another's feet! This is the very instruction Jesus gives us today - wash one another's feet! Is Jesus your Master? Is Jesus your Teacher? If you call Jesus, Teacher, or Master, this is what Jesus teaches you today - wash one another's feet!

 

As a conclusion, Jesus says, Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. You will be blessed if you do them. Many people are touched by Jesus' love on this passage, saying, Wow! This passage is beautiful! The full extent of his love for the disciples! Some people memorize John 13. But it does not mean anything, unless we really do what Jesus asks us to do - wash one another's feet. We will be blessed if we do them. The word blessed means happy. KJV translates it, saying, Happy are ye, if ye do them. We become happy when we obey Jesus’ instructions and love each other by bearing one another’s smelly parts; at that time, church life, mission life, fellowship with each other in the church is heavenly, and we are overjoyed. But if we don’t do these things, then, instead of happiness, we will be angry, hurting and being hurt; Angry are ye, if ye don’t do them. If we don’t wash one another’s feet, there will be strife, anger, bitterness, and sorrow; many people will be wounded – then, Christian life becomes so painful and sorrowful, and such a divided kingdom cannot stand. But, Jesus says, Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. As Jesus disciples, we can truly enjoy a blessed life together if we wash one another’s feet, and in one mind and heart, in a complete unity, we can advance God’s kingdom powerfully.

 

One Word: Wash One Another’s Feet

Comments