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The Gospel of John: Chapter 13

Hey guys, I am vowing to try better in getting these up earlier. I know I’ve really been slacking lately. Today is day 13 of our Countdown to Christmas, and today we are reading through John chapter 13!

As always, I have taken the chapter below from the New International Version (NIV) of the bible. Jesus’ words are in red, and my commentary is blue. I’ll have the video recording of today’s reading at the bottom of the page, if you’d prefer to watch/listen.

If you missed yesterday’s reading, check it out here.

Let’s get into it!

John Chapter 13

Jesus Washes His Disciples’ Feet

It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

It was customary for the lowest servant of the house to wash the feet of the dinner guests before a meal. Jesus takes it upon himself, at his last meal with his disciples, to serve them in the most humble way.

Read verse 3 again. The author John actually tells us why Jesus does this. Jesus knows exactly who he is. His humility is not because he believes he is the least. It is because he knows that he is the greatest. From a place of total authority, he gives himself away. The most powerful man on earth is showing his disciples and us that a good leader yields his power to love others.

I am sure that true humility comes from not insecurity of self, but from an assurance of who we are to God. When we know we are accepted, loved, and kept by our Maker, acceptance from others becomes unnecessary.

It’s unlikely for us to lower ourselves more when we aren’t yet sure that we are worthy. But in confidence, we can lower ourselves to best glorify our Father who tells us who we are.

He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”

Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”

It doesn’t feel right to Peter that Jesus should wash his feet. He knows he should be washing Jesus’ instead. Yet Jesus says something that is important for all of us to understand. We have to be washed by Jesus. We are filthy in sin, until we come to him in humility, acknowledging that he is the only one who could cleanse us. If we don’t come to Jesus for cleansing, we remain too dirty to commune with him.

“Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”

10 Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.

Peter’s faith and acceptance of Jesus made him clean. The initial “bathing” in faith needs only to happen once. But we are sinful in nature and continue to wrestle with our flesh. We need to return to Jesus continuously for him to “wash our feet”.

Regularly coming to Jesus for help, strength, and comfort, is part of what is necessary to follow him closely. In our reliance, he molds us to become more and more like him over time.

One among the disciples has rejected Jesus in their heart and therefore remains unclean…

12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

I think any of the disciples would’ve washed Jesus’ feet in an instant. He was their Lord. But he wants them to understand that the truly greatest of us will serve the others. It’s not as easy to humble ourselves among peers, but this is what he calls us to.

Jesus Predicts His Betrayal

18 “I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill this passage of Scripture: ‘He who shared my bread has turned against me.’

19 “I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am who I am. 20 Very truly I tell you, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me.”

21 After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.”

22 His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant. 23 One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. 24 Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, “Ask him which one he means.”

25 Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?”

26 Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27 As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.

Handing a dipped piece of bread over to a dinner guest was a display of honor, and Jesus, knowing of Judas’ plans to betray him, shares love and acceptance with him in this way. This is after he had knelt down and washed Judas’ feet. He asks us to love our enemies, the same way that he loved his.

So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” 28 But no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him. 29 Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the festival, or to give something to the poor. 30 As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.

Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial

31 When he was gone, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.

The world viewed crucifixion as great shame and humiliation. But Jesus views his fate on the cross as a display of glory and this is because he knows what will be accomplished in his death on the cross.

33 “My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.

34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

36 Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?”

Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.”

37 Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.”

38 Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!

We know Peter isn’t the one who betrays Jesus. I think Peter really did believe he would die for Jesus. His intentions were to follow and honor God, yet as we will read later on, he will deny faith in Jesus three times. But he will also come back to Jesus in repentance, and the Lord will accept him, even still.

Jesus teaches us a lot about his character and the heart of God in this chapter. We see unbelievable humility and love poured out from the greatest man who ever lived. I’m so grateful for the example we have in Jesus, to learn from what he has done.

I hope you’re having a great week! I’ll see you tomorrow for chapter 13.


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Hey friend, It's just me. A 23 year old female, sharing faith, lifestyle, and light while learning how to follow Jesus and love people well in a broken world. You too? Tag along!