Have you ever been close to someone who betrayed you? Have you ever trusted someone, and they turned on you? Well, if so, Jesus understands exactly the way that feels. This chapter starts out on the evening Jesus was betrayed. One thing I want to point out is that the next few chapters of John (chapters 13-17) cover a 36-hour period. So, as you are reading these next few chapters over the next several days, keep in mind that it covers about a day and a half time span.
In verse 1, we see the words, “Jesus knew that his hour had come…” this statement stood out to me because it is in strict contrast to what we have heard before… which was “His hour had not yet come.” Even back at the beginning of John when he performed his first miracle in John 2:4. If you remember they ran out of wine at the wedding and his mother, Mary, wanted him to fix it and fix it fast. Are there any other mother’s out there that can identify with Mary in that moment? I know I can. In that moment, He responded with, “My time has not yet come.” So now this is a much different moment. His time had come, and it must have been deeply reflective for him to know all that was about to happen.
Next we see in verses 4 -17 the well-known foot washing ceremony that Jesus performs and all the emotions that the Disciples felt and how it must have been such a humbling experience for their Teacher and Lord to be doing this to them when they felt they were not worthy. They were thinking that they were the ones that should have been washing His feet. In this passage, Jesus does command for us to follow His example and wash each other’s feet. In verse 14, Jesus tells them to “do as I have done”. Culturally, we do not see many foot washing parties happening anymore. So how can we follow this command in our modern time? I love what one pastor suggested, “We are to serve people in the family of God- especially by helping them when things get dirty. Our service is most needed in the messiness of life where people are hurting and suffering.” The most humbling moments for me have been when the family of God circled around me when life was a mess. I hated being the person who needed help, but in those humbling moments it showed me such a picture of Christ’s love and the power of being surrounded by fellow believers. When life got messy for me, I was surrounded by people who were figuratively “washing my feet”. I think what Jesus is trying to convey here is He wants to teach us to serve one another. When it’s inconvenient, when it feels awkward, when it feels messy. I believe Jesus is earnestly looking for more servants, not more celebrities.
The chapter ends with Jesus now telling his disciples verbally in verse 31 what he felt in His spirit at the beginning of the chapter by saying , “The time has come for the Son of Man to enter his glory”. Jesus goes on to tell them, “he will be with them only a little bit longer.” And as you can imagine the disciples were filled with questions. Simon Peter was the brave soul who spoke up. He declares that he is ready to die for Jesus. But then Peter is quickly put in his place by hearing that he will deny Jesus not once or twice, but three times before the next morning.
It’s easy for me to feel sorry for Peter in this moment because there have been several times in my life where I made some sort of declaration that I would never do something (especially when it came to parenting), only to find myself doing that very thing soon after. So, I feel for Peter for sure. Anyone else with me on that?
But let’s not get so caught up in feeling for Peter that we miss the greater point being made here, that living for Jesus is often much harder than dying for Him. Many of us like Peter would declare that if put to the test, we would willingly die for Jesus, but for us to obediently live for Him? …That requires us to deny ourselves or, in other words, to obey God’s words above our own desires, and to follow Him daily.
I want to finish up by sharing this quote by Tony Evans, “Many times the Lord is calling us not to die for Him, but to just live for Him.” Will you join me today and every day in choosing to live for Him?