“Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.” (John 13:1)
When we intend to get something accomplished and it does not go as we anticipated, we often analyze where we went wrong. The followers of Jesus surely spent time with such thoughts.
But Jesus, the “only begotten Son of God” already knew how things were going to turn out. He knew the majority would reject Him and His teachings. He knew they would deny the “signs, wonders, and miracles” because He did not measure up to their wants.
He came anyway … because He loved His Heavenly Father … He loved mankind … and knew it was His Father’s will that He come to earth in the form of a man and endure what no man should ever have to endure.
His mission among the Jews had run its course, ending with a wholesale rejection of Him as Messiah! Passover Week was beginning, and Jesus’ triumphal entrance into the city quickly found a jeering and demanding crowd clamoring “Crucify Him.”
By Friday He would be completely rejected and publicly condemned to die a criminal’s death on a Cross for sins He did not commit! But Jesus knew that God would turn His death on the Cross into the great and ultimate sacrifice of atonement for all the sins of all mankind!
The phrase “to the end” in the Greek text is ‘eis telos,’ meaning that He loved them to perfection … to the uttermost … with total fullness of love.
Having turned from His public ministry John 13 finds our Lord turning ministry to a very personal and special relationship He possessed with His “chosen ones.” How would He prepare them for what they were all about to experience … when everything would appear to be spinning out of His control?
Even knowing the awful and bitter “cup” that He was to drink was coming shortly, Jesus had important truths to share with these twelve men that after His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension would “turn the world upside down.”
These last hours with them before His death knowing full well “all that would happen to Him” (John 18:4) were of the utmost importance to Him. There sat the basin by the door. There was the water waiting to be poured from the pitcher.
Perfect man in an imperfect world, Jesus rose from the table. Knowing there was one among them who was about to betray Him and one who would deny Him three times in the same evening, He removed His outer garment, wrapped a towel around His waist, and knelt down at the dirty feet needing to be washed of each disciple. Phillip, Peter, Thomas, John, all the rest of these “chosen ones” including Judas!
It is simply beyond our limited abilities to fully grasp how deep the Father’s love and His Son’s love is for each of us! What He did that evening, what He said when He spoke with such tenderness and compassion and honesty demonstrated clearly and transparently His deep love!
He strengthened and reassured them … preparing them for the challenging difficulties they would personally face!
The actions and words spoken by Jesus in the upper room revealed what was on His heart! Such love is amazing beyond our limited understanding. But it is this deep love for others, especially our brethren that each of us must “press on” to acquire and maintain.
He left an example for us. We have opportunities presented … if not literally, certainly figuratively … even daily to “wash the feet” of others!
Am I willing to be one who will “wash the feet of others” in love and service … loving and serving … to the end … being more like the Master every day?
You … me … we must make the call relative to ourselves and not to or for any others.
“So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:12)
Bill Fairchild, Jr.