There is a direct correlation between obedience and love. Jesus says, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Over the course of ‘disciple training’, Jesus taught the disciples many truths…how would they ever remember it all? God, the Father, took care of that…He would send the Spirit of Truth to remind them and explain the truths Jesus had taught. One of the fruits of the Spirit was true peace. Peace would follow obedience to God’s commands. Love brings obedience, obedience brings peace, and the Spirit brings an abiding relationship.
Love is the basic ingredient for this abiding relationship. If you are having trouble with obedience or if there is no peace in your life, or if your prayers seem to be mundane at best, maybe there has been a shift from God in your heart. There are symptoms of a heart that is shifted from God. Go back to the basics…Jesus asked Peter, “do you love me?”
Consider the human being: a brain with enough memory capacity to store the entire Internet; a mind possessing the ability to communicate complex ideas across centuries through literature and the arts; a spirit with the capacity to envision justice; and a means to form alliances with other persons to build cultures that carry out those ideals of justice. Such is a human being at his or her best—and most hypothetical. In the actual world, disease and aging ravage the body. Flawed character clouds noble ideas and artistic expression. Greed corrupts attempts to maintain justice. Lust for power and penchant for war destroy cultures. What would a human being look like if never touched by these sin-infused signatures of spiritual sepsis? That person would look like…Jesus. His is the life we must learn.
Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. Vs. 27
Not as the world gives. I have a suspicion that when people pray for something such as peace for their lives they have an expectation of a kind of peace they have already seen or conceived. See the problem? That is not what Jesus promises. His peace is not of this world, and therefore will likely not come in the way you expect. That should not discourage you if you are truly seeking some sort of comfort or peace. What it should do is release you from trying to force God’s timing and plan. The first step is to always trust him. Fully. Then he will come in ways you never expected…and always better.
Godincidentally, I was listening to Donald Miller’s podcast, Building a Story Brand, this week, and I stumbled upon an episode from November with Andy Stanley. It just so happened that they brought up the foot washing scene from our text this week.
As the story goes, Stanley was given the opportunity to preach at President Obama’s pre-inauguration service in 2013, and Stanley used John 13 as a focal point. He preached that when you realize that you are the most powerful person in the room, Jesus would have you leverage that power for the benefit of the other people in the room. You (addressing POTUS) need to get down on your knees like Jesus and wash feet.
While I hope that struck a chord with the President, the same message rings true for us in far lesser roles of authority. As Jesus said, “If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.”John 13:14
John 13:1b having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.
Jesus does many amazing things all in this particular act of love. It was definitely a teaching moment. It was also an empowering moment. But above all, it was an act of love- selfless love. What would cause Him to pause as He continued deeper and deeper into the shadow of the cross? Love.
He is also teaching them so many lessons: no one is above serving, no one is below being served, a pattern for selfless love, Jesus is the source to be able to love like that.
I wonder if they “got it” while it was happening?I suspect as they reflected later and realized how close this event was to the crucifixion it made even more of an impact.
This kind of sacrificial love and service points directly to the gospel. Only a gospel transformation of one’s heart and nature can cause us to humbly and lovingly serve others like this.
Simon Peter had a lot to say…more than was recorded in John 13. Chapter 13 is the beginning of an intimate time of teaching from Jesus to His closest disciples, all on the night prior to His arrest. As Jesus began to wash the feet of the disciples, Peter refused to let Him wash his feet. He was demonstrating the prideful response of one who believed he could be cleaned on his own. He did not need Jesus’ help. There was another message Peter was communicating. When he rejected Jesus’ example of humbly serving others…not wanting Jesus to wash his feet…he was rejecting the thought that he must do the same. If he approved Jesus serving others, Peter would be forced to practice it himself.
Don’t we often do the same? Have you ever “adjusted” what Scripture said so it matched up with what you wanted to believe? Be on guard that you not take a scripture out of context or read something into a scripture that is only truth in your imagination. Rightly divide the Word of Truth…
It might seem counterintuitive that one of the primary responsibilities of the human creature is to pay close attention to one’s self. Why would a disciple of Jesus do that? Because self awareness and knowledge are key components of the way Jesus lived his life. It was precisely because he knew the areas of his inner life in which he would experience temptation that he could take measures to resist the tempter’s lure. Such self knowledge doesn’t just appear magically. It comes with studied and unflinching introspection. From the Psalmist’s “search me and know me” prayer to Jesus’s frequent times of solitude in the “lonely places”, serious servants of God have always sought to know where they came from, their proper place before the Lord, and where they’re going.
If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. vs. 17
“Do you know what I have done to you? vs. 12b
Head and heart knowledge of truth are lived out in application. Jesus has painstakingly gone out of his way in this upper room discourse to educate in words and in deeds what is about to happen, and how the disciples should proceed. There was a very practical response to Jesus’ question: Yes, we understand what you are doing. The proof, however, is in the application. Do you want blessing? The fulfillment of the promise? Then go and do this for others. Find the hurting and bind up their wounds (physical AND spiritual). Seek out the hungry and feed them. Lead and Serve. It must be both. Do you understand what Jesus has done for you? Then go out and do this for others.