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Humility: Jesus and the Father (John 13:1-5 )
« on: June 20, 2010, 03:15:52 PM »
Humility: Jesus and the Father (John 13:1-5 )

From Warren W. Wiersbe BE TRANSFORMED

Jesus had entered Jerusalem on Sunday, and on Monday had cleansed the temple. Tuesday was a day of conflict as the religious leaders sought to trip Him up and get evidence to arrest Him. These events are recorded in Matthew 21-25 . Wednesday was probably a day of rest, but on Thursday He met in the Upper Room with His disciples in order to observe Passover.
The emphasis in John 13:1-3 is on what our Lord knew, and in John 13:4-5 on what our Lord did.
Jesus knew that “His hour was come.” More than any of the Gospel writers, John emphasized the fact that Jesus lived on a “heavenly timetable” as He did the Father’s will. Note the development of this theme:
2:4—“Mine hour is not yet come.”
7:30—“His hour was not yet come.”
8:20—“His hour was not yet come.”
12:23—“The hour is come that the Son of man should be glorified.”
13:1—“Jesus knew that His hour was come.”
17:1—“Father, the hour is come.”
What was this divinely appointed “hour”? It was the time when He would be glorified through His death, resurrection, and ascension. From the human point of view, it meant suffering; but from the divine point of view, it meant glory. He would soon leave this world and return to the Father who sent Him, Jesus having finished His work on earth (John 17:4 ). When the servant of God is in the will of God, he is immortal until his work is done. They could not even arrest Jesus, let alone kill Him, until the right hour had arrived.
Jesus also knew that Judas would betray Him. Judas is mentioned eight times in John’s Gospel, more than in any of the other Gospels. Satan had entered into Judas (Luke 22:3 ), and now he would give him the necessary thought to bring about the arrest and crucifixion of the Son of God. The word translated “put” in John 13:2 literally means “to throw.” It reminds us of the fiery darts of the wicked one (Eph. 6:16 ). Judas was an unbeliever (John 6:64-71 ), so he did not have a “shield of faith” to use to ward off Satan’s attacks.
Finally, Jesus knew that the Father had given Him all things (John 13:3 ). This statement parallels John 3:35 , and it also reminds us of Matthew 11:27 . Even in His humiliation, our Lord had all things through His Father. He was poor and yet He was rich. Because Jesus knew who He was, where He came from, what He had, and where He was going, He was complete master of the situation. You and I as believers know that we have been born of God, that we are one day going to God, and that in Christ we have all things; therefore, we ought to be able to follow our Lord’s example and serve others.
What Jesus knew helped determine what Jesus did (John 13:4-5 ). The disciples must have been shocked when they saw their Master rise from supper, lay aside His outer garments, wrap a towel around His waist, take a basin of water, and wash their feet. Jewish servants did not wash their masters’ feet, though Gentile slaves might do it. It was a menial task, and yet Jesus did it! As a special mark of affection, a host or hostess might wash a guest’s feet, but it was not standard operating procedure in most homes.
Jesus knew that there was a competitive spirit in the hearts of His disciples. In fact, within a few minutes, the men were disputing over which of them was the greatest (Luke 22:24-30 ). He gave them an unforgettable lesson in humility, and by His actions rebuked their selfishness and pride. The more you think about this scene, the more profound it becomes. It is certainly an illustration of what Paul wrote years later in Philippians 2:1-16 . Peter must have recalled the event when he wrote his first epistle and urged his readers to “be clothed with humility” (1 Peter 5:5 ).
Too often we confuse “the poor in spirit” (Matt. 5:3 ) with the “poor-spirited,” and true humility with timidity and inferiority. The British literary giant Samuel Johnson was once asked to prepare a funeral sermon for a girl who had died, and he asked what her special virtues were. He was told that she was kind to her inferiors. Johnson replied that this was commendable, but that it would be difficult to determine who her inferiors were!
The Father had put all things into the Son’s hands, yet Jesus picked up a towel and a basin! His humility was not born of poverty, but of riches. He was rich, yet He became poor (2 Cor. 8:9 ). A Malay proverb says, “The fuller the ear is of rice-grain, the lower it bends.”
It is remarkable how the Gospel of John reveals the humility of our Lord even while magnifying His deity: “The Son can do nothing of Himself” (John 5:19 , 30 ). “For I came down from heaven, not to do Mine own will” (John 6:38 ). “My doctrine is not Mine” (John 7:16 ). “And I seek not Mine own glory” (John 8:50 ). “The word which ye hear is not Mine” (John 14:24 ). His ultimate expression of humility was His death on the cross.
Jesus was the Sovereign, yet He took the place of a servant. He had all things in His hands, yet He picked up a towel. He was Lord and Master, yet He served His followers. It has well been said that humility is not thinking meanly of yourself; it is simply not thinking of yourself at all. True humility grows out of our relationship with the Father. If our desire is to know and do the Father’s will so that we might glorify His name, then we will experience the joy of following Christ’s example and serving others.
We today, just like the disciples that night, desperately need this lesson on humility. The church is filled with a worldly spirit of competition and criticism as believers vie with one another to see who is the greatest. We are growing in knowledge, but not in grace (see 2 Peter 3:18 ). “Humility is the only soil in which the graces root,” wrote Andrew Murray. “The lack of humility is the sufficient explanation of every defect and failure.”
Jesus served His disciples because of His humility and because of His love. Contrast John 13:1 with 1:11 and 3:16: Jesus came “unto His own [world], and His own [people] received him not.” “For God so loved the world.” In the Upper Room, Jesus ministered in love to His own disciples, and they received Him and what He had to say. The Greek text says, “He loved them to the uttermost.”