John 13

Today’s reading is John 13.
Open your Bible or journal to mark some observations:

+ Note what Jesus knows at the beginning of this chapter.
+ Take note of what cleanliness actually means (outward vs. inward).
+ Note what we discover about a couple disciples from this passage.
If we were to define key components of power, it would be fair to say that money, popularity, influence, and force all contribute. Historically, when power is gained, it is not laid down. It almost always has to be taken. We may instantly think of politics and how this is very applicable to our own government, but this goes far beyond the United States. This reality was true when Jesus walked on earth during the reign of the Roman Empire. They conquered and gained a lot of power, yet today, the Roman Empire is just something we read about in history books.
 
So, when we read in John 13 about the power that Jesus knew he had, this should cause us to pay attention.
 
Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God. . . (verse 3)
 
There is no greater power than this. The God of the universe, the one who created everything from the stars in space to the unseen cells that make us who we are. That God put all things under Jesus’ power. Jesus knew he was God. With all this power, here’s what he does.
 
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 (verses 4-5).
 
Who does this? There were no cameras to capture this act of humility. This wasn’t a publicity stunt. With all the power that had been bestowed on him, Jesus lays it down and he serves. This may seem crazy, but this is just who Jesus is. No one else has lived like this, and yet after he washes his disciples’ feet, he tells them to have this same attitude toward others.
 
It may seem like this would be easy for them to do, given that Jesus is physically in their presence, but they screw it up. We find out that not only will one of Jesus’ closest disciples betray him three times, but we also read that another one is going to straight up betray Jesus for money.
 
And Jesus still washed their feet. This shows us the amazing heart Jesus has for us. He knows we are screwed up people, and he knows that we need so much more than clean feet. We need clean hearts.
 
The same Jesus that humbled himself to wash feet humbled himself to the point of dying an underserving death on a cross. In an act of love, Jesus gave up his power so that we could someday take part in it. Through Jesus, we have victory over sin and death. We have a hope beyond this life.
Take heart knowing that there is no greater power available to mankind than what Jesus offers to us. The path to this power comes through humility – the same way we see Jesus come to earth – fully God, yet fully baby, born in the lowliest of places. Immanuel – God with us.  

Just for today-

  1. How does this passage change the way we view power?
  2. It’s okay to not be okay – take some time to be honest with God in areas where you are struggling. The disciples didn’t have it all together, and we aren’t going to either.
  3. Read and reflect on Philippians 2:5-11.
Garrett Crown | Student Ministries Associate

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