Jesus Kneels Before Us with a Towel and Basin and He Gives Us Many Promises
Journeying Through John (chapters 13-14)
We read in the twelfth chapter of John that the crowds turned back from following after Jesus. This gave the religious leaders the freedom finally to go ahead with their plans of having Him arrested and killed. Jesus knew that His time to die was near and He gathered His disciples together for a last meal. Scripture says, “---Having loved His own who were in the world, He now showed them the full extent of His love.” (John 13:1b)
Right after dinner Jesus got up and wrapped a towel around His waist and poured water into a basin. Then He began washing His disciple’s feet. Peter saw the Lord coming with the towel and basin and he shouted: “No, you shall never wash my feet.” (John 13:8a) And Jesus replied: “Unless I wash you, you have no part with Me.” (John 13:8b) What is true for Peter is also true for each of us. We cannot be His follower unless we allow Him to wash us.
Jesus told Peter: “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet: his whole body is clean.” (John 14:10) We may be a Christian but we still seem to mess up some each day. Our sins have been forgiven and we are clean but our feet still get dirty. Jesus comes each day and kneels in front of each of us with His towel and basin. He asks to wash our dirty feet —the sin that sticks so easily to us as we walk along life’s way. The bitterness we feel toward the person who hurt us or the anger we let simmer toward a race or political group that we love to hate. Jesus is kneeling down before us waiting to clean us up. (1 John 1:9)
After Jesus had washed His disciple’ feet, He told them to follow His example and serve others,- to be humble and stoop to do the dirty jobs. They (and we) are to be servant/leaders. Then He tells the disciples that soon He will die. “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him.” (John 13:31) Other Scripture passages also refer to Jesus being glorified in His sacrificial death. Certainly His terrible death paid the price of sin and resulted in our glorious salvation!
Jesus gives the disciples a new commandment. He asks them (and us) to love one another as He has loved us. “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35) Then Jesus comforts the disciples. They are upset because He said that He would have to leave them and go back to heaven. “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in Me. In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so I would have told you. I am gong there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to where I am going.” (John 14:1-4)
Thomas was really confused by now and he asked Jesus; “Lord, we don’t know where You are going, so how can we know the way?” And Jesus answered: “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but by Me.” (John 14:6) It seems that Thomas wanted a map or directions showing the way, and Jesus was saying that He is the Way. Jesus is the Way to eternal life and He is the Way to the Father. He is the only Way, not one way among many. We don’t have to find our own way, we just find Him and He is our Way.
One of the ways that Jesus keeps us on the Way to eternal life is by giving us His Holy Spirit. He promised the Holy Spirit to the worried disciples the evening before His arrest. This is what He told them: “If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever---the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans: I will come to you.”(John 14:15-18) “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My Name, will teach you all things, and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (John 14:25-26)
Jesus promised to give the Holy Spirit to His followers and that promise is for us too, if we believe in Him. He promised not to leave the disciples on their own like orphans and we can claim that promise too. When we feel like we’re all alone we need to stop and remember that He has promised to be with us, His Holy Spirit in us to guide us into all truth. We need to wait on Him and listen to hear what He is saying to us. He won’t leave us in the lurch.
Jesus also promised the disciples that He would prepare a place for them in heaven and He would come back to take them there. That promise is for us too. That night, as recorded in John 13-14, just before Jesus was to be carried away to His death, instead worrying about Himself, He took those last hours to give the disciples (and us) these magnificent promises!
Jesus promised us (and the disciples) eternal life and a place in heaven. He also promised that the Holy Spirit would be with us to guide us. Perhaps Jesus comforted the disciples with these promises that last night because He knew they would need to stay strong when He had to leave them. And He also wants us to stay strong until this earthly battle is over. We need to listen for the Holy Spirits’ guidance and allow Jesus to wash us whenever the need arises. And we can stay strong by remembering His promise of eternal life and of our place in heaven. He has given us so much. We are wealthy indeed!