Love to the Very End, BORN TO BE ALIVE series, John 13, Pastor Steve

I. The Serving Savior

Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. He had loved his disciples during his ministry on earth, and now he loved them to the very end. It was time for supper, and the devil had already prompted Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God.” (vv1-3)

  1. A Heart of Love

he loved them to the very end” (v.1)

  1. On Jesus’ way out He is Expressing His love!
  2. An Outrageous Acts of Humility

“So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him.” (vv4-5)

illu. Since feet clad only in sandals tend to get dusty on the unpaved roads of Palestine, it was customary for a host to provide a basin of water so guests could wash their own feet. Washing someone else’s feet was a task reserved for the most menial of servants.

Remember this is Jesus, the One they believe to be the Christ, the Messiah, their Rabbi (Hebrew “great one”), their Teacher (“Master,” KJV).  But yet…

  1. To the Very End: Jesus’ love extended to the end of His Life
  1. Love from Jesus was expressed in His action
  1. He humbly washed their feet
  1. How do we Express Love?
  1. Wash others feet: service with complete humility. 
  2. A Jewish commentary on the Book of Exodus suggests that Jewish slaves could not be required to wash the feet of others, that it was so demeaning it should be reserved for Gentile slaves or for women, children, or pupils.  A wife might wash a husband’s feet; a child might wash a parent’s feet. Rarely a disciple might honor a distinguished rabbi by washing his feet. But for a superior to wash an inferior’s feet was unheard of! It was never ever done!
  3. Jesus serves. John describes the scene. Jesus takes off his outer clothing, and wraps a towel about his waist — typical servant attire (Luke 12:37). His disciples are dressed in their best for the Passover Meal while Jesus looks like a servant.
  4. Our culture expects Great Men to exalt themselves and allow others to serve. But in the Kingdom of God it is different. Here the greatest serves the least, with Jesus leading the way.
  1. Do As I Have Done

12 After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? 13 You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. 14 And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. 15 I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.

1. Peter Didn’t Get    It!: “No” Peter protested, “you will never ever wash my feet!”(vv6-11)

6 When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” 7 Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.”(vv6-11)

  1. Like Many other Jewish people Peter misunderstood Jesus’ sacrifice.
  2. Peter loves this man, and he can’t stand this, so he blurts out, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” I can’t stand seeing you like a menial servant! It offends my sense of rightness and order! And I don’t deserve it from you!
  3. Sometimes, like Peter, we resist this frequent need for cleansing — whether out of false pride or a sense of unworthiness or vulnerability We don’t want to let the Holy One this close, this intimate. And so we resist him. How foolish of us! He knows us and our sins and wants to restore to us his full cleansing and fellowship. And we must let him!
  1. Do As I Have Done

12 After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? 13 You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. 14 And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. 15 I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.

  1. What does Jesus’ instruction mean? It means to serve others humbly, rather than expecting them to wait on us.

“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45

2. What does Jesus’ instruction mean?

Look at verses 16-17,

16 I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. Nor is the messenger more important than the one who sends the message. 17 Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them.

  • I suppose that the account of Jesus washing his disciples feet is one that comes to mind perhaps more than any other of Jesus’ acts — with the exception of the cross. Humble service! It is so important, and yet so difficult to perform consistently from the heart!
  1. The Betraying BOOKKEEPER

18 “I am not saying these things to all of you; I know the ones I have chosen. But this fulfills the Scripture that says, ‘The one who eats my food has turned against me.’ 19 I tell you this beforehand, so that when it happens you will believe that I am the Messiah. 20 I tell you the truth, anyone who welcomes my messenger is welcoming me, and anyone who welcomes me is welcoming the Father who sent me.” (vv18-25)

21 Now Jesus was deeply troubled, and he exclaimed, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me!” 22 The disciples looked at each other, wondering whom he could mean. 23 The disciple Jesus loved was sitting next to Jesus at the table. 24 Simon Peter motioned to him to ask, “Who’s he talking about?” 25 So that disciple leaned over to Jesus and asked, “Lord, who is it?”

  1. They have no Idea who Jesus is talking about.

Judas left at once, going out into the night.” (vv26-30)

  1. Judas, the bookkeeper, sells out the King. 

“How much will you pay me to betray Jesus to you?” And they  gave him thirty pieces of silver.  (Matthew 26:15)

  1. Satan had already “prompted” Judas to betray

26 Jesus responded, “It is the one to whom I give the bread I dip in the bowl.” And when he had dipped it, he gave it to Judas, son of Simon Iscariot. 27 When Judas had eaten the bread, Satan entered into him. Then Jesus told him, “Hurry and do what you’re going to do.” 28 None of the others at the table knew what Jesus meant. 29 Since Judas was their treasurer, some thought Jesus was telling him to go and pay for the food or to give some money to the poor. 30 So Judas left at once, going out into the night.

  1. As we remember Judas was in last chapter too, remember he was mad that Mary spent all that money to anoint Jesus, well now he goes a step further. 
  2. Judas, the bookkeeper, sells out the King. 

“How much will you pay me to betray Jesus to you?” And they        gave him thirty pieces of silver.  (Matthew 26:15)

    “Even my close friend, whom I trusted,  he who shared my bread,  has lifted up his heel against me.” Psalm 41:9

  1. Satan has already “prompted or entered” Judas to betray Jesus (13:2). Luke says that prior to making an agreement with the chief priests to betray Jesus, “Satan entered Judas” (Luke 22:3).
  1. But here, at the Last Supper, in the intimacy of receiving bread from his Master, Judas could have broken down and confessed his evil plot. But he didn’t. He received the bread from his Master with a straight face.
  2. He had determined to go through with it. His love for Jesus was a sham, and his betrayal was later sealed with a sign of affection for the one he was betraying, a kiss.
  3. Judas Went Out. It Was Night (13:27b-30) After Jesus hands Judas the bread, Jesus tells him to get on with the betrayal. And Judas does — knowing full well that Jesus knows of his betrayal.

31 As soon as Judas left the room, Jesus said, “The time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory, and God will be glorified because of him. 32 And since God receives glory because of the Son, he will give his own glory to the Son, and he will do so at once.

33 Dear children, I will be with you only a little longer. And as I told the Jewish leaders, you will search for me, but you can’t come where I am going.

  1. Jesus is entering His Glory
  1. He will be around only a little longer
  1. Between Predicting Judas’ Betrayal and Foretelling of Peter’s Denial, Jesus says, “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:34-35
  1. When we are betrayed and heartbroken by our friends, do we act in love? 
  2. Almost impossible, but our Savior loved regardless of the situation.
  1. 3 Things about this love:
  1. Love is Commanded
  2. Our love is a result of His Love:

“We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)

  • Some people measure discipleship by purity or doctrine or precise orthodoxy. But the indicator here is love for one another.
  1. It’s an Indicator of Discipleship

36 Simon Peter asked, “Lord, where are you going?” And Jesus replied, “You can’t go with me now, but you will follow me later.” 37 “But why can’t I come now, Lord?” he asked. “I’m ready to die for you.” 38 Jesus answered, “Die for me? I tell you the truth, Peter—before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.”

  1. This passage ends with Jesus’ prediction of Peter’s denial.
  1. When we come to the point of full surrender to Christ, we say things like, “I will lay down my life for you,” as Peter did. We think we can’t fail,  but we must be aware of our own brokenness and weakness.
  1. Surrender is the beginning. Thank God for his understanding and his mercy towards our sometimes pathetic presentations of our faithfulness.
  1. All four Gospels contain this prediction of Peter disowning Jesus three times before the cock crows (Matthew 26:34; Mark 14:30; Luke 22:34). But only John records Jesus restoring Peter to his mission, when after the resurrection, Jesus asks Peter three times, “Do you love me?”, hears three times Peter’s assurance of his love, and three times restores him to his ministry: “Feed my lambs” (21:15-27). Thank God for mercy.

Some final thoughts:

1. Jesus washed the disciples’ feet in order to teach them that humble service is of highest value… We are called to self-humbling in order to serve (13:14-15).

2. We need to love even in the middle of struggle… (v18).

3. Love for other disciples is an indicator that we are Jesus’ disciples (v35)


Jesus, thank you for setting the example of humbling yourself to serve. We need to see that. I need to see that. Help us to love like you do. Teach us, guide us, and forgive us when we fall short. In your holy name, we pray. Amen.

Preparation for LENT

Why is Lent for 40 days and what is its meaning?

The Lent period reflects when Jesus fasted and suffered in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights, before he started his ministry.

According to the Bible, he was tempted by Satan during this time, but each time he managed to refuse his temptations.

People follow Jesus’ example and give up vices, or add virtues,  in a bid to grow closer to God as Easter approaches.

Go to the Webpage for a

Lent Devotional.