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John 13

John 13

These are the words of Christ which we read at the Passover service. They are full of meaning and should be carefully studied and considered; not just read over and set aside for another year without any real understanding of what is being said.

As we prepare for this Passover, let us seriously study these words and what we are really committing ourselves to do with baptism and partaking of the Passover.

We are committing ourselves to work diligently to achieve FULL UNITY with God the Father and with the Good Shepherd Jesus Christ; in mind, spirit, approach, attitude and deeds; and to internalize their very natures by diligent study and by passionately living by every Word of God.

UNITY with God is the proper godly focus for converted brethren; not organizational unity which places the organization BETWEEN God and the brethren!.

Organizational unity is antithetical to unity with God; for every man is at a different level of understanding, and if we all move to and maintain the lowest common denominator for the sake of organizational unity; we have choked off all spiritual growth!

Today the spiritual Ekklesia [body of believers] is no longer a dynamic growing organism!

WHY? Because we are focusing on organizational unity instead of focusing on unity with God and  in so doing they have made an idol out of organizational unity and quenching the Holy Spirit of zeal, growth, and godliness!

Jesus knew before his last Passover; that, this Passover would be his last in the flesh, and that he would die on that Passover day; so his words as always were extremely meaningful.

John 13:1 Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end. 

The term [before “Passover”] here is a mistranslation due to ignorance by the translators of the difference between Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  Here the original word used is not Strong’s 3957 Pascha (Passover) but “eorth” meaning a festival:   The meaning and correct translation here is “on the Passover just before the festival”

Word: eorth

Pronounce: heh-or-tay’

Strongs Number: G1859

Orig: of uncertain affinity; a festival:–feast, holyday.

Use: Noun Feminine

Heb Strong: H2282 H2320 H4150

1) a feast day, festival

We know from other scriptures that the meal was the Passover meal (Luk 22:15) and not the Festival of Unleavened Bread; therefore the proper translation is not; “before the Passover”, but: “on the Passover before the Festival Holy Day”.

John now skips forward to the Passover meal, and before I continue in John some background information is essential 

The Four Passover Cups of Wine

The Four “I Wills”

During the Ezra Temple period Passover that Jesus Christ observed, the participants in the celebration, partook of four cups of wine.  This is what has become known as the four “I Wills.”  It is taken from Exodus 6:6-7. 

Exodus 6:6-7  Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the LORD, and

I will bring you out from under the  burdens of the Egyptians, and

I will rid you out of their bondage, and

I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments:  And

I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: 

and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God, which bringeth you out from under  the burdens of the Egyptians.

The first Passover cup, “I will bring you out,” is the “Cup of Deliverance” [Sanctification, or Calling Out; to Set Apart a people to God]. 

The second cup, “I will rid you out of their bondage,” is the “Cup of Praise and Rejoicing” at deliverance from bondage in Egypt and spiritually from bondage to sin. 

The third cup, “I will redeem you with a stretched out arm,” is the “Cup of Redemption” picturing the redeeming sacrifice of the Lamb of God. 

The fourth cup, “I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God,” is the “Cup of Acceptance” of the called out people by God.

The first cup, “I will bring you out,” is the cup of Deliverance [Sanctification]. This pictures Israel “Called Out” of  Egypt and is an allegory of God calling out a spiritual people, out from the bondage of sin. 

1 Peter 2:9  But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;

They would then have discussed the deliverance of Israel from Egypt and the first Passover, and a second cup, the “Cup of Rejoicing” was then drunk after the list of plagues was recited.

The second cup, “I will rid you out of their bondage,” is the cup of praise and rejoicing.  We rejoice over our deliverance from bondage to sin as physical Israel rejoiced over their bondage in Egypt. 

Then a third cup of wine, the “Cup of Redemption” was drunk at the END of the meal, which cup represented redemption through the sacrifice of the Lamb of God; and was the cup that Jesus blessed “at the end of the meal” as representative of his shed blood.

Then following the foot washing and the last teachings of Christ, after which the final Psalms 115-118, were sung: The fourth cup, “I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God,” the cup of Acceptance was drunk.  Representing the acceptance of the Called Out by God the Father, after sincere repentance and the application of the redeeming sacrifice of the Lamb of God is applied.


Back to the narrative

John 13:2 And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him;

As the main part of the meal was ended and AFTER they had taken the blessed unleavened bread and wine; they were sitting there conversing and Jesus spoke of his betrayal.

Next in the timeline is the comment that the traitor was still sitting at the table with them; AFTER the Passover symbols were taken by all present.

The disciples then began to argue as to who would be greatest. One could easily speculate that they were relaxed by wine and started off by protesting that they would never betray Christ, with protests of loyalty burgeoning into an argument over who was the most loyal and the greatest.

Luke 22:21 But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table. 22:22 And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined: but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed! 22:23 And they began to enquire among themselves, which of them it was that should do this thing. 22:24 And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.

Then AFTER the Passover meal, and AFTER the Unleavened Bread and Wine; they began to strive among themselves yet again, as to who should be the greatest.

John 13:3 Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God; 13:4 He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.

13:5 After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.

13:6 Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? 13:7 Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. 13:8 Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.

Peter now understanding and being filled with zeal said; I want to be completely united with you Lord, even if that means that you wash me completely!

To have a part with Christ, we must serve him and let him serve us; that means doing his will whatever that will is; it means allowing him to bless us as well as to instruct and correct us.

13:9 Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.

Jesus then said for those with ears to hear, that Judas was still among them and was spiritually unclean. He then begins to explain what he has done and the type of leaders he expects them and us to become. 

Jesus knew that he had washed the betrayer’s feet, and yet said that ye are not all clean, referring to the uncleanness of Judas’ mind and spirit.

13:10 Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all [of you are clean]. 13:11 For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean.

13:12 So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? 13:13 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. 13:14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.

Brethren, it is NOT enough that we wash someone’s feet at Passover and then forget Christ’s example of serving God the Father and the flock. It is NOT enough that we say this is a lesson in HUMILITY and forget or marginalize the fact that it is a lesson in SERVICE and how we are to behave towards God and others, and how we are to behave in our lives.

13:15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. 13:16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. 13:17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

Those who would say that this foot washing was at the beginning of the meal as they arrived, and that it was considered the duty of a host to wash the guests feet; are not only WRONG; they are minimalizing the importance and significance of the very Creator and coming Ruler of the world, and the extraordinary example of humble service he was setting.

This was no ordinary washing; it was a most PROFOUND and EXTRAORDINARY EVENT!

Christ was NOT the host! The house holder was the host and Christ along with his disciples were the guests. Second; hosts provided water to guests, but did not wash their feet, although a slave in a wealthy household might do so, this, in the same manner as we would let our guests use our washrooms. Third; this foot washing did not remove the road dirt as they arrived, it was done AFTER dinner. This washing was not the normal washing upon arrival, or at the beginning before the Passover meal; it was after the Passover meal and symbols; for “supper being ended”; ”he arose from supper” [the Passover table] to wash their feet.

Jesus Christ knowing that he was Messiah and Lord of all the earth, humbled himself to perform an act of service; setting an example for his disciples that they should also serve God and one another. This was a physical act to teach the principle about godly leadership in response to the continual bickering among the disciples over who should be the greatest.

Notice that the Passover meal with the  Unleavened Bread and the Third Cup of Wine had ENDED; and also notice that Christ KNEW of the betrayal of Judas; and yet washed the feet of Judas also!

Christ declares that when he is gone to God the Father and the Comforter is sent to them: they will begin to understand this thing; about who will be the greatest among them. They WILL understand the attitude of service required of a man of God; to serve God and love our very enemies! We are to do good to those who hate us and abuse us; following the example and instructions of our Lord.

Does that mean coddling sin? NO, NO , NO: It means rebuking sin, and setting a sinless example as Christ did! It means forgiving our enemies as Christ has forgiven us!

Consider that “THESE THINGS” are plural; this is NOT just talking about washing someone’s feet: This is about the other Passover Symbols as well; and our whole attitude towards God, humanity and how we live our lives; it is about our DUTY to our Father and our brethren and towards all of humanity.

13:18 I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me.

This is speaking of the Passover Unleavened Bread taken by Judas; showing that even the taking of Passover like circumcision, baptism or ordination; is NO proof of ultimate godliness or conversion.  We shall be judged by our DEEDS and obedience to the Word of God; not by the appearances we put on.

They had returned to the table AFTER the Passover meal, the Unleavened Bread and Wine, and after the foot washing and the lesson of servant leadership.

It is only then: after he has partaken of the meal, the Unleavened Bread and Wine, and after Christ has washed his feet; that Judas is singled out and leaves to betray him. 

Christ and God the Father are ONE in FULL UNITY; and we are to be ONE in FULL UNITY with them.

Those who accept any person who is ONE in FULL UNITY with God the Father and Jesus Christ are also accepting God the Father and the Good Shepherd Jesus Christ.

However any person at ONE with God the Father and Christ; must and will reject all teachings that ARE NOT in total unity with God the Father and Jesus Christ; as FALSE!

13:19 Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he. 13:20 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.

Now: AFTER the meal, AFTER the taking of the unleavened bread and wine, AFTER the foot washing: Jesus Christ reveals that he knows who the TRAITOR is and Judas leaves to do his deed.

13:21 When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.

13:22 Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake. 13:23 Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples [John speaks of himself], whom Jesus loved. 13:24 Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake.

13:25 He then lying on Jesus’ breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it? 13:26 Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. 13:27 And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.

This was the Passover evening and the disciples thought that Judas was being sent to buy the things needed for the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This clearly shows that Passover was not a High Day but a preparation day for the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

13:28 Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him. 13:29 For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor. 13:30 He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night.

When Judas had left, Jesus begins to teach about his death and resurrection.  These final instructions and prayers of Christ are read at every Christian Passover service.

John 13:31 Therefore, when he was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him.

Christ says that, as God the Father is in glory; so the Father shall raise up Christ from the dead, to be in glory like [and with] God the Father.

13:32 If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him.

The actions of the Son are for the purpose of glorifying the Father; and it is the Father’s good pleasure to glorify the Son.

13:33 Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you.

The disciples would follow him in martyrdom in their later years; and at the resurrection to spirit, they will also be raised up as Christ was raised up. Yet they could not follow him in resurrection to spirit, until we also are ready to join them.

Revelation 6:9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar [in heaven where the unconscious spirits of the faithful go to be stored against the resurrection] the [spirits] souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:

6:10 And they [figuratively] cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?

6:11 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.

John 13:34  A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

This is a new commandment in that the spirit and intent of the commandments of God are the definition of love, for God is love. Jesus came and revealed the spirit and intent of God the Father and the Word of God.

One CAN keep the letter without keeping the spirit of the commandments!

One CANNOT keep the spirit of the commandments of God; without also keeping the letter of the law!  

The letter of the law is the foundation of the spirit of the law; for there can be no SPIRIT of a law, if that law does not exist!

The teachings of Christ are to reveal the spirit and intent of the letter of the law! The teachings of Christ are not intended to destroy the law, but to reveal the purpose and intent, the spirit of the law!  Thereby making the letter of the law even more binding!

Matthew 5:27  Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

1 John 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love

1 John 5:1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.

5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.

5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

When we have enough faith in God to live by every Word of God; and we are steadfast in that faith to KEEP all that our God teaches us in his Word; then we become UNITED with God the Father and Christ and overcome sin through them!

Those who compromise are NOT overcomers, nor are they in FULL UNITY with God the Father and Christ.

1 John 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

God’s people will be known by their zealous keeping of all of God’s commandments [which IS love] instead of the traditions of men.  The whole Word of God; is the  love of God defined!

To be born of God, we must overcome sin through the keeping of God’s commandments and by internalizing the love [law, nature] of God in us; through sincere repentance, reconciliation to God the Farther by Christ’s sacrifice, baptism and a passionate keeping of the Word of God through the indwelling nature and power of God.

John 13:36 Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards. 13:37 Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake. 13:38 Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice.

Christ tells Peter that he [and the others] will follow him in martyrdom at another time.  Then Jesus points out the weakness of the flesh prophesying that Peter would deny him. This was before the Holy Spirit was given to him after the resurrection of Christ. 

This was a lesson to Peter and it should be a powerful lesson to us: ONLY by trusting and following Christ to keep the whole Word of God as HE kept it, can we overcome Satan and sin.

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