1 Before the Passover Festival, Jesus knew that His hour had come to depart from this world to the Father. Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. 2 Now by the time of supper, the Devil had already put it into the heart of Judas, Simon Iscariot’s son, to betray Him. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had given everything into His hands, that He had come from God, and that He was going back to God. 4 So He got up from supper, laid aside His robe, took a towel, and tied it around Himself. 5 Next, He poured water into a basin and began to wash His disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel tied around Him. 6 He came to Simon Peter, who asked Him, “Lord, are You going to wash my feet?” 7 Jesus answered him, “What I’m doing you don’t understand now, but afterward you will know.” 8 “You will never wash my feet—ever!” Peter said. Jesus replied, “If I don’t wash you, you have no part with Me.” 9 Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.”10 “One who has bathed,” Jesus told him, “doesn’t need to wash anything except his feet, but he is completely clean. You are clean, but not all of you.” 11 For He knew who would betray Him. This is why He said, “You are not all clean.” 12 When Jesus had washed their feet and put on His robe, He reclined again and said to them, “Do you know what I have done for you? 13 You call Me Teacher and Lord. This is well said, for I am. 14 So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example that you also should do just as I have done for you.16 “I assure you: A slave is not greater than his master, and a messenger is not greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. 18 I’m not speaking about all of you; I know those I have chosen. But the Scripture must be fulfilled: The one who eats My bread has raised his heel against Me.19 “I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am He. 20 I assure you: Whoever receives anyone I send receives Me, and the one who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
Jesus knew that the Father had given everything into His hands, that He had come from God, and that He was going back to God.
—John 13: 3
Ever been in on a secret? Maybe it was a surprise party or a special recognition that you happened to know about, but the individual being celebrated had no idea. When you have the inside scoop on something, you can be more patient with folks that don’t know what you know with the full confidence that when it all comes to light, everyone will understand why you were acting the way you did because of what you have known all along.
My 25th wedding anniversary was such an occasion.
For over a year, I had been planning a special renewal of my vows to Teresa and lots of people were in on it including her father—a retired pastor who had performed our wedding 25 years before. So, on that Friday, August 8, 2006, we drove to her parent’s home in Horn Lake, Mississippi for what she thought was a routine visit with her folks. I told her to pack one nice outfit because we might go into Memphis sometime over the weekend for a special dinner celebrating our anniversary. What she didn’t know was that about 50 people—friends, family, and people from our wedding—were all headed to her home church, Twin Lakes Baptist Church, that very night. Her dad was in on it all along and had prepared a special message for the ceremony. I had worked with a jeweler to make the ring she had deserved all along but that I could not afford when we got married and now I had that ring in my pocket.
I also had the plane tickets for a special trip to San Francisco that would leave Saturday morning and our kids would stay at her parents while we were gone. It was a beautiful plan—and it was going off like clockwork - until I asked her to change into that nice outfit.
She began to argue—“No, let’s not go tonight. Let’s go our tomorrow night. We just got here.” I insisted and she resisted. Finally I said, “Look, you are going to get dressed and we are going tonight. So just get dressed and quit arguing about it.” It wasn’t until we pulled into the church parking lot and a bunch of cars were there that she began to ask, “Hey, what is going on here—what have you done?” It turned out to be a glorious night and one that we will never forget. The work had been worth it.
When Jesus gathered with his disciples for what proved to be their last meal together, he knew something that none of them could imagine. When Peter began to argue with Jesus over the Lord’s desire to wash his feet it was painfully obvious that Peter didn’t know the whole story. Verse three of this passage tells us that what Jesus knew would make the next three days faceable. Because Jesus knew exactly how this whole thing was gong to turn out. And because of that, He could move forward through the tender moments of a final meal, the agony of the garden, the torture of the trials, the anguish of the cross, and the darkness of the tomb.
And you and I can move forward through the tender moments of life and the awful ones because of what we know too. His victory over life, death, and the grave gives us hope for the same victory. So, when it all seems a little unbearable, remember what you know. We will win because He has won.
I can trust Him with the here-and-now because of what He knows. And that’s what I know too.
- Make a list of the spiritual realities that you know. Reflect on how they should inform your attitudes as you move through the challenges of life.
- Can you think of a time when your actions did not reflect what you knew to be true? Or a time when your actions did reflect the spiritual realities you already know?
- Read Psalm 139. How does the truth of this Psalm inform your attitudes about the realities you are facing today?