The Series - Jesus, Unique & Unequaled Teacher (42/50)

Focus Text: John 13.1-7

Today, we enter nine messages to close out the series, Jesus, Unique and Unequalled Teacher.

“Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, are You washing my feet?’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.’” (John 13.1-7).

Notice the time in which the events of the focus text occurred. It was the night of His betrayal. Over three years of public ministry was about to come to a close. For most of that time, twelve men who had been hand picked by Jesus had companied with Him throughout the length and breadth of Canaan with brief forays into regions round about. However, the time had now come; most of what could be done by Jesus had been done. As regards the training given to His apostles, a few things still had to be accomplished. Given the brevity of time that Jesus yet had with them, it is certain that the things that He did were of utmost importance and had a degree of urgency about them that might not have been apparent in earlier days of His ministry. As we might say in a similar situation, time was of the essence and it is obvious that every moment counted; Jesus would make the most of every second so these men could be as well equipped as they possibly could be.

We will explore the primary lesson in today’s text over the next few days. However, there is a valuable lesson before that lesson. Here it is: Even Jesus could not accomplish that for which His audience was not ready! The human process of learning had not been violated by Jesus during His ministry, and He was not about to start now. The limitations of the flesh were obvious with His apostles (as they are with all mankind) and Jesus worked within that framework. There was no question what Jesus was doing when He began to wash the disciples feet; this task was one which was routinely performed as an act of hospitality and kindness shown toward guests and especially those who were wearied by significant travel. All the apostles knew what Jesus was doing. Yet, Peter asked, perhaps out of surprise, “Lord, are you washing my feet?”

The answer to Peter’s question was not as obvious as it appeared! In response, Jesus said, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.” Peter knew what Jesus was doing, but he could not understand its significance. Jesus honored the human learning processes and allowed for growth before expecting mature responses in every case. If Jesus honored those processes and allowed for a maturing process in His hearers, shouldn’t we do the same?


1. As John introduced these events, what hour did John say had come?

2. John said that Jesus loved His own until the end. What is the significance of that statement?

3. Jesus knew that He had come from God. What else did He know (as indicated in this text)?

4. Why might Peter have been surprised by Jesus’ actions? Might there be a similarity between what Peter felt and what John felt when Jesus came to be baptized of Him? If yes, what is it?