The Final Passover - Part 2

March 27, 2022


Before you begin, ask yourself a very important question: Do you believe that Jesus Christ died on The Cross for all of your sins? If you answered yes, you will need to be sure that you are filled with The Holy Spirit. How do you do this? You name your sins to God The Father in His Son’s Name. This is called Rebound. As a Christian, you must rebound any time you sin. This is taught in 1 JOH 1:9: If we confess [name] our sins [directly to God], He [God] is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins andto cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Now, if you have never believed that Jesus Christ died on The Cross for all of your sins, all you have to do is say to yourself that you believe in Him and you are saved! The Bible verse which teaches us this is ACTS 16:31: “Believe on The Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”


As we continue to study The Final Passover, let’s look at how Our Savior expressed His Humility. JOH 13:1-3 (New International Reader's Version) tells us how the evening started: It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world. It was time for him to go to the Father. Jesus loved his disciples who were in the world. So he now loved them to the very end. They were having their evening meal. The devil had already tempted Judas, son of Simon Iscariot. He had urged Judas to hand Jesus over to his enemies. Jesus knew that the Father had put everything under his power. He also knew he had come from God and was returning to God.


In this passage, John teaches that Jesus’ first motive was love – agape. As we have learned, agape is the love that sacrifices itself for the best interest of the one loved. This is far beyond the idea of either fond feelings of affection or desire which is the common meaning when people speak of love. This is a love that is far beyond emotions. And as you can imagine, The Lord’s Emotions that night were very mixed. Jesus loved His Own from the start, and would continue to do so to the end, which was coming rapidly since Satan had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot to betray Him.


John specifically calls out Judas, making sure there is no confusion about his identity by giving his full names and lineage – “Judas, son of Simon Iscariot.” He is identified as the man who betrayed Jesus Christ, but Judas also becomes the example of the depth of Our Savior’s Love.


Judas was a deceiver. He was trusted by the others and was the keeper of the money bag, though in reality he was greedy and would even steal from its contents: Judas said, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold? Why wasn’t the money given to poor people? It was worth a year’s pay.” He didn’t say this because he cared about the poor. He said it because he was a thief. Judas was in charge of the money bag. He used to help himself to what was in it. (JOH 12:5-6 New International Reader's Version) Judas’ heart was set on wealth and position, and since it did not appear that The Lord Jesus Christ was going to set up His Kingdom anytime soon, Judas made an agreement with the chief priests to betray Jesus for whatever he could get. It ended up being a measly sum of 30 pieces of silver. Yet, as we shall see in all the actions Jesus takes at this Passover, He still shows love to Judas including having compassion to warn him one last time.


It’s interesting to note that The Lord Jesus Christ’s actions that evening reflected those of a father with his family during a Passover meal, leading the various ceremonial aspects involved.


Jesus’ second motivation was confidence in carrying out God The Father’s Plan and His Return back to Him in Heaven. This was part of the joy set before Him that enabled Him to endure The Cross and its suffering and shame as described in HEB 12:2 (New International Reader's Version): He paid no attention to the shame of the cross. He suffered there because of the joy he was looking forward to.


What Jesus does next is motivated by His Love for His disciples. In recognition of His impending departure, He gives them a living example of the lessons He had been teaching them about humility and service. JOH 13:4-5 (New International Reader's Version) describes this: So he got up from the meal and took off his outer clothes. He wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a large bowl. Then he began to wash his disciples’ feet. He dried them with the towel that was wrapped around him. Now, this is an incredibly humble thing to do because normally a servant would wash the guests’ feet when they arrived or soon after, but for some reason this had not been done. Apparently, there was no servant present that would do that task. Perhaps this was because foot washing was considered about as low a task as anyone could have. In fact, a Hebrew slave could not be required to wash people’s feet.


So, the Passover supper had either started or was about to start, but no one’s feet had yet been washed, and they would have been dirty since they had walked into Jerusalem from Bethany. The disciples were all present, but none of them made an attempt at performing this servant’s task. As Luke has already pointed out, their interest was in who was the greatest among them for which they had been rebuked yet again. This presented a perfect opportunity for Jesus to drive home the lesson He had taught them by His Own Example.


So, The Lord Jesus Christ got up and laid aside His garments. This would have been the outer robe and the tunic. He then took the long linen towel and tied that around His waist. The end of the towel would be used to dry the disciples feet after he washed them. At that point, He was dressed and equipped exactly as a slave would have been. Paul accurately described Him in PHIL 2:7 (The Message Bible): Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.


Now let’s look at what happened next as illustrated by John in JOH 13:5 (New International Reader's Version): After that, he poured water into a large bowl. Then he began to wash his disciples’ feet. He dried them with the towel that was wrapped around him. The disciples had all still been reclining at the table when Jesus gets up to wash their feet. The large bowl was right there which tells us that there had been preparation made for someone to do the foot-washing. Their heads would have been toward the central table on which the food would have been placed with their feet pointed toward the outside of the horseshoe arrangement. Jesus goes around the perimeter washing the feet of each disciple one by one and drying them with the towel around His waist. Jesus had taken upon Himself the role of the humblest slave.


Maybe the disciples weren’t surprised when Jesus first got up, because there is a certain point, early in the ceremonial procedures of the Passover supper, at which the person heading the supper would rise and wash his hands as part of the ceremony. However, they all had to have been astonished when Our Savior disrobed and began to wash their feet. We don’t know which disciple Jesus started with, nor do we know the reaction of any of them except Peter. We would hope all of them would have been ashamed. Peter responds with a question of shock!


JOH 13:3-7 (The Message Bible) tells us what happened: Jesus knew that the Father had put him in complete charge of everything, that he came from God and was on his way back to God. So he got up from the supper table, set aside his robe, and put on an apron. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with his apron. When he got to Simon Peter, Peter said, “Master, you wash my feet?” Jesus answered, “You don’t understand now what I’m doing, but it will be clear enough to you later.” Peter did not understand then, but Jesus assured him that he would in the future.


This should have been enough to ease Peter’s embarrassment about what The Lord Jesus Christ was doing. Instead, Peter reacts with his own contradictory response: “Master!” said Peter. “Not only my feet, then. Wash my hands! Wash my head!” JOH 13:9 (The Message Bible) Now, Peter’s response is emphatic. A more wooden translation of the Greek here would be, “NO! You shall not wash my feet unto eternity.” We can imagine Peter pulling his feet away from Jesus as he said this. Peter recognized the incongruity of Jesus washing his feet and was ashamed, but he does not recognize the incongruity of him telling Jesus what he would and would not allow.


Of course, Our Savior could have strongly rebuked Peter, but instead He gives a very gracious response: Jesus said, “If you’ve had a bath in the morning, you only need your feet washed now and you’re clean from head to toe. My concern, you understand, is holiness, not hygiene. So now you’re clean.” JOH 13:10-12 (The Message Bible) Peter, in his typical pendulum like manner, responds in the opposite extreme. He may still not have understood what Jesus was doing, but his love for Him was such that if having his feet washed by Him meant he would have been part of Our Lord’s Plan, then he wanted even more washed so he could have an even greater role.

{to be continued}


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