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The Greatest in the New World

Updated: Mar 23, 2022

John 13:1-20 is Jesus showing us what the powerful in the Kingdom of God are like. The most powerful in the Kingdom of God are those who abandon their own prideful desires and serve those around them. Not even a jewish male slaves is required to wash peoples feet this act is such a lowly act. This is why Peter is repulsed at the fact that Jesus was about to wash His feet.

Think about the humility that these men must have felt in the room as their teacher, Lord, and friend was washing their feet, right as they were discussing who the greatest among them was Jesus began to serve them to show the priorities of the kingdom of God are not of rank or prestige but one of servanthood. “Act of love and generosity are to be the hallmark of Jesus’ followers, because this is what shows the world who Jesus is, and therefore, who God is.” Jesus is showing the ultimate example of what really matters in life not rank or self glorification but to serve those around you. Jesus sets the example and then challenges us by saying that “A servant is not greater than his master” what Jesus is doing is establishing His authority and relationship with the disciples saying now that Jesus washed his followers feet all followers of Jesus are called to do the same to one another no matter the relationship they have with a person they are called to serve every person they come in contact with.

What is the most interesting and eye opening thing in this entire passage for me is that the beginning of chapter 13 it says in verse 3 “Knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God.” If we believe Jesus was fully human we must believe that Jesus had to develop just like a human which we get proof that Jesus did grow and develop in Luke 2:52 “And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” Therefore, we must assume that this continued all throughout Jesus’ life. Meaning that when it say, “Knowing the Father had given all things into His hands” it means that Jesus was at the climax of His power and that He had accomplished and fulfilled everything but one—His death and glorification.

John adds detail to this story with writing out the setting of the washing of the feet. Saying the time which is happened, “Before Passover” this is important because what Passover represents, John does not have to explain this to the original audience because they live in the culture. Jesus is the fulfillment of Passover and it is time for Jesus to ultimately do the act of being the slain lamb whose blood will be shed for all humanity. This chapter is where Jesus is setting the scene for that to happen.

Sources used

Talbert, Charles H. Reading John: a Literary and Theological Commentary on the Fourth Gospel and the Johannine Epistles. 201 Macon, GA: Smyth & Helwys Pub., 2005.

Mackie, T., & Collins , J. (Eds.). (n.d.). Watch: John 13-21 Bible Book Overview Video: BibleProject™. BibleProject.

Wright, N. T. (2004). John for everyone ( Part 2). Westminster John Knox Press .

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