JOHN - Chapter 13 - LORD NOT MY FEET ONLY Print E-mail


JOHN – Chapter 13 – Lord not my Feet Only…

Tuesday Morning Bible Study

July 11, 2017, the Year of Our Lord

Pastor Carolyn Sissom


Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.


John does not record the details of the Last Supper.  His emphasis is on Jesus washing the disciples' feet after the Last Supper and Peter's revelation of ministry "in Christ."  Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.  


That John chronologically places the Last Supper before the Passover Feast differs with the Synoptic of the other three gospels.  They represent it as the Passover meal.  David J. Ellis suggests that the Pharisees commemorated Passover a day earlier than the Sadducees. (There is support for this theory in the Dead Sea Scrolls).


John 13:1:  Now before the Passover feast, when Jesus knew that His hour had 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.


 This scripture is so precious that John declares the unconditional love Jesus had for the disciples unto the end.  That John was secure in that love speaks.  His own which were in the world during Christ’s life on earth would be all those saved by believing in Him as the Messiah.  We, too, are His own and we can be equally secure that He will also love us to the end.


John 13: 2-5: And supper being ended, the devil having now put 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 was come from God, and went to God; He arose from supper, and laid aside His garments.  He took a towel and girded Himself.  After that He poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciple’s feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith He was girded.


John continues to underscore the re-occurring theme of his gospel: the eternal existence of Jesus; and that the Lamb of God is the pre-incarnate Word, the eternal Logos. 


John further makes it clear that Christ does not diminish His glory by washing the feet of His disciples.  Had Jesus usurped this glory, He would have been afraid of losing it.  That fear would have driven Him to haughtiness.  We see how those who are insecure and have wrongfully seized power cannot bear any indignity.  They will continually be fearful of losing what they did not pay the price to attain. 


Once you have experienced the walk of the Cross, all usurpers are quickly revealed as fraudulent.  They are just smoke and mirrors. 


Jesus knows who He is.  He is the Son of God and the King of all.  He came from God, went to God and He is God.


  One who has “paid-the-price” will by the grace of the “cost” be humble.  The “cost” is determined by God, not by us.


John 13: 6-9:  Then Jesus came to Simon Peter; and Peter said to Him, ‘Lord do you wash my feet?’  Jesus answered and said to him, what I do you do not now know; but you shall know hereafter.  Peter said to Him, ‘You shall never wash my feet.’  Jesus answered him, if I do not wash you, then you have no part with Me.  Simon Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.’


It is clear that Jesus did not approach Peter first even though Peter is foremost among the disciples.  Verse 5, the Lord began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them.  Then he came to Peter.  It is humbling to have someone wash your feet; but when Peter heard this new, most terrible threat of not having any part of Christ, he became as vehement in accepting as he had been in refusing.  He demands to be washed from head to toe. 


13: 10-12Jesus said to him, He that is washed need not have his feet washed, but is clean all over; and you are clean, but not all.  For He knew who should betray Him; wherefore He said, You are not all cleanDo you know what I have done to you?


Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.


I choose to use the view of Most Blessed Theophylact in teaching this verse:


“Many have raised the question; how could the Lord say to the apostles, you are clean, when they had not yet been delivered from their sins nor received the Holy Spirit through the Blood of Jesus.  Sin still had dominion over them; the curse was still in effect.  The Lamb which takes away the sin of the world (Jn. 1:29) had not yet been slain.  He who would redeem us from the curse had not yet been hung on the cross.  How then could the apostles be clean?  The Lord explains. Now you are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. (Jn. 15:3). Thus the Lord could call His sincere, guileless companions, “washed and clean,” even though they had not yet been delivered from the sin of the world/kosmos.” (M.B.T.) 


At his death and resurrection, Jesus cast out the prince of this world/kosmos. (Jn. 12:31).


The washing of the water of the Logos (the Word made flesh) had cleansed the disciples. Jn. 15:3:  Jesus had washed the disciples with the Word.


Eph. 5: 25-27:  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.


Some have interpreted the supper as signifying the knowledge of the mystery of Christ revealed at the end of the ages---at His coming (whether by visitation or the second coming) to redeem us.


 Even as we were partaking of the Lord’s Supper this past Sunday, the Holy Spirit moved on me to seal the saints with the blood covenant symbolized by the drinking of the fruit of the vine as the Blood of Christ.  (Yes, we were all sealed in the Blood when we received Christ as our Savior; but we are to perpetually partake of the Lord’s Supper; His Blood and His Body.)


M.B.T.: “Jesus did not wash the feet of the disciples because their feet were dirty, but to prepare them for preaching the gospel.  Foreseeing this, Isaiah prophesied: How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace (Is. 52:7; Rom 10:15).  You are clean.  Jesus explains, “but only you, I wash your feet to show that I am sending you forth to cleanse others.”  The basin, therefore, does not signify the cleansing of the sins of the apostles (for the Lord had affirmed that they were already clean);  it is rather a symbol of their being sent forth to preach, conveying to others the purity imparted to them through the teaching of the Master.  Peter exclaims, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.

Peter got it!  He received another revelation.  Just as he received the revelation of who Jesus was from the Father, He got it.


These divine events are re-enacted in us.  To this day, that same Holy Supper takes place every time Christ’s divine Body and Blood are set forth during communion.  We who believe in Christ have received Him into our hearts and became His disciples and followers.  Thus we have within ourselves the Word of God proclaiming the Gospel.  At the divine Supper we must bid the Word in us to rise and lay aside the garments which hinder the gospel.  By having risen, the Word puts aside all these and cleanses us through repentance.  He puts aside our worldly burdens and care.  He purifies both our thoughts and our “feet,” which signify the steps we take to practice virtue and be cleansed as worthy vessels to preach the gospel.


Let us plea as Peter did, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head that I may lead others to embrace the good, and my head, that by means of vision and divine knowledge I may attain unsullied faith.  So may we be cleansed by confession and partake worthily of the Supper, lest we eat and drink condemnation to ourselves (1 Cor. 11:29).


13: 12-16:  So after He had washed their feet, and had taken His garments, and set down again, He said to them, Do you know what I have done to you?  You call Me Master and Lord; and you say well, for so I am.  If then, your Lord and Master has washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.  For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.  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.


The washing of feet should be a part of worship services.  Especially when this passage is preached.  Today we will have a foot washing service; not because I have discerned pride in our midst (the Lord keeps us bent over); but to wash our feet symbolically in preparation for the conference for the preaching of the gospel.


Because some ministers are exalted more than others; it was necessary that the Lord explain these matters.  Thus He purifies them---and all His followers---of every proud, jealous thought.  Whoever is a servant, let him hear; the servant is not greater than the lord.  Whoever is an apostle, let him hear; neither is he that is sent greater than he that sent him.  If any Christian makes himself out to be greater than his brother, he is not worthy even to be called a servant, let alone an apostle. 


13: 17-19:  If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.  I speak not of you all; I know whom I have chosen; but that the Scripture might be fulfilled.  He that eats bread with Me has lifted up his heel against Me.  Now I tell you before it come, that, when it has come to pass, you may believe that I am He. 


Jesus is quoting Psalm 41:9.  He that eats bread with Me has lifted up his heel against Me.


Lifting up the heel” is a metaphor derived from wrestling, when a contestant feints with his upper body and then with his heel sweeps the opponent off his feet.  He signals out Judas as one who eats bread with him.


The Lord selected Judas while he was still good just as He selected King Saul (1 Sa. (9:2).  His name was Saul, a good man; and there was not among the sons of Israel a goodlier than he.


Afterwards Judas changed and embraced evil.  Judas was not compelled to betray Jesus so that the words of Scripture might be fulfilled---such an interpretation implies many blasphemies.  Scripture had foretold the evil deed that Judas now freely performs. 


John 13:20:  Most assuredly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.


The Lord encourages all of us that those he sends will have the favor of  Christ Himself as well as the Father.  Therefore do not fear the malice of your prosecutors.


Betrayal and Treachery are part of the work of the Cross.  If we are to be glorified with Jesus, we will suffer with him.  Yet, the favor of Jesus will be on us if we are truly in Him.


Jesus spoke prophetically of this in Chapter 6.


John 6:70:  “Jesus answered them, “Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?  He spoke of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.


This is a strong prophetic word spoken by Jesus.  This transcends the idea of sons or children of the devil.  It indicates a willing and deliberate tool of Satan, i.e., the devil’s own man.  By this word, Jesus informs Judas that he is aware of the unbelief in his heart.


Why Judas?  The Lord constantly employed visual aids as teaching devices, communion, baptism, and healings, feed the crowd, etc.  Satan’s selection of Judas gives us a profile of Satan’s methods unfolded in his man.


  1. Closeness:  Judas was intimate with Jesus, convinced of His public and private innocence, yet betrayed Him.
  2. Hideous:  In betraying innocence for money, we see the exaltation of “mammon” as the real god of unbelievers.
  3. Disguised:  Satan’s agents are found among the servants of the Lord.  Those who will throw you “under the bus” for their advantage.
  4. Immune to Truth:  Judas was a participator in Jesus’ miracles, a sharer of His Words of life, yet never saved.
  5. Treacherous:  Posing as a friend, Judas schemed to betray Him.  Satan uses a man’s family and friends for hate and hurt.  These are the only ones who can get close enough to us to hurt us.   In Judas we see how sin works, demonstrating evil in action.  He is a visual-aid hand picked by Jesus in accordance with the prophetic Word of Psa. 41:9


  At this point the disciples have no idea who the traitor is.  This is a testimony of Jesus’ love for Judas and his desire to give him every chance to repent of his evil.


Without this advance notice, Judas’ treachery could easily crumble the confidence of the disciples.  Judas went on preaching missions and held healing meetings of his own.  The question could be asked, what value was the work he did in Jesus name?


Jesus is saying, it has to do with the hearer, not the preacher.  Does it matter if your mailman is pleasant or mean as long as you get the right letter!  Anyone who receives a sent worker is receiving the sender.  Similarly the sincerity of a servant is immaterial as long as a sinner receives the Word of God.  It is the Word of God and the Holy Spirit that gives ministers their power.   In saying that they are sent from Him, as He was sent from the Father, He arms them with the authority of the eternal Logos.


That Jesus was troubled in Spirit describes the agony of this moment.  It was painful for Him to say this.  He has been hurt by the crowds, but to have one of His own plot against him is betrayal and treachery.  His eyes fall on the crafty Judas reclining there with the 30 pieces of silver already in his pouch.  The Lord does not yet identify him by name.  He makes one last effort to redeem him.


13:22-26:  Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spoke.  Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.  Simon Peter, therefore, beckoned unto him, Lord who is it?  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.  And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said, Jesus, “That thou doest, do quickly.”


The ancients did not eat as we do, but reclined around a low table on couches or divans.  They leaned on the left arm.  Their feet stretched out behind them with the head of each near the breast of the person on the left.


It has been suggested that John may have been a teenager at this time. 


Dip:  a dish on the table contained a sauce made of bitter herbs.  After the second cup of the Paschal feast was passed, morsels of bread were distributed to all at the table so that they could dip together and recall the bitterness of that night in Egypt.  The act of handing someone a morsel that was already dipped was a token of friendship.  Thus in giving the betrayer the dipped bread, Jesus revealed two things.


  1. That he knew the traitor’s identity
  2. That Jesus still cares for him.


Judas knows he is defected yet loved.  His heart could be melted by this---or hardened.  Their eyes meet.  Satan is standing by.  The appeal to his heart fails.  He accepts the bread without hesitation.  His mind is made up.  His heart is hardened.


The devil has no power to take over anyone without his permission.  God has made the human will sovereign.  Judas had resigned his will entirely to the will of Satan.  In that moment (receiving the sop) his hardened heart became filled with the spirit of Satan to become his slave.  The reverse occurs when a man submits to the Holy Spirit to become the bond slave of Jesus.  So filled with the unholy spirit, Judas became the complete tool of the devil. 


Bet Amante loaned me a book, The Search for the Twelve Apostles, by:  William Stuart McBirnie, PH.D.; Tyndale House, Publisher.  He makes some interesting observations about Judas.  One I find fascinating in light of Zech. 11:12-14:  And I said unto them, ‘If you think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear, so they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver, and the Lord said unto me, Cast it unto the potter; a goodly price that I was priced at of them.  And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the Lord.  Then I cut asunder my other staff, even Bands, that I might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.


It is significant that Judas was the only apostle who was not a Galilean, but was a Judean.   As his name suggests he was from Judah of Kerioth (Judas Iscariot).  This is a small town some few miles south of Hebron.  McBirnie suggests that Judas’ desire for a political deliverer plus his desire for the money and favor with the Pharisees is how he justified his actions. 


Jesus drew the other disciples to Himself through cords of love.  However, from Judas’ fettered greed and disappointed ambition sprang jealousy, spite and hatred.  It was the hatred not of a strong but of an essentially weak man.  Instead of making an open breach with his Lord, he remained as one of His followers; and this continued contact with a goodness to which he would not yield, (Mark 14:10) and his brooding over the rebukes of his Master, gave ready entrance for “Satan to enter in to him.”


It is noted that there was a difference in temperament, social outlook and petty prejudices of the people of Judah and the people of Galilee.  I believe that is still true today.


“His life is a lesson which points vividly to the pitfalls of the journey of our spiritual pilgrimage.” 


 The other disciples then speculated about what Jesus said to Judas.  Jesus retained to Himself all knowledge of Judas’ treachery.  Jesus’ attitude didn’t change even after Judas was Satan-filled.


13:30-32: So after taking the brad, Judas when out quickly---into the night!  Therefore, when he was gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him.  If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him”


On the night which he was betrayed by Judas, Jesus offered a prayer which is recorded in John 17. 


17:12:  “While I was with them in the world, I kept them in your name; those that you gave me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.”


Perdition:  Hell – loss of the soul – eternal damnation.


John 13: 33-35:  Little children, yet a little while I am with you.  You shall seek Me; and as I said unto the Jews, where I go you cannot come; so now I say to you a new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this shall all men know you are My disciples, if you have love one to another.


From the place of mercy and love, we forgive everyone for everything, and we bless everyone within our sphere of influence.  Those who operate in this word and ministry of reconciliation speak for the Lord.  Our words are released through faith, which is in our hearts and in our mouths.  In this place of love, we become carriers of light, life and love.  Wherever we go we speak the words of life.  Werever the river of Christianity flows, it brings life, health and prosperity.


When our brother offends us, do not remember the offense.  You will be esteemed more for your love than for your miracles.  Many miracle workers will hear the words, I know you not.  Judas worked miracles and healed the sick as one of the disciples.  Love prevailed among Christ’s disciples, and as a result they received power to work miracles.  If they had fallen out and separated, they would have lost everything; for who would have believed men who raged against one another?  This was indeed a great miracle of which Christ made them worthy; that the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and one soul.


36-38:  Simon Peter said unto Him, Lord where are you going?  Jesus answered him, where I go, you cannot follow Me now; but you shall follow Me afterwards.  Peter said to Him, Lord why can’t I follow you now?  I will lay down my life for your sake.  Jesus answered him.  Will you lay down your life for My sake?  Verily, verily, I say to you, the cock shall not crow, until you have denied me three times.


I will start next Tuesday preaching on 13: 36-38---


Carolyn Sissom, Pastor

Eastgate Ministries Church

Scripture from K.J.V.; I entered into the labors of Most Blessed Theophylact, the Gospel of John; C.S. Lovett’s Lights on John; Sermon by Carolyn Sissom 3/15/2009 Judas Iscariot.   

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