John 13:3-4 – Jesus, 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, got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself.
The thirteenth chapter of John brings together a number of important insights for our own development in the love of God. Before the Feast of Passover, Jesus knew His time had come to die, passing from this world to the Father. The Scripture says of Jesus, “Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end” (John 13:1b). As Jesus partakes of His last meal with His disciples, He knows that the devil already put it into the heart of Judas to betray Him. He knows, that the Father had given all things into His hands. With that knowledge, He prepares to wash His disciple’s feet.
Once again, Peter becomes an example for us. His human nature is so much like all of ours. I thank God for Peter. Jesus came to Peter to wash his feet. Peter responded in a way which was typical for him when he said, “Never shall You wash my feet!” (John 13:8a). Jesus was very clear with Peter, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me” (John 13:8b).
The love of God was being demonstrated in the upper room toward these disciples. Jesus the Servant, modeled the love of God to each one of His disciples, even with the knowledge that one of them was about to betray Him. He told His disciples, “You are clean, but not all of you” (John 13:11). The love of God was about to be demonstrated to the whole world as Jesus, God’s Servant, hung on the cross for our sins. He took the punishment for sin and death. He went to hell in our place. He overcame death and hell and now reigns in victory over all. By faith, as we embrace what the Lord accomplished for each one of us, the love of God is born in our hearts.
In his letter to the church, the Apostle John is very clear about the operation of God’s love in the believer. “The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this, the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him” (John 4:8-9). The manifestation is in the transforming work of God’s love in us. The world can only know the “love of God” by what is manifested in our lives. When someone is “born again,” they are born into the love of God. The true sign of God’s rule in our life is God’s love.
Maturity in Christ is evaluated by the manifestation of God’s love. “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (John 4:10-11). Jesus came to bear our sins. We then, must forgive others. Forgiveness demonstrates the love of God in our hearts. Let me be clear, the believer is in a state of growth. Some have worked through their issues of unforgiveness more than others. Our salvation is witnessed by God’s love manifested in us. The Holy Spirit wants to show us the areas we have not yet developed in His love. If You are aware of issues in your life where you do not have God’s love manifested in you toward others, the Holy Spirit wants to help you.
Father, I thank You for Your love poured out at the cross through my Lord Jesus Christ. Because of the cross, I thank You for the Holy Spirit who is now poured out in the hearts of believers such as myself. Fill me with the love of God, especially towards those who are difficult to love.