His Great Love # 7
Reading: Ephesians 2:4; John 13:1-17
"Jesus...having loved His own that were in the world, He loved them unto the end... He... riseth from supper, and layeth aside His garments; and He took a towel and girded Himself. Then He poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith He was girded"
The Disciples - Personal Interest Dominating
Here is the great object lesson of Divine love. We must get the setting of this scene in order to obtain something of its real effect. The atmosphere at this time was a high tension atmosphere. It was charged with a sense of pending crisis. It was full of expectation mingled with wonder - wonder as to exactly what was going to happen. The kingdom was in everybody's thoughts; Jesus was being hailed by the multitudes as the Messiah, palm branches were being waved, people were shouting "Hosanna: Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord" (John 12:13). All the Messianic thoughts and expectations now for many centered in Him, and especially so in the case of His disciples. Some great event in relation to the kingdom was on the point of taking place, and this had given a great impetus to their personal expectations. They were, of course, very much in the grip of the Jewish expectations of the kingdom on this earth, the ousting of the Roman power, and the setting up of the Kingdom of the Messiah. All that was in the air and in their minds, and they were beginning to see their respective places in this kingdom. The mother of Zebedee's children had come to Jesus and, worshiping Him, had said, in reply to His interrogation of her, "Command that these my two sons may sit, one on Thy right hand, and one on Thy left hand, in Thy kingdom" (Matt. 20:20). You see the expectation and the two sons were not ignorant of the ambition and request of their mother: they were parties to it. The other disciples were terribly provoked that this thing should have taken place, and as they went on in the way, they talked about this and discussed who should be greatest in the kingdom.
Now that is a statement, but we cannot leave it with just the thought that they were saying to one another "I will be greater than you." They were clearly going into more detail than that, and saying, "In the kingdom, I am going to be so and so"; all thinking in terms of place and position, and vying with one another, each trying to go one better than the other. This is indicated in what is recorded as having taken place. It is also recorded that Jesus knew their thoughts, and understood what was going on. So in this wrangle about place, position, personal importance and advantage in this kingdom that was about to come, they were all jangled and on edge with one another, and out of temper. Such was the atmosphere.
(continued with # 8)