John 13:23 - Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved.
We discussed John 13 the other week in Bible study. This chapter shows us how Jesus was a servant to all. It discussed the washing of feet, a custom in those days. It was done for any guest in any home. Usually a servant would be the one to do the work.
However, at Passover, Jesus' last supper, there was no servant available and when none of the disciples stepped up to the plate (pride or did they just not think of it?), Jesus removed his outer clothes and did it Himself.
There was a hub bub when Peter said he would not allow Jesus to wash him because he did not think it was right. He was His servant. But Jesus insisted. He did this as an example for two reasons: He may be the King of kings and Lord of lords, God come down from heaven, the highly exalted One, Messiah, but He was also a humble Servant. He came down from His throne in heaven to live among us just so He could die for all of us. We are not to think more highly of ourselves, always placing others ahead of ourselves and love on them.
The then disciple John called himself the one whom Jesus loved five times in the Book of John. The question was asked if we thought he was being arrogant. It could seem as though he were. As children of God (and Jesus called these disciples His children in verse 33), we should unabashedly say the same thing! I think John just had a much deeper understanding of who Jesus was than the rest of the group. He hung on His every word. He worshiped Him in a way the others might not have.
We are all the ones whom Jesus loves if we have submitted our lives to Him. Foot washing was a dirty, humbling job, cleaning a very dirty part of the body. How many really like the idea of someone else washing our feet!? Maybe it's a girl thing but the general consensus for 12 women that morning was a scrunching up noses! Eeeewwww.
Maybe that's what Peter felt. No, Lord, you will not wash my feet. That's beneath you and I'm not worthy of it. Oh, but we are worthy if Jesus, who first chose us, wishes to cleanse us of all unrighteousness. He's the One who made it possible for all the filthiness of our sad lives to be washed away.
What we must remember is if Jesus was willing to love us so unconditionally, we should do the same for others. Remove the planks from our eyes and humble ourselves to accept others for who they are. Love on them. Forgive their weaknesses. Don't think more highly of ourselves. Be servants to all (a lesson for me!). There is a phrase often used. It's not biblical but it is part of a truth: Jesus loves us just the way we are. It doesn't stop there, though. He might love us just as we are, but He loves us too much to allow us to stay in that place. He changes us. Hallelujah, what a Savior!
Reminds me of this verse from a hymn called Man of Sorrows. We are born into sin, unrighteousness, filthy and He came to wash away the sin and guilt by His precious blood:
Guilty, vile, and helpless we;
Spotless Lamb of God was He;
"Full atonement!" can it be?
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
There are people who cannot receive Christ because they believe He could never love them as they are...like Peter. That's just not true. He loves us all so much. But there's a condition. Living apart from Him, not knowing or receiving Him...doesn't take His love away...but it saddens Him that there are those who are too ashamed, too proud, too much in control of their own lives, to look up to Him.
Remember, we are all the ones whom Jesus loves if we have received Christ. Let us lean on His bosom. Let us let Him cleanse us of all unrighteousness. Only He is able and He's not too proud to come and wash your feet, so to speak.
...but God show His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us...therefore...It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me...and...in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. (Romans 5:8, Galatians 5:20, Romans 8:37)