Hello friend, and welcome to Hope for Today. The program you’re listening to is produced by Heralds of Hope. We’re an international Gospel media ministry. Each week our Bible teaching broadcasts circle the globe in English and 22 other major languages. Tens of thousands tune in each week for spiritual nourishment and blessing.
If you’ve been listening regularly, you know that we are currently studying in the Gospel of John. So, here’s Pastor J. Mark to lead us in our continuing study.
Have you ever watched someone working, and it looked so simple and so easy? Every move seemed to count, and the material was easily brought together. Then did you ever try to do what they were doing and found that when you tried it, it wasn’t so easy? Because you did not actually know how. That’s the reason. If you had been shown how, it would have been much easier.
Usually, there are instructions for any job that you might undertake. There are certain ways to do certain jobs. It’s often much better though if you have someone to show you how, more than just looking at instructions or trying to find and figure out your own way.
Now Jesus’ love to the disciples was to the uttermost. But to show the disciples what He meant, He washed their feet. He symbolized love. The washing was the symbol of His forgiving, cleansing love freely offered to them all.
Now, let’s see how this portion, John 13:12-20, will illustrate for us LOVE EXEMPLIFIED.
12. So, after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?
13. Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.
14. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.
15. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
16. 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.
17. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.
18. I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me.
19. Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he.
20. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.
We must follow closely the TEACHINGS of Jesus to see how love is exemplified.
Jesus gave them The Comforting Supposition.
He said, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Master and Lord: and you say well; for so I am. He must have paused, then continued, “Since I am your Lord and Master, and I have washed your feet; you also ought to wash one another’s feet.”
That’s what I call a comforting supposition. You call me Master and Lord, and I have exemplified my love to you. So, you are to exemplify your love as I have done to you. I want you to catch the full impact of that word ought, as Jesus said it. “You ought also to wash one another’s feet. As I have done, so you ought to do.”
That is a powerful word, ought. Now don’t dilute it, my friend. Don’t dodge it! Just take it as Jesus gave it. “You call me Master and Lord: and you say well; for so I am. Since I am your Master and Lord, you ought to wash one another’s feet as I have washed ~yours.”
I am trying to point out to you that surpassing love goes beyond what seems to be reasonable. So, Jesus washed their feet and exemplified His love.
And then Jesus gave them The Careful Stipulation.
He is the model. He said, “As I have done, so you should do.” He led the way; He showed them. Now carefully notice the words of Jesus which followed. He said, “The servant is not greater than his master; nor the one who is sent greater than he who sent him.”
We ought to know something about that, surely. The master is always the responsible person. When the master gives instruction to the servant, the servant should do what he is asked to do. In some ways, we have much to learn of that these days, don’t we? But it is always true, and Jesus said it emphatically.
That’s what I call a careful stipulation. The one who follows the instructions of the master is going to be a happy person. He promised, “If you know these things, happy are you if you do them.” This teaching is the careful stipulation to exemplify love, His kind of love.
Jesus climaxed His teaching about love with The Cutting Specification.
He tells them of an exception. He said, “I know all of you, and I know that not all of you are with me.” “Not all,” He said. I wonder how that betrayer must have felt when Jesus began to point him out. He said, “The one who has had his hand on the table to eat bread with me is going to lift up his heel against me.” I wonder how he must have felt. I call that a cutting specification.
Then Jesus gave them some hope with a prediction, “Now I tell you before it comes, so that, when it is come to pass, you will know that I am he.” I am constantly impressed with the foreknowledge of Jesus: how He was able to understand what was before. We often say that we can understand better when we look back than when we look ahead. So, Jesus made the prediction so they would understand clearly that He was the One.
But I want you to notice right at the end of our Scripture text how Jesus put it, “He who receives whomever I send receives me. And he who receives me receives him who sent me.” Isn’t that beautiful? That unification, that connection, so clearly set forth. But here is the teaching in a cutting specification to exemplify love. Jesus pointed it out beforehand to give hope and assurance.
Love is exemplified by Jesus’ comforting supposition, the disciple should be like his lord; the careful stipulation, the servant is not above his lord; and the cutting specification, the betrayer is responsible to his lord. Surely that is surpassing love.
Where do you find yourself in this situation?
Our teaching started by asking if we have ever seen someone doing a job and making it look easy? Then when we attempt to do the same work, it is much harder than it looks. Think about this question and our passage here in John 13. Many times, when we are called to lead, it is harder than it looks. Jesus shows us how to do it right; He shows us how to be a servant leader.
We may not all think we are leaders, but all of us have others who are looking up to us. You are being watched by somebody; they see you as a leader. So how are you leading? What is the example you are setting, and how can we lead like Jesus?
When we find ourselves in a leadership position, there are many ways to mess up and get it wrong. We become proud of our position, or we make demands that are not reasonable on those we are leading. Being a servant leader is harder than it looks. However, it is God’s way, and we know God’s way is always the best way.
Think about the attitude Jesus had toward His disciples. He was their Master, yet he served them, he washed their feet. What Jesus teaches us about leadership is the opposite of how the world looks at leaders. Many times, we see leaders as someone who is served. Every wish and desire of the leader is met by others. The leader is the one being served.
Jesus takes this idea and turns it upside down. He tells us in Matthew 20:26, “whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.” To Jesus being a big leader is being a big servant. Think about the difference it would make if all leaders would have this attitude? That would make a big difference in many areas. Now just imagine if all of us who know Jesus would begin leading like Jesus. This would be truly amazing!
We can’t control the way others are leading, but we can start with ourselves; actually, we must start with ourselves. Look at your attitude as a leader and ask Jesus to help you have His view of leadership. Instead of asking others to serve us, we need to look for ways to serve others. This goes against our flesh; we would rather be served than serve.
Yet this is what living for Jesus is all about. Instead of doing what we want and following the desires of our flesh, we surrender to His Lordship. When we are presented with a choice, we follow Him and do things His way! Following Jesus and leading like he leads means doing things His way every chance we have.
Leading well and doing it right is one of those things that is harder than it looks. Thankfully Jesus has modeled it for us, and with his help, we can get it right. In this passage, He shows us how to be a servant leader. So, as we walk with Him, he guides us: he helps us fight our flesh and lead like He would.
My friend, was this teaching helpful? If you’d like a copy, either in print or on an audio CD, just contact us and ask for it by the title.
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Here’s the contact information again. Our email address is [email protected]. Or write to Hope for Today, Box 3, Breezewood, Pennsylvania 15533. Remember; you can request a free copy of this teaching. It’s available in print or on an audio CD. And you can also request a free copy of our newest publication, Hope Herald. It will help you gain more value from our study.
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Now, I urge you to tune in next week as Pastor J. Mark continues our study from John’s Gospel. And until then, keep looking to Jesus; He’ll give you hope for today!