Bible Study from Calvary Chapel Newberg
with Tom Fuller
Love & Betrayal
In the February 20th issue of Time Magazine, Joel Stein writes the cover story about George Clooney the Hollywood TV actor turned movie star. Stein recalls asking Clooney for an interview. What he got was Clooney himself coming over for dinner. ?He?ll eat whatever?s cooking? his publicist said. The Time reporter was aghast and recalls the nervousness, the foibles, and in the end the joy of having a famous actor who is also a real person over.
Two things intrigued me about this story. 1) Famous people, powerful people, rich people don?t come over to our houses to share a meal and fellowship. It?s just not done. That?s why when George Clooney goes over to Joel Stein?s house it makes the cover of Time Magazine. 2) Even more surprising to me is what Clooney does when he comes over. At one point in the evening the carbon monoxide detector goes off and won?t stop. Clooney actually ended up crawling into Joel Stein?s attack to mess with the wiring. He comes back down all messy but eventually solves the problem by yanking out the batteries. \"Either it needs a battery,\" he says, \"or we have six seconds to live.\"
So why do I bring this up? We don?t expect people on a level way above ours to care about or really get involved in our daily lives, our mundane messes. In fact, like Joel Stein, it makes us feel downright uncomfortable. It feels wrong somehow and we resist it.
So what if I substituted Joel Stein for you and George Clooney for the creator of the universe, God Himself? God climbs up into our messy dark attack where we don?t even dare to go in order to solve our problems? It?s unheard of and we resist it. But what our Lord Jesus shows us in John chapter 13 is that this is exactly what we must allow him to do if we want to be a part of his family, his kingdom, his life. We cannot resist it like some do or we will be left out.
And further, Jesus calls us to turn around and do the same for others. To venture into the muck of others lives, not to judge or even to clean up ourselves, but to be a catalyst and an agent for the Lord to come to the rescue.
1 ? 3
Passover: There is a spirited debate about the meal that Jesus eats here with his disciples. This meal appears to be eaten on Thursday, the night of Jesus? betrayal. Yet there is no mention of the Passover lamb, and later in chapter 18 John records the Pharisees telling Pilate that they cannot go into Pilate?s hall because it would make them unclean and unable to eat the Passover. However, the other gospels say that Jesus intended to eat the Passover with his disciples (Matthew 26:17-20, Mark 14:12-17, Luke 22:7-14).
There are several possibilities. 1- there were actually two calendars in use with one having Passover on Thursday and another with it on Friday. Different groups used the different calendars. 2 ? Jesus would not have been able to purchase a Passover lamb because he had been repudiated by the priesthood and so would have had to celebrate the feast at a different time.
To further complicate things, some commentators say the meals were on Wednesday and Thursday, not Thursday and Friday. Now Jesus, as Lord of the Sabbath, could easily have authorized eating the meal a day early so that?s not really a problem. Jesus is the Lamb of God so it is of tremendous significance that he would be killed along with the Passover lambs, which would happen on Thursday evening around 6:00pm.
Yet another view?which may be the best is that Jesus ate on the official day of Passover in A.D. 30, the 14th of Nissan. This was immediately followed by the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which was a series of feasts that lasted a week. The Jews in John 18 may have actually been referring to the Feast of Unleavened Bread, not Passover itself (they were often referred to together). Judas, when he goes out here in this chapter, is thought by the disciples as buying things for the feast, which could refer to the Feast of Unleavened Bread, not Passover. The John 13 account fits well with Passover except the lamb part, which wasn?t a total requirement. Traveling Jews could celebrate without a lamb (the foot washing, goes well with the hand washing ceremony, the bread dipped into the sauce).
But what is really cool is that Lamb was there. It was Jesus! So I think the chronology actually fits pretty well this way:
Thursday?Jesus celebrates Passover, he is ?chosen? (betrayed) by Judas to be the lamb slaughtered. Then the actual killing of the Lamb starts with Thursday evening.
Friday?Trial, crucifixion, burial
Saturday?in the tomb
Notice that Jesus is not an unknowing victim here.
1- He knows exactly what is happening and who is going to do what. It is all for his purposes.
2- It is out of love for us?love that drove Jesus to endure bitter betrayal and suffering.
Okay ? so on to the main focus of chapter 13?the washing of the disciples? feet.
4 ? 7
Washing feet was such a menial task that the lowest servant would do it, or the people would do it themselves. No one would volunteer to do it because it would put them in a lower position (Luke 22:24 says they were already arguing about who was greatest). But here Jesus, the host, takes up the lowest task to show His disciples that He is taking the lowest position to serve them out of love.
It is hard for me to imagine the depth of that love. Not only did Jesus touch the filthy feet of those that were his but also he waded right into the filth of their souls to wash them not just with water but with his own blood, giving his life to cleanse theirs. Think about it?the King of Kings, the creator of all?takes on the role of a slave for us!
Simon, in his typical fashion of talking well before thought can catch up, protests the Lord doing this. After all, if Jesus takes on the role of last, where does that put Peter?
See, we mistakenly think we can wash ourselves. We may have done some stupid things, we didn?t mean to, or they weren?t really that bad, but if we make a mess we should clean it up, right? Isn?t that what our mothers told us? There are some messes we cannot clean up. Anything that doesn?t exactly mirror the character of God is one of those.
We must be washed by Jesus. No amount of good works or feel good acts will ?balance? out the mistakes we?ve made. That?s the problem with so many of these shows out there that purport to do all this good for people and make them feel like their karma has balance out and God will take all that into consideration. It?s not about what you do but what you are. Isaiah says that all of our good things (righteousnesses) are like ?filthy rags? (Is 64:6). Right before that Isaiah also says: You are indeed angry, for we have sinned ? In these ways we continue;
And we need to be saved. NKJV
9 ? 11
Peter says ?okay?give me a bath!? but Peter didn?t need a bath. Jewish tradition stated that if a person bathed in the morning they need only wash their feet that have become soiled by a day of walking around on the dusty streets in order to be fit for an indoor dinner. Later in chapter 15 Jesus will tell his disciples that the bathing happens when you hear Jesus? words. The washing of the feet is when you submit to Jesus? humble service. It strikes against our pride and it should!
Every one of his disciples had heard the word, but not everyone would submit to Jesus. That one was Judas.
12 ? 17
So not only is Jesus showing them his depth of love and service, he is setting an example for us?that we should serve one another with the same sort of depth of love. I?m sorry but I don?t see this happening very much in the body of Christ. We are much more like the disciples, arguing and positioning for power, rather then finding ways we can humble ourselves to serve those in the body that are in need.
And I?m not talking about giving to the poor, though that can be a part of it. I?m talking about giving our lives to others. Do you really care about the person sitting next to you? Do you want to know their deepest fear or biggest regret so you can be a ?messenger? or peace and love and healing to them?
It?s scary to really know and serve another. Jesus says we are ?blessed? (17) if we do this. We all get pretty dirty and scarred from walking about in the world. Wouldn?t it be great if we continually washed each other in blessings and prayers and the Word and encouragement?
There?s another principal here I think. We are ?clean? by listening to and responding to the word of Christ (the gospel). However, as we walk through this world, which is full of disobedience and evil, it is a good thing for us to get a foot washing in God?s Word.
Jesus then tells them that not all of them are ?clean.? Specifically, that Judas is about to betray him. So Judas was named among the disciples but was not a real disciple. He was not changed, he was not cleansed. In fact, we see Satan informing Judas? heart at the beginning of the chapter, and once Judas gave himself over to it, Satan ?enters? his heart and takes over.
18 ? 20
Jesus quotes David in Psalm 41:9 after David was betrayed by Ahithophel, who had been David?s advisor but had gone over to Absalom and almost got David killed (2 Samuel 16-17).
21 ? 30
This is again one of the few times we see Jesus troubled in spirit. He reacted this way to the death of Lazurus, and perhaps then it was for the unbelief of those that surrounded that situation. Here he is troubled by the betrayal of Judas. He isn?t worried about it in the way that suggests that the situation is somehow out of his control. I think perhaps betrayal is just such a foreign concept to the Lord that is bothers him. And too perhaps he mourns the loss of Judas?who is one of the only people named in Scripture that we know goes to hell.
Peter wants to know who it is. John can actually lean back on his couch and be right next to Jesus? breast on the next couch over and ask him so quietly that no one else, not even Peter, hears the answer. But everyone sees what he does and hears what he says to Judas. Who was Jesus really talking to here?Judas or Satan?
I like how John ends the section: ?It was night.? It?s like the physical surroundings mirror the spiritual environment. This is darkness? day. Satan has tried for centuries to stop the promised Son. Now he gets his chance. But the old adage applies here: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Even if Satan knew he would ultimately be defeated he hates God so much he can?t help but use any opportunity to strike out against him.
31 ? 35
So I love this little section. What is the result of the betrayal? Is it defeat and fear and hopelessness? No. It is God getting glory (though the death and resurrection), it is opening the door for us to go to heaven, and it opens the door for God?s love to become our love?to create people who act in the opposite of betrayal?people who love so much that it becomes contagious!
Peter, of course, can?t stand not to be with Jesus and is the one who speaks what I?m sure the others were thinking.
36 ? 38
They?d put their all into Him and thought?wherever he goes I?m right there! Peter?s bravado is misplaced. He is still an unregenerate human in need of a Savior, just like us all.
But we, like Peter, cannot even follow Jesus on our own. He ?chose? us (vs 18) and it is his strength that saves us and gives us the strength to name his name and follow him to death.
In closing I just want to focus on verse 34: ?A new command I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.?
I think this ties the chapter together nicely. We have the contrast of Judas who betrayed Jesus with Jesus who loved so much that he would serve us in the most menial way possible. And because of what Jesus did he creates a new race of people, a people who have God?s law written on their hearts and as a result have a degree of love not seen before.
The word ?love? in these two verses is agapao. There are four or five words for ?love? in Greek. Thelema is desire (self love), Eros is physical attraction, storge is familial love, philia is affection, friendship or community love, while agape is what we might call real love. Here its meaning is selfless love towards one another. It is the love Jesus has for us. It is love that drove him to the cross, to be a servant, to give his life.
And it is this love that he fills us with and desires that we give out to others. It isn?t by big churches or making lots of money or looking or sounding good that people will recognize Jesus in us, it is by the agape love we have for one another.
So my challenge to us is to seek the power of the Holy Spirit to really love and serve one another. Some verses to consider as you meditate on this:
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2 Bear one another\'s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
1 Corinthians 12:24-26
But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends.
1Timothy 5:10 a widows should be enrolled if ?she has washed the feet of the saints.?
The bottom line ? and this is very important?Jesus is not repulsed by evil, in fact he wades into our evil until he drowns in it. But what repulses him is the rejection of the love that he brings and the salvation that he offers by the very act of him wading into our evil. If he didn?t save evil we wouldn?t be saved. He died for Saul, for instance, a man who was dead set against the church. But Saul turned and received Jesus? sacrifice, Judas didn?t.
We must be willing to let Jesus wash our dirty feet. It is humbling but absolutely essential.