Faithlife Sermons

Love's Greatest Virtue

The Upper Room  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 9 views
Notes & Transcripts | Sermon Questions
Sermon Tone Analysis
A
D
F
J
S
Emotion
A
C
T
Language
O
C
E
A
E
Social
View more →

Love’s Greatest Virtue

John 13:1–17 HCSB
1 Before the Passover Festival, Jesus knew that His hour had come to depart from this world to the Father. Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. 2 Now by the time of supper, the Devil had already put it into the heart of Judas, Simon Iscariot’s son, to betray Him. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had given everything into His hands, that He had come from God, and that He was going back to God. 4 So He got up from supper, laid aside His robe, took a towel, and tied it around Himself. 5 Next, He poured water into a basin and began to wash His disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel tied around Him. 6 He came to Simon Peter, who asked Him, “Lord, are You going to wash my feet?” 7 Jesus answered him, “What I’m doing you don’t understand now, but afterward you will know.” 8 “You will never wash my feet—ever!” Peter said. Jesus replied, “If I don’t wash you, you have no part with Me.” 9 Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.” 10 “One who has bathed,” Jesus told him, “doesn’t need to wash anything except his feet, but he is completely clean. You are clean, but not all of you.” 11 For He knew who would betray Him. This is why He said, “You are not all clean.” 12 When Jesus had washed their feet and put on His robe, He reclined again and said to them, “Do you know what I have done for you? 13 You call Me Teacher and Lord. This is well said, for I am. 14 So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example that you also should do just as I have done for you. 16 “I assure you: A slave is not greater than his master, and a messenger is not greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.
It’s the nature of love to be self-less and self-seeking.
1 Corinthians 13:5 HCSB
5 does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked, and does not keep a record of wrongs.
Christ gives the great lesson to His disciples and the lesson is this:
Loves greatest virtue is humility.
Love’s greatest virtue is humility, for it is the humility of love that proves it and makes it visible.
True love is inseparable from humility. Christ’s love was inseparable from His humility. He could not have been so consumed with a passion for serving others if He had been primarily concerned with Himself.
Staying in Bethany and had to travel the dirt roads to Jerusalem.
The entrance always had a large basin of water to wash visitor’s feet.
It was the lowest-ranking servant on site who washed their feet.
There is no mention of such a servant to wash their feet.
Was it by accident there was no servant to wash their feet?
Luke 22:9–13 HCSB
9 “Where do You want us to prepare it?” they asked Him. 10 “Listen,” He said to them, “when you’ve entered the city, a man carrying a water jug will meet you. Follow him into the house he enters. 11 Tell the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks you, “Where is the guest room where I can eat the Passover with My disciples?” ’ 12 Then he will show you a large, furnished room upstairs. Make the preparations there.” 13 So they went and found it just as He had told them, and they prepared the Passover.
Luke 22:9-
Jesus had previously taught them.
Mark 9:35 HCSB
35 Sitting down, He called the Twelve and said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”
Luke 9:48 HCSB
48 He told them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in My name welcomes Me. And whoever welcomes Me welcomes Him who sent Me. For whoever is least among you—this one is great.”
Luke 14:11 HCSB
11 For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
But they apparently didn’t understand that this would be an inestimable privilege rather than a moment of indignity for them.
Luke 7:37–38 HCSB
37 And a woman in the town who was a sinner found out that Jesus was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house. She brought an alabaster jar of fragrant oil 38 and stood behind Him at His feet, weeping, and began to wash His feet with her tears. She wiped His feet with the hair of her head, kissing them and anointing them with the fragrant oil.
Apparently, everything necessary was within easy reach of all of them, but not one of the twelve stepped up to the task.
In Luke’s account we’re told that
Luke 22:24 HCSB
24 Then a dispute also arose among them about who should be considered the greatest.
How appalling the scene was!
Probably not much worse than some moments in our own lives.
This was a long running feud.
Matthew 18:1 HCSB
1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
Matthew 20:21 HCSB
21 “What do you want?” He asked her. “Promise,” she said to Him, “that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right and the other on Your left, in Your kingdom.”
Matthew 20:24 HCSB
24 When the 10 disciples heard this, they became indignant with the two brothers.
But listen to Jesus’ response to it all in .
Matthew 20:25–28 HCSB
25 But Jesus called them over and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles dominate them, and the men of high position exercise power over them. 26 It must not be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave; 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life—a ransom for many.”
If anyone had a right to be thinking about the glory that would be His in the kingdom, it was Jesus!
Yet, as we saw last week: “He loved them to the end.”
He loved them with a love that was uttermost, perfect, in total fullness, complete. It was His innate nature to love them — even in His death!
How self-less love He has! This is love displayed in humility.
Philippians 2:8 HCSB
8 He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death— even to death on a cross.
Philippians
John 15:13 HCSB
13 No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends.
Let’s look at Love’s Greatest Virtue — Humility.
I. Love in deed and in truth
John 13:2 HCSB
2 Now by the time of supper, the Devil had already put it into the heart of Judas, Simon Iscariot’s son, to betray Him.
Can there be any greater contrast of love and hate?
The Holy Spirit included verse 2 to deeply contrast the love of Christ for even expressed to Judas while Judas responded in hate.
Let this sink in. Jesus washed Judas’ feet.
John 13:9–11 HCSB
9 Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.” 10 “One who has bathed,” Jesus told him, “doesn’t need to wash anything except his feet, but he is completely clean. You are clean, but not all of you.” 11 For He knew who would betray Him. This is why He said, “You are not all clean.”
John 13:
What a wonderful picture of the humility of love as He manifested loving-kindness to Judas.
Jesus waited until everyone was seated and supper was served. Then in an unforgettable act of humility expressing His love for them, Jesus
John 13:4–5 HCSB
4 So He got up from supper, laid aside His robe, took a towel, and tied it around Himself. 5 Next, He poured water into a basin and began to wash His disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel tied around Him.
John 13:4 HCSB
4 So He got up from supper, laid aside His robe, took a towel, and tied it around Himself.
Look at the economy of words with which John paints the picture! Can you imagine the shame, regret, and sorrow they must have had. Some lessons are painful and profound.
And we need this lesson, don’t we?
When you are tempted to think of your rights, or dignity, or importance, open your Bible to . To go from being God in Glory, Creator of the universe to humble slave kneeling at the feet of sinful creatures, mere men. Sometimes we find it hard to imagine the immense glory of our God. We come off of statements that God made to Job and now to this! What may be more indescribable than His speaking His creation into existence is His self-abasement.
But that is the pulse of the heart beat of the eternal. And He wasn’t nearly finished, for He would humble Himself to the death on the cross. Though silent at times, humility is always active.
II. If I do not was you, You have no part with Me.
John 13:6–8 HCSB
6 He came to Simon Peter, who asked Him, “Lord, are You going to wash my feet?” 7 Jesus answered him, “What I’m doing you don’t understand now, but afterward you will know.” 8 “You will never wash my feet—ever!” Peter said. Jesus replied, “If I don’t wash you, you have no part with Me.”
John 13:6-
Peter perhaps pulling back in his usual, outspoken manner —
“Lord, are You going to wash my feet?”
You can just hear the shock and embarrassment of Peter.
John 13:7 HCSB
7 Jesus answered him, “What I’m doing you don’t understand now, but afterward you will know.”
Peter’s response was the strongest negation he could muster — a compound negative. You shall never wash my feet!
But notice that Peter’s response. He may have imagined himself acting in great humility by declining to have Jesus wash his feet — but this was by no means a praiseworthy expression of humility.
Though He refers to Jesus as Lord, he does not submit to Christ’s Lordship.
So, many in churches today, maybe so many of us — think we are so humble, so spiritual, but we don’t defer to Christ’s Lordship.
So, when Jesus responds
John 13:8 HCSB
8 “You will never wash my feet—ever!” Peter said. Jesus replied, “If I don’t wash you, you have no part with Me.”
John 13;9
There is profound meaning here. A foot washing slave did not fit the typical notion of the Jewish Messiah. On the contrary, the Messiah would be a conquering ruler. Jesus had taken up this issue earlier.
Matthew 20:28 HCSB
28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life—a ransom for many.”
But deeper in meaning than that is that Jesus had moved from the physical illustration of washing the dirt off of someone’s feet to the spiritual truth of cleansing guilt from the soul of a sinner. He’s speaking of spiritual cleansing — the forgiveness of sins — the great transaction of our sin for His righteousness.
Titus 3:5 HCSB
5 He saved us — not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to His mercy, through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit.
In other words, no one has any relationship with Jesus Christ unless that person has come to Christ for forgiveness and cleansing from sin. No one comes into the presence of Jesus with first submitting to His cleansing. To the Savior the sinner comes to be truly clean.
III. He who is bathed…is completely clean.
John 13:9 HCSB
9 Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.”
John 13:
Peter still is acting in a self-perceived humility, not simply bowing to the Lordship of Christ. He still is not getting it.
So, Jesus answers him.
John 13:10 HCSB
10 “One who has bathed,” Jesus told him, “doesn’t need to wash anything except his feet, but he is completely clean. You are clean, but not all of you.”
There’s a difference in a bath and a footwashing. In the culture of that day, a person would take a bath in the morning to get completely clean. As he went through the day he might need to wash his feet frequently — especially if he were going into someone’s home. But he didn’t have to keep bathing.
What Jesus was saying is this:
Once your inner person has been bathed in redemption, you are clean. You need to be continually confessing sin and trusting Christ to keep your conscience clean and your communion with God unhindered.
1 John 1:9 HCSB
9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
That’s an ongoing process of sanctification demonstrated in this footwashing. But as far as eternal life and your justification before God — you don’t need to seek “the washing of regeneration” repeatedly. It’s a one-time, irreversible work of the Holy Spirit. If you’re a believer, you are clean.
Proof of this is the statement he makes concerning Judas — “You are clean, but not all of you.”
And then John gives us commentary on this in verse 11.
John 13:11 HCSB
11 For He knew who would betray Him. This is why He said, “You are not all clean.”
This should have convicted Judas to his heart, but he had no spiritual sensitivity because he was not born of God.
IV. You also ought to wash one anothers feet.
In His lesson on the doctrine of salvation, Christ inserts a parenthetical lesson. He argues from the greater to the lesser. If the Lord of Glory humbly bows before men to take the position of a slave and wash dirt sinful feet, then it’s clear that you should be willing to wash each other’s feet. What a visual lesson!
So, should we have ceremonial foot washing services?
No, that’s not the point.
Jesus says,
John 13:15 HCSB
15 For I have given you an example that you also should do just as I have done for you.
If He meant to establish an ordinance of foot washing, He would have said, “Do precisely what I have done to you.”
What is He saying then?
This is a lesson in the expression of love through action — humility. Humble yourselves. Love is exemplified in the act of humility. And that is the real lesson of every day Christian living and life — walk in humility, in love.
This is what true Christian leadership looks like.
And listen, some people think the closer you get to God, the farther you need to get from people. Genuine proximity to God is epitomized in humility before others. This is why it is utterly amazing that some Christians cannot submit to anyone.
And here’s the ultimate question that answers any questions concerning humility.
John 13:16–17 HCSB
16 “I assure you: A slave is not greater than his master, and a messenger is not greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.
I was once told, I had the heart of a servant, but I didn’t have the heart of a pastor. That always perplexed me.
Don’t miss verse 17 — Do you want to be blessed?
Humble yourself — that is true love. That is Love’s Greatest Virtue.
Related Media
Related Sermons