Faithlife Sermons

The Radical Changes

Down to Earth  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings

Jesus is a humble servant who is betrayed by one of His closest friends but it leads to radical changes.

Sermon Tone Analysis
View more →

The Radical Changes of Down to Earth -


Going through the Gospel of John we’ve talked about religiousness
Religiousness focuses on what I’ve done in the past
What I am doing today
or even what I am able to do in the future
Everything I do is judged on the basis of what it does for me
The good things I do get piled onto the good side of my scale
and I start to convince myself and others that I’m a good person
or I begin to believe the lie that I am earning God’s favor with all this good stuff
Religiousness is one of many radical changes Jesus shows us by coming down to earth
by coming down to earth
The focus radically shifts from us to something beyond us
In , Jesus tells His disciples, “you call Me Teacher”
Jesus goes beyond teaching how to be radically changed
He radically changes us
Religiousness says to dig deep inside yourself to change yourself into the good person you want to be
Jesus tells us to look to Him
He shows us the path
I already mentioned, in , Jesus tells His disciples, “you call Me Teacher,” He continues that statement saying, “you call Me Teacher AND Lord.”
He radically changes what we expect of a Teacher and Lord
Jesus’ next statement in says, “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.”
Jesus demonstrates radical servanthood in
and we are going to spend our time in all of this morning
Before we look at Jesus, the Radical Servant in
let’s pray together
Follow along with me as we look at Jesus’ example of humility as a Radical Servant in vs. 1-17.
John 13:1–17 ESV
Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.” When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.


This chapter is what the Gospel of John has been building to
Back in chapter one, John the Baptist pointed to Christ saying, Behold! The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
And now, the Passover is at hand
The Lamb’s blood will be spilt for the forgiveness of sins
The start of this chapter, all the way through chapter 17 displays intimate ministry from Jesus to His disciples
It is a series of important teachings leading up to His arrest and crucifixion
For this reason, the opening verses of chapter 3 presents multiple themes that will be introduced in this series of teachings
First, Jesus reiterates in vs. 1, His hour had come
If you recall back to last week, in , Jesus told His disciples that the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorifed
Here, He gives more detail about the hour
His hour had come He says, to depart out of this world to the Father
He is continuing to march toward the cross
So, He will be teaching His disciples about His hour in the coming chapters
Second, still in vs. 1, Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.
The intimacy of His ministry to the disciples in these chapters is first and foremost an example of this great love
Jesus’ love for His disciples is a driving force throughout these intimate chapters
And his example as a Radical servant demonstrates this love as well
But Jesus is also going to be teaching this heavenly love to His disciples
As we will see highlighted near the end of this chapter this morning
The third theme is presented in vs. 2, the devil put it into the heart of Judas to betray Jesus
We will see Jesus’ teaching on Judas the traitor
So these three themes; Jesus’ hour, heavenly love, and the traitor will be expanded on in the coming chapters
Love is the first theme Jesus expands
but instead of just teaching on it
He displays heavenly love
by being a radical servant
But look at how His humility is defined in vs. 3
He demonstrates the radical changes of down to earth
Because, as the Apostle John says, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going back to God
Knowing all these truths about Himself
as He says later, He is Teacher AND Lord
He knows He is God
He knows the Father has given everything thing into His hands
He had come down to earth from God in heaven
to be a Radical Servant
He didn’t forget Who He was
or what His place is
He knew these things
and knowing these things,
vs. 4, He rose from supper
laid aside His outer garments
tied a towel around His waist
pause here just for a moment
don’t let the illustration of these actions be lost
He takes off His outer robe and replaces it with a towel
the garment of a servant
The gospel continues written very simply,
Then He poured water
and washed the disciples feet
wiping them with the towel He was wearing
He is not only washing their filth, but He is wearing it
He is placing it upon Himself
Jesus is teaching us that no one is above serving
He doesn’t deny He is Teacher and Lord
In fact, that is what makes His act of service even more profound
Then He gets to Peter
and we see a response that is probably not that far removed from our response to Christ
Lord, do you wash my feet? Peter asks
Is this really happening?
The Lord has come down to earth
humbled Himself to be a radical servant
Jesus, did you really do this?
to make us clean?
Jesus’ response is a call to faith
What I am doing you don’t understand, He says
We don’t need to understand all the things of Christ
We want to understand, but Jesus is showing, His ways are not our ways
but we need to trust Him
Peter knows His feet are filthy
He knows Jesus is teacher and Lord
He knows Jesus is teacher and Lord
If anything, Peter is the one who made his feet filthy, he should be the one who cleans them, not Jesus
So he tells Jesus, You shall never wash my feet
and it doesn’t come from a place of arrogance, but of foolishness
again, thinking he understands, or wanting to understand
Once we know we are filthy from our sin
Like Peter, we are the one’s who made ourselves filthy
Jesus is Lord of the universe
If anything, we should clean our filth, not Jesus
So we respond to Jesus like Peter did
Something along the lines of,
Jesus, I know you offer to make me clean
I know you offer forgiveness
but I can not forgive myself for what I’ve done
so You shall never make me clean!
and it may not come from a place of arrogance, but of foolishness
we think we understand, we want to understand
But we are unwittingly placing our judgment of sin over God’s
That is the religiousness I shared about at the beginning of our time together
and I tell you what, it is a good thing Jesus is Jesus and we aren’t
because I don’t know about you, but if I’m trying to wash someone’s feet and he says, You shall never wash my feet!
I’m thinking, fine, suit yourself, keep your feet nasty, good luck washing them yourself
I’d rather be at the table eating anyway
also, don’t overlook the fact that Jesus washed all the disciples feet it says
even Judas’s feet
and again, if it were us, and not Jesus washing the disciples feet
we would be tempted to wash Judas’s feet the way Pastor Matt Carter suggests, He says;
“I’ve decided I would have cleaned [Judas’s] feet with some paint thinner and a match.”
Not Jesus though, no
He washed the feet of all twelve
And, demonstrating His love for Peter, He warns Peter
Peter, He says, if you don’t accept my offer to wash you
then you will have no part with me
If we don’t accept Jesus’ offer to clean us
If we don’t confess our sin to Him and repent of it
then we will have no part with Him
as He says in the Gospel of Matthew, He will ask Why do you call me Lord?
I never knew you.
because we rejected His offer to clean us
don’t allow misunderstanding or shame keep you from the cleaning our Radical Servant offers
your sin is great, His love is greater
no one is below being served
I mentioned earlier no one is above serving
but it is also true that no one is below being served
We also cannot respond with religiousness, trying to clean ourselves
We must confess our filth to the Lord and accept His offer to cleanse us
inside and out
As Jesus says in vs. 10, after He cleans us, we will be completely clean
Jesus’ loving example here was radical for the disciples
As He teaches in vs. 12-16, He returns to the table
Affirms that He is in fact their Teacher and Lord
and as their Teacher and Lord, He serves as an example of a Radical Servant
by washing their feet
not only was He an example of a Radical Servant by washing their feet,
but this served as a picture of His service on the cross
You see, it isn’t just about the foot washing
It isn’t in our actions, that’s religiousness again, it is in our attitude
We can wash feet arrogantly
thinking, the feet I wash are the cleanest feet out there
Or we can do our servant actions with a cold, lifeless, uncaring heart
The Radical Servant that Jesus is, requires a radical change of our nature
We are selfish, independent, arrogant sinners with cold, hard hearts
and Jesus demands us to live as selfless, trusting, and humble servants
It requires heart surgery from a Radical Servant
as our Radical Servant, He gives us the ability to be Radically changed
which we will look at in greater detail near the end of this chapter
But first, back in vs. 11, the Apostle John foreshadows the second theme of this chapter, the radical traitor
and Jesus knew all about him
Let’s read about the Radical Traitor in ;
John 13:18–30 ESV
I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.” After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke. One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table at Jesus’ side, so Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. So that disciple, leaning back against Jesus, said to him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it.” So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.” Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. Some thought that, because Judas had the moneybag, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor. So, after receiving the morsel of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.
Jesus demonstrates His knowledge and reveals He is the fulfillment of Messianic Prophecy


Jesus demonstrates that He is all-knowing revealing He is the fulfillment of Messianic Prophecy by quoting in vs. 18.
Psalm 41:9 ESV
Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.
As He tells His disciples in vs. 19
I am telling you this before I am betrayed by the Radical Traitor
so that when the Radical Traitor is revealed
you will believe I am the Messiah
And this isn’t the first time Jesus did this
all the way back in Jesus was warning of a Radical Traitor;
John 6:70 ESV
Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.”
This traitor is radical
Because, as Jesus reveals, he is one of Jesus’s closest friends
He is traveled with, lived with, and learned from Jesus for years!
and this Radical Traitor is about to betray Jesus
So with His predictions,
With His predictions
Displaying He is all-knowing
Jesus is instilling confidence in us
This confidence is not from within us
He is showing He is the source of our confidence
He is not about to be shocked or caught off guard by this Radical Traitor
He is repeatedly giving us assurance with His predictions.
Despite the fact that Jesus knows of His radical traitor, He is still troubled in His Spirit by it.
As the author of Hebrews writes, we have a sympathetic high priest
So He is not only providing assurance by His knowledge but also by his experience
Jesus has been hurt the betrayal of a close friend He loves
So no matter what you may be facing in life
today, at this very moment
Jesus knows all about it in His mind
and He knows all of it in His heart
This betrayal theme is then brought to the forefront in vs. 21
Jesus declares the Radical Traitor is in their midst
Picture those older murder mysteries where a dead body shows up
and someone declares, “One of the people in this room is a murderer.”
And everyone begins suspiciously looking around at one another
Two disciples specifically are working together to solve the mystery of who the Radical Traitor is
Peter is one, and the other is introduced as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.”
This is the first time in John’s gospel this disciple has been referenced
He is also referenced in chapter 19:26-27; 20:2; 21:7, and 21:20.
It is believed this is a reference to the Apostle John
which is also used as evidence to support that John is the author of this gospel
Since, this disciple, most likely John, was nearest Jesus, he asks Jesus to reveal who this traitor is
Jesus responds by only giving a clue
but it is important to recognize
This traitor is radical
Because, as Jesus has revealed, he is one of Jesus’s closest friends
He has traveled with, lived with, and learned from Jesus for years!
and this Radical Traitor is about to betray Jesus
How could such a close friend become such a Radical Traitor?
It started back in vs. 2, the devil had already put the idea of betraying Jesus in the heart of Judas
Then in vs. 27, when he takes the bread from Jesus
It says, Satan enters into him
It started with the tempting of his heart
and when Judas succumbs to this temptation to betray Jesus
Satan enters into him, He becomes a Radical Traitor
This is now his identity
a vessel of Satan
But despite his betrayal, Jesus continues to instill confidence
Because He is coordinating His own betrayal
to fulfill the prophecy of
by revealing the Radical Traitor with the morsel of bread
and sending Judas out to follow through with His betrayal quickly
and Judas, now an instrument of the devil, still being obedient to Christ, immediately went out after Jesus sends Him out
And vs. 30 concludes this account of Judas with, “and it was night.”
Judas has turned His back on the Light of the World
He has gone out into the night and is now a resident of the darkness
Judas seems to have been very careful in covering the tracks of his betrayal because even after being given the bread and being sent out
the disciples had no idea as to what Jesus was saying and what Judas was doing
After the Radical Traitor goes out, Jesus turns His attention back to the rest of the Disciples to teach on the third theme, his hour
Which Jesus reveals will present Radical Changes


Speaking of radical changes
think of a time in your life when a major life change happened unexpectedly
You are shocked
Perhaps you found yourself in pain or in fear of what is to come
This is the experience the disciples are about to experience
They have left their careers, their homes, their families
all to follow this man Jesus
and now they are going to lose Him?
The world as they have come to know is about to end
now put yourself in their shoes
They have been with Jesus for every minute of every day
He was the one who said, “Follow Me.”
But now, He is saying, “I am leaving you.”
If Jesus is leaving…who will we follow? The disciples are wondering
Seeing Jesus’ ministry over the years has begun to promote these dreams of what they would build
and now that is falling away
and all that lies ahead is doubt and confusion
But Jesus prepares His disciples for this Radical Change
And Jesus prepares you as well
He prepares you for the unexpected radical changes
and as we see here at the end of chapter 13
Jesus prepares you for radical changes
by radically changing you into a radical disciple
Let’s look at how Jesus teaches about Radical Discipleship in ;
John 13:31–38 ESV
When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once. Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’ A new commandment 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.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered him, “Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow afterward.” Peter said to him, “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times.


Jesus begins His teaching on Radical Disciples by addressing the theme of His hour in vs. 31-32
Again, His hour is a reference to His crucifixion
A time where He will be betrayed
A time where He will be arrested
A time where He will be beaten and abused
A time where He will have His clothes stripped off Him
A time where people will spit on Him, mock Him, and shout insults
This time, this hour, sound horrific and humiliating
Yet, in vs. 31-32, Jesus doesn’t define His hour as horrific and humiliating
though it is, He defines His hour as glorious!
5 times in these two verses, He is revealing the glory of His hour
Now, is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him
He says
and since God is glorified in Him, God also will glorify Him in Himself
and will glorify Him at once
The hour of Jesus’ death by crucifixion glorifies Him and God!
So as Jesus is teaching about His hour, the glory of His hour is the foremost importance for His disciples to know
But the reality of His hour also entails that He will be leaving His disciples
the path that lies before Jesus is a path that only He can take
It is the burden of the sins of the world that only He can bear
Jesus immediately brings His disciples in even closer
Knowing this will be a radical and unexpected change for His disciples
Immediately after highlighting the glory of His hour
Jesus brings His disciples in even closer in vs. 33 by referring to His disciples as little children
This is not an offensive or insulting name
It is a close, intimate, it is gentle
It is expressing care and loving-concern for His disciples
So, he brings His disciples in closer in preparation of telling them about the radical change that is upon them
So, he interweaves the first theme together with this theme
Jesus weaves love, His heavenly love, together with His hour
as He tells His disciples, His little children, that they cannot go with Him
And Jesus reveals who His radical disciples are
How His radical disciples are to live
So if we are claiming to be His disciple
then we have to be obedient to the command Jesus gives to His radical disciples in vs. 34-35
Jesus doesn’t say a new suggestion I give you
a new idea I give you
a new philosophy I give you
no, Jesus is giving us, His radical disciples, a new commandment!
to love one another, Just as He had loved us, demonstrated by His glorious hour,
Stated all the way back in vs. 1,
Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved us to the end,
And as He demonstrated by being a Radical Servant to His disciples
Just as Jesus loved us in this way, we are also to love one another
This is the evidence that we are radical disciples
If we love one another!
Three times in the same breath, Jesus says love one another
Radical discipleship is to love one another
As R.C. Sproul comments;
“Christian love has Christ’s sacrificial love as its model, and the community of believers as the primary (though by no means exclusive) place in which it is expressed.”
What does this look like?
it can be done in simple and ordinary ways
It is willing to welcome someone over to your house on short notice, even if you may not have had the chance to tidy up or plan their visit
it is a willingness to be inconvenienced for weeks or months to do the tedious and tiresome labor that is needed to help another
it is a willingness to be inconvenienced for weeks or months to do the tedious and tiresome labor that is needed to help
As Pastor Matt Carter comments;
“We will not humbly serve others in our own strength. We need Jesus’s help. Humble service flows from the gospel. The power to serve one another is not found inside of us. We don’t tap into inner strength or discover secret power reserves. We fall on our faces before Jesus and beg him to help us serve others. We rely on the Holy Spirit to enable us to love others and put their needs before our own.”
This will be the evidence that we are Radical Disciples
everyday people doing everyday things to serve others
Jesus’s radical disciples are a part of a new community
So you see, Jesus is showing that when those unexpected Radical changes come in life
Jesus has already radically changed everything by coming down to earth
and He has commanded us to love one another, just as Jesus has loved us
When Jesus tells His disciples that His hour has come, He will no longer be with them
What does He do?
He points His radical disciples toward each other and says
When unexpected changes arrive,
you have one another
love one another
We have each other
to love each other
And Jesus teaches that He will empower us to be His Radical Disciples
by being the Radical Servant who humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on the cross.
and what we see in is,
The radical Servant radically changes us into His radical disciples who love one another.
Will you pray with me
Related Media
Related Sermons