John 13:3-5 “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.”
Three years later and this passage of Scripture continues to mess with my mind. The God of Heaven--Immanuel comes to Earth to die for the sin of the world. He is going to become the very object that God must pour His wrath out upon. Jesus Christ will become our sin (2 Cor. 5:21) and experience God’s justice, so that you and I will never have to. It’s still amazing to me. The Gospel story never gets old and it barely gets told. But before Jesus will walk to Calvary, He will walk His disciples through their toughest lessons. The lessons He’ll teach in these final hours are those of humility and security. And He teaches these lessons dressed as a servant.
The tense of each term in John 13:3 means something to Christ and it should mean something to you and me. Jesus “knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands…” was secure in His position in life. His “right now” was complete peace. In actuality of truth and in emotional stability—Jesus was at peace with that moment. God had blessed Him and He knew it. The power of that truth made Him able to do more “in the moment” than the world’s best can accomplish in a lifetime.
“Knowing that He had come from God…” Jesus was at peace with His past. His memory was flawless and the past blessings were magnificent but He did not get hung up on them. He was ready to move forward. The wrong that had been done to Him was covered under the theology of God’s sovereignty and He was able to push forward into today’s journey and whatever tomorrow would bring. Unlike us, He did not have to look back at the pain He had caused to others. He never hurt a soul and never had to deal with the guilt of sinning against another but that does not change the theological point in this passage—your past is passed! My past is passed! We have been freed from the shackles of the wrong we’ve done and the wrong that’s been done to us—Jesus was at peace with His past. We should be too.
“Knowing…that He was going back to God…” Jesus was at peace with His future. After all the pain was settled, the cross was over, and after death would be defeated; Jesus knew where He would be and what the welcoming would be like (Psalm 24). He was going back to God—as sure as His very existence at that moment, He would be going back to His real home soon. The freedom that kind of thinking and faith allows is what frees the Christian to get lost in service to God’s Kingdom and lost from the snares of the world’s kingdom. It is in the culmination of these three concepts that Christ finishes the work of God—but not only does He walk to Calvary, He will also dress Himself as a servant and do a slave’s job in order to love His disciples properly and teach them another life-changing lesson.
Our inheritance is complete security—you and I are “in” Christ and He is “in” God (1 Cor. 3:23, John 17). Jesus was free to live without worry and fear. He was free to live in complete abandon to God’s love and God’s mission. He was really FREE! As we struggle with the hustle and bustle of this life—as we get lost in the rat race of stuff and strife—may we each recommit to the total dependence on God’s provision for His glory. You are not held captive by yesterday’s failures, today shortcomings, or tomorrow’s uncertainty. Your God is already there solving your problems tomorrow. To provide for your “today” He owns “the cattle on a thousand hills” (Psalm 50:10), He owns all 1000 hills, and the gold in those hills. And as far as your past goes—you need not fear it. Jesus saw, knew, felt it, and paid for it in God’s courtroom. YOU ARE FREE! Live like it. YOU ARE TOTALLY SECURE! Love and serve like it. We need not fight for “ours”—princes and princesses of good kings need not scramble or scuffle for provisions, their father always takes care of them.