“later you will understand” John 13:7 (NIV)
When you go to see a medical specialist for the first time usually you find yourself interested in all the diplomas and degrees that hang framed on the wall of the reception area. The more credentials the doctor has the more comfortable you feel going to this person. There is a feeling of confidence developed in you concerning what the doctor says about your condition based on the many qualifications the doctor has earned.
In life we usually put more value on the comments of a well informed person that we do on statements said by someone who is not even qualified to talk about the subject at hand. Expertise or experience possessed by a person makes a lot of difference in how we receive their opinion.
In our text today the writer is quoting Jesus when the Master makes a remarkable promise to His followers. John seems to feel that the promise is so grand and majestic that he needs to describe who Jesus is before quoting Him. This way people can see the qualifications Jesus has which allow Him to make such a remarkable promise.
Looking back at the description of Jesus we notice first in John 13:1 that Jesus was fully aware of what was going to happen to Him in the next few hours. Nothing takes the Lord Jesus by surprise. He knows what is about to happen because in eternity He had pledged Himself to come into the world He would create and be the sacrifice for sin that His people needed. So everything that was happening happened because Jesus and the Father planned it all.
Hence Jesus knew all things in the future. Then in the same verse it says that Jesus loved His followers to the end or to the uttermost. Many things would challenge Jesus’ love for the disciples because they had not accepted His teaching about the cross and the resurrection. Jesus began teaching that a year earlier. Then the night of the betrayal they argued about which of them was the greatest, they pledged to follow Jesus to the death but were going to forsake Him instead. Jesus knew that when He asked them several times to pray they would fall asleep instead. Even brave Peter would deny he knew Jesus three times. Jesus knew it all but loved them notwithstanding.
Then John describes Jesus as sovereign over everything when he wrote that Jesus had everything in His hands. In a little while it would look like Jesus was under the control of the Jews and Romans but in John’s eyes, Jesus was still Lord and Master of everything that He allowed to happen that dreadful night.
Then John records that the Jesus Who held the universe in His hands took the grimy feet of some Jewish peasants in His hands and washed them. This Lord of everything showed His humility by the act of a slave.
Now we come to what Jesus said to Peter who was distressed and did not wish the Lord Jesus to wash his feet. Jesus told Peter that He knew Peter did not understand what was going on right then but He, Jesus, would fill in all the blanks later on. Jesus called on Peter to trust this tenacious Lover, this One who knew everything, this One who was the sovereign of everything, who even cared about such a small detail as Peter’s personal hygiene.
Now do you see that you too, like Peter, should trust such a One who is so described? How can He ever fail you if you belong to Him? If you are a follower of Jesus, He already knows all your faults and limitations. His love for you will never cease because of them. He controls all the parts of your situation. In due course He will let you in on everything you do not understand right now. Some day it will all make sense.
Do not reject His promise and rebel as Peter did momentarily. After Jesus called on Peter to trust Him where he could not understand Him, Peter insisted that Jesus would never wash his feet. Jesus reminded Peter that if you are to follow Jesus you must surrender your will to His will. He does not accept rebellion against His providence.
Peter, who was humbled by the Master’s ultimatum to submit or leave Him, wisely submitted and asked for a bath. In other words Peter told Jesus to do anything to him but do not leave him.
Have you seen your need for Jesus the way Peter did? Are you ready to submit to anything in order to have Jesus? Do you trust Him that much? Consider again how John describes Jesus in the opening verses of John 3 and you should be convinced that Jesus is worthy of all your trust today. Come to this Jesus and come today.