Sunday, April 15, 2012

“As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34-35)

This is my personal summary of Rev Dr Stephen Tong's sermon on 25 March 2012 in STEMI Expository Preaching at True Way Presbyterian Church. It was preached in Chinese with English translation.

Passage: John 13:34-35

The glory of God is seen through the humiliation of Christ. But when Jesus left the highest honour of heaven to be born in a manger, that would be the manifestation of the greatest glory. In the most despicable place, we see the highest descend to us and God manifest his honour and glory through the most humble vessel. That's why when Jesus was born, the angels sang: “Glory to God in the highest.”

The lifetime of Jesus manifested this glory. Not once did he lead an unholy life or say something despicable. All of God's honour, glory, power and abundance were manifested in Jesus.

The culmination of this glory is the crucifixion. On the cross, there is no miracle or wisdom. The Jews did not want this sort of Messiah and rejected Jesus as Messiah. For the Greeks, on the cross, Jesus did not display any wisdom greater than that of Greek philosophers. Paul said: “Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified.” (1 Corinthians 1:22-23a)

Other than the Word becoming flesh where the glory of God was manifested, the lifting of Jesus Christ upon the cross became the greatest manifestation of God's glory. We cannot see the things that man desires in the life of Jesus, for Jesus was not elevated by miracles or human wisdom and knowledge. But upon the cross, even at his weakest, he was stronger than the greatest of mankind; at his most foolish, he was still greater than the wisest among us. This is God's wisdom and God has hidden his wisdom upon the wisdom that we are familiar with. Based on human thinking, God's method is very foolish, but in the end, the wisdom is higher than even Greek wisdom.

Jesus said: “My children, I will be with you only a little longer.” He is saying he doesn't have too much time to be with them and asking if they are treasuring the time. There were only a few days' left for Jesus to spend with the disciples. He will return to the Father, back to the kingdom of the Father who sent him. The apostles could not partake in his death on the cross. The Israelites will not be able to find him or go where he went. And so he said that just as he told the Jews, they will lose this Christ with whom they have lived and suffered, for the place he goes to, they cannot go. In other portions of the Bible, he said in the future, they will go. But the Jews have no part in this.

After Jesus said this, he gave a new command: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” This is a most unique portion of the Bible because this is one of the two important commands of Christianity. What sort of command did our Lord give us? Love one another. What sort of command did He give to unbelievers? That they are to be baptised, join the church, preach the gospel to the ends of the earth and make disciples of all nations, and He will be with them till the end of the times. You have a command externally and a command internally. Jesus gave us these commands. Whoever is obedient to the command will then lead an abundant life and have abundant blessings.

Why is this command considered new? The content of the command tells us to love one another. It is quite similar to the old one, but with a difference. The Bible says because God is one, you are to love him with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength. And you are to love your neighbour as yourself. Isn't it true that the Old Testament has both commands with a very wide and clear scope? There are two objects of love. The first is to love God who has created you. The second is to love humanity that is made in the image and likeness of God. The command to love mankind has been given in the Old Testament. But the new command brings with itself a new example. In the Old Testament, when you love your neighbours, there was no example to be seen. Here lies the essence of the entire Christianity. Christianity talks about love between humanity, and love between mankind and God. The gospel of John combines the love and the command together. Because when love comes about, it means you truly and sincerely want to follow the rules of the truth and it becomes a mark of the truth. Jesus Christ says if someone really loves him, the person will obey his teachings. It was not just from the lips, but something done in one's life and everyday actions.

God says you are to love him and to love each other. What is the basis of loving God and loving one another? In the Old Testament, the love for each other does not talk about rewards. Even if the person does not respond, you just love them as if you are loving yourself. You take the initiative and have the responsiblity to do this. The Old Testament does not say what is the true example of this love. But in the New Testament, the gospel of John, Chapter 13, talks about a new command. These are precious words. Before Jesus commanded us, he first gave us a general principle: “As I have loved you”. Who knows this love of Jesus that is so wide, so high, so deep? Only people who have experienced this love. Our experience of our love of our Lord becomes the basis for the love of other people. Did Moses hear that? You don't see that in the Pentateuch, in the historical books, in the Psalms, in the wisdom literature. None of the prophets have said that. We need to love others with the same standard as Christ loves us. This is unimaginable. How is it possible that we would love someone to the same degree as Christ loves us? Christ loved us so much he gave his life for us, bled for us and sacrificed his life in the hands of God. How can we manifest that kind of love to the extent that Christ has done? It would seem most impossible. Let us ask ourselves how deep is the love of Christ for us. How many Bible verses describe his love? When a person understands the limitless love of Jesus Christ, he will surely realise he cannot measure the depth of his love. All you can do is to kneel before God and admit Christ's love is far beyond your comprehension, your imagination and what you can do. Many Christians experience the love of Jesus Christ but take it for granted and do not learn many things from it. This verse demands that as we have experienced Christ's love, we need to share this love with others. It is quite horrifying. Lord, do you want me to treat other people as you have treated me? The love that you have for me enabled you to leave the glory of heaven to come into a humiliated life. Just on this alone, I cannot be like you. The kind of love I express to others are based on my own standards. I cannot tell the rest of the world to follow my principles. I can only say, perhaps other people can learn the same principle and do the same thing. So this verse by Jesus Christ is most transformational, something that you will not find from people beyond his time or before his time.

Why is this a new command? This command comes from someone who has done things no one else has ever done. The Father has never said this. God the Son said this. He came into the world and sacrificed himself. God the Son is completely obedient to God the Father. As God, he came in the flesh. The Apostle Paul said it is a great mystery that God should come in the flesh, for Christ to come among us, take on flesh and bleed like us. And this is the blood of God. Before Jesus Christ went on the cross, he taught: “As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

In the Old Testament, you are commanded to love your neighbour. It first assumed that you are a person without any problems, a source of love. So when you love God, you are being responsible. When you are responsible to others, again you are the source and you express your love to other people. But the Bible knows that our love towards God is not trustworthy and cannot possibly be the source of love to God. How can we ever become the source of love to love the people around us? So when Jesus Christ said “As I have loved you”, this is an example; “Love one another” is the command. The command is based on the example of Christ and the objective of the command is that we actually do what Christ has done. You are not the one who takes the initiative. You are not an important source of love because the love you have towards others is based on the love of Christ. You cannot be the source. In loving one another, we must be careful not to take the glory away from God. Do not deny he is the source of love. Follow his example and give our emotions to God. How the Lord has loved us, we are to love others.

Is it easier to love others or to love God? People may say: “It's easier to love God because God is very good and he is so good to me; people are all so evil, I'm not going to love them.” If you use this sort of thinking process to read the Bible, Jesus should have said: “You should love other people the way you love me.” Will Jesus Christ have been satisfied that we love others with the love we have God? If we love other people based on the way we love God, it is very dangerous, for our love towards God is not stable at all and always has a selfish motive. When we say we love God, there is an element of sin in us. Do you love God this year more than last year? Maybe six months later you will no longer love God. If we are to gauge our love towards others based on our love towards God, what will happen if we feel backslided or selfish, or when we forget the grace of God or when our love towards God changes? Then the love that other people receive from us will be influenced by our selfish motive. Are there people who love the Lord so much 10 years ago but has now left the Lord, or were fervent two years ago but now hate Christ? A person may say: "O Lord, I love you 80 per cent of the time, so I take this 80 per cent to distribute to others.” But later he says: “Now I no longer love you, so other people would not receive my love.” Jesus Christ said: “As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” There is no escape. You cannot make use of the word of God to fulfill your own desires. You have to be obedient. When you love someone with the wrong motive, people will remember.

People treat others badly because they have been treated badly. But Jesus says the way I treated you, you are to do the same for others; the way I love you, you are to love one another. Christ has never taken advantage of anyone. He commanded the church to learn the way he has loved them, and in turn to love others. In the Old Testament, to love one's neighbours and to love God comes from oneself. But in Jesus Christ, we see a great transformation in ethics. We do good because the kingdom of God is upon us. We call upon the name of the Lord for we first assumed the whole world should honour his name. In the Lord's Prayer, we find such profound lessons.

People thirst not because they have no water, and hunger not because they have no bread, but because they lack the word of God. No one has spoken like Jesus Christ. Instead of a command to go and do what you want, he says, as I have done it, you are to do it. The world needs a common motivating factor. The world needs a source of ethics and morality. When our Lord first loved his disciples, they enjoyed the heavenly blessings. But Jesus Christ commanded them to share with others, to go and spread the gospel to others. Jesus Christ himself was the source and example. He says you cannot escape the fruit of my love towards you. You cannot just think about it and not do it. I have set the example. When you follow my example, you will share the love to others.

Jesus said: “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Loving one another is a power exemplified by a Christian's life. If you ask the people of the world: “Do you know God? How do you know Christians? How do you yourself become a Christian?” They may answer: “Let me look at the lifestyle of Christians first and find out where they find their love from.” So let us not deceive ourselves. In the whole world, only Jesus can say this: “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet.”

What is the mark of a church, the one thing that will declare we are part of Jesus' church, that we are born of him and belong to him, that all men will know we belong to our Lord and follow our Jesus Christ?

The first mark is people who love one another. When a non-Christian sees that this society lacks mutual love, where the fittest survive, and the strong consume the weak, he says this is social ethics. The victims can never get their redress. Not so with Christians, who are to love one another.

The second mark is in Acts 4. After they flogged the apostles Peter and John, they were astonished by their courage to proclaim Jesus Christ and to see that they were but common folks. So you don't want to judge a Christian by the exterior. You want to see whether they have experienced God's love and grace, and when they share this grace to others, you will see the mark that they are different from other people who are self-centred. When you see that Christians are unselfish and share with each other the love of God, then you know the mark of God is there.

In John 15:1, Jesus says: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.” He tells us that he was passive before the Father, in the status, honour and glory that he has received. Before this, everything belonged to him, for all the fullness and abundance of God was found in Jesus Christ. After man sinned, God sent a sacrifice to get rid of our problems. Jesus Christ came to be the sacrifice and suffer without any enjoyment in his lifetime. But was that the only purpose of his life? No. Through his suffering he entered into glory. None of us can understand his suffering and even the potential of glory through his suffering. We have a mark as people who belong to the family of God. Jesus said you are to bear fruit. This is a mark. You've got to boldly bear testimony. This is a mark. In Acts, people see that these common folks were so bold and recognised them as Jesus' followers. When we love one another, through the bold testimony we give, through giving glory to God by bearing fruit, we become the disciples of Jesus Christ.

The question is are we willing to be the ones who manifest the glory of God, that others will recognise it and come to the Lord? The Lord wants us to become such people, that the world would recognise us as such a witness and return to God.

Christ's Miracles Point to His Divinity Pt 2 (Jn. 10:30-42)

This is my personal summary of Rev Dr Stephen Tong's sermon on 25 September 2011 in STEMI Expository Preaching at True Way Presbyterian Church. It was preached in Chinese with English translation.

Passage: John 10:30-42

In chapter 10 we read Jesus saying to the people of his era things that the latter should have understood. Jesus said they did not obey him because they were not his sheep. Some people accepted him but some rejected him because the latter's hearts were such that they would not welcome God's word into them. They thought Jesus' teaching may be different but they were not prepared to receive the actual enormous degree of difference. This was because they were in the first place closed to the possibility that Jesus may be God. As such they were not prepared to hear words with great authority from him; they treated his words as those in normal conversations. They did not realise that these words were actually of great wisdom. There were also some who did realise later, but by then it was already too late. On the other end of the spectrum, there were also those who thought his words were blasphemous.

So this polarised the society back then. Those who liked his teachings, loved him very much. But those disliked his teachings, hated him very much. In the world today we still find people like this (e.g. Kirkegaard, myself). Jesus pointed out that crux of the matter was that some people do not belong to his flock. In contrast, there are those who truly listen to his Word and seize every opportunity to do so, these are his sheep; these are the elect of God from all time, nations and places. These are the nations mentioned in Ps 2:7-8 ('...You are my Son... and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possesion.'). And these people have eternal life as their possessions, because Jesus said 'I give them eternal life.' These people belong to the Son, and they also belong to the Father, just as Jesus said, 'Those mine are given to me by my Father.'

Those who belong to Jesus cannot be snatched away by anyone - this is the first guarantee: '... no one will snatch them out of my hand' (v28). This same people, also belongs to the Father, and this is the second guarantee: '... and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand' (v29). This same people belongs to both God the Father and God the Son because Jesus and the Father are one (v30).

'I and the Father are one' (v30). These are the greatest words in Christology. There is no measure of superiority here, just as summed up in the Nicene creed. The Father, the Son and the Spirit share the same eternity, the same glory, and the same power. The Father, Son and the Spirit are of the same essence - all are God. God the Father is Light, God the Son is Light, God the Spirit is Light. God the Father is eternal, God the Son is eternal, God the Spirit is eternal.

But in another verse this does not seem the case - God the Father seems bigger than God the Son. We can only understand this from the point of the order: God the Father sends God the Son into the world and God the Son is obedient to God the Father. But all three are of the same status; they are just of a different order. It has always been God the Father sending the Son and never the other way around. It is also God the Father and God the Son sending the Holy Spirit and no other way around.

When Jesus declared that 'I and the Father are one' he did not mean that his physical self on earth was the same physical self of the Father; he meant that He and the Father are of the same divine essence. But the Jews took it that Jesus was referring to his physical self and thus considered him blasphemous. They cannot see Jesus as God so they wanted to stone him.

In defence, Jesus asked them a very important question: For which good works from the Father were they going to stone him for. By saying this, Jesus declared that all his good works were from the Father. His relationship with God is a divine one; only the Son of God can manifest the good works of God, and all his good works are signs of God; they are miracles of God. In paraphrase, Jesus questioned the Jews, 'Which one of these works are not good or in other words, "wrong"? Since you have see these works are good, why are you still so mean to me?'

By this question Jesus too implicitly meant that good works could only come from the divine God. If Jesus Christ were not God, he would not have the signs of God on him. If Jesus Christ were not divine, he would not have the power of God, and thus he would not have been able to do the works of God. And if Jesus Christ were not God, the works that he did could not have come from God.

Therefore God's divinity, God's power, and God's work could not be segregated.
This is something that the liberal theologians have never understood since the founding of Tübingen School 160 years ago. These liberals made Jesus a very good person in a measure of goodness and morality that exceeds that of all man that have ever been born on earth, but would not recognise that he is divine.

They liked to say that Jesus is an example to man in morality, exceeding Confucius and Socrates. They said Confucius may be an example to all teachers but Jesus is an example to all man. They based their argument on a quote from Immanuel Kant, "We need to strive for the ultimate good." This had been found earlier in Chinese culture as Confucius said "zhi yu zhi shan" 止于至善 (which means: Rest in the highest good) 2600 years ago. In Greek culture too, there was a phrase coined in Latin, "Samen bolnum" which meant the ultimate goodness.

Kant rejected teleological, ontological, cosmological arguments for God's existence and even the argument that must be created for a purpose. Instead, he proposed from morality that there must be God. He argued that we must have morality before our lives are of some value. He came to this conclusion by asking why would men out of their hearts want to do something good; if there is no God, nobody else could put this desire in men.

From this angle, Kant seemed very creative. However from another angle, this command to do good had already been given by God. With regards to the existence of God, the Bible all along has already stated that '... For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen.' In other words, when we look at nature we see the signs of God. Strictly speaking, the concept of proof is wrong because it is man-centred. In the Reformed understanding we don't talk about proof (which is man-centred); instead, we talk about revelation (which is God-centred). He manifested himself through all creation (the external witness) and gave us conscience (the internal witness), and these witnesses in and out point to his existence. It was this conscience that Kant found to be acceptable proof of God's existence. Kant's system [of theology] was definitely very great, however his fundamental point was wrong. Just as Rev Dr Stephen Chan put it, 'Kantian system is significantly wrong, consistently wrong, and thoroughly wrong.'

However Kant was so sensitive to morality issues that he said further, 'All humanity ought to strive to the ultimate good. But before we reach that point, we need to admit that once upon a time one man from Nazareth has reached that point.' It was as if he admitted that the only man ever reached the ultimate good was Jesus Christ. But he did not dare to admit it clearly, because philosophers looked not so good if he/she believed in religion.

Nonetheless, 50 years after Kant had said this, the Liberals still did not understand where the real Light is. The crux of the matter is, if we say Jesus was the only man who had reached the ultimate good, then we must ask how he did it. And the second question is, if Jesus Christ had reached it 2000 years ago, then the theory of evolution (where everything including morality will become better as time goes) is wrong. Because according to the theory, if Jesus had reached the point of ultimate good, then somebody would have surpassed it. Yet Kant admitted that up to his time, only Jesus has reached it. This means that the theory of evolution is wrong.

Christ's foundation of his morality is his divinity. Because he is God, he is above morality. The Liberals are stuck at this point - they cannot explain how Jesus, as mere human in their point of view, reached the ultimate good. It is also noteworthy that both the Liberals (no religiosity) and the Charismatics (no rationality) never use the word Lord to refer to Jesus Christ!

The Jews still could not understand as we can see from their answer in v33 - they still wanted to stone Jesus. They were effectively saying that it was permissible for Jesus to do good works but it was not permissible to claim to be God. Jesus obviously did not need their permission to do good works - he did them because he is God. In retrospect, it would have been crazy to stone someone because he did good works, and what's more, this person was God! Sinners yearning to kill God - it would have been the most barbaric act ever committed if they had been successful in killing Jesus.

In Mark 10:17 Jesus questioned the young man who asked him about eternal life, 'Why do you call me good?' The Jehovah Witness made use of this verse to argue that Jesus did not confess to be good. However if Lord Jesus is not good, then who is good? The Jehovah Witness is stuck in their own error. Similarly, with regards to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in Genesis, Nietzsche was so blinded that he could not make the distinction between the tree, the knowledge, and the good and evil itself - he made the conclusion from the Genesis account that God does not want man to have knowledge. Nietzsche too was in error.

The Jews too were still trapped in their own error. They could not see that Jesus is God, still separated morality from divinity, and therefore considered it blasphemous for him to claim to be God. In reply (v 34-36) Jesus quizzed them: If God (himself) had called them gods because they had received the Word of God (Ps 82:6), then when One consecrated and sent by God was there, why would they accuse him of blasphemy for saying 'I am the Son of God'?

Jesus further pointed out in vv 37-38 that even if they did not believe that Jesus came from the Father, then they should at least believe the signs (i.e. the good works). The word 'sign' is the origin of the words 'signature' or 'signal'. Signature is the marks of a person. Signal is what makes telecommunication between 2 persons possible. Just as animals like tigers left their footprints on the ground and if a person were to see them he would conclude that there are tigers around, so the signs of God are like God's footprints and a person should make the similar conclusion - God is nearby. The signs of God must have come from God, and since these signs were done by him, then the correct conclusion was that he came from God.

In summary, Christ's morality cannot be segregated from Christ's divinity. But the Israelites just could not understand this. They were so sure that they were right. Many Christians today are like this too, including some in Singapore.

Again the Jews sought to arrest Jesus but he escaped (v 39). This meant that they had no right to kill him because the time had not come. Once again Jesus left them. Only later when his time had come that they could get hold of Jesus.

When Jesus went back to the place where John the Baptist used to baptise people (v40), those who remembered what John the Baptist said believed in Jesus. Although they did not see any miracles, they were so different from those who saw the miracles and did not believe. Why was there such a contrast? It all boils down to what Jesus had been saying - 'My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me' (v27).

Jesus Washes the Disciples' Feet (John 13:1-11)

This is my personal summary of Rev Dr Stephen Tong's sermon on 12 Feb 2012 in STEMI Expository Preaching at True Way Presbyterian Church Singapore. It was preached in Chinese with English translation.

Passage: John 13:1-11

John 12 marks the end of Jesus' words to the Jewish public. It was the end of opportunity for them to hear Jesus. From John 13 onwards, Jesus would speak/preach only to his disciples.

John 13    Jesus' special act of washing the disciples' feet (The Last Supper)
John 14-16 Jesus promised the coming of the Holy Spirit
John 17    Jesus prayed before his final mission
John 18    Jesus was arrested
John 19    Jesus was crucified [and died]
John 20    Jesus resurrected
John 21    Jesus appeared to the disciples and the gospel of John ended.

Jesus last words to the Jewish public was recorded in John 12:50-'And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.' This means that Jesus' words are words of eternal life. This same word, is the Word of God. The commandments [in the same Word], are God's commands. God has sent Jesus to give the Word to the Jews as a command. But the Jews have rebelled against this command and rejected Jesus' words, and as such they will be judged by the same Word because Jesus is the Son of God who has come in the flesh. The same Word that was preached to them will become the standard against which the Jews will be judged.

Such serious word tells us that to 'know God' is to know Jesus Christ as the One whom God has sent, and this is what eternal life is all about. This is later mentioned again in Jesus prayer in John 17:3.

After this word, there is no more word from Jesus [to the Jews], the Jews too did not respond to him.
If we were to have our last opportunity to hear a sermon like the Jews here from Jesus, would we still treat it lightly?

John 13:1a: '... when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father...' Now Jesus knew that the time had come for him to accomplish his mission to die on the cross. When he has finished what he was tasked to do, it was time for him to go back to the Father. Which day would Jesus die on? Jesus must die on Passover because that is the day that the LORD has set for him. What sort of attitude did Jesus respond to this mission? The Bible tells us, 'Be glad and rejoice for this is the day that the Lord has made.' The Passover Lamb must be willing and joyful in going to be sacrificed.

John 13:1b: '... having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end...' That day (of Jesus death on the cross) is a historical point in time. But that date was when Jesus manifested his eternal love for humanity. It was on that day that He would bear the sin of humanity on the cross and fulfill his love for us, which is eternal. Therefore He would like to show his love to the fullest extent to his disciples. This is the only place in the Bible where we can find this kind of translation.

We read next that the devil had already put the seed of evil into the thought of Judas Iscariot. Judas' motivation by now had been 'wrapped' by the influence of another being. From a Christian's point of view, Paul spoke in Phil 2:13 '... for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.' This means that whatever good that we do comes because God has acted in our hearts so that it is possible for us to will and work for his good pleasure. Similarly, the devil too can inspire man to do evil and fulfill his purposes. This implies that man is never a completely active agent/ independent in taking initiative to do something. Our initiative in doing evil comes after we have accepted the suggestion of the devil, being used by him.

When we find ourselves in such a situation, on the surface it may seem that man is passive in the whole process. But before executing that evil deed, man actually plays an active part in accepting the devil's suggestion. However our relationship with God is not the same. It is God who, on the basis of his sovereignty, decides to grant us grace. Before God, we are completely passive. If God does not move us to do good deeds, we will not do what is good. Is there anyone who is willing to obey what God purposes to do? None of us will, except for the Holy Spirit to keep nudging us until one day we say to God that yes we are willing. Our obedience towards God, comes only after the Holy Spirit has normalised our relationship with God.

This is in accordance with what the Bible says that all the good we do comes from the good purpose of God. Therefore we say that to do good we are completely passive, but to do bad we would have played one active part. Why is it so? Can we say that to do good we have an active part to play but to do bad we did not play any part? No. Because in the matter of God's grace, we have no right to take part. However when the devil whispers a  temptation, none of us has the strength to reject him, but we are very willing to work with him instead.

So now we have a question about Judas receiving the devil's thought to betray Jesus. Note that Jesus said to Judas, 'What you are going to do, go and do it' This means that it was Judas himself who planned the betrayal (the evil plan came from himself although it was the devil who [had] put the desire to sin into him). 'When one is tempted, we should not think that the temptation comes from God, for God does not tempt anyone nor is he tempted. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death' (James 1:13-15). Therefore the Bible clearly tells us that God is never the source of evil and neither is God is the creator of evil.

At this moment, Jesus knew 2 things:
1. His time to leave the world had come
2. God the Father has given unto him all things
{Contrast with this: Three and half years before this, the devil tempted Jesus to give all material glory to Jesus. But Jesus was not interested at all in those. He knew he came from God and would go back to Him. This gave Jesus and affirmation and thus he was not afraid at all. He went on to perform the washing of his disciples' feet - which is to illustrate a point he would later make in John 13:13-16).

Jesus cleaned the feet of the disciples (24 in total), which must be the smelliest part of the body, to teach us humility: He came not to be served, but to serve. The climax of these all would be his death on the cross. Note that Jesus was still willing to wash Judas' feet even though He knew that Judas was going to betray him (Jesus did not wait until after Judas had left to begin washing feet). And when Jesus washed his feet, Judas did not feel any reservation.

On the other extreme, Peter's reaction was the strongest: He could not bear Jesus washing his feet. He asked, 'Lord are you really going to wash my feet?' Jesus answered, 'What i do now, you don't understand, but you will understand later' (In the Bible, Jesus was recorded to say these twice). Events were in the progression of time; now Peter would not understand, but later on he would.

But Peter really thought that he was below his Lord's status and could not accept Jesus to wash his feet. To this, Jesus' answer was that Peter would have no share with Jesus (i.e. no share in the kingdom of God). Upon hearing this, Peter was very afraid. To have no part with Jesus [in the kingdom] would have been the scariest thing that Peter could ever imagine. That's why Peter straight away 'jumped' and asked Jesus to wash not only his 2 feet but also his hands. But this would have been ridiculous - an adult asking another adult to wash him.

Jesus answer that a person who has had a bath, does not need to bathe again means that within Him one has already been cleansed. Jesus Christ is the Word of God, the Cleanser. The Word of God cleansed us. God's Word has made us Christians clean (sanctification), so only our actions are not clean; our footsteps are not clean. Many Christians today do not do what they should do, or do what they should not do (both are sins). They hear the Word, but are unable to do according to the Word. They believe the Word, but not do it (Note: Of all disciples, Judas had never been sanctified because his heart had never accepted Jesus. This is why Jesus said in v10 '... you are clean, but not every one of you.')

When Jesus said that one of them would betray him, everybody asked, "Is it me, Lord?" except Judas, who could not call Jesus as Lord (just as the Bible says that no one could call Jesus, Lord unless by the Holy Spirit - ). But if he did not ask, everybody would have concluded right away that he was the one. So he had to use the term 'Rabbi' to ask Jesus. This was told in St Matthew's Passion by J.S.Bach.

Among the 13 people in the room, only Jesus and Judas himself knew about this matter. Why did Jesus keep this knowledge from the rest? Because the time has not yet come. When did Jesus know about this? Since the time He selected Judas. Why was Judas selected in the first place? 1. That the world may know that everyone has the opportunity to repent, i.e. nobody can say that 'God never gave me the chance.' Jesus did not tell other disciples also for this reason, even until the last moment so that Judas still had the chance to repent. 2. That preachers will not fear if they were to be betrayed by their own disciples too.

Praise God for Christ's love. Jesus came to earth and gave us a model for us how we are to serve Him. Brothers and sisters, in our heart, do we hate people who hate us or revile those who betray us? Or instead, do we humbly love others and do not retaliate when others treat us badly?