In the following article you will find a brief commentary on John 13 that goes along with our Riverside Church Two Year Bible Reading Plan (Volume 1 & Volume 2). This plan will allow you to read the New Testament and Psalms once every year and the Old Testament once every two years.
Blessed in Service
Jesus is in a place of absolute security and self-knowledge (13:3). He comes in the perfect will of the Father to completely do the will of the Father. And what does he do? He serves. He takes upon himself the most humble act of service possible. He does it and then he highlights it and then he calls his act an example and commands us to follow. What could be clearer?
We are called to serve. Let there be no confusion. Let there be no explaining away. The mark of a disciple is to love one another (13:34-35) and this is demonstrated through humble service.
Think of the timing. Jesus faces his greatest challenge, his greatest trial. This is the pivotal moment of all of history. In terms of difficulty and importance, this is the moment. Jesus uses this once in history moment to teach us to serve, to follow his example. Of course the cross makes the same statement, even louder. But one might misapply the cross when viewing it as example (it is more than example of course – it is atonement!). One might focus on the big attention getting sacrifices while ignoring the humble daily ones. Jesus calls us to both.
One more thing! This is also the final time of instruction. Jesus is leaving his followers. This is where a leader repeats what is most important. Again, in every way Jesus calls us to serve. “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”