Books of the Book: John

The Foot Washing

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Deyvy Rodriguez & Jon Paulien


Series Code: JBOTB

Program Code: JBOTB00018A

00:21 Hello, friends, and welcome again.
00:22 This is "Books of the Book."
00:24 My name is Deyvy Rodriguez,
00:26 and every time we're so happy
00:27 that you can take this time
00:28 and be with us in this Bible study.
00:31 We're studying the Gospel of John,
00:34 and with us is Dr. Jon Paulien,
00:36 and he is the Dean of Religion at Loma Linda, California--
00:41 Loma Linda University in California.
00:43 And we're so happy that he is able to share his insights.
00:47 He is a Bible scholar, very brilliant, by the way.
00:50 Dr. Paulien, welcome back. You have a doctorate.
00:53 Tell us a little more about this doctorate,
00:56 what is it, when did you get it?
00:58 Maybe I should tell you what you don't want to hear. All right.
01:01 And that is that I started working on my PhD
01:04 before you were born.
01:06 How do you know when I was born?
01:08 You told me the other day, it was about 30 years ago, and--
01:11 I started 32 years ago,
01:14 and it was at Andrews University in southwestern Michigan,
01:18 and I began the program in the fall of 1981
01:22 and finished it in the spring of 1987.
01:25 So it took about 6 years,
01:29 which is not too bad considering
01:31 that I was working pretty much full-time
01:33 5 of those 6 years so--
01:35 Andrews University is in Michigan?
01:37 Yeah. Mm-hmm. Okay.
01:39 And a doctorate basically is three things
01:41 at least at Andrews University.
01:42 You spend time in class work
01:44 where you're learning from other people
01:46 who know your broad field,
01:47 New Testament, a little bit of Old Testament in my case
01:51 and then there's the comprehensive exams
01:54 where you spend 6 to 9 months just reading everything
01:57 you can get your hands on until it all sounds the same.
02:00 You know, when you're not learning anything
02:01 more from the reading, you've probably mastered the field
02:04 and you pass exams on all those topics
02:07 in the broad field of New Testament, etc.,
02:10 and then the dissertation, you go deep into a narrow area,
02:15 in my case, my dissertation was understanding
02:18 the "7 Trumpets of Revelation,"
02:20 with a particular eye on how they used the Old Testament
02:24 to bring out the message.
02:26 And so my primary contribution to world scholarship
02:30 is probably a methodology for studying illusions
02:35 to the Old Testament in the Book of Revelation.
02:37 So, if I'm interested in a doctorate,
02:40 would it be easy for me to pass your exams?
02:43 Well, in about 15 years, no-- It would take a while though.
02:50 You would--you would want to get a master's degree first
02:54 and then you would get into the course work
02:56 for the doctorate and then come the exams.
02:58 So, yeah, you might be 3-4 years away to where you are now.
03:02 And that's-- that's full-time study.
03:04 That's full-time study.
03:06 Well, today, we are in Chapter 13
03:08 by the way of the Gospel of John.
03:11 If you have your Bibles, you can get them
03:14 and open them with us.
03:15 We are going to be studying the spiritual gospel,
03:18 as Dr. Paulien says it.
03:20 So, Dr. Paulien, you said that now we are in the--
03:22 in the private ministry of Jesus. Right.
03:26 With Chapter 13, you've made a transition.
03:29 Up until Chapter 12, Jesus is ministering in public places.
03:33 And-- He's not much of a teacher there.
03:35 It's more what he does, sometimes negotiations,
03:41 conversations with different people,
03:44 but here, from Chapter 13 through 17, it's private.
03:48 He's with his own disciples
03:50 and it's more of a teaching context.
03:53 He is sharing things that he wants them to know.
03:56 In particular, here in private,
03:58 he is preparing them for life without him.
04:01 So, in a sense, he is preparing the next generation.
04:05 He is the first generation.
04:06 They are the next generation,
04:07 and then, John is directed to those who follow,
04:11 those who don't know any disciples like us
04:14 and who simply need to make our way
04:17 in the world through the words
04:19 that John has left for us. Okay.
04:22 So, which verses are we studying here
04:24 and where do we pick up?
04:25 We'll be studying verses 1 to 31,
04:28 in Chapter 13, of the Gospel of John.
04:31 And we won't cover every verse,
04:33 but we will be able to cover,
04:36 I think, some of the main points here.
04:39 I would point out that you're definitely
04:42 in the Shadow of the Cross here,
04:44 in Chapters 13 through 17.
04:46 Jesus knows He's going straight to the cross.
04:49 Disciples probably are not yet sure what's going on,
04:53 but it's clear, He's going away
04:55 and so they feel like they're about to lose Him.
04:57 They're not entirely sure why in this gospel.
05:01 So, the Shadow of the Cross is over
05:04 the upper room here throughout,
05:08 and the purpose really of writing all this
05:12 is for that second generation,
05:14 who has to live without Jesus and without the disciples.
05:18 After John's death, Chapters 13 to 17
05:22 give the solid spiritual grounding
05:25 of that everyone needs to relate to Jesus.
05:28 So we're going to spend several programs
05:30 on this section of the gospel.
05:34 So you have, first of all, the foot washing story
05:38 and then there's a discourse
05:40 at the end of 13 and Chapter 14,
05:43 and then, Jesus says,
05:45 "Let's go," and they're gonna go to the garden
05:49 where He will be betrayed,
05:51 but I guess when they get up from the table like we often do,
05:55 people still hang around and talk, and so--
05:58 For Chapters 15 and 16,
06:00 they kind of got up to go, but Jesus keeps on talking.
06:03 The interesting thing about this whole section,
06:06 it's not a coherent sermon or conversation.
06:10 It's almost as if John was collecting
06:13 bits and pieces of all kinds of good stuff
06:16 that Matthew, Mark, and Luke didn't share.
06:18 Nearly all of this is new to John,
06:22 and so, it's almost like sound bites
06:25 like a highlight film of some of the best sayings
06:28 that Jesus said that Matthew, Mark, and Luke didn't notice.
06:32 So if you try to read Chapters 13 to 17
06:36 through as a coherent narrative, it's hard to follow.
06:39 But it seems almost like collecting bits and pieces
06:43 that they go together.
06:44 So why don't we go to Chapter 13 and verses 1 to 3
06:50 setting that up in ancient times,
06:52 of course, people didn't have showers,
06:55 you know, and bath tubs and all that kind of stuff.
06:58 So most people were pretty accustomed to dirt,
07:01 and if they took a bath,
07:04 if they washed everything and we're clean,
07:08 which they would do before going to a banquet for example,
07:11 then, walking to the banquet, it's very dusty,
07:15 and so the feet would get dirty.
07:16 They'd just have sandals on, some would even go barefoot.
07:19 So when you get to the place of the banquet,
07:21 you need to have a foot washing
07:23 in order to be truly clean for the banquet.
07:26 So that's the setting behind this
07:29 and foot washing was normally done by slaves.
07:32 It was not something
07:34 that a person of any kind of status would do for another.
07:37 So that's the setting for what Jesus was about to do
07:41 and totally shock the disciples. Verses 1 to 3.
07:45 "Now, before the Feast of the Passover,
07:47 when Jesus knew that his hour had come
07:50 that he should depart from this world to the Father,
07:52 having loved his own who were in the world,
07:55 he loved them to the end, and supper being ended,
07:59 the devil having already put in
08:01 into the heart of Judas Iscariot,
08:03 Simon's son, to betray him,
08:05 Jesus knowing that the Father had given
08:08 all things into his hands,
08:10 and that he had come from God
08:12 and was going to God."
08:15 And Verse 4, "Rose from supper,
08:16 and laid aside his garments,
08:18 took a towel and girded himself."
08:20 Now, these verses are very, very deeply meaningful to me.
08:25 First of all, Jesus knows who He is.
08:29 He knows that He is God
08:31 come down in the flesh at this point.
08:33 He may not have known that completely as a child,
08:35 but He certainly knows it here.
08:37 He is conscious of who He is.
08:40 He is also conscious of who the disciples are.
08:44 The disciples are a mess, and one of those disciples
08:47 is right now thinking
08:49 of how he is going to conveniently betray Jesus,
08:53 and yet Jesus doesn't pick and choose.
08:57 Well, here's the good disciples, here's the bad ones.
08:59 No. He washes all those feet.
09:02 He knows what He is doing,
09:05 and to me this is so precious
09:08 in that He doesn't turn away from Judas,
09:12 but He washes Judas' feet too.
09:14 He treats them all the same even though some,
09:18 at least one, is about to betray Him
09:20 and He does this conscious of the cross
09:25 and conscious that He is God in the flesh.
09:29 If I'm going to the cross and I know it,
09:32 I'm thinking about me and Jesus in--
09:35 in facing all of that is thinking about his disciples.
09:38 That's amazing.
09:39 And the whole point is, knowing that He's God,
09:43 He is now going to demonstrate what God is like.
09:47 There are so many people that think of God as punitive,
09:51 as arbitrary, as severe, you know, judgmental,
09:57 and here you have the clearest picture of God
10:00 that we will ever see.
10:01 God in the flesh at a moment of crisis
10:04 when He's about to be abused by just about everybody,
10:09 sits down to wash the feet of disciples
10:13 who don't even care.
10:14 They're all talking about, who's going to be the greatest,
10:16 you know, and the greatest of all,
10:18 of course, would be Judas
10:20 and He washes their feet nevertheless.
10:22 This is a God, who keeps on loving,
10:25 keeps on giving no matter what we've done
10:27 and for me, that's important,
10:28 because for people who have been afraid of God,
10:31 people who feel insecure about their faith
10:34 to realize what Jesus did here, put yourself in Judas' place,
10:39 Jesus would wash your feet too.
10:42 Have you done anything as grievous as Judas did?
10:47 If the answer is no, I haven't gone that far.
10:50 Then, there's hope for you.
10:51 Jesus would wash your feet too, right now, today.
10:55 And that's the message that comes through
10:57 so powerfully here.
10:58 And that's very encouraging, verse 1, it says that,
11:02 "He loved them to the end,"
11:05 and that statement right there is just so powerful.
11:08 Even to--on the cross, He's thinking of them. Right.
11:11 He's thinking of His mother.
11:13 He's thinking of the beloved disciple
11:15 even on the cross and that's not so much to say,
11:19 boy, you should be like that although we can aspire to,
11:22 but it's telling us what God is like,
11:26 that God is other centered, that God is us centered,
11:31 even in the midst of all the complications
11:33 the universe might present.
11:35 In the midst of that, Peter resists,
11:38 he's the only one that resists
11:41 and it shows you the two sides of resistance.
11:44 You have the rebellious side of Judas
11:46 who doesn't really care.
11:48 He's going to go out there and do what he wants to do
11:50 and then you have the true believer,
11:52 Peter, the ultra conservative.
11:54 He will follow Jesus anywhere except to have his feet washed.
12:00 What's up with that?
12:01 Somebody will go anywhere for Jesus,
12:04 but doesn't want his feet washed.
12:07 It's a pride thing.
12:09 Even in our eagerness and devotion to follow Jesus,
12:14 sometimes we're doing it ultimately for ourselves.
12:16 We want to be there with Jesus
12:18 when he's crowned King of the Universe,
12:19 you see, and so, this subtle human side comes in.
12:24 And Peter says, "No, you won't--
12:27 you know, no way in all eternity
12:30 is kind of the meaning of the Greek there
12:32 that Jesus could no way in all eternity
12:34 you're gonna wash my feet, you see.
12:37 Peter comes face-to-face with the fact
12:41 that the gospel is free, but in order to have the gospel,
12:47 you need to come in humility,
12:50 the key to receiving the gospel is admitting our need
12:54 and that's where some of us fall short.
12:57 The one thing we don't want to admit is our need.
13:00 The one thing, you know, how many marriages have gone on,
13:03 no one ever used the phrase, "I'm sorry," you see.
13:06 There's something about us to say
13:08 "I'm sorry, to truly admit, need to admit mistakes."
13:12 It seems to go deep against the grain for human beings
13:15 and Peter, the most faithful disciple of Jesus in many ways
13:20 falls into this trap, where he says,
13:22 "No way, you're not washing my feet."
13:25 And Jesus is about to teach him
13:27 that great lesson of humility-- Yeah.
13:30 And he-- Here he is so proud,
13:32 and Jesus is going to teach him that lesson of--
13:35 contrary to his character.
13:37 Let me say one thing.
13:39 I mean, when you hear something like this,
13:40 there's a temptation to say, oh, I got to be more humble.
13:43 "No." You can't produce it.
13:45 Human beings can't produce it.
13:48 Humility is a miracle of God,
13:50 and if you recognize in your own heart right now,
13:53 you know my pride is right out there, my humility is zero.
13:59 The only way I know to deal with is take it to God,
14:02 just say, "Lord, help me to do that
14:05 which I can't do myself.
14:07 Help me to totally yield myself to you
14:09 to be used by you any way you wish."
14:12 If you ask Him to do that, He will do it for you. Amen.
14:16 Well, friends, we're going to continue
14:17 on the Gospel of John in Chapter 13, stay with us.


Revised 2014-12-17