Sermon Text for August 17th – John 13:1-20

1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2 During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, 3 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, 4 rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5 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. 6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” 7 Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” 8 Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” 9 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10 Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.”
12 When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. 16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. 18 I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ 19 I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he. 20 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”

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8 comments

  1. Jesus never says that is Judas who is unclean. And from his words it can also be understood that eleven of his disciples are unclean, and one is not. At the end of the day, Judas is in fact Jesus, writ large. And the reason that Jesus speaks in parables is because he is a parable for his alter-ego, Judas. For this Jesus says that “when you receive the one I sent, you receive me, and that I and the Father are one. But the Father is greater.”

    1. While it’s true that Jesus doesn’t say explicitly, “One of you is unclean, and it’s you, Judas Iscariot,” but I don’t know how you can read this text and conclude that that’s exactly what Jesus is saying. John makes that perfectly clear in v 11.
      I’m also having a hard time understanding your “Judas is in fact Jesus” comment. In what way? Judas was a sinful man; Jesus was/is the Son of God, the second person of the trinity, who put on flesh an dwelt among us, who was tempted in every way but was without sin. Judas was impelled by Satan to betray the Son of God to his death. Really I don’t see how they could be more different.

      1. Jesus says to let your eye be single. The perceived enmity between Jesus and his betrayer is even today a source of great tension throughout the world. Jesus says that no man can take his life, that he lays it down willingly. So who’s responsible? The official view of the Vatican is that there is no forgiveness for Judas. But considering that everyone betrays Jesus at one time or another, if not on a more-determined basis, then it might be surmised that there is forgiveness for no one. But just as Balaam ended by blessing the children of Israel, whom he had originally set out to curse, so too is The New Testament, for those who know how to read it, also according a similar treatment to Judas.

      2. I’m curious to know how you understand Matthew 26:24-25:

        The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” Judas, who would betray him, answered, “Is it I, Rabbi?” He said to him, “You have said so.”

      3. Since you asked: by laying such unhappiness on Judas, Jesus (whom Christians see as Isaiah’s ‘man of sorrows), has effectively created an even greater man of sorrows, whom more aptly fits Isaiah’s description of the man whose ‘appearance was so marred, beyond human resemblance, and his form beyond that of the children of men. This is another reason to believe in effect, that for all intents and purposes, Judas IS Jesus, writ large, for they both suffer similarly, but Judas more.

      4. So, if I’m understanding you correctly, we should be worshiping Judas rather than Jesus?

        I hope you don’t mind me asking this – and I mean this with all sincerity and respect – are you a Christian? Are these thoughts about Judas your own or have you learned them from someone else?

      5. Jesus says that he and the Father are one. He also says that he will make known to the world the name of the Father, but then he never does. Or if you believe he did, then who is the mysterious Father? For this it helps to see the story not so much literally, but figuratively. Jesus, among his many titles, son of God, Son of man etc., is also known as the Son of David. And like the spotless lamb, Jesus, David indeed had a son, of unblemished beauty no less, the perfidious Absalom, whose death after being speared while hanging upon a tree clearly portends a certain crucifixion almost a thousand years later. And just as Judas was seized with remorse after the condemnation of Jesus, David wept bitterly for his slain son, Absalom, and (most importantly for our purposes here), wished that he could be dead in his place. For this, the claim is here that for all intents and purposes, Judas IS Jesus, writ large. Or to put it another way, Jesus is sort of an allegorical prototype for the real Messiah, Judas. P.S. There was a time I believed myself to be Christian, but let’s say I had a sort of revelation that Christianity was problematic.

      6. I appreciate your willingness to interact with me on this. I’ve never heard this perspective before, but with all due respect I don’t think it does justice to what the Scriptures teach. To claim that Judas is the true Messiah is not only a distortion of the Scriptures, but in the terms Scripture uses, it is also blasphemous. The flaw in your argument is that Jesus stands alone among humanity as God incarnate. The fact that others have shared similar experiences with him only underscores how much the Second Person of the Godhead became like us.
        The problem with your construction is that in the end, it provides no hope. Judas died for no one’s sins but his own, just as the “perfidious Absalom” did and just as everyone else will apart from the work of Jesus the Messiah. Only he took up our sins in himself and died in our place, so that our sins could actually be forgiven by God.

        One last thing I wanted to address was the first statement – “Jesus says that he and the Father are one. He also says that he will make known to the world the name of the Father, but then he never does.” Do you remember where that quote is from? It seems like your expectation was that he would tell us what that name is. I don’t think that’s correct. The Jews would answer that the name of God was YHWH, as was revealed to Moses when he was called by God to lead Israel out of Egypt. Since I don’t recognize where the passage is from, I’m making an educated guess, but I expect that the emphasis is not on what the name is, but rather that Jesus’ intention is to make it known to the world. Israel expected the Messiah to be for Israel only; Jesus comes with a clear message (which the prophets also taught) that He was coming to gather His people from out of the entire world (Jews and non-Jews alike).

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