January 24, 2024

January 24, 2024

Author: Pastor Gordon Cook
January 24, 2024

I'm going to ask you to turn to John 13, we've been going through this section in the Sunday school hour. Dr. Sinclair Ferguson has been taking us through the upper room discourse. I came across a commentary that Dr. John Macarthur has on this whole section from chapter 13 through 17. He says, “Without question, some of the most poignant, powerful teaching takes place on the last evening he spent with his disciples before he was crucified.” In this very key passage, the word love and loved is used over 30 times in this whole section of the upper room discourse. So if you ever have any questions about God’s love for you or Christ’s love for you, that would probably be one of the best places to go, John 13 through John 17.

John 13:1-11, “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. During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him, 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, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 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. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” 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.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!” 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.” For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

Last Sunday morning we heard Dr. Ferguson give a second exposition of that section here in John 13 and Sunday night Pastor Mark took us to Acts 2. In both passages you get to see Peter. You see Peter negatively in John 13 and you see Peter positively in Acts 2.

So go back to that foot washing in John 13. We should never cease to marvel that Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, that fact alone. But not only that, he washed the feet of all the disciples, including those two who would stab him in the back. Peter denies him three times. Then you have Judas who betrays him by way of 30 pieces of silver. But knowing that, Jesus doesn't back off, not one inch from washing their dirty feet. And look how John 13 starts off, I think it's very significant, it sort of sets the stage. I mentioned that word love is used almost 30 times in this whole upper room discourse, but it starts off telling us he loved them to the end, he never stopped loving them. I think you could even say he never stopped loving Judas. He didn't love Judas in the same way he loved the other eleven, but he never stopped loving Judas. Remember how Judas shows up in the garden and he kisses Jesus and Jesus calls him friend. He never stopped loving Judas.

But I want us to look more closely here at Peter in the upper room. When Jesus goes to wash his feet in verse 8 he protests. He said, “You shall never wash my feet.” And I'm sure the other disciples were somewhat embarrassed by what was happening when Jesus took off his outer garment and began to wash their dirty feet. They kept silent. But knowing Peter, he takes what you could call an aggressive verbal stance against Jesus. Look at the language, “Never.” “Never.” And you can understand why, to some degree, why Peter would have problems with Jesus washing his feet. His concept of the Messiah was shaped somewhat by his reading of his Bible, but also by the mindset of most of the Jews in that day. Jesus was going to come, the Messiah was going to come and he was going to conquer. He was going to use a sword, not a towel, a sword to destroy, a sword to kill. That was their view of the Messiah, the king of kings and that's not what he's doing here, he's washing their dirty feet. Now, Peter, if you read the whole Old Testament Bible and took everything in perspective, you would have known that the Messiah was also going to be a servant; not just a king, but a servant. So Peter shows his ignorance to some degree by his response, he saw a throne and not a cross. And remember, this isn't the first time that Peter has reacted to Jesus. Remember when they were en route to Jerusalem and Jesus starts to tell them, “I'm going to be betrayed and I'm going to be crucified.” Peter objects and then Jesus has to rebuke him. And I think the same problem here, Peter's pride gets the better of him. And later on in that evening he will even brag, he will give something of a braggadocious with respect to himself. He's going to tell Jesus and all his other disciple friends, “If there's anyone who's going to stay true to you it's me, I'm the faithful guy, you can count on me, Jesus.”

But Peter fails miserably. Go back to that earlier statement in John 13:1, “He loved them to the end.” He never gives up on Peter. In spite of his immaturity, in spite of his pride, in spite of his three-fold denial, in spite of his fear of men, Jesus never gives up. And thankfully, we have a post view of Peter. Remember we saw his restoration, Pastor Mark mentioned that a few weeks ago. Then here on Pentecost when you go to Acts chapter 2, (that was the exposition Sunday night), Peter preaches, you could say, the most powerful sermon ever preached in terms of redemptive history. Look at the results, 3,000 people get saved. I mean if we see one person get saved under the preaching we kind of marvel, that’s 3,000 people were saved. And think about that, Peter, who was afraid of men, yes, he had a problem with fear, he preaches a bold sermon, arrow piercing sermon that penetrates hearts and there's something of a revival, you can say a mass awakening conversion within minutes. This isn’t days, within minutes, that very day 3,000 are baptized.

So here you have Peter who had failed Jesus, who had betrayed Jesus; now Peter is preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and he's wonderfully used by the Lord Jesus. Here's the point I want to make, there's encouragement in that, right. All of us fail, all of us sin, all of us do things that sometimes we're ashamed of and we think that we've blown it: our families, our marriages, certain relationships, maybe we have serious stumbles into sin, maybe there's backsliding steps and we sometimes think it's all over, “I'll never recover from this, no one will ever respect me again.” Well, don't be so sure. Peter says, “Don't be so sure.” Sometimes, this is not all times, (I could make some qualifications here), sometimes the biggest failures and blunders in your life will be used by God to make you a better Christian, more useful and more fruitful. Sometimes, not always, and I think that happens to Peter. The devil loves to keep us on the sidelines. He loves to drive us into despair and hopelessness. And we must never forget that God is a God of restorative grace, forgiving grace and sanctifying grace. And that's the God we pray to. We've got to remember when we go, we go to a throne of grace, to a God who loves to forgive, a God who loves to restore and a God who loves to sanctify.

I took advantage of Pastor Mark's sermon and Dr. Sinclair Ferguson's message and tried to put them together to encourage us brethren when we come to pray, to remember who we are praying to.