August 13 – 19, 2017
“For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you” (John 13:15).
Study Help: The Desire of Ages, 642–651.
“The whole life of Christ had been a life of unselfish service. ‘Not to be ministered unto, but to minister’ (Matthew 20:28), had been the lesson of His every act.” The Desire of Ages, 642.
1 SERVANT OF SERVANTS
After assembling in the Upper Room, when the disciples did not take any initiative, what did Jesus do? John 13:4, 5.
Note: “At a feast it was customary for a servant to wash the feet of the guests, and on this occasion preparation had been made for the service. …
“The disciples made no move toward serving one another. Jesus waited for a time to see what they would do. Then He, the divine Teacher, rose from the table. Laying aside the outer garment that would have impeded His movements, He took a towel, and girded Himself. With surprised interest the disciples looked on, and in silence waited to see what was to follow. ‘After that He poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith He was girded’ (John 13:5). …
“So Christ expressed His love for His disciples. Their selfish spirit filled Him with sorrow, but He entered into no controversy with them regarding their difficulty. Instead He gave them an example they would never forget.” The Desire of Ages, 644, 645.
How did Peter react when Christ wanted to wash his feet? John 13:6–8, first part.
What example did Jesus set with this action? John 13:13–16.
2 FEET WASHING
Prior to the last supper, how far had Judas yielded to the temptation of Satan? John 13:2.
Note: “Before the Passover Judas had met a second time with the priests and scribes, and had closed the contract to deliver Jesus into their hands. Yet he afterward mingled with the disciples as though innocent of any wrong, and interested in the work of preparing for the feast. The disciples knew nothing of the purpose of Judas.” The Desire of Ages, 645.
What did Jesus know as He washed the feet of Judas? John 13:10, 11.
Besides washing their feet, what did Jesus really desire to do for the disciples? John 13:8, last part.
Note: “The service which Peter refused was the type of a higher cleansing. Christ had come to wash the heart from the stain of sin. In refusing to allow Christ to wash his feet, Peter was refusing the higher cleansing included in the lower. He was really rejecting his Lord. It is not humiliating to the Master to allow Him to work for our purification. The truest humility is to receive with thankful heart any provision made in our behalf, and with earnestness do service for Christ.” The Desire of Ages, 646.
What significant words did Jesus pronounce after the feet washing ceremony? John 13:12–17.
Note: “By the act of our Lord this humiliating ceremony was made a consecrated ordinance. It was to be observed by the disciples, that they might ever keep in mind His lessons of humility and service.
“This ordinance is Christ’s appointed preparation for the sacramental service. While pride, variance, and strife for supremacy are cherished, the heart cannot enter into fellowship with Christ. We are not prepared to receive the communion of His body and His blood. Therefore it was that Jesus appointed the memorial of His humiliation to be first observed.” The Desire of Ages, 650.
3 THE WAY, THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE
How did Jesus identify Himself, and His relationship with the Father? John 14:5–7.
Note: “Since the first gospel sermon was preached, when in Eden it was declared that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent’s head, Christ had been uplifted as the way, the truth, and the life. He was the way when Adam lived, when Abel presented to God the blood of the slain lamb, representing the blood of the Redeemer. Christ was the way by which patriarchs and prophets were saved. He is the way by which alone we can have access to God.” The Desire of Ages, 663.
What great possibilities did Jesus offer His disciples? John 14:12.
Note: “The Saviour was deeply anxious for His disciples to understand for what purpose His divinity was united to humanity. He came to the world to display the glory of God, that man might be uplifted by its restoring power. God was manifested in Him that He might be manifested in them. Jesus revealed no qualities, and exercised no powers, that men may not have through faith in Him. His perfect humanity is that which all His followers may possess, if they will be in subjection to God as He was.
“ ‘And greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto My Father’ (John 14:12). By this Christ did not mean that the disciples’ work would be of a more exalted character than His, but that it would have greater extent. He did not refer merely to miracle working, but to all that would take place under the working of the Holy Spirit.” The Desire of Ages, 664.
What assurance did Jesus give to the believers? John 14:13, 14.
Note: “Every sincere prayer is heard in heaven. It may not be fluently expressed; but if the heart is in it, it will ascend to the sanctuary where Jesus ministers, and He will present it to the Father without one awkward, stammering word, beautiful and fragrant with the incense of His own perfection.” The Desire of Ages, 667.
4 THE PROMISE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Whom did Jesus promise to send to the disciples? John 14:16–18.
Note: “… from the very beginning of the work of redemption He had been moving upon men’s hearts. But while Christ was on earth, the disciples had desired no other helper. Not until they were deprived of His presence would they feel their need of the Spirit, and then He would come.” The Desire of Ages, 669.
How does Christ “live” in the heart of His disciples? John 14:19–23; 1John 3:24.
Note: “At all times and in all places, in all sorrows and in all afflictions, when the outlook seems dark and the future perplexing, and we feel helpless and alone, the Comforter will be sent in answer to the prayer of faith. Circumstances may separate us from every earthly friend; but no circumstance, no distance, can separate us from the heavenly Comforter. Wherever we are, wherever we may go, He is always at our right hand to support, sustain, uphold, and cheer.” The Desire of Ages, 669, 670.
How would the Comforter influence the memory and understanding of the disciples? John 14:26.
What else would the Comforter do in behalf of Christ’s true followers? John 16:12–14.
Note: “If there is a point of truth that you do not understand, upon which you do not agree, investigate, compare scripture with scripture, sink the shaft of truth down deep into the mine of God’s word. You must lay yourselves and your opinions on the altar of God, put away your preconceived ideas, and let the Spirit of Heaven guide you into all truth.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 413.
5 THE TRUE VINE
How does the Bible depict our relationship with Christ? John 15:1–3.
What condition is essential to a fruitful Christian life? John 15:4–6.
How is true discipleship revealed? John 15:14; 8:31; 13:35.
On what condition can we abide in Christ’s love? John 15:9, 10; 1John 2:5; James 4:4, 7, 8; Matthew 4:4.
Note: “God desires to manifest through you the holiness, the benevolence, the compassion, of His own character. Yet the Saviour does not bid the disciples labor to bear fruit. He tells them to abide in Him. ‘If ye abide in Me,’ He says, ‘and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you’ (John 15:7). It is through the word that Christ abides in His followers. This is the same vital union that is represented by eating His flesh and drinking His blood. The words of Christ are spirit and life. Receiving them, you receive the life of the Vine. You live ‘by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God’ (Matthew 4:4). The life of Christ in you produces the same fruits as in Him. Living in Christ, adhering to Christ, supported by Christ, drawing nourishment from Christ, you bear fruit after the similitude of Christ.” The Desire of Ages, 677.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 If I refuse to wash my brother’s feet, what am I actually refusing?
2 What is the inner experience of Judas to me?
3 How am I to be enabled to accomplish the works of Christ?
4 How can I experience more of the peace of Christ?
5 How am I to abide in Christ?
Copyright © 2004 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.