The God We Can Trust

“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.” John 13:3-5

This Sunday, Pastor Ryan Schlachter kicked off our Upper Room Discourse series. We begin our study of the last supper in the gospel of John with the story of Jesus washing his disciples feet. Before he teaches them anything, he kneels and washes each person's feet. But Jesus' humility to wash feet was nothing compared to the humiliation he faced going to the cross. In John 13, we see three keys to trusting God more fully.

We Can Trust His Intentions Towards Us

  • “No one takes [my life] from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.” John 10:18
  • Many religions cannot promise where we’ll spend eternity—often it’s up to our behavior or goodness—but God promises us eternal life and seals it with His own life, death and resurrection.
  • By washing his disciples feet, Jesus reveals how trustworthy he is. He is willing to endure humiliation for our cleansing.
  • In Jesus’ time, foot washing was a task for the lowest of the low, but even though Jesus has all power in his hands, he chooses to serve.
  • What we do with power speaks to who we actually are. Throughout human history, those with supreme power almost always bring about supreme consequences.
  • We can trust the intention of God towards our lives because he was given all power but used it to wash our feet and go to the cross.

We Can Trust His Work in Us

  • “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6
  • “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:8-9
  • Jesus cleansed us and made us a new creation, and now the work in us continues by his power. We partner with him, but sanctification is not by our own effort.
  • In discipleship, it’s common to be following Jesus but the moment sin trips us up, we start thinking we’re dirty before him and not bringing our mess for him to clean.
  • In John 13, Peter at first refuses to have his feet washed and then demands Jesus wash his whole body. Jesus explains that while we’ve been cleansed—through the cross—there is a daily washing of whatever we pick up as we trek through this life.
  • The remedy to our sinful nature is not retreating from God’s presence but running to him to confess it.

We Can Trust His Commands to Us

  • “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35
  • The way that Jesus serves us, we are called to serve others.
  • We love to receive, but often we struggle to give that which we’ve received.
  • We never graduate from loving others. Washing the feet of others is the pinnacle of Christian living.

Dinner Party Questions

  • How does seeing Jesus’ humility and servant leadership shift or deepen your understanding of his character? How would you trust someone powerful who served you when they didn’t have to?
  • Where do you find it challenging to trust God? Where have you learned to trust God with confidence?
  • What are some modern ways you can wash the feet of those around you? Maybe even those you know might not have the best intention towards you—like Judas who betrayed Jesus?

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