There is a change in teaching style that we see in this section. Let’s trace it.
First, Jesus knew His hour had come so we know all His actions are planned. His plan was to love to the end. In that spirit of love, He washed their feet.
Specifically, with Peter, He answers His question with gentle love. He responded to Peter’s disapproval with a simple explanation of the need and importance to be washed. He responded to the enthusiastic wash all of me, with again, a simple explanation and affirmation. This had to have a reaction in the others, think of how you react when a member of your close associations be it family, coworkers or friends, is a bit like the ADHD Peter, and Jesus speaks to the group with a warning, catching them all in the middle of their reaction to His confirming to Peter that he is clean. But not all of you. Imagine how this reverberated in the hearts of the hearers?
Jesus has caught their attention by a personal touch, a specific response to one of the most active in the group and a word of warning. Next, He follows this with a question. Do you know what I have done to you? What have you done to me Lord? What is the meaning of this action? Why have You done this? What do You mean by clean?
Their minds are racing, now He explains. He has set an example.
If it is right for the teacher and Lord to do an action, then it is right for them to do so also. Jesus taught them by example using probing questions.
He then uses the repetition of “truly, truly” to make His point. Blessings come from doing what you know you must do. Put the teaching into practice and be blessed. Then comes the contrast.
Before Jesus goes into the deeper teachings He has to share with His group, He calls out the betrayer, but not directly. What He does say is a huge alert.
From now on I am telling you before it comes to pass, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am He.
This is followed by the first two prophesies that all 12 disciples hear. These are spoken to all including Judas. Jesus knowing all, includes Judas in these. He is fully aware because after sharing the first one, He is deeply troubled by that reality and declares the second, one of you will betray me.
What was the first one? He who receives Me, receives Him who sent me.
How clear is that? The corollary is equally true. He who does not receive Jesus, does not receive The One who sent Him. If you reject Jesus, you reject His father. That is disturbing news and it disturbed Jesus to share it as well as the rest.
Peter signals John to ask Jesus who. John leans back on Jesus and asks just that. Jesus does not expose him by name but by action. Jesus gives bread dipped in wine, the very symbols of his sacrifice, his body and blood, He turns over to Judas and says what you do, do quickly. And Judas leaves.
Take a deep breath. For it begins here. Jesus knows. The signal is given. The countdown has begun.
Judas, washed clean, has received the symbolic body and blood of Jesus put by Jesus into his hands, to receive or reject, to go and do what Judas had planned to do already, after hearing the word of truth about who Jesus is, leaves to betray Him.
Lord, will there be moments when we too must teach this way?
Jesus, for those on the front lines of battle who face death because of teaching the truth about you in the face of the enemy, we pray Your blessing of peace and confidence as they willingly surrender their lives as martyrs for Your names sake.