Leon Morris (author/commentator) commenting on John 13 says the following:
Jesus was about to die, to die the atoning death that meant cleansing for his people. There is no other way of being Christ’s than in receiving the cleaning he died to bring. If he does not wash us in this way, we have no part with him…it is only in accepting the truth that we cannot secure our salvation by our own effort, but that Christ can cleanse all who trust in him, that we are freed from our sin and brought into Christ’s salvation.
The main point of John 13 is Jesus demonstrating that He is a servant. This taking on of a servant was fully realized on the cross. In John 13 Jesus is giving them a taste of what is to come. But the question I want to raise and briefly speak to is “how does this relate to marriage?” Here are some thoughts from John 13 to think through in the context of marriage:
- What is appropriate/proper for Jesus to do, we should do. He’s laying down an attitude that Christians are to live by. Jesus knew the hour (John 13:4) – meaning He was aware of what was going on and the spiritual needs of those around Him and He knew what He needed to do and was called to do.
- The Bible tells us that He loved them till the end. We’re sent by Jesus to serve in humility and love till the end — Jesus did not love His disciples based upon worthiness because they weren’t worthy. The application of marriage is apparent isn’t it?!? There’s a permanence, a steadfastness, a faithfulness that flows from Jesus to us; His commitment to the disciples (loving them till the end) was in the face of deception, disbelief, betrayal. In marriage, have you ever felt deceived, betrayed? Jesus experienced this day-in-and-day-out. Our lives are to be patterned after His.
- Jesus was not absorbed with His own profound concerns and even in the moments before the cross where He would experience the full wrath of God He was still focused upon meeting the needs of others. Jesus could do this because He knew that the Father was 1) good and 2) sovereign over the affairs of men. We can do this because we follow Jesus’ example and we understand the Bible teaches us that God is good and sovereign.
- Jesus freely served them – it wasn’t coerced. His service was performed willingly not begrudgingly, not complaining or not in a whining manner. Christians should do a whole lot less whining (Philippians 2:14) and dig their heels in and see the opportunity that’s front of them to them to serve willingly, freely.
- Jesus is our Lord. This is crucial because the premise of Jesus’ teaching is that we call Him Lord and thus, want to imitate Him. Jesus made Himself a servant. Christians are not greater than our Lord – meaning we shouldn’t consider ourselves above being a servant.
Allow Jesus to be your teacher in all things. Much of the aforementioned content came from Tim Keller’s book The Meaning of Marriage. If you don’t have this book you can purchase it here.