John 13.2-4 cont.
2 And supper was already taking place; the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, that he should betray Him.
3 Knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and going to God,
4 He got up from the supper and laid aside His clothes, and having taken a towel He tied it around Himself.
Jesus got up from supper. Some have asked the question as to which supper John refers. There were two suppers that would have taken place on this particular evening. There was the Passover Supper, but also there was the ordinary supper that would take place every evening.
We cannot be sure as to which supper John was referring. Opinion is divided, but some suggest that John refers to the common evening meal, whilst others prefer to think that John refers to the Passover Meal.
Whichever it was, just for a moment the disciples must have wondered what Jesus was doing when He got up from the supper and took off His clothes and tied a towel around Himself. Yet very quickly they might have realized that He was about to do something that everybody else thought was below their status.
The clothes that Jesus took off would have been His outer garment, leaving Himself clothed just with His undergarment, which was apparently what a servant would have worn.
In this act of taking off His outer garment we can learn that Jesus was willing to lay aside the glory that He had with the Father and become a servant. We can learn that He came not to be served but to serve. This was something that Jesus had said earlier in His ministry:
“For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom price in the place of many” – Mark 10.45.
As we have already mentioned there was some rivalry amongst the disciples as to who was going to sit on either side of Jesus when He comes in His glory. Therefore, there was in their minds a kind of ‘pecking order’, with James and John feeling that they were the first amongst them.
Maybe, this was why no one had thought to take it upon themselves to do the work of washing the feet of all the others.
Just as Jesus came to serve so must we serve one another, none of us can think that we are too superior to carry out any act of service. As we serve one another so we fulfil the law of Love.
Share each other’s troubles and problems, and in this way obey the law of Christ – Galatians 6.2 (NLT).