Just before the Passover Feast, Jesus knew that the time had come to leave this world to go to the Father. Having loved his dear companions, he continued to love them right to the end.
It was suppertime. The Devil by now had Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, firmly in his grip, all set for the betrayal.
Jesus knew that the Father had put him in complete charge of everything, that he came from God and was on his way back to God.
So he got up from the supper table, set aside his robe, and put on an apron.
Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with his apron.
When he got to Simon Peter, Peter said, "Master, you wash my feet?"
Jesus answered, "You don't understand now what I'm doing, but it will be clear enough to you later."
Peter persisted, "You're not going to wash my feet - ever!" Jesus said, "If I don't wash you, you can't be part of what I'm doing."
"Master!" said Peter. "Not only my feet, then. Wash my hands! Wash my head!"
Jesus said, "If you've had a bath in the morning, you only need your feet washed now and you're clean from head to toe. My concern, you understand, is holiness, not hygiene. So now you're clean. But not every one of you."
(He knew who was betraying him. That's why he said, "Not every one of you.")
After he had finished washing their feet, he took his robe, put it back on, and went back to his place at the table.
You address me as 'Teacher' and 'Master,' and rightly so. That is what I am.
So if I, the Master and Teacher, washed your feet, you must now wash each other's feet.
I've laid down a pattern for you. What I've done, you do.
I'm only pointing out the obvious. A servant is not ranked above his master; an employee doesn't give orders to the employer.
If you understand what I'm telling you, act like it - and live a blessed life.
"I'm not including all of you in this. I know precisely whom I've selected, so as not to interfere with the fulfillment of this Scripture: The one who ate bread at my table Turned on his heel against me.
"I'm telling you all this ahead of time so that when it happens you will believe that I am who I say I am.
Make sure you get this right: Receiving someone I send is the same as receiving me, just as receiving me is the same as receiving the One who sent me."
After he said these things, Jesus became visibly upset, and then he told them why. "One of you is going to betray me."
The disciples looked around at one another, wondering who on earth he was talking about.
One of the disciples, the one Jesus loved dearly, was reclining against him, his head on his shoulder.
Peter motioned to him to ask who Jesus might be talking about.
So, being the closest, he said, "Master, who?"
Jesus said, "The one to whom I give this crust of bread after I've dipped it." Then he dipped the crust and gave it to Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot.
As soon as the bread was in his hand, Satan entered him. "What you must do," said Jesus, "do. Do it and get it over with."
No one around the supper table knew why he said this to him.
Some thought that since Judas was their treasurer, Jesus was telling him to buy what they needed for the Feast, or that he should give something to the poor.
Judas, with the piece of bread, left. It was night.
When he had left, Jesus said, "Now the Son of Man is seen for who he is, and God seen for who he is in him. The moment God is seen in him,
God's glory will be on display. In glorifying him, he himself is glorified - glory all around!
"Children, I am with you for only a short time longer. You are going to look high and low for me. But just as I told the Jews, I'm telling you: 'Where I go, you are not able to come.'
"Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another.
This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples - when they see the love you have for each other."
Simon Peter asked, "Master, just where are you going?" Jesus answered, "You can't now follow me where I'm going. You will follow later."
"Master," said Peter, "why can't I follow now? I'll lay down my life for you!"
"Really? You'll lay down your life for me? The truth is that before the rooster crows, you'll deny me three times."
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)