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no doubt, for our consolation and instruction it is recorded,) that at this period our Lord felt a peculiarly tender and thoughtful regard for his chosen Disciples. “Having loved his own which were/in the world, he loved them unto the end." Let us consider how much is denoted by this account of the love of Jesus.
(1) His love for his Disciples was Divinely free. They were the children of God's choice; and were made and kept faithful, through the love and through the intercession of Christ. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ had “ blessed them with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ; according as he had chosen them in Him, before the foundation of the world." Christ himself tells them, “The Father himself loveth you:” and again, “ Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.” And thus it is with all the Redeemed of the Lord. “ After that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us.”
(2) The love of Jesus sprang from his having A property in his disciples. They are called “his own." They were his both by gift, and by purchase. To his father, he says, “ Thine they were; and thou gavest them me." He bought them also with his own most precious blood.
(3) His was a gentle, patient, forbearing love. He had dealt very kindly with them in all their weaknesses, prejudices, errors, and sins. He pardoned the past, and led them on to higher and higher attainments. The disciples felt this. The condescension of their Lord had greatly increased their confidence and attachment.
(4) Yet it was a Discriminating love. He knew which of them would betray him; and for Judas, the son of perdition, he had no love!
(5) It was a love Of Pity. This is the tenderest form of love; and fallen man needs much of it. Jesus loved “his own which were in the world.” He compassionated their case, on being left, (while he was going to glory), as lambs in the midst of wolves, as saints in the midst of a world lying in wickedness.
(6) The love of Jesus was an Everlasting love. “ Having loved them, he loved them unto the end.” He first, by his own love, attracted their affections; and he thenceforward held them fast for ever. “I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.”
(7) In reviewing this scene of affection between Christ and his disciples, let us not forget that the love of Jesus is also Comprehensive. It reaches equally to us, if we believe in him, and are willing to be his. “ Neither pray I for these alone (he said); but for them also, which shall believe on me through their word.” O then let us draw near to this Saviour! Let us shelter ourselves in his presence, that he may extend mercy to our souls, and that we too may learn to love Him!
HUMILITY TAUGHT BY CHRIST'S EXAMPLE.
John xiii. 2—16. And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him;
Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God;
He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.
After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.
Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet ?
Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.
Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.
Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.
Jesus saith unto him, He that is washed needeth not save to waslı his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.
For he knew who should betray lim; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean.
So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?
Ye call me Master and Lord : and ye say well; for so I am.
If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet.
For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. Our Lord being desirous to teach his disciples a lesson on Humility, he teaches them by an emble
matical action. It is usual, in the East, to wash the feet of weary travellers; Christ therefore adopts this custom. Having risen from supper, he lays aside his upper garments, girds himself with a towel, pours water into a bason, and proceeds to wash the feet of every one of his disciples. How could they do otherwise than wonder at such condescension ; especially in one whom they had attended as their Master, and whom they had acknowledged as the Christ, the Son of God, the Saviour of the world!
One of the disciples alone is mentioned, as expressing an unwillingness that the Saviour should so condescend to him; but it is probable that Peter in this said no more, than what most of them felt: only he was ever the most ready to utter all his mind. First, he expresses amazement: Christ therefore bids him wait, and within a while the meaning of this extraordinary transaction shall be explained to him. Peter still resists. Jesus answers him with words of solemn spiritual meaning : “ If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me." Peter, like a man all in extremes, now requests that Jesus would wash, not his feet only, but also his hands and his head. Our Lord mildly perseveres, reminding him that it was usual, on such occasions, only to wash the feet; the weary traveller, coming off from a dusty road, needed no more: and this would also be quite enough to convey emblematical instruction to the disciples.
Yet our Lord takes occasion, at this moment of the conversation, to mark a difference that existed between one of his disciples and all the rest.
6 Ye are clean, but not all.” Jesus knew which was the traitor. Though he washed the feet of Judas, he yet knew that Satan had already taken full possession of that wretched man's heart. Is it not the same in many a religious assembly? All seem to join alike in outward services : but God knoweth the hearts. He sees who are sincere, and who are hypocrites: and will give true judgment accordingly. Oh, how awful will be that day of judgment, which will eternally separate between the precious and the vile !
And now our Lord explains the meaning of his action. It was intended as an example to his disciples, and to all who bear his name.
Is he our Lord and Master ? Is he so condescending to his unworthy followers? And will not they learn a like humility? Have we any pretensions to act a less lowly part, than Christ? On the contrary, our lowliness is but a mutual humility exercised toward our fellow-servants and brethren in Christ : bis condescension was that of a master to his servants, of a king to his rebel-subjects, of the Lord of glory to poor worms of earth!
We are not required to do the same thing; that would be too servile, and too easy a way of imitating Christ: but we are enjoined, “ Let the same mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus;' and we are to manifest that “mind” by all suitable actions. “ Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly