Blessed Vulnerability
John 13:1-20 ESV

(The end of His public ministry, now we see His private ministry. The next several chapters take place

within a 24-hour period ending with the crucifixion)

John 13:1 Now before the Feast of the Passover (Seder meal—telling of the exodus from Egypt), when

Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father (He had been supernaturally

protected up until this time), having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end

(The idea here is to the fullest extent).

2 During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray

him, (Satan had been grooming Judas to betray Jesus) 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all

things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, (We get insight into

the mind of Jesus. He knew the full extent of His power and reflected on His glory. He was no

victim.) 4 rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist.

(God rose from the table, removed the outer garment that would soon be divided among the

soldiers at the cross, and wrapped a towel around His waste in the form of a servant. (Phil 2:7 but

emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.)

5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel

that was wrapped around him.

*(washing feet was usually performed by the lowest level servant in the household—this was an

extreme act of servanthood- a teacher had no right to demand or expect that his disciples would wash his

feet. It was absolutely unthinkable that the Master would wash His disciple’s feet.)

6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” 7 Jesus answered him, “What

I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” 8 Peter said to him, “You

shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” (You

cannot have relationship with God unless you are cleansed) 9 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my

feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10 Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need

to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” (We

need to be bathed by our trust in Jesus and what He did for us on the cross; there is a sense in

which that is done once for all. Yet afterward we must continually have our feet washed in ongoing

relationship with and trust upon Jesus.) 11 For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said,

“Not all of you are clean.”

12 When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them,

“Do you understand what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so

I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s

feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. 16 Truly,

truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who

sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. (God’s word is not simply to be

known, but to be practiced. Blessed are the doers.) 18 I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I

have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ 19 I

am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he.

20 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me

receives the one who sent me.”

The perspective of the one whose feet are washed.

“Sometimes we show a servant’s heart by accepting the service of others for us. If we only serve, and

refuse to be served, it can be a sign of deeply rooted and well-hidden pride. “Man’s humility does not

begin with the giving of service; it begins with the readiness to receive it.”

Vulnerability involves exposing yourself to risk. It could be exposure to potential emotional or physical

harm for the sake of others. Unguarded heart. No walls, no defenses, no false pretense or lack of honesty.

You get to see who I really am, dirty feet and all.

God calls us into intimacy. Rev 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice

and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat (sup-communion) with him, and he with me.

Intimacy is impossible without vulnerability.

Our greatest purpose to love (agape) the Lord God (Mark 12:30)… impossible if we are hiding in the

shadows (Adam and Eve) Sin = hiding. They hid.

Genesis 3:8 And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and

the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

9 But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the

sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.”

Our level of vulnerability with the Father has a direct effect on how vulnerable we can be with

others. The reason Jesus lived a life of vulnerability is that He was secure in the love of the Father. If

you see God as an abusive or neglectful Father, you will struggle with vulnerability.

He would wash the feet of Judas. Yes, it hurt His heart to be betrayed by those closest to him, but it did

not destroy Him. There is no authentic love without vulnerability, and therefore the reward is worth the


He knew that they did not have the final word as it related to His worth, His value, His identity and His

purpose. The Father does. This freed him to love to the fullest extent. Romans 5:8 but God shows his

love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Repentance requires vulnerability (brutal honesty)

1 John 1:5-10 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in

him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and

do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one

another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive

ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins

and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his

word is not in us.

Complete Surrender requires vulnerability (authentic transparency)

Matthew 26:39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be

possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” 40 And he came to the

disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour?

41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is

weak.” 42 Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I

drink it, your will be done.”

Unity in the body requires vulnerability (the unguarded heart) “koinonia”

Mark 12:31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other

commandment greater than these.”

John 13:34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you

also are to love one another.

James 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.

The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

The call to Mission is a call to vulnerability

There are many people who find the prospect of being vulnerable uncomfortable. Being exposed to

criticism and embarrassment or even danger and hurt isn’t something many of us would want. In order to

live out our faith, vulnerability is to some extent a given. When we love as Christ calls us to, we open

ourselves up to having that love rejected by others, especially our enemies.

Matt 10:16 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and

innocent as doves. 17 Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their

synagogues, 18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness

before them and the Gentiles.