Jesus knew that the Father had given everything into His hands, that He had come from God, and that He was going back to God. - John 13:3 HCSB
John 13 begins with a time loaded with meaning for the Jews: the Passover Festival. The Farewell Discourse of Jesus begins during this time of remembrance and identification for the people of Israel. The very moment that defined their nation, their salvation from Egypt, was at hand to be remembered. The very moment that would mark the formation of a new people under Jesus the Messiah was at hand to be revealed.
John 13:1-11 is often remembered for two things: foot washing and the love of the Lord. Jesus washed the disciples’ feet in symbolic identification with Jewish ritual purity, but also as a future sign of purification in Him. He humbly stooped into the grit and mire of humanity to wash His disciples’ feet as a sign of the wholeness and completeness of His love.
These are beautiful truths, but the main point of the passage revolves around the word know. In Greek oida is to know, and the word is used four times in the passage. The first time Jesus knew His hour had come (verse 1). The second time Jesus knew the Father had given Him all things, and that He came from God and was going back to God (verse 3). The third use is Jesus’ admission to the disciples that they will not understand, but will know later (verse 7). Finally, Jesus knew who would betray Him (verse 11). One of the central pieces of John’s gospel is the identity of Jesus Christ as one of movement—He is from God, here as God, and going back to God—as one with God who has been given all things.
In many ways, we erroneously see Jesus as a hapless victim of an unholy alliance between the Jews and the Romans, victimized and brutalized. We often fail to think that Jesus knew all of this was going to happen, and His every step was laden with meaning, truth, and love.
Andrew D. Roberts
One-Year Bible Reading