The Gospel of John. Chapter 13: Full Moral Character of His Death

John 13  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 8
Note.-There is a contrast in John 3 between what the Old Testament gave (by the Spirit) the knowledge of; that is, between Jewish hopes, and truths connected with it in prophetic instruction, and what Christ knew and could tell as come from heaven (vv. 10, 11). So in the end the two parts of John's testimony (v. 29), His Messiahship, in which He had title to the bride, Jerusalem; a joy fulfilled to John, and Christ's position as come from above, and above all; One speaking the words of God without measure; the Son loved of the Father, to whom all was committed; in whom was found life, and unbelief in whom left wrath abiding on the unbeliever. Chapter 4, as the second, gave the character of millennial joy, purification changed into bridal wine, the nobleman's child gives, on the present quitting of Judaea, the saving life as a present thing by faith for the Jewish remnant.
I judge also, in chapter 5, “Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon thee," Christ was acting as a present historical fact within the limits of divine Jewish government. In His doctrine which follows He goes out into the full title of His Person, above and beyond the precincts of Judaism. This introduction of His own proper glory in connection with the Father is connected with their rejection of Him, as a present thing, in spite of the fullest testimony (vv. 31-40). But it was to reject themselves. Coming in His Father's name, they would not have Him. This left them exposed to man's pretensions, into whose hands, in Satanic presumption, they would fall. Moses himself would be their condemnation.
Hence (chapter 6) what He was as rejected for those who received Him is brought out. He could accomplish messianic promises in power; as, before, He was Jehovah that healed, so now that satisfied the poor with bread; Prophet, proved such; refusing to be King, through man, but nourishing, according to the counsels of God, in His humiliation and death, those who, tossed in the world in consequence of His rejection and absence [were] introduced into the new thing (v. 30) by resurrection, of which He was the example (v. 60), entering as Son of Man into the heavenly place in which He was before He descended. Hence it is sovereign grace and eternal life.
Besides the moral instruction, I judge that the beginning of chapter 8 shows that He can avoid condemning the worst and most flagrant state of Israel while convicting all who choose to place themselves on the ground of the law in Israel. I have already noticed the rejection of word and work (chap. 8: 38 and chap. 9: 4), mark the two (see chap. 10:33). Chapter 10 belongs to chapter 9, though flowing all from the revelation that He will have the sheep out of the sheep-yard where they were kept; as the Gentile sheep by His death too. Chapters 11 and 12 are what He was and might have been for the Jews, if received: Son of God, able to raise from the dead; Son of David; Son of Man, the Gentiles coming to Him when among the Jews. These chapters answer to the beginning of chapters we have noticed; what He could, chaps. 5 and 6; what He could not, chap. 7. Then before the Jews (chap. 8) what He was as light for conviction; but (chap. 12: 35, 36) entire abandonment of them; a light for a time, but which hides itself; and then their blindness shown (as announced by the prophet) judicially (v. 40) but in the revelation of the glory of Jehovah Himself, as Christ. Chapter 13, what He now is for His beloved disciples, His own in the world, in view of all His glory, and in spite of all our sin (vv. 2, 3). Verses 31, 32, we have the true full moral character of His death, and the result in present glory, which is in connection with the present thing in title of His Person. Hence the disciples could not follow [any] more than the wicked Jews. Flesh and blood has no place there. But the power of death would be given (v. 36). It was not in man to attempt. It was to plunge oneself into the denial of Christ, whose course and revelation as Son of God supposed and involved death.