Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world to the Father…
Let us consider that purification, without which all our hope of an interest in Christ is vain.
I. The CONDITION "If I wash thee not." This reminds us that sin is of a defiling quality. Man may palliate the evil, but in the view of the Supreme Judge it is unspeakably vile and hateful. And when the sinner himself is convinced of sin he sees it in the same light. He "loathes himself for all his abominations." This enables us to determine what our Saviour means by washing us. As water removes defilement and restores to purity, so the influences of Divine grace deliver us from sin and make us truly holy. We do not indeed mean to intimate that real Christians are entirely freed from all sin here. Unmixed purity is the privilege of heaven. But let us remember, that though this work is completed in eternity, it is begun in time.
II. The DREADFULNESS OF THE EXCLUSION — "Thou hast no part with Me." Hear how the apostle Paul speaks of a privilege from which you are excluded. "But what things were gain to me," etc. But you say, you do not thus value Him; you prefer a thousand objects to an interest in Him — and therefore to you there seems nothing so very dreadful in this threatening. But the question is — whether your judgment be a righteous one. A pearl is not the less precious because the swine tramples it under foot. A toy is not more valuable than a title to an estate because an infant or an idiot may give it the preference. And the question also is, whether you will always remain in the same opinion. Will the day of judgment operate no change in your sentiments? Will not the approach of death alter your convictions? If our Saviour was an unimportant character, your exclusion from Him would not be so fatal — but the fact is, that everything you need is found in Him, and to be derived only from Him. No being in the universe can fill His place, and do for us what He is able to do. And therefore, if He will have nothing to do with us, our case is indeed miserable and hopeless. We are wanderers without a guide: dying patients without a remedy: exposed to the deluge, and have no ark. It matters not to whom else we belong. "Neither is there salvation in any other," etc. To have no communion with Him in whose favour is life; to hear Him say, I have a family, but you are no part of it — you are not a child, nor even a servant; to bear Him say, I have a plantation, but you are not in it, I have in reserve for my followers, thrones of glory, rivers of pleasure, fulness of joy — but as for you — you — have "neither part nor lot in the matter," — if this be not dreadful, nothing can be dreadful. Especially when we add that there is but one alternative — If you have no part with Christ and His people, you must have your portion with hypocrites and unbelievers, with the devil and his angels! You have already fixed your destiny.
III. The CERTAINTY OF THIS EXCLUSION. There are two ways of proving this.
1. By testimony. "If you receive the witness of man, the witness of God is greater." And, says not our Lord, "If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with Me"? "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His."
2. Reasoning from principles.
(1) Christ is pure and holy; His person, kingdom, joy, service are pure. If therefore we are not made pure, we have no likeness in Him.
(2) If Christ is the head, and Christians are the body, let us remember that the head and the body partake of the same nature: and that if Christ be the vine, and Christians the branches, the vine and the branches partake of the very same qualities.
(3) What intercourse can there be where nothing prevails but a contrariety of inclination and an opposition of interest? "How can two walk together except they be agreed?" "What fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?"(4) Without this renovation we should be wholly incapable of deriving happiness from our connection with Him. Our being forever in His presence would only render us miserable. Wherever he may be placed, while he has sin in him, man has hell with him. Conclusion:
1. How exceedingly those misunderstand the gospel, and delude their own souls, who expect to be "made partakers of Christ," while they seek not to be sanctified by Him. "He was manifested to take away our sin."
2. We may congratulate those who are made free from sin. You have "an inheritance among them that are sanctified." You have part with Christ! you partake of His safety and His dignity.
(1) Can you be poor? Having nothing, you possess all things. "For all things are yours," etc.
(2) Can you be miserable? "Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say, rejoice." And if you have part with Him in His glory, can you be unwilling to share with Him in His reproach? If you are to "live with Him," cannot you "die with him"?
But is clean every whit; and ye are clean but not all; for He knew who should betray Him. — The expressions used by the Evangelist with reference to the traitor show the development and progress of the treasonable thought.
1. He that was about to betray (John 6:71).
2. He that should betray (John 6:64).
3. He that is betraying (text).
4. He that betrayed (John 18:2; cf. Matthew 26:48).
(T. Whitelaw, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.
WEB: Now before the feast of the Passover, Jesus, knowing that his time had come that he would depart from this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.