Part 1: A suffering Saviour who cares for the good of His own

Thursday 1 Jun, 2023

I remember sitting my driver’s license theory test and one of the elements of it was the hazard perception test. You sit in front of a computer screen and are shown numerous video clips of everyday road traffic scenes with a developing hazard. You then identify it and act accordingly, to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you.

As we’ve started our series in John 13-17, I’ve been thinking about that test again. Jesus knows very well that, as He concludes His earthly ministry (John 12:44-50), the cross is looming on the horizon. Jesus knew that the hazard was unfolding as it were. However, instead of trying to ensure His own safety and trying to avoid the agonising death that would come His way, Jesus focused on His disciples.

John 13:1 says “It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.”

In the moment when the cross was almost right in front of Him, as He knew that in a matter of hours He would be betrayed and arrested, instead of focussing on Himself, Jesus’ attention turned to His disciples to prepare them for when He will be gone. Jesus prepares His disciples for His departure, not only by teaching them who He is, but He also teaches them by what He does.

John 12:44-50 - Jesus shows concern for people’s eternal state wishing that the crowds would listen to Him and not stay in their darkness.

John 13:1-17 - Jesus shows His love for the disciples by washing their feet, taking on the role of a servant and humbling Himself, as an object lesson for the way that followers of Jesus need to live and love one another.

John 13:18-30 - Jesus shows his immense love for His disciples because “Jesus was troubled in spirit” (v21) even though He was perfectly and absolutely in control of all things. He could have cast Judas out and scorned Him, but instead Jesus sits with his betrayer and continues to care for this group of disciples.

John 13:31-38 - Judas had just left, Jesus could have let the worry and troubling of His spirit settle in and be distracted by it, but instead He continued to urge His disciples to love one another. The language Jesus uses shows His deep love for them, Jesus calls them “little children” (v33), showing His parental care for them, highlighting the intimacy of a family relationship and helping them see that like children, they must imitate Jesus’ love (v34-35).

John 14:1-14 - “Do not let your hearts be troubled” (14:1) words spoken from someone who was just about to be killed on a cross, though innocent, so that the sins of the world can be atoned for. A troubled Saviour says to his troubled disciples then, and to His disciples now, “I am troubled so you do not need to be troubled”. He will face the ultimate trouble of all, so that the deepest troubles that we face, our shame, our guilt and our sin will be dealt with.

What a wonderful Saviour we serve! One who saw the hazard coming His way, who saw the immense suffering that He would face but instead of running from it Jesus invested time in preparing those He loves. He continues to do this today, so that we are not unprepared but so that we can be confident to live for Him until the day He returns. The heart of our Saviour is that He, the suffering Saviour cares for good of His own even when He was faced with the greatest trouble of All. As the old Hymn puts it;

“Man of Sorrows!” what a name For the Son of God, who came Ruined sinners to reclaim. Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude, In my place condemned He stood; Sealed my pardon with His blood. Hallelujah! What a Savior!