Read John 13:1-17
Just as large doors swing upon small hinges, so great truths hang upon little words. The word if, used three times in this passage, carries with it some important truths for the Christian.
There is the if of holiness: “If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me” (v. 8). The word part means “partnership, fellowship.” When you were saved, you were washed all over (v. 10) and your sins forgiven. But as you walk through this life, your feet get dirty. If you want to maintain that close fellowship with Christ, you must come to Him for cleansing. Peter did not realize that his dirty feet were hindering his fellowship with the Lord. The promise to claim here is 1 John 1:9.
But there is also the if of humbleness: “If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet” (v. 14). What a gracious act of humility it was when Jesus arose, laid aside His outward garments, and girded himself like a servant in a towel! Peter may have had this in mind when he wrote years later, “Be clothed with humility!” (1 Peter 5:5). Pride is the source of so much contention and trouble. It is only by being humble that we can enjoy the blessing of God. For “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble” (James 4:6).
Finally, there is the if of happiness: “If ye know these things, happy are ye if you do them” (v. 17). Christian joy is not found simply in knowing God’s Word; we must practice it if we are to receive the blessing. Obedience always leads to joy; disobedience always leads to sorrow. Christ is our “Lord and Master [Teacher}”; He teaches us the truth and then commands us to obey. Best of all, He helps us to obey through the power of His Spirit.
If! A little word that can lead to big blessings.
(Copyright, Warren W. Wiersbe. First appeared in Thoughts for Men on the Move. May not be copied or reproduced without express written permission of the author.)
Dr. Warren Wiersbe (1929-2019) was an internationally known Bible teacher, author, and conference speaker. He graduated in 1953 from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Lombard, Illinois. While attending seminary, he was ordained as pastor of Central Baptist Church in 1951 and served until 1957. From September 1957 to 1961, Wiersbe served as Director of The Literature Division for Youth for Christ International. From 1961 to 1971 he pastored Calvary Baptist Church of Covington, Kentucky south of Cincinnati, Ohio. His sermons were broadcast as the “Calvary Hour” on a local Cincinnati radio station. From 1971 to 1978, He served as the pastor of Moody Church in Chicago 1971 to 1978. While at Moody Church he continued in radio ministry. Between August 1979 and March 1982, he wrote bi-weekly for Christianity Today as “Eutychus X”, taught practical theology classes at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, and wrote the course material and taught a Doctor of Ministry course at Trinity and Dallas Seminary. In 1980 he transitioned to Back to the Bible radio broadcasting network where he worked until 1990. Dr. Wiersbe became Writer in Residence at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids and Distinguished Professor of Preaching at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. In his lifetime, Dr. Wiersbe wrote over 170 books—including the popular Be series, which has sold over four million copies. Dr. Wiersbe was awarded the Gold Medallion Lifetime Achievement by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA).