John 13:7

Walter Gustafson

"Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter." This verse makes it clear to me that our Lord Jesus never meant for His disciples to make a ritual of washing one anotherís feet. Peter knew that very day that His Lord was literally, physically washing their feet. He did not need to wait until later to know that.

But by application, sooner or later in a Christianís life, trouble comes and we try to be exercised before God as to why. Sometimes we have a very good idea why, sometimes only a faint reason as to why and sometimes we have no idea at all. "What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter." Down here we have the heartache, the sorrow and the suffering without the full meaning, but praise God, in heaven we will have the full meaning without the heartache, the sorrow or the suffering.

I like to link Revelation 4:1 and 3 with this verse. After the churchís history on earth is over in chapters 2 and 3, John is told in 4:1, "come up hither and I will show thee things which must be hereafter." There is the word "hereafter" again. What did he see? He saw in verse 3 "...a rainbow round about the throne." He saw a complete rainbow, a 360 degree rainbow.

I have never met anyone who has seen a complete rainbow with their feet on the ground. I have met a few who have seen a 360 degree rainbow from an airplane after a storm. We have to be very high up to see a complete rainbow and most of us will not see one until we are home in heaven. The most of a regular rainbow that I have known anyone to see is a 270 degree rainbow, three quarters of a whole rainbow. I understand that there is a spot at the Niagara Falls where a person can sometimes see a 270 degree rainbow.

The rainbow speaks of Godís purpose. After the flood, God gave the rainbow as a token that He would never again destroy the earth with a flood (Gen. 9:8-17). Down here on earth, we only see part of the rainbow or possibly even a 270 degree rainbow, but in heaven we will see a 360 degree rainbow. In heaven we will understand the complete purpose of God.

Think of William Cowper who wrote so many beautiful hymns. He was afflicted with melancholy so that one day he was so depressed that he hailed a man with a horse-drawn taxicab to drive to the London Bridge. He didnít tell the driver, but he was planning to jump off the bridge and end his life. That cab driver knew the streets of London probably as well as anyone. But that night it was so foggy that the cab driver couldnít get him to the London Bridge. Instead, he brought him back to his apartment. William Cowper then wrote his beloved hymn (#53 in the Believerís Hymn Book).

God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea, and rides upon the storm.
Blind unbelief is sure to err and scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter, and He will make it plain.

The following poem of Grant Colfax Tullar fits in very well with all that I have said about John 13:7.

The Weaver
My life is but a weaving between my Lord and me;
I cannot choose the colors, He worketh steadily.
Oftimes He weaveth sorrow, and I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper and I the underside.
Not Ďtill the loom is silent and the shuttles cease to fly,
Shall God unroll the canvas and explain the reason why.