Below is yesterday’s sermon, but first a few good articles:
This article was written by Dr. Tim Tennent, the President of Asbury Theological Seminary. I love how he writes about church history and doctrine.
I love the below article writes about how an atheist responds to his daughter’s letter to God.
Now the sermon. (Note, it was originally not written in this numerical format. Sorry for that, it happened when I pasted it in.)
There is a book called: Same Kind of Different as Me.
This book is a true story that follows two people’s paths in life until they meet up.
One person was raised in a middle class white family. He grows up and becomes very successful and very wealthy.
The second person is a poor uneducated black man. He grew up as a modern day slave. His parents worked a farm and he did too. He experienced heavy racism. Eventually this man ran away. However, he never had been educated. He lived homeless and learned how to fend for himself.
Eventually the wealthy white man, now married, is convinced by his wife to begin helping at a homeless shelter. They had committed their life to Christ and she wanted to go deeper. He was willing to give money, but she wanted to do more. So they start helping at a homeless shelter. She then says that she wants to take one group from the homeless shelter to dinner and a play.
Now the relationship grows between this wealthy man and woman and this uneducated poor black man.
The wealthy white man asks to take the uneducated black man out to breakfast. At breakfast the black man asks, “Why are you doing this?” the white man says, “To be your friend.” The black man says, “I like to fish, but I notice when white people fish they catch and release. I don’t want a ‘catch and release’ friendship.”
Well, this wealthy husband and wife decided to do more than give money and because they did they touched many lives. One of those lives was that uneducated black man. Later on they formed a friendship that will last the rest of their lives and has lasted the rest of her life, as he was there for the woman’s death. The wealthy white man and the uneducated black man published this book together.
It is essentially because this man stepped outside of his comfort zone that the black man came to know the Lord. It is because this man was willing to serve and to serve in a lowly way that that black man’s life was changed, wow!
In a similar way,in today’s text Jesus lays aside His social status in order to serve the disciples. Once again, I notice the commonality of the Gospel. Once again, I notice that the Gospel is for everyone. I also notice that we serve a great and mighty Savior. The disciples are common, ordinary, everyday men. They are not high on the social ladder. They are not even a little bit high on the social ladder, yet Jesus serves them. Jesus is beyond high on the social ladder. Jesus is off the charts. Jesus invented the ladder, yet Jesus lowers Himself and lowers Himself even more to serve in this dirty way. Jesus knew all and Jesus knew that He came from God and He knew He would be betrayed, yet, He serves. Our mighty Savior serves in the lowest way possible.
Please read the passage with me and let’s talk about it. Notice the commonality of the Gospel and notice our mighty Savior.
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.
2 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus.3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God;4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
8 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
9 “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”
10 Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.
As we look at this we can notice Jesus’ love stated, secondly His love rejected, then His love shown.
- In verse 1 we see Jesus’ love stated, this shows that Jesus came for everyone. This shows the commonality of the Gospel.
- Now let’s put this narrative in context. It is just before the Passover festival. It is now Thursday of Holy week. That is the time of the week and the time in the ministry and life of Jesus.
- Later, on this very night, Jesus will be betrayed and so will begin the crucifixion process.
- John spends a lot of time on this evening, more than the other Gospels. John spends chapters 13-16 on this supper.
- I must read Luke 22:24-26 to put this in context. John does not record it, but Luke records a conversation that took place right before the last supper. Listen to this passage: Luke 22:24-26: 24 A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. 25 Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 26 But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.
- Here we have the disciples competing to be the greatest and now Jesus sets things straight in this way. Now, Jesus will show who the greatest is.
- But in this passage, it says that Jesus knew that the time had come for Him to leave the world. The text is saying that Jesus knew that He came from the Father and it was time to go back.
- Jesus loved the people He was with and He loved them until the end. He loved them until the crucifixion.
- There is a Greek verb for love used and it is agape. This is a type of intentional love. This is not brotherly love. This is intentional love.
- In verse 2 we see that Jesus’ love is rejected. We see that His love is spurned.
- Judas is going to betray Jesus. The verse says that the devil prompted Judas. Actually the text originally says that the devil threw himself into Judas. In verse 27 it says that Judas was possessed by the devil.
- Now, Judas is already making plans to betray Jesus.
- Jesus shares His love. This is verses 3-11.
- Notice our mighty Savior.
- In verse 3 it says that Jesus knew that He had all things under His power.
- Who was the greatest the disciples were asking. Jesus is the greatest. All things are under His power. Jesus knew that He came from the Father and He will go back to the Father.
- Yet, for common, ordinary, everyday men, Jesus stooped as low as He could go.
- Only slaves and women and children would wash feet. It was not acceptable for a man to do this, yet Jesus did it.
- I wonder if the disciples were all thinking, “No, this is not for Him to do.” Yet, Peter spoke up and told Jesus not to.
- One source tells me that he knows of no other ancient source that has the leader doing something so humble: He writes: A familiar rabbinic story is told in Pe’a 1.15c.14 of Rabbi Ishmael, whose mother sought to honor him by washing his feet when he arrived home from the synagogue. After he refused her because he viewed her effort as dishonoring to her and ultimately to him, she sought a censure against him from the rabbinic court for his refusal to allow her to honor him. This story provides some insight into the perspectives of shame and honor in Judaism.
- So, Jesus showed His love. Jesus loved them till the end and He shows that we are all called to serve.
- When I was an intern at a church I was going to preach, yet prior to my sermon the pastor had me take off my shoes and washed my feet. Many times churches will have foot washing ceremonies during Lent on Maundy Thursday.
- I recently listened to a book called “Breakout Churches” by Thom Rainer and he referenced churches that grow usually have pastors that do not credit themselves but those around them.
- But in the first century humility was not a strong point. It was not a trait one wanted to have. Yet, Jesus taught the disciples to be humble. Jesus showed these common, ordinary, everyday men, that the Gospel is for everyone. He taught them that, though He is the mighty Savior, and the Greatest, He would serve them. He washes their feet.
Sometimes I watch the show, Undercover Boss. The show is about different corporate C.E.O.’s who actually go and work a few days in the company. They work as common employees in training. I always wonder what that is like. But you know, Jesus is the creator and He became part of His creation. This is a much lower step to take than an undercover boss. Now, Jesus serves His creation. Next, Jesus will die a death of humiliation for His creation. He did this for everyone. The Gospel is for everyone. Now, He also calls us to serve everyone and to take the Gospel to everyone.
 Borchert, G. L. (2002). John 12–21 (Vol. 25B). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.