Summary: by loving one another with authentic love, people will see we are following the teachings and example of Jesus
We are continuing our journey towards Easter with our next statement that Jesus said that changed the world.
Last week we heard how when Jesus said, come follow me, it started off a chain reaction which would eventually lead to their being 1 and a half billion followers of Jesus all around the word.
The challenge was given for us all to be a part of that, to hear those words follow me, and to follow him, and be a part of that movement.
This morning we are going to look at some words of Jesus which have had a huge impact on the world.
If you have your bibles please turn with me to the passage we have had read to us, John 13. As we are turning there do you realize that from here on in, in Johns gospel, from chapter 13 on, we are only about 12 hours or so till Jesus death and resurrection? There are 21 chapters in John, and 7 of them deal with that last day of Jesus life on earth. The 8th deals with His resurrection. What would you do if you knew you would die a violent death in about 12 hours? Would you want to be alone in prayer? Record some final thoughts? Would you spend time with those you loved? What would you want to emphasize? Would you share recipes or footy tips or would you focus on what’s important?
Jesus has the advantage that many people don’t have in that He knows he is about to leave these disciples. These men he has spent the last three years with, the men who when He said follow me, three years before, jumped up, left their nets and followed Him. He knows and understands that everything He says and does from here on in is really important.
This story takes place on the night before Jesus’ betrayal and crucifixion. It is an intense time in Jesus’ life. He is no longer concerned with the big crowds, now He wants to give His disciples his full attention. Because they are the ones who are going to keep this thing going once He has gone.
I want you to imagine with me for a moment that you are sitting on the sidelines of a construction site. I want you to imagine that 12 construction workers, who have been working all day, shoveling mud, making cement, kicking around in the dust and sand come over to you, take off their stinking work boots, and ask you to clean their feet, by hand, with a wash cloth and a bucket.
The situation we find ourselves in with Jesus is much worse that that.
In his culture the most demeaning task around was to wash the travellers feet. This was job done by lowest slaves.
There were no nice shoes with good socks. There were no foot spas, in fact there were no showers. Most everyone walked along the dusty roads. Those trails were covered with camel and donkey dung.
They arrived at their friends home with more than dust on their feet. Before you ate, you wanted them to have their feet cleaned.
Jesus had sent Peter & John to prepare this last supper for them, it was really important, and although the disciples did not fully understand, it is a really significant moment. The food had been cooked. The table had been set. As Jesus and the disciples enter the room they see a cloth and a bucket in the corner. There is no servant, these guys did not have servants.
They lay down on the seats, and realize that hey, this place stinks a bit, and we need our feet washed. Even Jesus has stinky feet, but who is going to do it? Someone has to. But—if I do that, not only am I going to get dirty, but how does that make me look? Maybe if I just wait—somebody else will do it.
I wonder if the disciples are looking at each other and hoping someone would volunteer.
But then after Jesus had washed their feet he says what we are interested in this morning, in fact it is something we have sung about this morning, he says,
“ 33 Dear children, how brief are these moments before I must go away and leave you! Then, though you search for me, you cannot come to me--just as I told the Jewish leaders. 34So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. 35Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples."
Another versions puts it this way, “they will know you are my disciples by the love you have for one another”.