Summary: Serve one another, even your enemies, and so demonstrate that you follow Jesus.
Robert Holmes, in his book God’s Man, describes a man who went home with his friend for dinner. The man was impressed by the way his friend entered the house, asked his wife how her day went, and told her she looked pretty. Then, after they embraced, she served dinner. After they ate, the husband complimented his wife on the meal and thanked her for it. When the two guys were alone, the visitor asked, “Why do you treat your wife so well?”
“Because she deserves it, and it makes our marriage happier,” replied the host.
Impressed, the visitor decided to adopt the idea. Arriving home, he embraced his wife and said, “You look wonderful!” For good measure he added, “Sweetheart, I'm the luckiest guy in the world.”
His wife burst into tears. Bewildered, he asked her, “What in the world's the matter?”
She wept, “What a day! Billy fought at school. The refrigerator quit and spoiled the groceries. And now you've come home drunk!” (Robert Leslie Holmes, God's Man, Kregel, 1998; www.PreachingToday.com)
Her husband tried to love her, but it didn’t look or feel like love to her.
As we work our way through the Corona Virus situation, we have an opportunity to demonstrate Christ’s love to each other and to a world in desperate need of such love.
But what does that love look like? How do you love people in such a way that they don’t think you’re drunk. Well, if you have your Bibles I invite you to turn with me to John 13, John 13, where God in the flesh demonstrates His love.
John 13:1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. (ESV)
How did He love them?
John 13:2-5 During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. (ESV)
Jesus loved his disciples by serving them. He washed their feet. Jesus had all authority – all things had been given to Him (vs.3). Jesus was the Messiah, sent from God and going back to God. Jesus had the place of honor and power, and yet he took the place of a servant and did the dirty work nobody else wanted to do.
You see, in Bible days, the streets were dusty, and people wore sandals without socks or stockings. As they traveled from one place to another, their feet got very dirty, so a host would often provide a servant to wash his guests’ feet after they arrived. If no servant was available, then the lowest ranked person did the job.
Now, according to Luke, the topic of discussion at the table that day was, who is the greatest (Luke 22:24). The disciples were arguing with each other over who deserved the highest rank, and no doubt they fought each other for the top places at the table, those places closest to Jesus Christ.
Now, when you picture this scene you have to get out of your mind Leonardo DaVinci’s painting of the Last Supper of Christ. This is NOT the scene as it took place in that upper room. For one thing, the disciples didn’t SIT on one side of a long table. They RECLINED around what is called a “Triclinium,” i.e., a U-shaped table. This is the way formal meals were done in Bible days, and there is no reason to believe that Jesus and his disciples did it any different.
The second place in was reserved for the host, with the places next to him reserved for honored guests, one on his right and one on his left. Of course, Jesus was the host at this meal. On Jesus’ right was John. Verse 23 it indicates that John was leaning on Jesus’ bosom, so he had to be reclining at the table next to Jesus for that to happen.
Guess who got the last spot. It was Peter. In verse 24 it says “Peter motioned to [John]” to get his attention. Well, if John is laying on his left side facing away from everyone else, the only one he could see without turning himself completely around was the person at the last place of the table. So that’s where Peter had to be to get John’s attention simply through a motion or gesture.