Summary: Jesus evidenced humble service toward His disciples. He calls us to do the same toward one another.
March 26, 2000 John 13:1-17
“Do you touch feet?”
[quietly sit down on the edge of the stage, and proceed to take off your boots. Take a whiff of the smell in your boots after you take them off. Then, proceed to take off your socks. After taking off your socks, begin to clean the lint out from between your toes.] When this church hired me as their pastor, I forgot to tell them about a quirky habit that I have of showing off my feet in front of the church at least every 6 months or so. The last time that I did this was the Sunday after VBS. On that morning, the children that were present painted my toe-nails purple and pink as a reward for reaching a goal in the amount of offering that was collected that week. When given the opportunity, those children jumped at the chance to get close to my feet. If I gave you or them the chance to get close to my feet this morning, there might be a different response. I have noticed that in our family, the level of odor put off by our feet has dramatically increased during these winter months.
This past Friday night, all four of the members of my family were sitting on the couch watching a movie. All of us were barefoot, but we had a blanket covering us so that no one could see or smell the other person’s feet. Well one of the members of our family, I won’t call out any names, chose to change his position on the couch and by so doing, stirred up the air around his feet. Have you ever tried to enjoy a movie while smelling stinky feet? This particular member of our family doesn’t change his socks unless we specifically tell him to do so. That happens about every 3 days. Then there’s another member of our family who always like to wear her shoes or boots without any socks on which creates a stink of its own. Still another member of our family excuses the stink of her feet by blaming it on the fact that she now has to wear hose to work every day. Since they cover her feet completely, her feet have no way to breathe. They start to sweat, and with sweat comes stink. That problem could soon be taken care of though. I heard just this week on the news that one manufacturer is coming out with toeless stockings to prevent the problem of feet not being able to breathe. And then there’s the member of the family that is sitting here before you. I keep my office warm during the week with a ceramic space heater. Since my feet are the part of my body that gets the coldest, I keep that heater pointed right at them. It works real well, obviously too well. My feet start to sweat, and wearing boots as I do, my sweat and the smell of the leather in the boots combines together to put off a wonderful aroma at the end of the day. So here I sit with feet that stink.
There is a way for the odor to be cleansed from my feet. Here beside me, I have a bowl of warm water and a towel. I wonder. Would any of you be willing to come and wash my feet? Would you be willing to take my feet into your hands, place them in the water and then wash them and dry them with this towel? Do you touch feet?
In John 13, John records one of the most touching moments of Jesus’ ministry to His disciples. As Jesus and His disciples sat down to the last supper that they would enjoy together before His death, He took the opportunity to teach them what it means to be a true servant. Once Jesus was gone, these men were going to have to be the leaders for the church that would soon begin. Jesus taught them on that night that those who would be leaders must first of all be servants.
1. Humble service shows who you are. (vs. 1-4)
The depth of your love (vs. 1)
The security of your self-image (vs. 3)
The hidden details of your character (vs. 4)
2. Humble service requires you to get intimately involved in the lives of people. (vs. 5)
It requires you to go where they are “Go you into all the world . . .“
It requires you to touch them
It requires you to get dirty so that they can become clean “He who knew no sin became sin for us . . .”
3. Humble service is going to produce different reactions in people.