Summary: The heart of Peter’s problem was that Jesus did not have the "position" of Lordship in His life. What does that mean?
OPEN: A teacher was telling about the time their new elementary school was raising the American flag for the first time. To make the day special, they had invited a marine Corps color guard to come out and perform the duty for them. The day before the ceremony, the Marine in charge of the unit called to confirm directions to the school. After doing so, he was asked by our secretary whether he was sending marines who like children.
There was a brief pause on the other end of the line before the man replied, "Ma’am, if I tell them to like children, they will like children."
APPLICATION: Marines understand authority. Marines understand who is in charge. They understand who the leader is that they are to follow.
IN a slightly different context: Bible teaches the same thing about “Lordship"
"You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you." (John 13:13-15)
I. The first question I want to ask today is: what do we mean by “Lord?”
In Jesus’ day, the term meant: "Master," "owner." It was a term used by one of lesser standing to a someone of greater status.
A similar term is used in the military.
· A private approached by officer – snap off a salute
· IF ASKED A QUESTION: how are they to respond (yes, Sir)
The Military is very strict about this. If you don’t respond to a commanding officer properly, they’re bound to shout "drop and give me 50!"
When that type of recognition ("yes sir!") is given, it denotes acceptance of authority. The phrase immediately establishes who is giving the orders. It goes to heart of who is in charge.
Likewise, Jesus says to His disciples: "You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am." (vs. 13)
II. Mankind has always had a problem with Lordship and authority
ILLUS: For example, I was once dean of summer camp at Camp Christian in Houston, OH. The 6th & 7th graders who attended that week didn’t like a decision I made and made it known at lunch time. They were particularly rowdy and wanted to call for a vote.
Smiling back at them, I responded: "This is not a democracy. This is a dictatorship - and I’m the dictator!"
ILLUS: Parents. Have you ever had a time when your children bristled about something they were told to do? Where they fought you? And even said “no.”
Now, (if you asked them) they would tell you it wasn’t so much that they were trying to be rebellious. It was just that - in their heart of hearts - they knew what was best. They were simply trying to explain that they were smarter than you were!
ILLUS: Mark Twain “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in 7 years."
So, the heart of mankind’s problem with LORDSHIP is that we think we know best. AND THEREFORE, we are best qualified to make the decisions and run things our way.
That’s exactly what we see taking place here in John 13. The scene is the "Last supper," and Jesus is preparing to wash feet…
In vss. 6-8 we’re told:
"He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, ’Lord, are you going to wash my feet?’
Jesus replied, ’You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand/’
’No,’ said Peter, ’you shall never wash my feet.’"
NO! Did Peter say NO? Does Peter know who he is saying “NO” to? Peter has watched Jesus walk on water, heal the sick, feed thousands. Peter has declared by his own mouth “Thou art the Christ….”
Why on earth would Peter say "no?"
Because, the problem for Peter was he liked running things. He liked being in charge. He liked giving orders… because he knew exactly what is best for Jesus.
Peter proves that is quite willing to put Jesus in his place (because he knows better than Jesus what should be happening) So, he says “no!”
I wouldn’t have been surprised to have heard Jesus say something like: "Drop & give me 50!" AND, he practically does. "Jesus answered, ’Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.’" (John 13:8). In short Jesus was saying: "If I don’t wash your feet – there’s the door…"
Then, Jesus drives this point home: "I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them." (vss. 16-17)