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Summary: Jesus takes the role of a servant and commands us to do likewise. It’s more than just smelly feet!

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From Worthy Sheep to Smelly Feet

John 13: 12-21 April 28, 2002

Last week we talked about worthy sheep – this week, we’re talking about smelly feet… Last week we talked about Jesus as the Good Shepherd – this week, we see Him as a humble servant, a foot washer…

ILLUS: There’s a story about a woman who lived in a big city neighborhood that was going down hill… It was becoming overcrowded, noisy & dirty, it was a bad situation… Finally, she decided something would have to be done about & she knew that it would take money to change the situation… So she started a fund-raising drive… She called people, she sent letters, she solicited support from private foundations… She finally raised $85,000 and then she used the money to move to another neighborhood…

Problem solved, right? She was pretty self-centered wasn’t she?

ILLUS: Another story tells of a cold winter storm, the snow was falling, the wind was howling when a doctor received an urgent call at home… The caller said his wife needed medical attention, it was an emergency… The doctor was understanding – He said, “I’ll be glad to come, but my car is being repaired, could you come get me…” The man replied in an angry voice, “Are you kidding, in this weather?”

Pretty self-centered wasn’t he?

ILLUS: And then, most of us remember the story about the two hunters who came upon the bear & they didn’t know what to do… One man said, I don’t know about you but I’m running… the man said, “you can’t outrun a bear…” He replied, I don’t have to outrun the bear, all I have to do is outrun you…”

Pretty self-centered wasn’t he?

Do you remember the ending to the bear story… That bear came running towards the man and the man knew he couldn’t outrun the bear so he began to pray… He prayed, “Lord, I just hope this is a Christian bear…” About that time, the bear stopped in its tracks, folded its paws and said, “Lord, thank you for this food…”

In our scripture today, we see Jesus, our Lord & Savior, take on the roll as a foot washer… As He & His disciples sat down to share the Last Supper, Jesus got up, took off His robe & tied a towel around Himself… He pored water into a basin & began to wash the disciples feet & wiped them with His towel…

What a wonderful demonstration of who Jesus really is… He “laid aside His garments!” He set aside His authority, His majesty, His dominion over all creation – to be a servant… What an example! Jesus the humble servant…

In our call to worship from the words of Philippians (2: 3-5), we read, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves… Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others… Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus…”

Friends, the mind of Christ was focused upon others… Verse 1 tells us that Jesus knew that His time had come… He knew He was about to face His accusers & the Cross… Just hours later, He would go to the Garden of Gethsemane, and it was there that He prayed so hard that He sweat blood… and knowing that the hour had come, His mind was on the interests of others…


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