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I Believe in Footwashing
Jesus does an object lesson. It's a visual expression of a spiritual truth.
A lesson in Humility
1. The Lord's example.
Consider the culture of that day. When someone visited your house, it was customary to wash their feet, since they wore sandals and walked on dusty roads. But you didn't do it as host. Your slave did. The servants of the house washed feet.
v. 2-3 Knowing that He was superior by far to everyone in the room, Jesus proceeded to wash the disciples' feet.
We have here a picture, in miniature, of Jesus coming into this world.
v. 4 He took off His outer garments, or His robe.
This symbolizes Jesus laying aside His glory, and leaving heaven. No longer would He have angels serving Him, and crying out day and night "Holy, Holy, Holy" and "Worthy" ... He came to the earth where He was despised and rejected, and even His own received Him not.
v. 4b 'girded himself'
He took on human flesh. He became clothed in humility. The only way to save us was to become one of us. It was a man who sinned in the garden of Eden - a man who caused us to lose our estate, plunging us into doom, depravity, and death, and so a man would have to redeem us. And not just any man, but a sinless man. That's Jesus!
ill.--a little boy was scared in his bed because of a thunderstorm. He called for his dad, his mom, his brother, all to no avail. His dad said, "Son, go to sleep. God is in there with you." The boy replied, "I know, but I want someone with skin."
Jesus was God, with skin.
v. 5 Next, He kneels down, symbolic of humility. Jesus came down from heaven, went down to the cross, down into the grave, down further into the heart of the earth, to deliver mankind.
v. 12a He got back up, and took His rightful seat...just as He would do following His death on the cross, He would rise again, and is today set down on the right hand of His Father.
5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow...
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Symbolically here in John 13, Jesus tells His own story from start to finish, from leaving heaven, to doing His great work on earth, to returning to heaven!
1. The Lord's example...
2. The disciples' embarrassment.
You can almost feel their shame as Jesus begins to wash their feet. There was a stunned silence in the room. It was red-faced embarrassment. They were ashamed of themselves, and they should be. Read the parallel passage in Luke and you see that what led to this was their argument about which one of them would get to work in children's church that week. Wait, I messed that up. It was over which of them would be the greatest.
And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.
We don't have the transcript, but use your imagination from what we know about these guys.
Peter: "Boys, you know I'm the leader, that's obvious. I mean, you all saw me there, walking on that water. I was there at the transfiguration, and it was my idea to build tabernacles there."
Brothers James and John [sons of thunder emblazoned on their leather jackets]: "Why assume you are the greatest? We were there too on that mount. And about walking on the water...neither of us were the ones who sank!"
Andrew: "Hey, I can settle this right now, 'cuz none of ya'll would even be saved if it weren't for me. I found Him first, and I'm the one who brought you to Him!"
In the face of their pride, Jesus gave them a rebuke they would never forget. Jesus the sovereign became Jesus the servant. The one that v. 3 says knew that God had put the whole world in His hands picked up a towel and went to work like a slave on their stinkin' feet!