Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Jesus was trying to teach the disciples something about humility and service when He used the basin and towel. Whereas Judas Iscariot Iscariot betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver – money was his downfall. And to this very day, people betray Jesus for m

Illustration: There was a boy who was very popular among others his age. He was an excellent leader in his school groups. One of his friends visited him and saw a homemade plaque in his room with the words "I Am Third" on it. His friend asked him what it meant and he replied, "It is the motto I try to use in my life. It means "God is first, others are second, and I am Third.’" The driving force in our lives should be trying to please God. Secondly, we should take into consideration the needs and pleasures of others. With our own pleasures subordinated, we will truly be the humble servants of God.

Today we look into the passion symbols of humility and betrayal and what these symbols mean to us in today’s context. Which of these would we accept and which of them would we discard. Or would we just go with what the world expects us to embrace. They had symbolic meaning in the past but do they have the same meaning today? And how we as Christians in humility and submission to God and man embrace His discipleship and refrain from those things which may make us vulnerable to temptation and wallow in sin. Just like that boy in the story always considered himself to be third, placing God and others above him, will we do the same. Well Christ illustrated it in action. Can we do the same?

Let us look at today’s passages, which are found in John 13: 3 – 9 and Matthew 27: 3 – 10.

Introduction & Background:

(a) Basin + Strips of linen / towel - That is, his gown, or upper coat, éìáôéá, with the girdle by which it was girdled close to his tunic, or inner coat; and instead of his girdle, he tied a towel about him, that he might have it in readiness to dry their feet, and that he might appear as a servant. Indeed the whole action was a servile one; and never performed by a superior to an inferior. This was the manner of a servant or slave.

(b) Money - The 1000 pieces of silver, paid by Abimelech to Abraham, Genesis 20: 16, and the 20 pieces of silver, for which Joseph was sold to the Ishmaelites, Genesis 37: 28, were probably rings such as we see on the Egyptian monuments, in the act of being weighed. Money can neither open new avenues to pleasure, nor block up the passages of anguish. But in 1 Timothy 6:10 we find that it says, “For the love of money is a root of all evils, by means of which some having lusted after it were seduced from the faith, and they themselves pierced through by many pains.”

Lets us look closely at these passion symbols of disparity:-

1. Basin + Strips of linen / towel: (also called the images of discipleship)

John 13: 3 – 9

That is, his gown or upper coat, with the girdle wherewith it was girded close to his tunic or under coat; and, instead of this girdle, he tied a towel about him:

a. that he might appear in the character of a servant; and

b. that he might have it in readiness to dry their feet after he had washed them.

With the towel, or linen cloth, which served both for a girdle, and after he had washed his disciples’ feet, to wipe them with. This was a servile habit; so servants used to stand at the feet of their masters, girt about with a linen cloth (s); and shows, that the son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister.

But what a surprising instance of humility and condescension is this, that Christ, the Lord and master, should wash the feet of his disciples, when it was their proper work and business to have washed his? Though Dr. Lightfoot says, he does not remember that this was expected from the disciple toward his master, unless included in that rule, "that the disciple is to honour his master, more than his father"; whereas it was a fixed point (w) with the Jews,

Matthew 27: 24 Pilate had a basin and towel

“When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, "I am innocent of the blood of this just Person. You see to it."

1 John 1: 9

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

• Here foot washing and crucifixion are connected

• Basin & Towel are symbols of His humility, service & sacrifice

Philippians 2: 3 - 5

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