Summary: This sermon is an exposition of John 13:1-17. where Jesus washes the disciples feet asking the questions: How could He do it? Why did He do it? And what does it mean for us living in the light of it?
John 13:1- 17. The essential guide for all wanna be disciples.
• We live in a world of wanna be’s you only have to switch your TV sets on to see that wanna – be pop starts with the X- Factor and pop idol – wanna be super chefs with chef of the year award– wanna be actors with fame acadamey – even wanna be opera singers. But can i ask is there any wanna be disciples in the house tonight?
Because tonight we are going to look at the essential guide for all wanna be disciples – laid down for us by the model servant King Jesus – and we are going to be asking ourselves, three questions from this foot washing incident. How could Jesus do what he did that night? Why did Jesus do what he did that night? And what does it mean for us today?
Set the scene.
John takes us right into the heart of Jesus at this point - into the very core of his being of what makes him tick - ( Like a watch opened from the backside) Where we see the inner mechanisms that cause the watch to function - here in this upper room we will see what motivated Jesus to tick. We all know don’t we, this side of the cross - that the Son of man did not come to be served but to serve and give his life a ransom for many - and that Jesus is our model to true servant hood but for these first century disciples - on the other side of the cross they as yet did not understand.
Of course it was cultural applicable to wash ones feet – after a long day – travelling on dusty dirt tracks – arid ground one needed ones feet to be bathed. ( I always remeber after a hard soccer match, my feet would be throbbing, I would have my feet washed and bathed in salt water by my Gran.)
This menial task of washing another’s feet in the 1st century was never done by the Master nor by one’s peers but by a household servant, neither a Jewish servant but a Gentile women or child - it appears here that there is no servant, the room has been hired or borrowed and all the preparations had already been made by Peter and John Luke 22:12.
Why didn’t they continue serving? Maybe they thought they had done enough and it was the turn of others – but no one was stepping forward – And then v4 Jesus got up from the meal and began to wash the feet of his disciples. You can understand Peter looking at Jesus confused, perplexed, as he saw his master taking the role of a servant – washing his friends feet and then preparing to wash his own feet v6. No wonder Peter sounds surprised as he cries out no way!
We see here in this incident the security of Jesus, it is in sharp contrast to the insecure disciples Luke 22:23 men who were perplexed even having doubts about the purpose of Jesus ministry - men who were self seeking prominence - after all they had argued who would be the greatest Mrk.9:34 and argue again this very night Luke 22:24.
I believe this is what led the disciples not to take the initiative.So the unthinkable happens, He who was their Lord and Saviour would humble himself and become their servant - the greatest who would become the smallest for the sake of others. Jesus himself undertakes this menial act, in so doing show’s them the essential guide for all wanna be disciples.
So How could He do it?
1. The security of belonging v1-3.
We see Jesus is in sharp contrast to his disciples who are full of self centeredness and insecurities at this point they want greatness but don’t really know what is next on the agenda for their lives. Yet in Jesus we see a person with the security of belonging this enables him to do great things.
Self centeredness and insecurities are what often prevent us from doing the smallest and menial things which often turn out to be the real great things (serving others). The reason is because we lack real security (In God)
Often we form our own securities in the things that we have around us our position, our possessions, our families but our real security comes from God alone. When we know who we? (In God ) We know why we’re here? (To glorify God) We know where were going? (Heaven bound) our lives will become secure and purposeful , because everything else in this world is transient.
He knew his purpose v1, v3 Jesus knew that the hour had come (to go to the cross) Jesus lived a life of knowing his purpose - He was not living one day after the next with no purpose - Jesus didn’t just stumble His way to the cross through unseen circumstances – he knows that he has come to die for sinners and that is hour is approaching. But here is his security in all of that v1(b) , that when it is accomplished he will return to the Father. 12:23 (To the glory he shared with Him before the foundation of the world)His purpose is lived out in the light of this security of knowing He belongs to God and is fulfilling God’s purposes .