Summary: the implications of following Jesus

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All sorts of things have implications for the way we live our lives today. If you are married there are implications – you no longer are self-centred, you no longer just think of yourself but think of two. If you are a parent – there are massive implications for your life and probably more for your finances. If you have had some sort of surgery there may be implications. Lots of things in our lives affect the way we live. Now let me ask you a question: Does being a Christian, a follower of Christ, affect how you live? Or put another way if being a Christian was a crime would there be enough evidence to convict you? Would you be found guilty this morning of being a Christian if it were a crime? Right at the very start of this sermon I want to say to you – being a Christian must have implications for the way we live or else there is something seriously wrong with our faith. I want to explain that by looking at the example which Jesus set for his disciples in the Upper Room during the last supper. Turn if you would to John chapter 13.

Let me set the context. Picture the scene, Jerusalem, the time of the Feast of the Passover. A small group of men who have been together for three years are meeting together in an upper room to celebrate a meal together. One of them is Jesus of Nazareth, in fact he is the leader of this bag of ragamuffins. For three years he has gone about Judea and the surrounding areas preaching and teaching, working miracles of healing, of deliverance, of feeding thousands with a schoolboy lunch and he has even raised the dead on a few occasions. Now you would think this would make him popular, and to some extent it has, but the influential religious leaders have decided he must die. They have managed to bribe one of this band of brothers to betray this Jesus into their hands and tonight is the night that will happen. Friends that is what these verses tell us. If you knew you would be betrayed by a close friend, that you would be denied by another, the rest would run away and hide and within 24 hours you would, although innocent, be hanging on a cross, abandoned by all including God himself, and facing certain death – what would your last words, your last actions be?

Look closely at what John tells us Jesus did during this last meal with his friends.

Verse 1 Jesus is in complete control. He is aware that the time of the cross has arrived and now before his death he wants to show his disciples the ‘full extent of his love’ for them. You see love, like a muscle, grows with exercise. Jesus knowing that death is imminent wants to set them an enduring example of love, one for them to follow after he has gone to be with the Father.

Verse 2ff – so during supper he takes action. Turn if you would to Luke 22 verse 24. This is the context of the action which Jesus is about to initiate. The disciples had been quarrelling amongst themselves as to who was the greatest. You know they were concerned with the pecking order. We get that from the farmyard – if you watch chickens they all peck each other on the head, the strongest down to the weakest – hence ‘pecking order.’ The disciples were busy jockeying for position in the kingdom of God, having failed to understand ‘the first shall be last and the last shall be first’. Having failed to understand and or learn from the example set by Christ over the past three years. How it must have wearied his heart, that even now, on the last night of earthly life with them they quarrelled over their perceived position in the kingdom.

They were so hung up on themselves, their egos, their self-importance that they all had sat down and began to eat. None of them was prepared to lose face before the others by doing the job of the lowest slave and wash the other disciples feet. The custom of the day was that when a guest came for dinner someone, usually the lowest ranked slave, washed the dust from their feet. But not tonight. There were no servants and none of the disciples had a servant heart. So their master stands up during supper, takes off his outer robe, wraps a towel around his waist, pours water into a basin and begins to wash their feet. Can you imagine the embarrassment in that room at that moment? The anger burns within Simon’s breast. Look what is happening because no one washed our feet. Simon is horrified by the demeanour of Christ. So when Christ kneels before Simon he says ‘No.’ Simon, Simon, full of pride wont let Jesus serve him. He was not willing to serve the other disciples but he is certain Jesus will not do this menial task for him. Well you know Jesus response to Simon. Simon unless I do this you have no part with me. Simon unless you let me serve you, you cannot be my disciple. Simon I came to serve, let me serve. Simon starting to understand asks, no demands, that Christ wash not just his feet but his head and his hands. And Jesus makes a wonderful statement Simon you do not need a bath, you are clean, only your feet are dirty. But Simon there is one amongst you and he is not clean.

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