Summary: Communion Meditation for July 6, 2008
(Slide 1) A widely circulated story over the Internet is one that is told a couple of different ways but with the same kind of an ending. One way that I have heard it (and perhaps have told it) is that a rushing businessman knocks over a child’s fruit stand in his hurry to catch a train.
He stops after several steps and looks back at the situation and makes a decision to help the child pick up his scattered stock even if it means missing his train. As he finishes helping, the young child turns to him and asks him, ‘Mister, are you Jesus?’
As we prepare for Communion this morning, I want to ask you, ‘Who has been Jesus to you?’ Who has lived the faith and not just talked about it? How have they lived the faith?
Conversely, I ask, ‘How have you been Jesus to others?’ How are you currently showing the love and grace of God to your family, friends, fellow employees, and schoolmates?
Our text for this morning is John 13 verses 1 through 17 which is John’s account of the final Passover meal that Jesus would eat with the disciples before His arrest, so called trial, death, and, thankfully, His resurrection.
Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. He now showed the disciples the full extent of his love. It was time for supper, and the Devil had already enticed Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, to carry out his plan to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel he had around him.
When he came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, “Lord, why are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now why I am doing it; someday you will.” “No,” Peter protested, “you will never wash my feet!”
Jesus replied, “But if I don’t wash you, you won’t belong to me.”
Simon Peter exclaimed, “Then wash my hands and head as well, Lord, not just my feet!”
Jesus replied, “A person who has bathed all over does not need to wash, except for the feet to be entirely clean. And you are clean, but that isn’t true of everyone here.” For Jesus knew who would betray him. That is what he meant when he said, “Not all of you are clean.”
After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because it is true. And since I, the Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. How true it is that a servant is not greater than the master. Nor are messengers more important than the one who sends them. You know these things—now do them! That is the path of blessing.
I suggest this morning that those who were and are Jesus to each of us were so because they served us meaningfully in some way. Some served us as teachers, both in the church and in the schools we attended. Others have served us during times of crisis. Their caring and love kept us going.
Servanthood is word that is often used in conjunction with the Christian faith. It is an important word for us to have not just in our vocabulary but also our actions.
Our text for this morning is the context setting for chapters 14 through 17 that God has used down through the centuries to teach us about what it truly means to follow Jesus and what is required of us in a very tangible way. I would suggest that this segment of John is a preamble to understanding the Great Commission of going and making ‘disciples of all nations,’ because it lays out the dual links of love and obedience as key foundational attitudes and actions for helping others come to faith in Christ and then walking with Him.
Serving, as Jesus first demonstrates then speaks of, is on the front end of everything else that follows in this part of John and is therefore a very important way to do our part, individually and congregationally, in practicing the Great Commission.
But, serving others is a challenge. How many wives and mothers present this morning wishes their family would salute their dedication to cook as the families do in the Tyson Chicken commercials? In fact, we are going to practice that right now. Kids and dads, stand up and repeat after me these words, (Slide 2) Thanks mom/dear, for your wonderful cooking… it is appreciated!