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Summary: Comparison Between Jesus and Pilate, Jesus washing the feet of the disciples, Pilate washing his own hands, Servanthood Message

“Two Bowls and Two Towels”

Jesus and Pilate

First Baptist Church Ardmore

May 18, 2003

Robert S. Hightower

If you have your bible turn with me to the gospel of John chapter 13

The title of this morning’s message is “two bowls and two towels”

Let me begin this morning’s message with a story

A story about

· two men with

· two bowls and

· two towels!

The stories both happened within a week of each other but both had very different meanings

and a very different impact on the world!

Read with me from the book of John 13 beginning in vs. 1

John 13:1-5

1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He should depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.

2 And during supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, {the son} of Simon, to betray Him,

3 {Jesus,} knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God, and was going back to God,

4 rose from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself about.

5 Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.

There can be little doubt that here Jesus is just working out a parable for the instruction of his disciples.

He is simply showing for them the truth of his own ministry, and his own redemptive mercy.

He is showing them by doing this what he had come into the world to do.

You can see the parallel in the events which John records:

First, Jesus "rose from supper," just as he had previously risen from his throne of glory.

Then he "laid aside his garments." Paul tells us that he laid aside his glory when he came into the world as a man.

He laid aside his own deity.

He didn’t come to act as God; he came to act as man indwelt by God.

And he "girded himself with a towel," just as Paul also records that he "took the form of a servant," and "humbled himself and became obedient unto death," {Phil 2:7-8}.

So here he humbles himself, taking the role of a slave, girding himself with a towel.

"Then he poured water into a basin," just as in a few hours he was to pour out his own blood in death,

the blood which would be for the cleansing of human sin, and human guilt of every kind and source.

So he pours water into the basin as a picture of that.

Then he "began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which he was girded,"

picturing the very act of applying the cleansing of his own blood to human lives.

And if you were to skip to Verse 12 you would see the end of the parable.

"When he had washed their feet, and taken his garments," he "resumed his place,"

just as the writer of Hebrews records for us that "When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high," {Heb 1:3 RSV}.

So in these few short verses we have this remarkable, beautiful story worked out for us, teaching us the meaning of his whole ministry.

A man and a bowl and a towel!

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