Summary: The second in a series on Lenten symbols, this sermon focuses on Jesus’ humble life of service first as our Substitute and secondly to be an example to his followers of humble service.
3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
8 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
9 “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”
10 Jesus answered, “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.
12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”
Fellow servants of God’s Servant, Jesus Christ,
Introduction: “Room service isn’t what it used to be!” That was one of the few problems the high-end hotel chains were hearing in the regular complaints from customers. In an effort to hire and keep talented employees in this field, six of the top hotel chains hired the Gallup Organization to help them. The Gallup Organization completed a model for interviewing and hiring staff that would be efficient and effective. The system, named the Selection Research Instrument System uses the latest internet and Interactive Voice Response technologies to help companies weed out the candidates with poor qualities from those with the right qualities for the job. So far, the hotel chains have had nothing but praise for the SRI system. All they had to do was understand the right qualities for someone in the service industry.
How important it is for us as Christians to understand the qualities that Christ asks of us. To “serve one another in love” and to be “humble” do not come naturally. Thankfully, we can find help in the one who became a Servant for us. Therefore, tonight we will listen to Scripture and
Theme: Understand Jesus’ Life of Humble Service! As we study, we understand first that…
I. He came to be Servant in our place
Why did Jesus come? Upon this questions many theologians have stumbled and fallen in recent years. Was he just a social reformer? Was he here to create a new social order and establish a utopian society? Why did Jesus come?
Well, to get the answer all you need is the faith of a little child and the answer becomes apparent through Scripture. The portion of John’s Gospel which we are considering reminds us that in order to understand the “why,” we need to understand the “where”: where he came from and where he was going.
Through John, the Holy Spirit recorded important information in verse three: Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God. He had come from God the Father and was returning to the Father. Here is the perfect Son of God who as John reminds us, “became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:17). In chapter eight, Jesus says, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me" (John 8:42, NIV). Jesus came from the Father and returned to the Father. No one else can make that claim but the God-man himself, Jesus.
While he was here on earth, he made it apparent why he was here. If you follow Jesus’ ministry in the Gospels he tells us why he came. In Mark 1:38, he said, "Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” He came to serve by proclaiming the good news of salvation. He didn’t come to serve the self-righteous and inflate the ego of the elite of man-made religions. He didn’t come to pat moralists on the back. He told the Pharisees, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17, NIV).