Summary: It was a mark of honor for a host to provide a servant to wash a guest’s feet; it was a breach of hospitality not to provide for it. This was a job done by lowest slaves or servants. It was necessary because people wore sandals and did most of their travel by foot.
TITLE: WASH YOUR DIRTY FEET
SCRIPTURE: ST. JOHN 13:1-17
Have you ever had that uncomfortable moment when someone asks you to help them? You really don’t want to help, but you’re stuck. You’re not sure what to say to get out of helping. Maybe they are moving, and you know they won’t be ready. It’ll be throwing things in garbage bags at the last second. Or they need a ride or they need something fixed. You know what it’s like.
• You really don’t want to help
• You don’t want to put yourself in that position
• They always call on you to help when they mess up
Wouldn’t it be cool if there were an APP for that. An APP we could use to get out of helping. You could go right to your phone and click the APP and there would be a ready made excuse not to help one another.
• Excuses when we ask, “Hey, who can help serve?”
• You can go to this app, and tell me you have a ‘meeting on that day’
• You can go to this app, and tell me you have already made plans to be out of town on that date
• You can go to this app, and tell me you have already scheduled an appointment for that date and time
• Yet, as Christ followers, is this how we are to live our lives?
• Are we to say yes to Christ, but no to the rest of the world?
• Are we to say yes to Heaven, but no to our brothers/sisters when they have a need?
Let’s run to the text and allow it to speak to us this morning. Let’s examine the image of Jesus washing feet; the picture of Him serving those around Him. Let’s set the context for the image of loving like Jesus. How do we do it? One of the ways is, we wash feet. The setting takes place the day before His crucifixion and you can imagine the emotion Jesus must be feeling. Yet, I love what John tells us -- “JESUS LOVED THE DISCIPLES TO THE END.”
Jesus knew the disciples still didn’t get who He was.
• They argued about who was the Greatest
• They argued about how many times they need to Forgive
• At times they seemed Faithless and mostly Clueless
• So, Jesus looked around the room at His closest friends and what does He see
• He sees Proud Hearts and Dirty Feet
Let’s make sure we understand the narrative here because it is one of the most memorable events in Bible. It was the night before Jesus’ betrayal and crucifixion.
• It was an intense time in Jesus’ life
• His public ministry was quickly coming to an earthly end
• Jesus now turns his full attention to his disciples
I want you to imagine this situation with me for a moment. In that culture the most demeaning task around was to wash the guest’s feet. Foot-washing was needed in Palestine. The streets were dusty and people wore sandals without socks or stockings. It was a mark of honor for a host to provide a servant to wash a guest’s feet; it was a breach of hospitality not to provide for it. This was a job done by lowest slaves or servants. It was necessary because people wore sandals and did most of their travel by foot. They walked along trails that we not only dusty but also cluttered with camel and donkey -- well you get the idea.
• I’m sure guests arrived with more than dust on their feet
• It was a common courtesy for the host to have his servant wash the guest’s feet as they entered the house
Jesus had originally sent Peter and John to prepare for their meal together.
• The food had been cooked
• The table had been set
• And I’m sure the disciples thought this matter would be taken care of as well
• But, it wasn’t!
As Jesus and the disciples enter the room they see towel and water basin in the corner. They do not see a servant to wash their feet. Perhaps some of them pause as they enter the room, wondering where the servant was—maybe wondering why Peter and John had not taken care of this important detail. As they recline at the table, each disciple feels a little uncomfortable. “SOMEBODY OUGHT TO AT LEAST WASH JESUS FEET.”
• But—if I do that, where will that put me on the social pecking order?
• I would be at the Bottom of the heap
• If I volunteer I’ll get stuck with that job from now on
• Maybe if I just wait—somebody else will do it