Summary: 9th in the series "Conversations With Jesus." By washing the disciples feet Jesus demonstrated what’s important about servanthood.
During the American Revolution a man in civilian clothes rode past a group of soldiers repairing a small defensive barrier. their leader was shouting instructions, but making no attempt to help them. Asked why by the rider, he retorted with great dignity, "Sir, I am a corporal!" The stranger apologized, dismounted, and proceeded to help the exhausted soldiers. The job done, he turned to the corporal and said, "Mr. Corporal, next time you have a job like this and not enough men to do it, go to your commander-in-chief, and I will come and help you again." It was none other than George Washington. (Today in the Word, March 6, 1991.)
Today’s conversation with Jesus is about more than words. You’ve seen the Bracelets that say WWJD? Well today we’re going to talk about WDJD? What DID Jesus do. Jesus example and His words in this passage give us a standard to live by.
Transition: .When Jesus stooped to wash His disciples’ feet he showed us several important truths about serving others. The first thing that caught my attention is in the first verse, Jesus shows...
The Priority of Serving
v. 1 It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.
What would you do if you knew you would die a violent death in about 12 hours? Would you want to be alone in prayer? Record some final thoughts? Would you spend time with those you loved? What would you want to emphasize? Would you share recipes or gardening tips or would you focus on what’s important?
Jesus, the Bible says knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and so he took off his cloak put a towel around His waist and washed the dirty feet of His disciples. Who’s going to waste time on that when the end is so near? Jesus. Why? Because He wanted to show them how important it is to humbly serve one another.
Philippians 2:3-8 tells us that we should "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself..."
He humbled himself why? In order to demonstrate His love as verse 1 says He now showed them the full extent of His love. Jesus by His actions showed us that nothing indicates love more clearly than humble service to others.
And note with me that the Scripture notes both before and after the description of Jesus’ washing the disciples’ feet that of all people Judas was there. Judas, having decided already that He would betray the Lord, was among them and received the humble demonstration of Christ’s love.
Lest we think that somehow our love and service to others should end at the chapel door, or that we have no responsibility to love and serve those who don’t reciprocate our efforts, Jesus washed the feet of Judas too.
ILLUSTRATION: Mother Teresa visited Phoenix in 1989 to open a home for the poor. During that brief visit, she was interviewed by KTAR, the largest radio station in town. In a private moment, the announcer asked Mother Teresa if there was anything he could do for her. He was expecting her to request a contribution or media attention to help to raise money for the new home for the needy in Phoenix. Instead, she replied, "Yes, there is. Find somebody nobody else loves, and love them."
Serving others, demonstrating our love in tangible ways is of first importance. Jesus considered it a priority. The second thing Jesus showed us by washing his disciples feet is His...
Confidence in His Identity
vv. 3-5 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 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.
The Scripture says that not just in spite of but because He understood who He was, that Jesus washed the disciples’ feet.
It takes an understanding of our identity to be able to humble ourselves. The world tells us that we need to make ourselves look good in front of others, that we need to exalt ourselves, but Jesus said that "whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted (Matthew 23:12)."