Summary: May the Lord open our eyes to dirty feet and give us a heart to wash them.
Read John 13:1-10.
This story is one of the most memorable incidents in Bible. It was the night before Jesus’ betrayal and crucifixion. It was an intense time in Jesus’ life. His public ministry had ended. 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. This was job done by lowest slaves.
It was necessary because people wore sandals did most of their travel by foot. They walked along trails that we not only dusty but also cluttered with camel and donkey dung.
* I’m sure that guests arrived with more than dust on their feet. It was a common courtesy for the host to have his slave wash the guest’s feet as they entered the house.
Jesus had sent Peter & John to prepare for their meal together.(1) 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. It wasn’t!
As Jesus and the disciples enter the room they see towel & water basin in the corner. They do not see a slave 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.
If you’ve been in church more than week, you know that kind of thinking does occur at times.
“Somebody needs to take care of the nursery, but that’s not my ministry. Somebody needs to clean those bathrooms, someone forgot to put the toilet paper on the dispenser.
I think maybe each disciple was hoping one of others would volunteer.
Each one may have begun to JUSTIFY in their own mind why it was not his job to do it.
“I did it last time—its Matthew’s turn—he hasn’t done it in long time.”
“Peter and John were supposed to take care of all this-Jesus told them to. One of those guys ought to take care of it.”
“I came to enjoy a time with the Lord—and now we’ve got this problem”
John is thinking—“Look I’m over here leaning next to Jesus, I’m in spiritual intimacy.
Jesus doesn’t want me to leave His side to do something like that.
Peter is thinking—“Don’t these turkeys know the call of God on my life? Jesus called me the rock. He said he was going to build His church on me. They should be over here right now washing mine and Jesus’ feet.”
Hey Jesus is standing and taking off His outer garment. He must be hot. I’m kinda hot to I think I will take mine off also. Why is He putting that towel around Himself? What is He doing? Oh no He can’t wash my feet He is the Son of the living God.
We don’t know all the specifics, I’m taking some liberties--but we do know that nobody rose to the occasion.
Consider with me in this text:
1. What Jesus Did!
2. What Jesus Knew!
3. What Jesus Taught!
I. What Jesus Did!
Verses 4 & 5 say he – got up –took off his outer garment—wrapped a towel around his
waist--poured water in the basin and “…began to wash the disciples’ feet.”
I think maybe a few jaws dropped when he did that.
Rather than begin with a lecture—He gave them an EXAMPLE.
I’ve learned something about ministry: People would much rather see you and me show them how than to tell them what they’re doing wrong. If they can see us do it, they will listen to what we’ve got to say. But if we can’t do it or won’t do it—they won’t pay much attention to us telling them to do it or how to do it.
There was a Need—everybody saw the need—it not hard to see what’s wrong. I suspect all the disciples knew something was wrong. But Jesus did something about it.
Jesus met the need. He took the appropriate ACTION!
Look at the Action Words in verses 4 &5:
1. “he got up from the meal” He left his Comfort Zone. He made his body do something it may have not wanted to do. My alarm went off this morning.
My body did not want to get up. After a lengthy discussion with my body, it got up. To be a servant, you have to first get up.