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.
That’s an impressive example on a servant leader...but how about the God of the universe washing your feet?
I have tagged this mornings text Basin Theology: What happens when love goes low.
The clock is ticking t-minus 15 hours to the cross.
It is his last night with His friends, one last chance to talk to them about what mattered most, what they could not afford to forget.
How could He take the wisdom of the ages, filtered through all the teaching, all the conversation, all the activity, and distill it down to one final lesson?
They had given up everything to follow Him for three years, and now the end was rapidly approaching.
It was only a matter of hours now.
And to top it all off, they had been arguing all day about which of them was the greatest.
Maybe none of this stuff was sinking in at all.
They were ready to fight for a throne but not for a towel.
Maybe it would have to wait until after He was gone.
Maybe then they would look back and remember.
While the disciples are fighting over who gets to sit where, Jesus silently picks up a towel and a bowl of water.
Before anyone is aware of what’s happening, the first sandals are off.
The one whom king Uzziah saw sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up is bowing down.
The one who stood on nothing and spoke everything into existence picks up the basin.
The one who holds everything together is picking up the towel.
Never has one so high stooped so low.
It was His act of servitude that arrested their attention.
This text, because of our culture, doesn’t land on us with as forcefully as it did in Jesus day.
We live in a culture that has created an 8.5 billion dollar industry around foot beautification.
In Jesus day it was a job primarily for Gentile slaves.
The duty was so menial, so low that Jews would not allow their Jews slaves to perform such an act.
It was a task of humiliation.
However, in our culture it is a job of respectability requiring education and certification.
Knowing we have a substantial obstacle blocking our full understanding and comprehension of this text.
Let us ask our great teacher and illuminator to give us ears to hear, a spiritual mind to understand, and a heart ready to obey.
Let us first ask ourselves;
Why is this story in our Bible?
This story exists because Jesus primary message was still not being exercised.
Instead of fighting over who was going to wash feet they were fervently fashioning their argument for superiority.
There years with the Savior and they still fail to understand His message.
A message that he not only gave verbal instruction to but visual illustration of.
Jesus could have in this moment practiced Pilate’s type of basin theology and washed his hands of these self-centered pre-Madonna’s.
His love remained faithful while theirs faulter.
However, he chooses to wash their feet because of John’s words in verse 1;
This story is in our Bible to show us the essence of God’s love.
He has a special love for his children.
He has a standard love for his creation.
Does God love everyone?
Does God love Christians more than He loves non-Christians?
No. Does God love Christians to a different extent than He loves non-Christians?
God loves everyone equally in that He is merciful to all.
God has a unique relationship with Christians in that only Christians have His eternal grace and mercy and the promise of His forever love in heaven.
The unconditional love God has for everyone should bring us to faith in Him, receiving in thankfulness the great conditional love He grants all those who receive Jesus Christ as Savior.
The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God by D.A. Carson
THIS STORY IS IN OUR BIBLE TO SHOW US THE EMBODIMENT OF HIS MINISTRY.
In November 1984 the band Foreigner on their Agent Provocateur album stated that they wanted to know what love is.
I want to know what love is, I want you to show me
I want to feel what love is, I know you can show me
The entirety of Jesus ministry can be summarized in this action.
LOVE IS A VERB NOT MERELY A VERBALIZATION.
Jesus life was marked by verbs.
However, this occasion because of its time-frame needed an extreme visualization of His verbalization.
Jesus actions was a visual answer to their debate.
Jesus isn’t against greatness just greed.
Jesus isn’t against exaltation just ego.
Jesus teaches that only those who expend themselves for others will be exalted.
True love, real love is rooted in humility.
Humility is thinking of yourself less while humiliation is thinking less of yourself.
THIS STORY IS IN OUR BIBLE TO GIVE US AN EXAMPLE OF HIS MESSAGE.
This event not only demonstrates how we are to serve but how we are saved.
Their is an undeniable connection between service and salvation.
This verse is recorded in Mark 10:45 as well.
Matthew and Mark record the instruction, John records the illustration.
We don’t serve to be saved.
We serve because we are saved.
We are saved to serve not saved by serving.
Look at how the text uses His service to demonstrate our salvation.
We are completely saved by His sacrifice.
We see this example in verse 4;
This phrase “laid aside” is used in
Notice what verse 4 says next; and taking a towel, tied it around his waist.”
This is breathtaking.
Jesus is taking on the form of a servant.
The Savior was acting as a slave.
He substitutes himself in their place because of their sin.
When they should have been washing greatness they were worried about greatest.
When they should have been washing the Divine Son of God they were captivated by debate.
This is Philippians 2 in living color
The word for bathed is [loo-o] which means washing the whole body.
God bathes us at conversion.
There is no need for double dipping.
Jesus is straightening out Peters theology.
Jesus is reminding Peter that his justification is a one-time permanent act, all of his sins are completely forgiven.
He stands before God the Father perfect because of His faith in Christ perfect life.
This is why Jesus says you are completely clean.
Jesus washing of their feet is an example of sanctification.
We are continually saved by his sacrifice.
Justification is a one time act.
It is a legal declaration by a judge.