« Back

Servant Heart of Jesus - John 13: 1 - 20

Posted on September 17, 2017

 Servant Heart of Jesus

John 13:1 - 20

Scripture Reading

John 13:1

Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

Purpose: Every Christ follower must learn the principles from Jesus that in God’s eyes greatness is for those who give to and serve others in humility

Introduction:

  • It has been recorded that of all the songs written over time, approximately 95% of them have been written about love.
  • Today, we will talk about a paradox that Jesus will exemplify and teach
  • The paradox is that to achieve greatness in God’s sight, you must love and serve as God does.
  • The way to ascend to greatness in God’s eyes is to descend in our perspective about ourselves and serve others.

Illustration: Sister Margaret with a chain saw. She said she was doing God’s will to help those in need.  Picture

Background

Outline of the Gospel of John

Prologue – 1:1 – 18 – Theological Introduction

Jesus Presentation to Israel – 1:19 – 12:50 – Book of Signs

Jesus Preparation of His Disciples – 13:1 – 17:26 – Preparing the disciples for unbelief and discouragement

Jesus Passionand Resurrection – 18:1 – 20:31 – Culmination of unbelief

Postlogue – 21:1-25 – Plans of the Lord for His disciples

  • This is Jesus last Passover meal before making His journey to the cross
  • He had been saying for a while in the Gospels that His time had not yet come, but as we read in John 12, He is saying now the cross is in sight.
  • Transition: He makes this profound statement that we read in verse one

John 13:1

Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

Jesus heart to love others to the end – John 13:1 – 4a; Hebrews 12:2

  • Perfect love
    • He loved them to the end means that He would show by His actions to come the full expression, the full measure of His love
    • He would show the perfection in completing His display of love for His disciples and for humans throughout all time.
    • God loves all people because He created each and every one for His unique pleasure and for their good.
    • In the most intimate and highest relationships you and I could ever have is the love we exchange with our Creator. One hymn writer put it this way

Loved with everlasting love

Led by grace that love to know

Gracious Spirit from above

Thou hast taught me it is so!

O, this full and perfect peace!

O, this transport all divine!

In a love which cannot cease

I am His, and He is mine

Romans 8:35-39

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

  • Even in His dying, Jesus love for His disciples would never be cut off or end.
  • But Jesus knew what God’s plan and timetable was.
  • Perceivingthe times
    • The writer John transitions here from eternal love to darkness of the one who would betray and show hatred toward Jesus. That would-be Judas, one of Jesus chosen disciples.

John 13:2 – 4a

During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4 rose from supper.

  • It is amazing that in a few moments in this passage, Jesus would humbly wash the feet of Judas.
  • The humblest of loves meets the greatest injury and insult imaginable as Judas sells out Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, the cost for a damaged slave
  • Judas would be emotionally unaffected by Jesus humble act of love
  • John shows in verse 3 that Jesus would soon be exalted back to His rightful position at the right hand of the Father in heaven. The High Priest who is there on our behalf praying to the Father for us.
  • It says in the first part of verse 4 that He rose as the supper was going on to do what even Jewish slaves were not asked to do. Only Gentile slaves were hired to wash the Jewish people’s feet.

Quote: “With such power and status at His disposal, we might have expected Jesus to defeat the devil in an immediate and flashy confrontation, and to devastate Judas with an unstoppable blast of divine wrath. Instead, Jesus washes His disciples’ feet, including the feet of the betrayer.” – D.A. Carson – The Gospel According to John

  • I could preach a sermon on just that thought alone!!

Illustration / Explanation of washing of feet – the basin and the pitcher

  • Since there did not appear to be a servant around, one of the disciples should have taken it upon himself to wash each other’s’ feet.
  • The disciples were of the mindset as of late bickering about who would sit at Jesus right hand in heaven and who was the greatest of the twelve disciples’
  • The last thing any of them thought about was washing one another’s feet
  • Supper begins and everyone is reclining at the table. Faces near the other’s feet
  • Walking the dusty roads of Jerusalem in open sandals.
  • It was a sign of hospitality to have the host of the house provide a Gentile servant to wash the guest’s feet as they came in and took off their sandals
  • Jesus, not seeing a servant, but having prepared for this, stands up at the supper and takes on the lowly role of being a servant, the lowliest of a servant, carefully washing the disciple’s feet.
  • Pause now and reflect on what that scene must have been like
  • Think about the love that was so humble, so eternal, and so complete.

Application: May we experience the depth of love God has for us that is never ending.

Transition: Let’s look now at the act of love itself

Jesus heart to serve others in humility

John 13:4b – 5

He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

  • The ignoble job

Illustration: Undercover boss

Illustration: A man received a promotion to the position of Vice President of the company he worked for. The promotion went to his head, and for weeks on end he bragged to anyone and everyone that he was now VP. His bragging came to an abrupt halt when his wife, so embarrassed by his behavior, said, “Listen Bob, it’s not that big a deal. These days everyone’s a vice president. Why they even have a vice president of peas down at the supermarket!”

Somewhat deflated, Bob rang the local supermarket to find out if this was true. “Can I speak to the Vice President of peas please?” he asked, to which the reply came: “of fresh or frozen?”

  • Too many times with our human pride we get all caught up in titles, power, and prestige that we forget about the people that work for us.
  • That is why from time to time it is good to get out of the office and go out and see and talk to the people that work for you and are under your supervision and learn what is going on in their lives.
  • We need to get the perspective that we are given our positions and we should be humble about it. None of us are indispensable in our job

Illustration: Working at UPS

  • The importanceof the job
    • The lowest job in a company, firm, or organization is just as essential and necessary as the CEO’s job.

Illustration: I had been working much too long on this job. I guess things could have been worse. I certainly wasn’t doing hard labor. But going door to door asking questions as a representative of the federal government wasn’t the most satisfying position either.

It was August. It was hot. I had to wear a tie.

“Hello. My name is Bob Perks and we are doing a survey in this neighborhood…”

“I’m not interested! Good bye!” …slam, lock.

You can’t imagine how many times I heard that. I finally caught on and began with “Before you slam the door, I am not selling anything and I just need to ask a few questions about yourself and the community.”

The young woman inside the doorway, paused for a moment, raised her eyebrows as she shrugged her shoulders confused by my rude introduction.

“Sure. Come on in. Don’t mind the mess. It’s tough keeping up with my kids.”

It was an older home in a section of the valley where people with meager income found affordable shelter. With the little they had, the home looked comfortable and welcoming.

“I just need to ask a few questions about yourself and family. Although this may sound personal I won’t need to use your names. This information will be used…”

She interrupted me. “Would you like a glass of cold water? You look like you’ve had a rough day.”

“Why yes!” I said eagerly.

Just as she returned with the water, a man came walking in the front door. It was her husband.

“Joe, this man is here to do a survey.” I stood and politely introduced myself.

Joe was tall and lean. His face was rough and aged looking although I figured he was in his early twenties. His hands were like leather. The kind of hands you get from working hard, not pushing pencils. She leaned toward him and kissed him gently on the cheek. As they looked at each other you could see the love that held them together. She smiled and titled her head, laying it on his shoulder. He touched her face with his hands and softly said “I love you!”

They may not have had material wealth, but these two were richer than most people I know. They had a powerful love. The kind of love that keeps your head up when things are looking down.

“Joe works for the borough.” she said.

“What do you do?” I asked.

She jumped right in not letting him answer.

“Joe collects garbage. You know I’m so proud of him.”

“Honey, I’m sure the man doesn’t want to hear this.” said Joe.

“No, really I do.” I said.

“You see Bob, Joe is the best garbage man in the borough. He can stack more garbage on the truck than anyone else. He gets so much in one truck that they don’t have to make as many runs.”, she said with such passion.

“In the long run,” Joe continues, “I save the borough money. Man hours are down and the cost per truck is less.”

There was silence. I didn’t know what to say. I shook my head searching for the right words.

“That’s incredible! Most people would gripe about a job like that. It certainly is a difficult one. But your attitude about it is amazing.” I said.

She walked over to the shelf next to the couch. As she turned she held in her hand a small framed paper.

“When we had our third child Joe lost his job. We were on unemployment for a time and then eventually welfare. He couldn’t find work anywhere. Then one day he was sent on an interview here in this community. They offered him the job he now holds. He came home depressed and ashamed. Telling me this was the best he could do. It actually paid less than we got on welfare.”

She paused for a moment and walked toward Joe.

“I have always been proud of him and always will be. You see I don’t think the job makes the man. I believe the man makes the job!”

“We needed to live in the borough in order to work here. So we rented this home.” Joe said.

“When we moved in, this quote was hanging on the wall just inside the front door. It has made all the difference to us, Bob. I knew that Joe was doing the right thing.” she said as she handed me the frame.

It said: If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep the streets even as Michelangelo painted or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, “Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.” - Martin Luther King

“I love him for who he is. But what he does he does the best. I love my garbage man!”

Application: May we model Christ-like humility in our attitudes and service to others

Transition: What does Jesus act of love tell us?

Jesus heart to cleanse others of their impurities – John 13:6 – 11

John 13:6 - 9

6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” 7 Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” 8 Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” 9 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!”

  • Not surprisingly, Peter, the impetuous one, the one who responds and says things without thinking
  • He was appalled at what Jesus was doing
  • The word “you” is emphatic here. Of all people Jesus, the Messiah, Son of God, why are you wanting to wash my feet?
    • He thought Jesus was going to set up His kingdom very soon on earth and throw out the Roman authorities
    • For someone who was a superior in the Roman / Jewish culture to wash someone’s feet was absolutely unheard of
  • Jesus said in verse 7 that the disciples would only understand this tremendous act of humility after He left and went to heaven

Matthew 20:28

“Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

  • Without cleansing, there is no forgivenessof sin
    • Jesus is simply saying to Peter, that only those cleansed by Him have a relationship with Him.
    • The washing is a metaphor for spiritual cleansing
    • When we receive Christ as our personal Savior, we are forever forgiven for our sins. They are removed from us as far as the east is from the west.
    • Our sins will not be held against us
    • But daily, daily we need to ask God as Christ followers to forgive us for our sins and be specific with them, in order to keep the relationship with our heavenly Father where it needs to be.

I John 1:9

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

  • Impulsive Peter now swings to the other extreme and asks Jesus to wash his whole body. Whatever Jesus is offering here, I am all in.
  • Without belief in Christ the heart is left to wander

John 13:10-11

10 Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

  • Jesus responds to Peter and said if you are already forgiven your sin, you don’t need a full cleansing again of all of your sins, you just need the daily cleansing.
  • If your body is already physically clean, only clean that which is dirty, your feet.
  • Not everyone of the disciples was a believer in Christ. Judas was the exception. Not all of you, the twelve are completely forgiven of sin because one has not believed in me.
  • Jesus offer of forgiveness for all of our sins is always on the table for anyone to receive.
  • He shed His blood on Calvary’s cross to make the payment God demanded for your sin and mine. All we have to do to have a clear conscience and to be rightly related to our Creator is to accept His free gift of cleansing through salvation.
  • In verse 11, John, writing after Jesus was on earth, looking back, now understands what Jesus was saying.

Application: May we humbly accept the gift of forgiveness from our heavenly Father

Transition: Let’s move now to the mentoring message Jesus had for His disciples

Jesus heart to mentor others by example - John 13:12-20

  • Jesus could have shared the depth of theological truth here that was expressed simply in the previous verses
    • His humiliation at His first coming
    • His once for all sacrifice for sin
    • His working on us daily to make us like Himself
  • Instead, He opts for a simple and very important principle to be understood. He is setting a pattern and example for His disciples to follow. Not the act of foot washing but serving others all the time with a humble heart.
  • Go and do as I have done

John 13:12 - 15

12 When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.

  • Do you understand what I have done for you?
    • If the Lord of the universe was willing to humble Himself and take on the role of the lowest slave, how could you disciples do any less?
    • That is the same question we should be asking ourselves
    • Greatness is found in our serving and giving to others

John 13:16-20

16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. 18 I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ 19 I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he. 20 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”

  • In verse 16, the thought continues that we are not greater than Jesus so who are we not to humbly serve others?
  • Jesus promises blessings if we are obedient to follow His example
    • The example as I might remind you, is to serve from the heart and give to others in humility for the benefit of others.
    • To take care of people needs and put others interests first before ourselves

Philippians 2:5

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus

Romans 12:3

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment

Romans 12:10

10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor

  • To finish out Jesus thought in verses 18 – 20
    • Jesus would not be surprised by Judas treachery
    • He is speaking about the ones’ chosen – eleven disciples
    • In this verse, Jesus is quoting Psalm 41:9 or 55:12-14
    • Literally what He is saying that Judas will “kick me when I am down.”
    • Verses 19 - 20, Jesus wanted to reassure His followers.
    • Judas treachery would shock the disciples because they would think when Jesus died, their Messianic kingdom ideas would die. He did not want them to despair. He wanted them to be sure that Judas betrayal would not stop the spread of God’s kingdom
    • In fact, Jesus says in verse 20, He is commissioning them to go in His behalf to be His ambassadors to the world at large. To be accepted with the kingdom message given to them is to be accepted as Jesus would be.
    • But, as we close, the main thought in this loving, humble act performed by Jesus that He wants us to get is;

Application: May we descend to servanthood so that we can lead others with a servant’s heart

Key Thought: The way to ascend to greatness in God’s eyes is to descend in our perspective about ourselves and serve others.

I leave you with this thought. As you leave today, pick up your towel and serve

  • Serve your spouse
  • Serve your children and grandchildren
  • Serve your boss knowing that the one you are really working for is God who sees all we do at work and will reward us far more in heaven than the accolades we will receive here on earth
  • Serve those in need around you
  • Use your spiritual gift to serve others in the church not for recognition but out of humble love and giving to others.
  • Let’s leave here today and pick up our towels.

Let’s pray

 

 

 Servant Heart of Jesus

John 13:1 - 20

Scripture Reading

John 13:1

Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

Purpose: Every Christ follower must learn the principles from Jesus that in God’s eyes greatness is for those who give to and serve others in humility

Introduction:

  • It has been recorded that of all the songs written over time, approximately 95% of them have been written about love.
  • Today, we will talk about a paradox that Jesus will exemplify and teach
  • The paradox is that to achieve greatness in God’s sight, you must love and serve as God does.
  • The way to ascend to greatness in God’s eyes is to descend in our perspective about ourselves and serve others.

Illustration: Sister Margaret with a chain saw. She said she was doing God’s will to help those in need.  Picture

Background

Outline of the Gospel of John

Prologue – 1:1 – 18 – Theological Introduction

Jesus Presentation to Israel – 1:19 – 12:50 – Book of Signs

Jesus Preparation of His Disciples – 13:1 – 17:26 – Preparing the disciples for unbelief and discouragement

Jesus Passionand Resurrection – 18:1 – 20:31 – Culmination of unbelief

Postlogue – 21:1-25 – Plans of the Lord for His disciples

  • This is Jesus last Passover meal before making His journey to the cross
  • He had been saying for a while in the Gospels that His time had not yet come, but as we read in John 12, He is saying now the cross is in sight.
  • Transition: He makes this profound statement that we read in verse one

John 13:1

Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

Jesus heart to love others to the end – John 13:1 – 4a; Hebrews 12:2

  • Perfect love
    • He loved them to the end means that He would show by His actions to come the full expression, the full measure of His love
    • He would show the perfection in completing His display of love for His disciples and for humans throughout all time.
    • God loves all people because He created each and every one for His unique pleasure and for their good.
    • In the most intimate and highest relationships you and I could ever have is the love we exchange with our Creator. One hymn writer put it this way

Loved with everlasting love

Led by grace that love to know

Gracious Spirit from above

Thou hast taught me it is so!

O, this full and perfect peace!

O, this transport all divine!

In a love which cannot cease

I am His, and He is mine

Romans 8:35-39

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

  • Even in His dying, Jesus love for His disciples would never be cut off or end.
  • But Jesus knew what God’s plan and timetable was.
  • Perceivingthe times
    • The writer John transitions here from eternal love to darkness of the one who would betray and show hatred toward Jesus. That would-be Judas, one of Jesus chosen disciples.

John 13:2 – 4a

During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4 rose from supper.

  • It is amazing that in a few moments in this passage, Jesus would humbly wash the feet of Judas.
  • The humblest of loves meets the greatest injury and insult imaginable as Judas sells out Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, the cost for a damaged slave
  • Judas would be emotionally unaffected by Jesus humble act of love
  • John shows in verse 3 that Jesus would soon be exalted back to His rightful position at the right hand of the Father in heaven. The High Priest who is there on our behalf praying to the Father for us.
  • It says in the first part of verse 4 that He rose as the supper was going on to do what even Jewish slaves were not asked to do. Only Gentile slaves were hired to wash the Jewish people’s feet.

Quote: “With such power and status at His disposal, we might have expected Jesus to defeat the devil in an immediate and flashy confrontation, and to devastate Judas with an unstoppable blast of divine wrath. Instead, Jesus washes His disciples’ feet, including the feet of the betrayer.” – D.A. Carson – The Gospel According to John

  • I could preach a sermon on just that thought alone!!

Illustration / Explanation of washing of feet – the basin and the pitcher

  • Since there did not appear to be a servant around, one of the disciples should have taken it upon himself to wash each other’s’ feet.
  • The disciples were of the mindset as of late bickering about who would sit at Jesus right hand in heaven and who was the greatest of the twelve disciples’
  • The last thing any of them thought about was washing one another’s feet
  • Supper begins and everyone is reclining at the table. Faces near the other’s feet
  • Walking the dusty roads of Jerusalem in open sandals.
  • It was a sign of hospitality to have the host of the house provide a Gentile servant to wash the guest’s feet as they came in and took off their sandals
  • Jesus, not seeing a servant, but having prepared for this, stands up at the supper and takes on the lowly role of being a servant, the lowliest of a servant, carefully washing the disciple’s feet.
  • Pause now and reflect on what that scene must have been like
  • Think about the love that was so humble, so eternal, and so complete.

Application: May we experience the depth of love God has for us that is never ending.

Transition: Let’s look now at the act of love itself

Jesus heart to serve others in humility

John 13:4b – 5

He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

  • The ignoble job

Illustration: Undercover boss

Illustration: A man received a promotion to the position of Vice President of the company he worked for. The promotion went to his head, and for weeks on end he bragged to anyone and everyone that he was now VP. His bragging came to an abrupt halt when his wife, so embarrassed by his behavior, said, “Listen Bob, it’s not that big a deal. These days everyone’s a vice president. Why they even have a vice president of peas down at the supermarket!”

Somewhat deflated, Bob rang the local supermarket to find out if this was true. “Can I speak to the Vice President of peas please?” he asked, to which the reply came: “of fresh or frozen?”

  • Too many times with our human pride we get all caught up in titles, power, and prestige that we forget about the people that work for us.
  • That is why from time to time it is good to get out of the office and go out and see and talk to the people that work for you and are under your supervision and learn what is going on in their lives.
  • We need to get the perspective that we are given our positions and we should be humble about it. None of us are indispensable in our job

Illustration: Working at UPS

  • The importanceof the job
    • The lowest job in a company, firm, or organization is just as essential and necessary as the CEO’s job.

Illustration: I had been working much too long on this job. I guess things could have been worse. I certainly wasn’t doing hard labor. But going door to door asking questions as a representative of the federal government wasn’t the most satisfying position either.

It was August. It was hot. I had to wear a tie.

“Hello. My name is Bob Perks and we are doing a survey in this neighborhood…”

“I’m not interested! Good bye!” …slam, lock.

You can’t imagine how many times I heard that. I finally caught on and began with “Before you slam the door, I am not selling anything and I just need to ask a few questions about yourself and the community.”

The young woman inside the doorway, paused for a moment, raised her eyebrows as she shrugged her shoulders confused by my rude introduction.

“Sure. Come on in. Don’t mind the mess. It’s tough keeping up with my kids.”

It was an older home in a section of the valley where people with meager income found affordable shelter. With the little they had, the home looked comfortable and welcoming.

“I just need to ask a few questions about yourself and family. Although this may sound personal I won’t need to use your names. This information will be used…”

She interrupted me. “Would you like a glass of cold water? You look like you’ve had a rough day.”

“Why yes!” I said eagerly.

Just as she returned with the water, a man came walking in the front door. It was her husband.

“Joe, this man is here to do a survey.” I stood and politely introduced myself.

Joe was tall and lean. His face was rough and aged looking although I figured he was in his early twenties. His hands were like leather. The kind of hands you get from working hard, not pushing pencils. She leaned toward him and kissed him gently on the cheek. As they looked at each other you could see the love that held them together. She smiled and titled her head, laying it on his shoulder. He touched her face with his hands and softly said “I love you!”

They may not have had material wealth, but these two were richer than most people I know. They had a powerful love. The kind of love that keeps your head up when things are looking down.

“Joe works for the borough.” she said.

“What do you do?” I asked.

She jumped right in not letting him answer.

“Joe collects garbage. You know I’m so proud of him.”

“Honey, I’m sure the man doesn’t want to hear this.” said Joe.

“No, really I do.” I said.

“You see Bob, Joe is the best garbage man in the borough. He can stack more garbage on the truck than anyone else. He gets so much in one truck that they don’t have to make as many runs.”, she said with such passion.

“In the long run,” Joe continues, “I save the borough money. Man hours are down and the cost per truck is less.”

There was silence. I didn’t know what to say. I shook my head searching for the right words.

“That’s incredible! Most people would gripe about a job like that. It certainly is a difficult one. But your attitude about it is amazing.” I said.

She walked over to the shelf next to the couch. As she turned she held in her hand a small framed paper.

“When we had our third child Joe lost his job. We were on unemployment for a time and then eventually welfare. He couldn’t find work anywhere. Then one day he was sent on an interview here in this community. They offered him the job he now holds. He came home depressed and ashamed. Telling me this was the best he could do. It actually paid less than we got on welfare.”

She paused for a moment and walked toward Joe.

“I have always been proud of him and always will be. You see I don’t think the job makes the man. I believe the man makes the job!”

“We needed to live in the borough in order to work here. So we rented this home.” Joe said.

“When we moved in, this quote was hanging on the wall just inside the front door. It has made all the difference to us, Bob. I knew that Joe was doing the right thing.” she said as she handed me the frame.

It said: If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep the streets even as Michelangelo painted or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, “Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.” - Martin Luther King

“I love him for who he is. But what he does he does the best. I love my garbage man!”

Application: May we model Christ-like humility in our attitudes and service to others

Transition: What does Jesus act of love tell us?

Jesus heart to cleanse others of their impurities – John 13:6 – 11

John 13:6 - 9

6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” 7 Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” 8 Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” 9 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!”

  • Not surprisingly, Peter, the impetuous one, the one who responds and says things without thinking
  • He was appalled at what Jesus was doing
  • The word “you” is emphatic here. Of all people Jesus, the Messiah, Son of God, why are you wanting to wash my feet?
    • He thought Jesus was going to set up His kingdom very soon on earth and throw out the Roman authorities
    • For someone who was a superior in the Roman / Jewish culture to wash someone’s feet was absolutely unheard of
  • Jesus said in verse 7 that the disciples would only understand this tremendous act of humility after He left and went to heaven

Matthew 20:28

“Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

  • Without cleansing, there is no forgivenessof sin
    • Jesus is simply saying to Peter, that only those cleansed by Him have a relationship with Him.
    • The washing is a metaphor for spiritual cleansing
    • When we receive Christ as our personal Savior, we are forever forgiven for our sins. They are removed from us as far as the east is from the west.
    • Our sins will not be held against us
    • But daily, daily we need to ask God as Christ followers to forgive us for our sins and be specific with them, in order to keep the relationship with our heavenly Father where it needs to be.

I John 1:9

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

  • Impulsive Peter now swings to the other extreme and asks Jesus to wash his whole body. Whatever Jesus is offering here, I am all in.
  • Without belief in Christ the heart is left to wander

John 13:10-11

10 Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

  • Jesus responds to Peter and said if you are already forgiven your sin, you don’t need a full cleansing again of all of your sins, you just need the daily cleansing.
  • If your body is already physically clean, only clean that which is dirty, your feet.
  • Not everyone of the disciples was a believer in Christ. Judas was the exception. Not all of you, the twelve are completely forgiven of sin because one has not believed in me.
  • Jesus offer of forgiveness for all of our sins is always on the table for anyone to receive.
  • He shed His blood on Calvary’s cross to make the payment God demanded for your sin and mine. All we have to do to have a clear conscience and to be rightly related to our Creator is to accept His free gift of cleansing through salvation.
  • In verse 11, John, writing after Jesus was on earth, looking back, now understands what Jesus was saying.

Application: May we humbly accept the gift of forgiveness from our heavenly Father

Transition: Let’s move now to the mentoring message Jesus had for His disciples

Jesus heart to mentor others by example - John 13:12-20

  • Jesus could have shared the depth of theological truth here that was expressed simply in the previous verses
    • His humiliation at His first coming
    • His once for all sacrifice for sin
    • His working on us daily to make us like Himself
  • Instead, He opts for a simple and very important principle to be understood. He is setting a pattern and example for His disciples to follow. Not the act of foot washing but serving others all the time with a humble heart.
  • Go and do as I have done

John 13:12 - 15

12 When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.

  • Do you understand what I have done for you?
    • If the Lord of the universe was willing to humble Himself and take on the role of the lowest slave, how could you disciples do any less?
    • That is the same question we should be asking ourselves
    • Greatness is found in our serving and giving to others

John 13:16-20

16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. 18 I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ 19 I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he. 20 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”

  • In verse 16, the thought continues that we are not greater than Jesus so who are we not to humbly serve others?
  • Jesus promises blessings if we are obedient to follow His example
    • The example as I might remind you, is to serve from the heart and give to others in humility for the benefit of others.
    • To take care of people needs and put others interests first before ourselves

Philippians 2:5

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus

Romans 12:3

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment

Romans 12:10

10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor

  • To finish out Jesus thought in verses 18 – 20
    • Jesus would not be surprised by Judas treachery
    • He is speaking about the ones’ chosen – eleven disciples
    • In this verse, Jesus is quoting Psalm 41:9 or 55:12-14
    • Literally what He is saying that Judas will “kick me when I am down.”
    • Verses 19 - 20, Jesus wanted to reassure His followers.
    • Judas treachery would shock the disciples because they would think when Jesus died, their Messianic kingdom ideas would die. He did not want them to despair. He wanted them to be sure that Judas betrayal would not stop the spread of God’s kingdom
    • In fact, Jesus says in verse 20, He is commissioning them to go in His behalf to be His ambassadors to the world at large. To be accepted with the kingdom message given to them is to be accepted as Jesus would be.
    • But, as we close, the main thought in this loving, humble act performed by Jesus that He wants us to get is;

Application: May we descend to servanthood so that we can lead others with a servant’s heart

Key Thought: The way to ascend to greatness in God’s eyes is to descend in our perspective about ourselves and serve others.

I leave you with this thought. As you leave today, pick up your towel and serve

  • Serve your spouse
  • Serve your children and grandchildren
  • Serve your boss knowing that the one you are really working for is God who sees all we do at work and will reward us far more in heaven than the accolades we will receive here on earth
  • Serve those in need around you
  • Use your spiritual gift to serve others in the church not for recognition but out of humble love and giving to others.
  • Let’s leave here today and pick up our towels.

Let’s pray