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The Feet Jesus Washed

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John 13:1-5; 12-17

This story is significant because of its timing – Jesus was preparing for Calvary

  • Hours before His betrayal –
  • He was leaving those whom He loved dearly
  • Critical messages – often last minute orders


A Cultural Necessity:

  • Necessary because of the foot wear – sandals
  • Necessary because of the filth on the road

A Dining Courtesy:

  • At the very least, hosts would provide a basin and water at the door. As guests arrived, they would remove their sandals and wash their feet if necessary.
  • Hosts might provide women, children, and Gentile slaves to wash the feet of others. It was too degrading for a Jewish man to do this.

What was so remarkable about these 24 feet?

I. Jesus Washed Dirty Feet

(they needed cleansing - Next Week’s message)

A. The disciples were not bothered by the dirt

  1. The water and the laver had been provided
  2. Any of them could have washed their own feet
    • It would have been customary to do so when entering
    • The Pharisees were more concerned about the dirt on the hands than on the feet
    • Any could, but none did

B. The Dirt needed to be washed away

  1. To one who lives in dirt, Jesus’ concern appears to be extreme
  2. Do you call a surgeon extreme?
    • Rotator cuff surgery –
    • Before you get in the door, the surgeon is outside
      “Listen, we are supposed to have surgery today.”
      “We are out of anti-bacterial soap, and will be until Thursday.”
      "The administrator thinks it’s no big deal. We will lose money if we don’t overlook this detail.”
      “I am concerned that real cases of infection will set in if we do not use the soap.”
      “If you walk in, I must operate.”
    • Would you say, “I don’t have a problem”
      I was so looking forward to this surgery today.
      I will lose vacation days if I don’t do it today.
      I think you are being extreme.
  3. Jesus would say to Peter, “If I don’t do this, we cannot have fellowship.”

C. Jesus did something that no pastor is supposed to do, make people feel awkward

  1. He rose up from the table, picked up the basin, removed His dress coat and performed a task too degrading for anyone else In that room.
  2. Charitable acts are painful acts.
    • (Scale of 1 to 10)
      a) How would you feel if you were given the opportunity to wash Jesus’ feet? (1)
      b) How would you feel if He began washing your feet? (3-4)
      c) How about the feet of people you hardly know? (6)
      d) How about if pastor washed your feet? (8)
      e) How about if pastor then handed you the bowl and said, “Do to others in the church what I have done to you.” (10)
  3. John 13:34-35
    • I hear of mission trips where people show kindness to strangers. They share nothing in common. They give generously for a child in a picture.
    • Yet, if their neighbor or family member requires attention, they are too busy.
    • The hardest people to love are those we are called to love.
  4. Can you imagine how awkward those disciples felt as Jesus told them to do what He had done?
    • John – you wash Peter’s feet
      (1) He has a big mouth – he’s always bossing others
      (2) He thinks he should lead everybody
    • Matthew – you wash Simon the zealot’s feet
      (1) He and I don’t see things the same way politically
      (2) He has some pretty extreme views
    • Don’t think for one moment that Jesus church did not have people squabbling outside of Jesus’ hearing.

D. Does your brother’s feet need cleansing?

  1. “Not my problem! I will let the Holy Spirit do the work.”
  2. Jesus is not asking you to do something He would not do if He was here.

II. Jesus Washed Double-minded Feet

(they would fail Him in His darkest hour)

Background: What did Jesus know? – John 13:1-3

  1. He knew the time of His greatest needs was at hand.
  2. He knew that every one of these disciples would to one degree or another abandon Him during that time.
    • Jesus did not perform this in ignorance. He understood where those cleaned feet would take these disciples in the next 24 hours.
  3. Human nature says, “If I scratch your back, you must scratch mine when I itch.”
  4. The master gives freely in spite of knowing all would forsake Him.

A. He washed a betrayer’s feet

  1. What did Jesus think when He washed the feet of Judas?
    • Judas acted calm and compliant
    • No one knew of his plans
    • Perhaps he thought even Jesus was in the dark
  2. How do you treat HYPOCRITES?
  3. In hours, those feet, cleaned by Jesus would lead a band of soldier to the garden of Gethsemane to arrest Jesus.
    • His heart was dirty to the core
    • Yet his feet were clean by Jesus.
    • "Judas, after everything I did for you, how could you do this to me?”

B. He washed sprinters’ feet

  1. What did Jesus think when He washed the feet of ten silent disciples
    • They complied
    • There were many things Jesus did that surprised them
  2. How do you treat COWARDS?
  3. Within hours, those feet, cleaned by Jesus would flee from the garden in fear. With the exception of John, none would see Jesus until Easter Evening.
    • They would not own Him for fear
    • But their feet were clean.

C. He washed a denier’s feet

  1. What did Jesus think when He washed the feet of Peter?
    • Peter objected to this kindness. It was not befitting the stature of Jesus to do this.
    • Peter would profess loudly that his care for Jesus would never fail.
    • Jesus told him exactly what would happen
  2. How do you treat PROUD PEOPLE?
  3. Within hours, Peter would be in tears because he did exactly what he said he would not do.
    • As loudly as he owned Jesus in private, he denied Jesus in public.
    • But his feet were clean.

D. This may seem quite harsh. There is no guarantee on this earth that the people you care for will care for you.

It is a hard path to take, but Jesus is not asking you to go where He has not already gone.

III. Jesus Washed Disciples’ Feet

(they would one day imitate Him)

A. What are disciples?

  1. Disciples by nature are those who imitate their masters.
  2. Without words, Jesus taught them what they can and must do?
    1. If He had spoken these words, it would have been easy to manipulate them
    2. But because he acted and told them to do likewise, His message was unmistakable
  3. Jesus told them action is necessary
    • "Jesus asked the disciples if they understood what He had done, and it is not likely that they did. So, He explained it: He had given them a lesson in humble service, an example for them to follow. The world thinks that happiness is the result of others serving us, but real joy comes when we serve others in the name of Christ. The world is constantly pursuing happiness, but that is like chasing a shadow: it is always just beyond your reach." (W. Wiersbe - Bible Exposition Commentary - Jn 13:12)

B. What excuse do I have?

  1. Do I not understand what He wants?
  2. Do I think He is asking me to do something that is impossible?

C. I want you to prayerfully ask Jesus this week, “What can I DO to wash the feet of another this week?”

  1. What can I do that would cause this world to marvel because they would never stoop that low?
  2. What can I do that would cause this world to say, “Oh, you must be one of His disciples”?

From the book of James: <Making a Role Model out of Vapor> & <War on the Wealthy – On Which Side Is God?>

For other messages and illustrations click on {Pastor B's Archives}

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