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There Are Many Ways To Say I Love You

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There Are Many Ways To Say I Love You

intro -
For those among you who are faithfully following along through this years Gospel, the Gospel of John, you will have noticed, or will after reading up to this weeks text, that John moves pretty quickly through the triumphal entry and passion week. In fact, our text today, just one chapter removed from last week’s text, happens towards the end of that week!
John doesn’t spend a whole lot of time, in fact, going over the events of the week. There is nothing reported to have happened, really, after Palm Sunday. Nothing, that is, until our text today.
So we will put a pin in Palm Sunday, and come back to it in a couple weeks, and today we will look at what happened right before the last supper - this last real chance outside of the cross for Jesus to express to His disciples and to us, His complete and total love.
Now before we dig into the text, I want to explain the origins of Maundy Thursday. I don’t know if many people really understand it, so it is best to start on a level playing field.
Really, the best way to explain it, is to just explain the word! Maundy is most likely derived from the word Mandatum, which is the word used by Christ just after our text for the day. Here His words (read)
John 13:34 ESV
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.
John 13:34
A new command, a new mandate. Mandatum.
So what people celebrate on Thursday of Holy week, is both the last supper AND this new mandate, or commandment.
Love one another, just as I have loved you.
But there are many ways to say I love you, aren’t there? And that mandate comes on the heels, so to speak, of Jesus doing just that! Showing us His love, through the selfless acts of a servant.
So let’s open our hearts and our Bibles to God’s word...
John 13:1
John 13:1–20 ESV
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. During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, 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, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 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. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” 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.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 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.” For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.” 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? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. 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. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. 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.’ I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”
----
pray
[firstslidepichere]
What do you do for those people you love in life? And not the normal stuff, I want you to take a second and think of the off the wall stuff you do for those you love.
For our girls, the answer is pretty out there. Olivia makes things. Little notes. Crafts. Art. And Daisy dances or snuggles. They both have different ways to show us they love us.
And to be fair, we show them love in different ways too! I think the most off the wall way I show love is to make up funny names for them, and I am pretty prone to tease them too.
Whatever the way, we each have our own way of showing others that we love them, and that they are special to us.
[picofJesuswashingfeet]
Well in this moment, Jesus had his own way too! And really, if you pay any attention to the text at all, you can see that it wasn’t really an expected method of showing love!
You can read it there in our text. Jesus gets up from supper and takes off his outer clothes. Church I can see the wheels turning right then! I mean, what on earth is He going to do? Why is He taking off his clothes here at the dinner table? I mean Kate and I are pretty easy going, but we wouldn’t let our kids do that!
They must have been pretty taken aback.
But it doesn’t stop there! Jesus grabs a basin and fills it with water. Then, He grabs a towel and starts washing their feet.
Now let me be very clear here, church, this would have rocked their world. Understand that at this table were 12 people who believed that Jesus was, at worst a great prophet, and at best, was the Son of God, and in the case of John, we can gather from his own Gospel that He already thought Jesus was God in flesh!
[talk about typical exegetical stuff???…hold judas stuff until just before rogers ending...
And he is going to clean your feet.
Imagine that. Church, I can’t imagine paying someone to wash my feet much less having the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth bowing down to clean them!
How humbling, and unbelievably confusing that must have been for them.
[lovepic]
[lovepic]
But it was, in that moment, exactly how Jesus wanted to show them He loved them. In fact, apart from the cross, this is likely the most clear moment we have of how much Jesus valued and loved his Disciples! This is a striking demonstration of God’s love for us. This desire to make us understand how special we are to Him and to His plans.
So special, that He had to show us through this act of humility and service.
But bigger than that, I think that this demonstration of love is so poignant because it is a private moment. A moment unseen by outsiders. A moment, also, that comes with no other “thing” attached to it. This is just pure, one on one, human interaction.
[familyhuggingorsomething]
How quickly we forget about that type of love. It is so easy, at least in our society now, to show love through trips, or toys, or technology, and especially through social media. We buy flowers and cards that say I love you, but fail to buy time to offer to those we value the most. We offer empty words for the approval of the world, hoping to satiate the emotional appetites of those we should be serving.
After all, there are many ways to say I love you.
I read an account, this week, of a social worker who works with terminally ill patients. This person had compiled a list of what their patients told them that we should all appreciate while we are still alive. Things they looked beyond before they knew death was near. Things that we too, if we are honest, seem to forget while we are trying to fulfill some other unnecessary set of obligations.
Here is what they said they would miss:
LPT: After working with terminally ill cancer patients, here's a list of what they say you should appreciate while you're aliveSocial
submitted 2 hours ago * by Thisthingcalled_lifex3
Watching my sons throw a baseball
The things my patients say they'll miss the most are NOT seeing the World Landmarks, buying fancy things, that new car, "living it up" party style, etc.
Here is an actual compiled list:
Listening to my grandparents tell stories
Watching my sons throw a baseballListening to my grandparents tell storiesMy girlfriend surprising me with a kiss on the cheekHolding my wife in my arms knowing there's no where in the world I'd rather beGram's Sunday dinners and the whole family getting togetherMy dogSeeing my fiancé smile and feeling his arms wrap around meMy daughter running to me when I get homeThe smell of flowers and rainThe day I got married. I said I never would. And then I met her. And now I have to leave her.Smelling the fireplace on Christmas morning with the familyAll my friendsWatching my family sleepThe rush of weekday mornings. I know it sounds crazy, but I'll miss it. I'll miss the coffee, the crowded bathrooms, my wife's quick peck goodbye, the kids forgetting their lunch.. you get my pointRain. Is that weird?
My girlfriend surprising me with a kiss on the cheek
Holding my wife in my arms knowing there's no where in the world I'd rather be
Gram's Sunday dinners and the whole family getting together
Seeing my fiancé smile and feeling his arms wrap around me
Seeing my fiancé smile and feeling his arms wrap around me
The day I got married. I said I never would. And then I met her. And now I have to leave her.
The day I got married. I said I never would. And then I met her. And now I have to leave her.
The day I got married. I said I never would. And then I met her. And now I have to leave her.
Smelling the fireplace on Christmas morning with the family
All my friends
Watching my family sleep
The rush of weekday mornings. I know it sounds crazy, but I'll miss it. I'll miss the coffee, the crowded bathrooms, my wife's quick peck goodbye, the kids forgetting their lunch…I’ll miss all of it.
My daughter running to me when I get home
[people interacting]
You notice something about all those things? They all have something in common. And they hold that same thing in common with the way Jesus showed His love for His disciples, and us.
There is no money. No stuff. No technology. No hustle and bustle. No pretense. There is nothing but time given to the people who matter the most to us.
There is nothing but time given to the people who matter the most to us.
There are many ways to say I love you church. But perhaps the best, is just doing your best to love those people who matter the most while you have time.
I think that Jesus would be quick to amend that, though. You see, Jesus wouldn’t just let us think that loving those people who matter to us was enough! That isn’t how God works. You see, the unbelievable thing about God’s love, is that it transcends the human capacity to even understand it!
I mean, it is easy to love those we love, those we identify with. How much harder it can be to love those we don’t understand, or don’t want to understand! Those people who look, think, or act different than us.
Thankfully, Jesus is right there, in this text, reminding us of the great and difficult call to follow Him. A call for us to simply allow Him to serve us. A call to accept the fact that our Savior needs us to feel His love if we ever expect to carry on His message and be like Him!
John 13:8 ESV
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.”
John 13:
We must allow Him to lavish that love on us if we want to carry on that love to the world! We must allow Him to wash us...
But church, as I said, how easy it is to love those we are given to love! And even then, we mess it up! I mess it up! But understand that in the unspoken subtext of this story lies a simple and hard truth!
Church, one by one, Jesus went down that line and washed every foot. Every disciple got their turn. Every single one.
Judas included.
All that talk about loving your enemies is made real in Jesus’ life right here. There are many ways to say I love you church, and sometimes, it means that you have to show your love to your enemy so that everyone else understands just how much you love them as well.
Every single person ever created is loved by God. Every one. And just as important, unless and until they all understand the depths of that love, they will never be able to live in it, and show it back to this world.
And that is the call of the servant of God. To love everyone that same way. To be a servant to the least of these. Friend or Foe, right or left, rich or poor, black or white.
In the Summer of 1969, one man used this story, or more appropriately, this message of Jesus to try to heal the festering wounds of our nation - wounds that have been rekindled in the past couple years. You see just about a year removed from the murder of Martin Luther King, our country was still divided much more than we knew even at the time. So much so that even today, there is racial division evident in our thoughts and actions.
In the Summer of 1969, one man used this story, or more appropriately, this message of Jesus to try to heal the festering wounds of our nation. You see just about a year removed from the murder of Martin Luther King, our country was still divided much more than we knew even at the time. So much so that even today, there is racial division evident in our thought and actions.
The wound never healed it seems.
But this particular man had a show, and he wanted very badly to help, so he reached out to a popular Opera singer to join his show. And the part he wanted him to play, was one that he hoped would alter the way we view race relations, and help normalize the perfectly evident fact that we are all God’s creation.
He asked this black man if he would play a police officer. No big deal, we might think today. But back then it was. You see, he was placing this man in the ultimate position of authority in his neighborhood. He wanted to world to know that we are all the same, and he especially wanted children to know that; and that differences in skin, or whatever, hold little value.
And so, Officer Clemmons was born.
[early-mrn-pic]
In one of his first appearances, officer Clemmons comes by Mr. Rogers house on a hot day. Mr Rogers is outside, cooling off by putting his feet in the pool. And just like you would expect, he invites officer Clemmons to do the same.
Now this is the midst of all those racial tensions. And not just some light tension either! You see, around this time there were pools that were still segregated in America. There was a thought that black people had a disease that would infect whites if they swam together - young people, I wish I was making all that up.
So just as there were sit-ins, there were swim-ins. Events designed to show that we could love each other and show each other respect without fear.
[picofmuriaticacid]
This all escalated to the point when this motel owner pictured behind me poured muriatic acid into a pool of those trying to integrate life.
I suppose just as there are many ways to say I love you, there are many ways to show that you hate someone as well. And how easy it can be to hate, and how hard it can be to love.
So that is the setting and the context of this particular episode. This moment when an innocent baby pool became, for almost 5 seconds, the complete and total focus of the shot.
[blackfeetwhitefeet]
The camera froze on that moment - black feet, white feet, water - assuring our children that we are all the same and loved by God the same.
But that isn’t all. You see, soon Officer Clemmons has to get back to work. And as he takes his feet out of the water to dry them off Mr Rogers gives all the world the greatest reminder of our Savior that he could.
He takes a towel, and dries off the officer’s feet.
[MRN25thclemmons]
Twenty-five years later, with those wounds still unhealed, that actor and singer was retiring from the show. And to say goodbye, Mr Rogers filmed that same scene. Only this time, he asked Officer Clemmons to sing. And he sang a nice little song that reminds us of the many ways to say I love you.
There are many ways to say I love you. There are many ways to say I care about you.
There's the singing way to say I love you. There's the singing something someone really likes to hear.
Cleaning up a room can say I love you. Hanging up a coat before you're asked to. Drawing special pictures for the holidays And making plays.
Cleaning up a room can say I love you. Hanging up a coat before you're asked to. Drawing special pictures for the holidays And making plays.
You'll find many ways to say I love you. You'll find many ways to understand what love is. Many ways, many ways, Many ways to say I love you.
And then, when his time is up, he again starts to dry his feet, and Mr Rogers again takes on the role of a servant, like Jesus, and dries his feet for him.
[playvideo]
[lovewords]
So what is the point of that story?
It isn’t to laud, or honor Mr Rogers, as much as it is to show you that no matter what situation you might be in - socially, personally, whatever - there are always ways in which you can choose to show someone you love and value them. And the guaranteed proven way to do it, and do it right, is to go and do like Jesus.
Become a servant to everyone. Blessed are you if you do these things, Jesus says. Blessed are you if you become that servant. Blessed are you when you are a peacemaker, or are merciful, or are meek, or when you thirst for righteousness!
Blessed are you when you find yourself searching for one of the many ways to show this world that God loves them, and so do you.
Maybe it is listening to someone you dislike. Maybe it is going the extra mile for someone you think doesn’t appreciate you enough. Maybe your spouse needs to know you love them a little more, or your children. No matter what it is, there are many ways to do it, but the best way is to be willing to take on that servants role, and to love like Jesus loves.
Maybe it is listening to someone you dislike. Maybe it is going the extra mile for someone you think doesn’t appreciate you enough. Maybe your spouse needs to know you love them a little more, or your children. No matter what it is, there are many ways to do it, but the best way is to be willing to take on that servants role, and to love like Jesus loves.
And that, church, is a relentless, constant, servant’s love.
The love of the one who has offered absolutely everything anyone could offer us! Prayers answered, grace given, love lavished - eternal life with Him. Day after day, he reminds us of that unbelievable love that He has for us, and sometimes we don’t see it, because we think like Peter here. We think that he wouldn’t do that for us, or shouldn’t. But church, every day he calls to us, and he reminds us that we are loved.
We have to let Him love us, church.
We have to let Him wash our feet! We have to let Him serve us, by changing our hearts and by our ultimately believing all the truth that He speaks into our lives!
You were created to be loved by the Father! You were made to be given Grace! You were thought of at the very beginning of time, because you had a purpose and a place in this world! And that purpose and place is Christ! That purpose is to be made clean by the servant of the world! That place is there at the feet of all the oppressed and the hurting and the unloved! That plan is that you would become for someone the very living embodiment of Christ! The bearer of His Spirit! To love and be loved!
He speaks that truth to us every day! But sometimes we just don’t hear it. But hear it today, church. Hear it clearly.
You are loved more than you can ever know.
[
Philippians 2:1–5 ESV
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,
And as Paul says...
What a way to live, church.
You know that story I told about Mr Rogers didn’t end with that scene. You see, Fred had a way of ending every single show. And in the spirit of full disclosure, it is something that I have adapted to tell Olivia and Daisy every day.
He usually ends his shows by saying this: “You make every day a special day just by being you, and I like you just the way you are."
I like you just like God made you. This isn’t about philosophical differences, or political or personal persuasion - this is about loving creation as God has made it.
If you have ever felt God’s love, and comfort - if you share God’s Spirit and have compassion and tenderness in your heart - be like minded, Paul would tell us.
Value everyone over yourself. And church there are many ways to do that.
That day, Officer Clemmons heard those words and approached Fred after the show.
Clemmons asked him, "Fred, were you talking to me?"
"Yes, I have been talking to you for years," Rogers said, "But you heard me today."
Jesus tells us every day that we are loved and we are special. Jesus tells us every day that He has a plan for us, that this world needs us. Hear Him today. And having heard Him, go and do likewise. Show this world how loved and valuable they all are by serving them.
There are many ways to say I love you, church. And they all start with you. With understanding that you are loved just like you are, and then by serving Jesus, and listening to Him. By imitating the very one who loved the world so perfectly.
[Invitation]
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