Faithlife Sermons

Dirty Jobs

Words That Breathe (Gospel of John)  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Jesus served others because of love: He instructs us to do the same.

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Introduction
Here’s something we can agree on: dirty jobs are not particularly pleasant. Things like slopping the hogs, scrubbing the toilet, digging a BBQ pit, etc., are not especially fun. Have you seen “Dirty Jobs”? Then you have seen pretty much everything: most of it is disgusting. I will leave that to your imagination.
Another thing we can agree on is this: when dirty jobs involve people we love, we are willing to to do whatever it takes. For example, we change our kids’ dirty diapers because we love them - they need our care. We may not enjoy it…but we don’t hesitate to do it. We love them. If our little munchkin happens to get sick and toss his or her little cookies all over the place…what do we do? We clean them up and make sure they are comfortable during their time of suffering. Bless their hearts!
Some of you may have taken care of a parent or loved one that could no longer care for themselves. This could involve bathing, feeding, and everything else. When you love them you do even the dirty jobs
In John chapter 13, Jesus takes on what was considered a “dirty job” — He washed His Disciples’ feet.
Background
In the first 12 chapters of his Gospel, John paints a beautifully compelling picture of Jesus. His words and actions breathe life into everyone He encounters…at least those that accept Him. For those that reject Him, His words and actions look more like a hurricane: threatening destruction.
In chapter 11, the time of Jesus’ betrayal and arrest quickly approaches. Jesus’ close friend, Lazarus became ill and died. When Jesus Bethany (the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus), Lazarus had been in the tomb 4 days. Jesus surprised the crowd when he gave instructions to take away the stone covering the entrance to the tomb. Talk about “dirty jobs”. Martha said, “by now there will be a terrible odor...”
Jesus prayed and then He said “Lazarus, come out!” And Lazarus came out…all wrapped up like a mummy. They freed him from the cloths that bound him — he wasn’t a zombie — he was just as alive as anyone there.
If Jesus wasn’t famous enough already…the resurrection of Lazarus caused His fame to spread more rapidly. It caused His enemies to want Him dead all the more. They plotted feverishly to put a stop to His activities. However, it was too late. In chapter 12, 6 days before Passover, Jesus came riding toward Jerusalem on the colt of a donkey. In verses 13-15, the crowds threw palm branches on the road in front of Him, shouting “Hosannah! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” In verse 19, the Pharisees were beside themselves with anger and fear, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after Him.”
Let’s join the story chapter 13, verses 1-17. It was the week of Passover. Jesus knew what He would face very soon. In chapters 13-17 He lead the Disciples in some deeply emotional conversations, preparing them for what’s to come.
John 13:1–11 NIV
It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.
John 13:1–17 NIV
It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean. When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
Prayer
Jesus served others because of love: He instructs us to do the same
Interrogatory: How does Jesus’ washing the Disciples’ feet illustrate His perfect love?
Transitional: Jesus didn’t hesitate: His love motivated Him to act (that’s why He came in the first place…love) — His example shows us that...

Love steps up when no one else will

Incomparable Love
He showed them the “full extent” of His love
Think of the setting of chapter 13 — a Passover meal Jesus shared between Jesus and His Disciples
As the meal begins, something unusual happens — nobody steps up to wash the Disciples’ feet. In this culture, proper etiquette taught that guests, dusty and dirty from walking along the dusty streets, should, when they arrive, have their feet washed by a servant
This was a very dirty job — in fact, even Jewish servants were not required to perform the task. It was relegated to Gentile servants.
On this particular night, no servants were present to wash their feet. So the Disciples sat down and began their meal with unwashed feet.
Why didn’t one of the Disciples step up?
That was a slave’s task…it was below them. Undignified. Dirty!
When Jesus got up and washed their feet…this was a gesture of the “full extent” of His love (1). The men must have been shocked to see Jesus take on such a low task. He was their Master. Yet, He stepped up — somebody had to do it. He taught them yet another lesson with His actions.
The foot-washing that night was more than an example of humble servant-hood. It pointed to Jesus’ full sacrifice that would soon take place.
The foot-washing that night was more than just an example of humble servant-hood. It pointed to Jesus full sacrifice that would soon take place.
1 John 4:10 NIV
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
Hope-filled love
Hope-filled love
Hope-filled love
Can anyone come up with a sufficient explanation for why Jesus washed their feet? More importantly, why He went to the Cross? The only explanation is His love for us....the full extent.
Jesus’ incomparable love is the reason we can have hope in this life and the next.
Love available to all
When Jesus wrapped that towel around His waist and began washing their feet, He didn’t skip anyone. He washed Judas’ feet, even though He knew Judas would betray Him.
Even though Jesus washed his feet, Judas’ heart was elsewhere.
Jesus offers His grace and mercy to all people — some reject Him outright, others accept Him with their whole hearts — yet others go through the motions of accepting Him but...
Not everyone that calls Jesus Lord is truly His own
Some receive the outward washing of Christ but still have unwashed hearts…like Judas
Baptism and Communion are outward signs of an inward commitment to Jesus — they are both powerful elements of grace, but they cannot, in themselves save anyone.
Application
Your safety is found only in keeping close to Jesus and daily allowing His Word to expose and correct your heart and life.
Transitional: Jesus took on the role of a servant…all the way to the Cross. His love not only purchased our life (salvation), but it is our example of how to love others

Love is the best teacher

John 13:12–17 NIV
When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
…Jesus’ love is an “all-in” kind of love — He held nothing back — He gave His life as a full expression of His love.
…In Jesus’ washing of the Disciples’ feet, we learn that there is...
No room for pride - in receiving
Peter’s pride caused him to try and refuse Jesus washing his feet
Peter’s pride then sent him to the other extreme
Peter struggled to simply allow Jesus to serve Him in this lowly way.
…In Jesus’ washing of the Disciples’ feet, we learn that there is...
…As Jesus washed the Disciples’ feet, we learn that there is...
No room for pride - in serving
Jesus willingly took the towel, knelt down, and washed their dirty feet…a dirty job — meant for lowly servants. He took on the role of a servant, without hesitation.
He didn’t complain…he served them out of pure love
“You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord’ and rightly so — that is what I am.”
“No servant is greater than his master”
Application
Do you really accept what Jesus did for you? He took your place and my place — suffering the execution of a common criminal
Are you willing to follow Jesus’ example of self-sacrifice in serving one another?
Philippians 2:5–9 NIV
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,
:

Challenge

Challenge

During my jr. high and high school years, we lived right next door to my Grandpa Bailey. When I was about 15-16, Grandpa went downhill fast and wasn’t able to do things like he used to. It got to the point that he had a hard time bathing. Dementia began to set in - and he became confused and disoriented at times, even getting lost in his own neighborhood.
I was thinking about this yesterday morning. My mother gave me the task, for a time, of helping Grandpa bathe. I can still remember the aroma of whatever kind of soap he used. The main thing he wanted me to do was to wash his back. As a prideful kid, I wasn’t too excited about this, but I did it without much hesitation. Actually…grandpa was pretty funny and inspiring. One minute he would be laughing about something — the next minute he would begin weeping because he remembered how much Jesus loved Him. It was not a particularly fun job…but I did it because I loved my Grandpa. Somebody had to do it — and God allowed me to have that privilege. Somebody had to die for you and me…so that we could have life. Jesus’ love motivated Him to do just that.
He came down from His home at the right hand of the Father
He came down from His home at the right hand of the Father
He came down from His home at the right hand of the Father
He took on flesh — weak human flesh — and lived the life of a man
Jesus willingly laid down His life — out of pure unadulterated love
Jesus willingly laid down His life — out of pure unadulterated love
Was it easy to be treated like a common criminal? Beaten, spit on, insulted, nailed to a Cross?
No…it was a dirty job, if you will, but His love outweighed every other factor
That night Jesus washed the Disciples’ feet:
He showed them true love and servanthood
He reminded them of the importance of being clean
He set the stage for His suffering — the shedding of His blood so that we could be washed clean from the inside out and made brand new.
Jesus served others because of love: He instructs us to do the same
Actually…grandpa was pretty funny and also inspiring. One minute he was be laughing about something — the next minute he would be weeping because he remembered how much Jesus loved Him.
How can we follow Jesus’ example to love others?
Keep your heart pure before God, by the power of His Spirit
Your safety is found only in keeping close to Jesus and daily allowing His Word to expose and correct your heart and life.
Servant-hood
Servant-hood
Selflessness
Willing to do the dirty jobs without hesitation
Your safety is found only in keeping close to Jesus and daily allowing His Word to expose and correct your heart and life.
Your safety is found only in keeping close to Jesus and daily allowing His Word to expose and correct your heart and life.
How can you serve your brothers and sisters in the Powerhouse family?
Be observant and step up when no one else will
“Lord, give us a fresh appreciation for what you did for us. And remind us that your will is for us to serve one another selflessly because of your love in our hearts”
I am asking the Lord to remind us that He has instructed us to serve one another selflessly because of the love of God in our hearts.
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