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He. . . Took a Towel!

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The Lord God, Jesus Christ washed the disciples feet and told them to do likewise.

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He. . . Took a Towel!

I’d like to ask you to turn in your Bibles to
He took a towel. As if someone took a towel that didn’t belong to them.
He took a towel? As if someone took a towel to accomplish a job that required a different tool.
OR
He . . . took a towel.
That is how I intend for us to look at this topic today.
He. . . took a towel.
I’d like to ask you to turn in your Bibles to
As you are turning there, I want to set the context for you, as our minds may very well be on the designated title for the particular Sunday, Palm Sunday.
Christ has been becoming increasingly known and identifiable by the people of Israel. At the point of His life, which we are going to be looking at this morning, he has already made His way into Jerusalem, as people shouted "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!”
Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!”
Jesus was with His disciples, we are told in Luke’s account of this evening, that some of the disciples were wondering, who of them, would be the greatest in the Kingdom.
Each of the disciples had their own particular way of showing their allegiance to Christ throughout the months and weeks leading up to Christ’s crucifixion. But this morning, I want to look at one particular event that took place as He was reclining at the table with His disciples, during, what is now referred to as the last Supper.
Please follow along as I read from the Gospel of John.
John 13:1–20 ESV
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. 2 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. 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. 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!” 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.” 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. 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.”

HE, took a towel

John 13:3–5 ESV
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. 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.
Jn 13:
Who was this?
What is the expectation? Certainly the disciples did not expect Christ to wash their feet.
We can certainly relate to the concept of respecting an elder, honoring a special guest or distinguished person in our midst.
On Wednesday, an article by FOX News reported, that an American Airlines flight attendant was 'mortified' after spilling tray of drinks on the company’s CEO. The article read: “An American Airlines flight attendant said she was "mortified" after a passenger bumped into her and she accidentally sprayed her company's CEO with a tray full of drinks on a flight recently. "Luckily he was super cool, and a good sport about it. He later came back and we chatted for a little, and joked about it the rest of the flight," Maddie Peters said on Instagram about her interaction with CEO Doug Parker on the flight from Phoenix to Dallas. The two of them even took a photo together. "When he was getting off the plane he told me he'd never forget me.... guess that's a good thing right?" she added in the post. Peters says she's never spilled a drink on a passenger in her four years on the job. "Accidents happen," she wrote.
This passage in the book of John however is not about a CEO of an American Corporation. Doug Parker, CEO of American Airlines, I would have to admit is a fairly powerful and influential person in comparison to most people I know, but . . . I think that even a CEO in a major American corporation doesn’t have anything to be proud of in comparison to Jesus Christ.
Let’s stop and think about who we’re talking about.

The Son of God

When we speak of Jesus Christ it is important for us to recall that He is not merely a great man. He is and was not simply a wonderful teacher, preacher and leader. He was and is not merely a marvelous caregiver to those He interacted with. He is God! He was eternally the Son of God, He was the person of the Trinity that was active in the creation of the World and He is the Redeemer of all who believe in His personal, perfect sacrifice for the payment of our sin.

God, Incarnate

It is virtually impossible for us to comprehend the condescension of Christ, to come and assume a human nature.
John Owen, said this when considering our attempt to grasp the depth of Christ’s condescension, “We speak of these things in a poor low broken manner- we teach them as they are revealed in Scripture- we labour by faith to adhere unto them as revealed: but when we come into a steady, direct view and consideration of the thing itself, our minds fail, our hearts tremble, and we can find no rest but in a holy admiration of what we cannot comprehend.”
We need to regularly gaze upon the Incarnate Son of God, in all His glory and majesty, and allow our hearts to tremble in holy admiration.
It was clear, however, that Christ’s mission was not to be served but instead His mission was to serve. To do the Father’s will and to serve those whom the Father had given to Him. He served us through His death, burial and resurrection.

Wash one another’s feet.

John 13:14 ESV
14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.
It was clear that Christ’s mission was not to be served but instead His mission was to serve. To do the Father’s will and to serve those whom the Father had given to Him. He served us through His death, burial and resurrection.
And said go and do likewise.
Jn 13:1
Matthew 20:28 ESV
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.”
Matthew 20:25–28 ESV
25 But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 26 It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, 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.”
Matt
In D.A. Carson’s book Scandalous, Carson points out the incredible level of irony surrounding the final days and hours of Christ’s life just before His death on the cross.
Irony of the One who healed so many, was by God’s plan, unable to heal Himself.
The One who saved so many lives, was by God’s plan, unable to spare His own life.
The One who was the only perfect spotless One, would become sin, for those whose even righteous deeds are as filthy rags.
This is the irony of the cross. This is the irony of Jesus’ life and the irony of His death.
And as He, Himself said rather ironically, He came to SERVE, not to be served.
Do you see the irony of this interaction with the disciples (including Judas). The One who was most worthy of being honored, showed that we must not be concerned with position or status.
He took a towel, and stooped to clean the disciples feet.
The New American Commentary: John 12–21 (1) Jesus, Judas, and Peter at the Foot Washing (13:1–11)

touching feet was regarded as menial slave work and as such was primarily an assignment given to Gentile slaves and women.

You and I need to be willing to take off our outer garments, roll up our sleeves, so to speak and to serve one another. To serve the least of these.
When we gaze upon Him long enough to discern, what He has revealed about Himself to us, we cannot help but find ourselves willing to rise up to wash one another’s feet.

Wash one another’s feet.

John 13:14 ESV
14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.

Serve One another, as Christ did.

John 13:14–15 ESV
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.
John 13:14-

Love one another in humility and kindness.

John 13:6–11 ESV
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!” 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.”
John 13:6-11
This section of verses gives us more insight about what exactly the washing of the feet signified. There was more to this action than the cleansing of their feet.
The disciples only needed their feet washed. They did not need to be bathed, except one. The one who would betray Christ was not yet clean according to verse 10 & 11.
That being said, I believe we have a clear understanding of what Christ was referring to. When talking about washing feet, He was not referring to the forgiveness of sins or salvation.
We know that because we are told to serve one another- in Verse 17 He states that it isn’t merely a matter of us knowing how He lived and how we should live, but we should actually do it in the same way He did.
Nor was
Second, I believe that Jesus wasn’t just making a point about cleaning one another’s feet or serving one another in a physical sense, because he made the point that not every one of them was clean, referring to Judas, who was about to betray Him.
His act of taking a towel and washing their feet was a symbolic act, an analogy of our need for spiritual cleanliness (progressive sanctification) and he goes on to communicate the importance of assisting one another in that process.
This “washing of our feet” happens as we lovingly and graciously, offer to serve one another by encouraging others to walk in holiness, righteousness, contentment. . . in peace, joy and gentleness.
It wasn’t that the disciples couldn’t wash their own feet, rather Christ’s act was a humble act of love.
It is not as if we are to neglect our own holiness, but as the body of Christ we are commanded to help one another even as we strive for our own personal holiness.
When we approach another believer about a certain “uncleanliness” in their life, it should be done is such a way that they know we are seeking to serve them, to love them and to care for them.
How did they perceive your input? What was their perception of your attitude and your observation?
It shouldn’t give them the impression that we feel that we hold authority over their lives.
When done properly, serving someone, even in the sense of pointing out their need for a partial cleansing, may result in a reaction but we need to be willing to follow through so there is no question about our motive, our humility and our love toward them.
Galatians 6:1–2 ESV
1 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Galatians 6:1–2 ESV
1 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Gal 6:
James 5:19–20 ESV
19 My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, 20 let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
Love covers a multitude of sins! Washing one another’s spiritual feet is not just confronting sin in a brother or sister’s life, but also being willing to lovingly overlook their offenses. Not in an enabling way, but in such as way that inhibits bitterness and unforgiveness.
Love covers a multitude of sins! Washing one another’s spiritual feet is not just confronting sin in a brother or sister’s life, but also being willing to lovingly overlook their offenses. Not in an enabling way, but in such as way that inhibits bitterness and unforgiveness.
Peter didn’t like the idea of Christ stooping to such a low state, but Christ insisted.
Peter didn’t like the idea of Christ stooping to such a low state, but Christ insisted. The act of having his feet washed needed to take place, to cleanse Peter and to help him into a greater maturity in His faith, which would inevitably be used to spread the glory of God and the Gospel message throughout the world.
John 13:8–10 ESV
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!” 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.”
John 13:8-
A few simple application points here:

We need to let Christ purify us

As He has and is washing our feet, we too should wash one another’s feet.

Are you bathed? Have you been cleansed and clothed in Christ’s righteousness? Are you actively seeking for God’s guidance and direction in bringing you to align more fully with His will?

We need to wash one another’s feet.

Are you close enough to other believers to know how their walk is going? Are you able to see the “dirt” on their “feet”? When is the last time you stooped to rinse someone’s foot (spiritually speaking)?

We need to let brothers and sisters in Christ to encourage us toward holiness

Are you willing to sit and let someone wash your feet?
My wife does a fantastic job, better than any of my friends at washing my feet. And praise God, I have some friends that are great foot washers. Sometimes it is difficult to let them do it. Especially, my wife.
Sometimes I want to kick a little dirt on their shoes just to prove, that I am not the only one that gets dirty feet and need to wash up a little bit.

He took a towel . . . will you take a towel too?

The almighty God, creator of Heaven and earth, the Sovereign King of the Universe, Eternally, All powerful, All knowing God stooped and took a towel, giving us an example for us to follow. All Praise & Glory to God for His wonderful gracious, merciful, tender care.
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