Pastor Dan Nichols
There is a special, powerful narrative in the book of John situated in the final days before Jesus’ crucifixion. In it we see the act of a servant. In it we see the one who spoke the universe into existence entering into a role that most of us wouldn’t even consider filling.
In this scene we see Jesus washing feet in anticipation of the evening’s meal. Jesus, who is the rightful inheritor of the king’s wardrobe, who wraps himself in a robe of unending light, who is clothed with splendor and majesty, lays aside his coat and wraps a servant’s towel around his waist.
And the two questions are
Why? What motivation? The framework around the scene tells us the heart behind what Jesus is doing.
Immediately before recounting the story writer observes that Jesus “loved his own who were in the world” and that he “loved them to the end”. And then, having eaten, as the disciples recline at the table, Jesus says, “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.
The heart of one who serves his brothers and sisters – a love expressed through a willingness to do whatever is needed, no matter how seemingly insignificant
But to what end? Why wash feet?
Jesus is the one who purifies and makes clean. He says to Peter, “the one who has bathed does not need to wash…you are already clean.” So Jesus is the one who washes clean. And Jesus’ people imitate this by making a practice of, as Paul says, washing one another with the word.
There is an ongoing work of serving one another as we prepare for the bridegroom to come; as we anticipate the wedding feast. The service of sister or brother makes available the ongoing washing as we look forward to the return of Jesus Christ.
And I want to make this very real to you who in some way serve the people of God that make up Redeemer Church.
Your exhortation this morning is to see every act of service towards Jesus’ people as eternally significant.
That is, to recognize and reset your heart to live as if nothing is below you when it comes to looking out for the wellbeing of your brothers and sisters. Because truth is that we have set limits for what we would be willing to do in our efforts to seek each other’s spiritual good.