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Worship Series: Lord’s Prayer
Worship Theme: For the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory Are Yours
- CW 239: Glory Be To God the Father
- Change My Heart, Oh God
- From Evil, Lord, Deliver Us
- Koine:All Glory to Our Lord and God
- CW 363: The King of Glory Comes
Watch the livestream beginning at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday. After the livestream is finished, the video will be available to watch at any time.
Message: For the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory Are Yours
Pastor Jake Schram
Several months ago, Pastor Enter gave a sermon on the five love languages. The five love languages are 5 different ways to communicate love as observed by Gary Chapman. If you haven’t read the book, I highly recommend it to anyone planning to have any relationship whatsoever. Over his years of marriage counseling, Chapman realized that there are different ways to show love and certain ways in which people feel more loved. These categories he labeled are words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. Throughout the Bible Jesus has done all of those things. He really has. Actually, in your growth group questions this week, I’m going to ask you to try and find somewhere in the Bible where Jesus shows love in each category. But today, Jesus is going to focus on one category in particular: Acts of service. In our text for today, Jesus is going to demonstrate his love to his disciples and encourage his disciples to love as he does.
Our text places us very close to Jesus’ crucifixion. In fact, we are on the precipice of the Last Supper. Jesus would be betrayed later that night, and put to death the very next day. And Jesus knows this. This is not coming as a surprise to him. This was always the plan and Jesus was going to carry it out. Our text says, “Having loved those who were his own in the world, he loved them to the end.” At this point Judas is ready to betray Jesus. Jesus understands this, but out of love continues forward anyways. There is so little time left to prepare his disciples. But there is still enough for Jesus to impress a very important concept upon his followers.
Our text says, “3 Jesus knew that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God. 4 He got up from the supper and laid aside his outer garment. He took a towel and tied it around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
Do you understand what is going on here? Jesus is God. The kingdom, the power, the glory is his and he can do whatever he wants with it. He’s omniscient! He’s all powerful. He’s beyond comparison…and he’s washing feet. Maybe that sounds a little weird to our ears. After all, most of us don’t really go around washing other people’s feet, especially when they are capable of doing it themselves. Quick show of hands, how many have washed another person’s feet this week? And we are not counting washing small children’s feet or taking care of someone who can’t do it themselves. Did you wash the feet of someone completely capable of washing their own feet?
Back then, this was a big deal. In a society where walking was the normal way of travel, heat was frequent and sweating a way of life, washing feet was not the greatest of jobs. It certainly wasn’t a job for the Messiah. It reminds me of when I used to work at Taco Bell. There was one job that no one wanted to do! Can anyone guess? (leave a bit of time for guesses). You got it! It was cleaning the toilets. That’s a dangerous job at Taco Bell and people would skip it, try to delegate it, avoid it, and actually one person quit when asked to do it. That’s the type of thing we are talking about in our text. No one wants to do this. No one. It’s everyone’s least favorite chore. Usually, it was delegated to slaves who had no choice in the matter.
Here you have the Son of God, the most powerful, wonderful, majestic being in all existence. And he’s doing the job of a slave…willingly. Why would he do that? Why would he do anything he did? Why would he come down and make himself human? Why would he subject himself to the temptations he had to experience? Why would he continue to give of himself and spend so much of his time healing and teaching? Why would he live a life without sin in our place? Why would he give up his life for us? Why? The answer is the same reason he washed their feet that fateful night. Because of love. Jesus was doing an act of service that nobody else would want to do in order to show his love for his people. It has to be 14 years ago now. I went on a mission trip to Washington D.C for a week. And let me tell you, they worked us hard over there. We worked in childcare, storm clean up, outdoor house work, etc. And it was hot outside. In the morning and evenings, we would cram ourselves in a building someone was nice enough to let us stay in. There were a lot of warm bodies crammed into a small place. There was no air conditioning. And someone had decided it would be a great idea to start something called the no shower club for the week! It doesn’t take a mathematician here to add up that we were incredibly smelly and gross. One night our youth leader came out with a basin and a towel. He read us this account and then proceeded to wash all of our feet. As the tennis shoes came off, it was a miracle he didn’t faint, but he remained serious and somber. Why was he willing to do something so gross and stinky? Because he cared. He was so determined to show us his love. And some of us protested that we didn’t need it or didn’t want it or didn’t want to put him through it, but he kept pressing until he had washed every single foot. Two years later, I was privileged to help with the same activity. Something strange happened after the washing. People opened up. We were able to talk about Christ in a very open and vulnerable way. Why? Because people felt safe in the love around the room.
Jesus was about to do a greater washing. He was washing the disciples’ feet now, but he was about to wash away the sins of the world by giving up his spotless life as a sacrifice for us all. Some of us might have protested. “Jesus, don’t do it. Why would you give yourself up? I don’t want that. I don’t need that.” But Jesus knew better, it was the only way you could be saved. And so he did it and never turned back out of love. This act of service was for everyone. You, your friends, your family, the people you hate. And you can be secure in his love and open up your weaknesses and shortcomings to him. You can lay your worries, and problems, and failures on him. He’ll carry them and continue to wash them clean. He’ll continue demonstrating his love for you just as he did to the disciples when he washed their feet. With love like that it’s easier to understand why we say the kingdom, the power, and the glory are his. Out of his great love he has done everything for us and defeated every enemy.
Our text shows us the great love Jesus had for his disciples, but that is not the only reason he is washing their feet. Jesus is trying to teach his disciples something. He said, “Do you understand what I have done for you? You call me Teacher and Lord. You are right, because I am. Now if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. Yes I have given you an example so that you also would do just as I have done for you.” Jesus walks them through what he wants them to learn. If I am God of all things and willing to do something as lowly as washing your feet, then you too should not consider yourselves too great to serve others in small matters. It was an example of love so the disciples would do things out of love for others, even the little things no one might want to do.
This lesson would have an extra effect on the disciples. In the past, the disciples had argued about who was the greatest among them. For so long, they had false pictures in their mind where they would have high positions of authority on earth and people would praise them among the earthly kingdoms. Their pride had made them feel as if people should be serving them instead of them being willing to help others. But to love Jesus means laying pride aside. It means being willing to serve. To help others take baby steps towards the kingdom of God. If the Lord and Teacher had done this, his followers ought to also.
As I was writing this sermon the other night, the more I thought about this the more I realized how similar all of us are to the disciples, but maybe a little worse. How often have you seen an opportunity to serve and just thought, “I don’t want to do that, someone else should take care of that.”? How often have we gotten lazy in even our closest relationships? Even in just the small things? I think it’s common in a relationship for at least one person to leave just a little bit of food in the container so they can put it back in the fridge and not have to wash that dish. Does anyone know what I’m talking about? Or maybe you’ve pretended you didn’t see the spill or dog pee on the floor so you didn’t have to clean it up? These are small things, but what about the big things, like refusing to share your faith? Like not showing the love of Christ through your actions? These are huge because love is not a one-time thing. It is not something you get to do once and then never again. Love is consistent. And I’m sorry to say it’s something all of us consistently fall short of.
Earlier I talked about that mission trip I went on. Everyone was the best Christian ever the week after that mission trip. To this day, I have never seen people as fired up for God. Everyone was sharing their faith, confident, ready to follow God to the ends of the earth. But then something happened. Not instantly, but instead very, very, slowly. Many of them started falling away from the faith. As years passed, one person would fall away and then another. And I cannot help but wonder if they had people continue to serve them in love or was it just that one time? Had no one consistently shown them the love of Christ and the world just snuffed it out? I’m not sure, but I do know the power consistent love can have. There were some people on the mission trip that night whose lives would never be the same because they would see the same love the youth leader showed them from Christ. They would see it in God’s Word and the actions recorded there not just once, but again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again. Their faith would grow from being in this Word and seeing the serving attitude and love of Jesus. Many would continue believing and seeing Jesus’ love. And would you believe that 3 of them, 3 of them became pastors. And they were the 3 you’d never expect to do so.
God’s Word and his love have an incredible impact on your life. You actually become blessed when you serve. Verse 17 says “If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.” Not only are you secure in the knowledge that your sins are washed away, but you also start serving others as Christ did. It’s incredible! God’s Word slowly pushes out the arrogance that says, “I’m too good for that” or “I’m better than you.” It wrings out the thought of, “I’ll just do things that I’m only comfortable with.” And it helps you to love and serve better as you realize everyone is a child of God. You will be better serving your friends, your family, and your wonderful precious God in love. In today’s text, Jesus shows us how to love and then encourages us to do the same. No one else works for us and in us like you, Jesus. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours!! Amen.