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the lord’s example Moses Seo Guest Speaker English Congregation Vancouver Chinese Baptist Church Vancouver, British Columbia Sunday Sermon for 31 July 2011 Scripture Passage John 13:12-15


ONE DAY AND A HALF TO LIVE You may heard the story about the man who received a phone call from his doctor. The doctor said, "I’ve got some bad news and some really bad news."   The man said, "Tell me the bad news." The doctor said, "The bad news is that I got your test results back and you have only one day and a half to live."   The man is distraught, "One day and a half to live? That’s terrible! What on earth could be worse than that? If that’s the bad news then what’s the VERY bad news?" The doctor sighs and says, “I should have told you yesterday”. HE KNEW HIS TIME HAD COME My point is this ... if you knew that you only had 1 day and half left to live, what would you do with the time you have left? Would you want to spend time with your family, go to your favourite place one more time, eat your favourite meal, even if it is fattening? Would you want to be alone in prayer? Would you record some final thoughts for those left behind? Would you go on a mad spending shopping? To be honest, if I faced imminent death I would probably be totally pre-occupied about myself and what I’m about to go through. We probably all would.   But here we have the events of the last few moments of Jesus’ life. John 13 verse 1 says that, ‘Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love’. Did you get that? Knowing that his time had come ... knowing that in just a few hours he was going to be arrested, beaten, bruised, whipped and crucified ... knowing that in just a few hours he was going to endure the most violent death known to mankind ... However the Lord Jesus, rather than being preoccupied with self pity ... He took off his cloak, put a towel around His waist and washed the dirty feet of His disciples. Who’s going to waste time on washing someone’s feet when the end is so near? Jesus! Why? Because despite what he was facing, despite what he was about to go through, despite what he was about to endure, He wanted to show them how important it is to serve one another in humility. 2 THE LORD’S EXAMPLE

The apostle Paul reminds us in Philippians 2:3-8 that we should "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than you yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself ... "  He humbled himself. Why? In order to demonstrate His love. It says that He now showed them the full extent of his love. How? By washing their feet. By His actions, by what He did, Jesus showed that nothing demonstrates love more clearly than humble service to others.  Foot washing: You already know this but let me just say something about foot washing again. In the time of Jesus and in that culture, the most demeaning task around was to wash the guest’s feet. It was job done by lowest slaves. It was necessary because back in those days there were no cars, or planes, or trains, or public transport. People went everywhere by foot and they wore sandals. They walked along trails that were not only dirty and dusty but also covered with camel’s and donkey’s smelly droppings.  Their feet would get filthy and when they arrived at their destination it was common courtesy for the host to have his slave wash the guest’s feet as they entered the house. But this was such a demeaning task that Jewish servants were not required to do it. Foreign slaves were used to washing people’s feet.   And you can just picture the scene as Jesus and His disciples enter the room. They see the towel & water basin in the corner. But there is no slave to wash their feet. Perhaps some of them pause as they enter the room, wondering where the servant was. As they recline at the table, each disciple feels a little uncomfortable. And they start thinking to themselves, “Somebody should at least wash Jesus’ feet. But, if I do that, where will that put me on the social pecking order, right at the bottom that’s where.” “I did it last time. It’s Matthew’s turn. He hasn’t done it in years.” 


“Peter and John were supposed to take care of all this. It’s their fault there’s no slave here so one of them should do it.”  John is thinking, “Look I’m over here leaning next to Jesus, I’m in spiritual intimacy. I can’t do it”.  Peter is thinking, “Don’t these other guys know how important I am. Don’t they know the call of God on my life? Jesus called me the rock. He said he was going to build His church on me. They should all be over here right now washing both mine and Jesus’ feet.”  If we are honest, we all know that kind of thinking goes on in every church. Somebody needs to take care of the Sunday School, but that’s not my ministry. Somebody needs to make the tea and coffee, but that’s not my job. Someone else can do it. Somebody needs to clean the toilets. Someone forgot to put the rubbish out, but it’s not going to be me.   I expect each of those disciples were secretly hoping that somebody else would volunteer and were busy trying to justify in their own mind why it shouldn’t be them!  EVERYBODY, SOMEBODY, ANYBODY, AND NOBODY  Have you heard the story about the four church members called Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody. One day there was an important job to be done in the church and Everybody was asked to do it. But everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but in the end Nobody did it. Somebody got angry that Nobody did it, because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody just thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realised that Everybody wouldn’t do it. And so it ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.  And so here are these 12 disciples all leaning around the table hoping that someone was going to volunteer to get up and do this most menial of tasks. After all they were far too important. Much of their conversation for days before this had been ‘Kingdom Talk’. They’d been busy discussing about sitting on twelve thrones! “We’re going to be rulers, important people in the kingdom!” They were having debates about who was the closest to Jesus, who was the favoured disciple, who was the top disciple, who was pastors pet? Peter says, “It’s obvious that it’s me. I’m the rock on which the church will be built.” 3 THE LORD’S EXAMPLE

John says, “No, Peter. I am the beloved disciple.”   But then, amidst all this thought and dialogue of greatness, and power and prestige about who was going to be the greatest in the kingdom, Jesus stands up, and without a word, and without any reservation, he takes off his outer garment, picks up the bowl and the towel and begins to wash their feet. ‘Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of that love.’ By washing their feet. By humbling himself to carry out the most demeaning of tasks. And he says in verses 12–15 “Do you understand what I have done for you? 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. I tell you the truth, 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.”  Think about the disciples; ❖ They’d all been arguing about which of them was the greatest (Luke 22:24).  ❖ One of them would betray Him  ❖ One of them would deny Him  ❖ Ten of them would desert Him  Remember even Judas Iscariot, the traitor, was there.  Can you wash the feet of your enemies? Will you serve the person though you know he or she will not return the kindness? You see foot washing isn’t about foot washing. It’s about serving others at personal sacrifice, humbling ourselves when we don’t have to. CONCLUSION In 1989, Mother Teresa visited Phoenix to open a home for the poor. During that brief visit, she was interviewed by the local radio station. In a private moment, the announcer asked Mother Teresa if there was anything he could do for her. He was expecting her to request a contribution or media attention to help to raise money. Instead, she replied, "Yes, there is. Find somebody, nobody else loves, and love them."


What does it mean to wash the feet of others? It means humbling yourself—you get down where the need is—and you do something about it.   What if Christians became known for their love and humility? It would change everything. Literal foot washing would be a little weird these days, but what else could we do? Mow a neighbour’s lawn, help a co-worker with a project, pay school tuition for a kid in a struggling family, offer free babysitting for a single mom, or visit the residents of a nursing home. Especially, at the VBS day Camp in Tsawout First Nation, you may put it into practice among the team members and among our Native children.

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The Lord's Example