While I am away speaking at a Junior High/Middle School Camp at a place near and dear to my heart–Hartland Christian Camp–may I welcome to the Upper Room, and Jesus’ farewell address to His beloved disciples.
As you are about to hear in this PODCAST, as we break the seal on this, Jesus’ final night before the crucifixion, I do so with something of a lump in my throat and the pinkish hue of embarrassment upon my otherwise rosy cheeks. This because this particular portion of the grand story of Jesus’ life and ministry hits me most personally. And if, as they say, “Confession is good for the soul,” then I make my confession to you, my beloved little Safe Haven family, tonight.
There is embedded within this most amazing scene, Jesus washing His disciples’ feet, a timeless lesson that, if only I could turn back the hands of the clock and the passage of time, I would have taken to heart way back when I was just starting out in my ministry.
This pointed and practical warning is as timely today as it was that night in that Upper Room when Jesus gave it to His disciples.
A timeless truth that has come to define my life and, more to the point, my ministry today. A living lesson of which you are the beneficiaries.
As we detailed last week, this so-called “Last Supper” was a modified Passover seder. I say modified because as we learned last week, the word seder means “order.” As in a carefully choreographed, specifically scripted order to the meal.
Yet, at certain significant points along the way, Jesus purposefully departed from that thousands-year-old order and added to that script.
Just as Jesus did here, in John 13, at the very beginning of their meal together.
It was certainly customary — very much a part of the script — for the host (Jesus) to wash His hands ceremonially as meal began. But why did He then wash His disciples’ feet?
Especially given that every other departure that Jesus made from the seder script expanded or enhanced the significance of their celebration of Passover, especially in light of His coming death as ultimate Passover Lamb.
Every departure, except for this one: Jesus washing His disciples’ feet.
A beautiful gesture, to be sure. The quintessential picture of loving humility and servanthood. So much so that foot washing in some Christian traditions even today, has been elevated to a sacrament or ordinance equal to that of Communion and Baptism.
You talk about, Paint the picture, Rabbi? How about Jesus kneeling as a slave to wash His disciples’ feet (including Judas’ feet) as a three-dimensional, high definition picture of this? (The this to be explained in the remainder of this Podcast.)
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God bless you richly as you listen.