Happy 2nd week of FCA and 1st full week of classes! This week we heard from Jason Cook from Fellowship Memphis. Here’s a recap if you couldn’t make it or just want a refresher!
Scripture: John 13:1-20
Jason told the story of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. It is a story that most of us have probably heard before, but Jason shared with us why he felt that it should have drastic implications on the way we are living today. He shared the ways that it showed God’s incredible love for us and how we should live in response to that. He explained that in those times, the act of washing feet was reserved for the lowliest of servants–not even Jewish servants had to wash the Jewish people’s feet. It was saved for the Gentile servants, who were considered to be below them. Jesus took off his outer garments, essentially wearing the clothing that a slave would wear, and then washed the disciple’s feet. Peter protested, but Jesus explained that if he did not wash his feet, Peter could not be part of him.
There is no other God like ours. This is so important! It’s easy for us to go along with our lives and think that God is someone far off, not super interested in our lives, hoping that we won’t mess up. But that’s so far from the truth. I have been told before that putting God in a box or thinking of him like that is like looking at the Grand Canyon through a straw. What a waste of time and joy! There is such an incredible view, such a joy waiting for you if you would only allow yourself to see the full picture. To believe it. Jesus left the seat of exultation to get his hands dirty, and to wash our feet. No other god would bow to wash feet. We get a God who kneels. We get a God who loves us so much that he would don the clothing of a slave and perform a task that was reserved for the lowest of all servants. He served us to the point of death. All because He loves us!
The main point: The passover lamb washes the feet of His own accomplishing their share with Him so that the nations might be blessed.
1.The Passover Lamb
In Exodus, God sends plagues upon the people of Egypt to free His people from them. The last is the plague on the firstborn. Those who wanted to save their firstborn from death were told to spread the blood of a lamb over their doorposts, and God promised that his wrath would pass over them. When we believe in Jesus, our faith acts as the blood over our door so that God’s wrath, which we deserve, will pass over us. Jesus is the passover lamb. In that story, the lamb saved only a few for a short amount of time, but His blood saves all forever. Jason reminded us that Jesus is better than anything we can imagine and His death was more powerful than any of the miracles or awesome stories we’ve seen in the Old Testament.
2. Washes the feet of his own
To talk about this phrase, Jason first touched on the idea of predestination. It’s a hard one to grasp. It’s something I personally believe in but have so much trouble understanding sometimes, and he offered such great wisdom about it. He shared with us John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” God loves the world, Jason said, so that he might call his own out of it.
We often ask the wrong question when thinking about predestination, about a chosen people, about what “his own” means. We wonder how he could possibly choose some, but not all. But the real question we should be asking is: why would he choose anyone? We all deserve death. We are imperfect, sinful beings, so unworthy of a presence with a perfect God. But he loves us anyway! We are dead in our sins, and we cannot make ourselves come alive. Only God can do that. He chooses us, He brings us back to life, and at the same time we must also choose to follow Him. It is both. It is ‘and.’ He chooses us and we must choose Him. Our minds were never meant to understand how that makes sense. God would not be God if we could understand everything He does! Similarly, if it were totally up to us to choose Him, we would be able to take credit for our salvation. It would be because of something we did. But our salvation doesn’t rest on what we can do for God, and that is so encouraging. It is solely what He has done for us in his power and in his love!
Then, for those that He calls His own, He loves us enough to wash our feet. He donned the clothing of a slave and then performed a task that was reserved for the lowliest. God doesn’t just love us in word, he loves us in deed. What an awesome thing to think about! Jason then took it a step further–if he’s willing to wash his disciples’ feet, think of where that means he’s willing to enter into your life. He will go to the darkest, most hidden parts of us, the parts that we don’t want anyone to see, and he will clean them for us. They will never be clean if He doesn’t do the work, but He is more than willing to. He wants to.
3. Accomplishing their share with Him
How many of us try to wash ourselves? We think that we can accomplish things on our own, that we can plan out our lives and do the right things without His help. But, like Jesus told Peter, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” (v 8) We run to other things, even good things, to try and clean ourselves and those become our idols. We are in daily need of cleansing, and no matter how hard we may try, we can’t cleanse ourselves. It is only God that can. And the good news is, once he washes us clean, he is finished! It is a one and done type deal. There’s nothing that can take you away from Him. If the Lamb of God has washed us, he has accomplished our share with Him.
Then, Jesus tells Peter that “those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean.” This doesn’t negate the fact that Jesus need only wash us once. Jason explained it this way–in Jesus’ time, they only took a bath about once or twice a month. Before bed, though, they would wash their feet to get the dirt off of them from walking around in sandals in the desert all day long. This washing of feet is a metaphor for our daily need of confession and repentance. We are spiritual beings, owned and loved by God, but we still live in a physical, natural world in the presence of sin. We will blow it sometimes, we will sin, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t children of God. We just have to return to him each day to “wash our feet”.
4. So that the nations might be blessed
Jason closed his message by giving us two things to think about. The first is this: servants serve and messengers deliver (verse 16). Neither is the master nor the message. We tend to want to serve for our own glory. But the truth of the matter is that he doesn’t need us. He doesn’t need us, yet he chooses to love us, to serve us, and to include us in His awesome plans for this world. He served us to the point of death. We will never be more important than the message, but we have the incredible opportunity to be servants and messengers for it and to share that message with the world around us.
The second lesson he left us with was: If Jesus would kneel for us, what could we ever say we are unwilling to do for others? He washes feet, he made himself lowly and like a servant. We must follow his example.
Follow his example this week. Go out into campus and serve the way that Jesus would have. Realize that we are never more important than our master, but He loves us deeply and that is something to celebrate and share with anyone who doesn’t yet know Him. We serve an incredible God, one unlike any other, and He loves us more than anyone ever could.
Rest in that truth this week and we will see you again on Thursday night!