- Reclaim Your World
- John 13:1-17
- Lyndol Loyd April 8, 2018
There has never been and there will never be a better embodiment of what it means to be a servant than Jesus. He was the ultimate servant. Just listen to what He was willing to do for the disciples:
Just before the Passover Feast, Jesus knew that the time had come to leave this world to go to the Father. Having loved his dear companions, he continued to love them right to the end. It was suppertime. The Devil by now had Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, firmly in his grip, all set for the betrayal.
Jesus knew that the Father had put him in complete charge of everything, that he came from God and was on his way back to God. So he got up from the supper table, set aside his robe, and put on an apron. The he poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with his apron. When he got to Simon Peter, Peter said, “Master, you wash my feet?”
Jesus answered, “You don’t understand now what I’m doing but it will be clear enough to you later.”
Peter persisted, “You’re not going to wash my feet – ever!”
Jesus said, “If you’ve had a bath in the morning, you only need your feet washed now and you’re clean from head to toe. My concern, you understand, is holiness, not hygiene. So now you’re clean. But not every one of you.” (He knew who was betraying him. That’s why he said, “Not every one of you.”) After he had finished washing their feet, he took his robe, put it back on and went back to his place at the table.
Then he said, “Do you understand what I have done to you. You address me as Teacher and Master and rightly so. That’s what I am. So if I, the Master and Teacher, washed your feet, you must now wash each other’s feet. I’ve laid down a pattern for you. What I’ve done, you do. I’m only pointing out the obvious. A servant is not ranked above his master; an employee doesn’t give orders to the employer. If you understand what I’m telling you, act like it – and live a blessed life.” – John 13:1-17
The roads of Palestine were unpaved and uncleaned. There wasn’t a street sweeping truck coming along to tidy up the neighborhood.
In dry weather the roads were inches deep in dust and in wet weather they were liquid mud. The shoes that ordinary people wore at that time were not waterproof or incredibly protective in nature.
The shoes of ordinary people were sandals, simple soles held onto the foot by a few straps – nothing any of us would want to be wearing if we had to trek through the mud or walk down a dirt road.
Because this was the case, there were always water pots at the entrance of every home. If you had money a servant would be there with a towel to wash your feet. But if you were an average household, it was customary to take turns doing the chore of washing the feet of guests as they came together.
It must have been that on that night none of the disciples was very eager to wash the other guy’s feet, so no one did it. No one that is, until Jesus. Jesus did what none of them was prepared to do. He washed their filthy, dirty, sweaty, smelly feet. He was a servant.
I’ll never forget the first time I truly learned what it means to be a servant. I was asked to be part of the leadership team at the Wesley Foundation campus ministry where I participated during my college years. I thought this was going to be a great thing, and it was, it just wasn’t what I thought it was going to be.
I showed up for the leadership team retreat before the Spring semester got under way and was looking forward to all the things I would get to be a part of. I was anxious to spend time with my friends as we got ready to head out of town together for our retreat.
Our director, Steve Moore, pulled the group of about thirty of us together after we had loaded all of our stuff into the vans and said, “Before we head out, there are a few things that we need to do first.”
He passed out a list of chores with our names beside the things that needed to be done around our campus ministry building – things like cleaning the toilets, reworking the flower-beds and scrubbing down the kitchen.
Providing janitorial service was not part of my image of what it meant to serve on a leadership team. I was supposed to be organizing small groups, planning worship services and scheduling parties. To put it mildly, wearing a pair of yellow rubber gloves and scouring a toilet bowl wasn’t my idea of a good time.
Through that experience I learned a great deal about what it means to be the Church rather than simply go to church. Through that experience, God taught me a great deal about what it means to be a leader and more importantly what it means to be like Jesus.
Surely if Jesus could wash the feet of His disciples, I could clean a toilet.
By washing the feet of His disciples, Jesus made it pretty clear that there is only one kind of greatness to be achieved – greatness through service.
Jesus taught servanthood, plain and simple. He taught that the Christian faith is an active faith, a faith played out in humility. God chose to come in the form of a human being, in itself an act of service and humility for the King of heaven.
Jesus committed himself to thinking of others, to meeting their needs and serving them and told them to do the same. In just a little while we are going to leave this place to go out and do the same for a few hours.
Our task is to go out and reclaim Lubbock in the name of Jesus Christ, to be the hands and feet of Christ to a world that desperately needs to know that Jesus loves them.
Jesus himself put it this way in Matthew 25:31-40:
31 “But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’