Sermon Preparation -
April 1, 1999
John 13:1-17, 31b-35
It was before Passover, and Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and to return to the Father. He had always loved his followers in this world, and he loved them to the very end.
Even before the evening meal started, the devil had made Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, decide to betray Jesus.
Jesus knew that he had come from God and would go back to God. He also knew that the Father had given him complete power. So during the meal Jesus got up, removed his outer garment, and wrapped a towel around his waist. He put some water into a large bowl. Then he began washing his disciples' feet and drying them with the towel he was wearing.
But when he came to Simon Peter, that disciple asked, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?"
Jesus answered, "You don't really know what I am doing, but later you will understand."
"You will never wash my feet!" Peter replied.
"If I don't wash you," Jesus told him, "you don't really belong to me."
Peter said, "Lord, don't wash just my feet. Wash my hands and my head."
Jesus answered, "People who have bathed and are clean all over need to wash just their feet. And you, my disciples, are clean, except for one of you." Jesus knew who would betray him. That is why he said, "except for one of you."
After Jesus had washed his disciples' feet and had put his outer garment back on, he sat down again, Then he said:
"Do you understand what I have done? You call me your teacher and Lord, and you should, because that is who I am. And if your Lord and teacher has washed your feet, you should do the same for each other have set the example, and you should do for each other exactly what I have done for you. I tell you for certain that servants are not greater than their master, and messengers are not greater than the one who sent them. you know these things, and God will bless you, if you do them."
Jesus said: "Now the Son of Man will be given glory, and he will bring glory to God. Then, after God is given glory because of him, God will bring glory to him, and God will do it very soon.
"My children, I will be with you for a little while longer, then you will look for me, but you won't find me. I tell you just as I told the people, 'You cannot go where I am going.' But I am giving you a new command. You must love each other, just as I have loved you. If you love each other, everyone will know that you are my disciples." [CEV]
1. We continually find ourselves bemused by a GOD who speaks through sign and symbol. Our search for clear authority sets us down one track only to find that what we were really looking for is off to the side. To this day we still hear those new-wine words, "You don't really know what I am doing, but later you will understand." Our hope this day is to take but one step from our not knowing to our understanding.
2. In one way and another we keep needing to learn the basics of interrelationships. One of those basics is care for another. Such simplicity and such difficulty is found in that little word, "care."
3. Care for another is our version of heading off to heaven. Jesus says we cannot go where he is going but there is something appropriate for us to be about -- loving one another, basic caring. Most of us probably think Jesus got off easier than we did in this equation. Is there anything more difficult than loving? than caring?
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