12, 2001 - Maundy Thursday
John 13:1-17, 31b-35
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. Then 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 I don't wash you, you can't be part of what I'm doing."
"Master!" said Peter. "Not only my feet, then. Wash my hands! Wash my head!"
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 is 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; and employee doesn't give orders tot he employer. If you understand what I'm telling you, act like it--and live a blessed life.
... Jesus said, "Now the Son of Man is seen for who he is, and God seen for who he is in him. The moment God is seen in him, God's glory will be on display. In glorifying him, he himself is glorified--glory all around.
"Children, I am with you for only a short time longer. You are going to look high and low for me. But just as I told the Jews, I'm telling you: 'Where I go, you are not able to come.'
"Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples--when they see the love you have for each other."
<The Message >
1. "If you have had a bath in the morning" (baptism), "you only need your feet washed now...." How do we renew our baptisms (have our feet washed on a regular basis)? - We wash one another's feet.
I sometimes fear for a church bound by liturgical rules. How do we institute daily feet washings by all who follow Jesus to the presence of GOD?
While expressing your love to a sister or brother of Jesus, how would you identify what lay behind it? Would the expression have a baptismal flavor to it?
How about: "This is to nurture the holiness which is yours in baptism."
2. Do we know what has been done to us in Jesus' life? We have been claimed for the "Freedom of GOD." In this freedom of living heaven on earth, in anticipation of earth having heaven come upon it, we measure the value of our time/energy/resources by how well people recognize our love of one another. To keep this hidden in some prayer closet is a denial of the freedom which is ours.
3. What a world we live in. Such explicit commands are found so frail and vulnerable to the vicissitudes of bringing together our need for community and our propensity for control. These two qualities continually clash with one another and our witness is diminished. Pray for a healing between community and control.
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