The Last Twenty Four Hours Back to all sermons
Date: March 16, 2012
Speaker: Pastor Chris Bruce
Scripture: John 13:1–13:20
Introduction: Imagine if you knew without a shadow of doubt, that your life would be over within 24 hours, what would you do? Get your bucket list up to date? Spend all your money so your children won’t get any, or invest all your money so your children would receive more? Quiet night at home with family and friends or a night on the town.
We always say you can’t know your final day, but Jesus did, and He chose that time to be with his disciples, changing the Passover meal into a new celebration, the Lord’s Supper or Communion.
Read John 13: 1-20
What He Knew: v. 1-3
Jesus was God in the flesh, but while on earth, he walked not in His divine nature, rather as a man filled with the Spirit, but here in verse 1, He has supernatural knowledge, “His hour had come to depart out of this world…” He knew His actions and words would be remembered, this was His last time before being glorified that He could change perceptions and hearts as a man.
He also knew in verse 2 that Judas Iscariot was going to betray Him, He knew that the “friend”, the one trusted to be the treasurer, one of the men He loved would betray Him, how it must have hurt Him, to share a meal, to eat bread together, yet knowing this Christ loved Judas to the end.
Thirdly, He knew His authority, (verse 3) He knew God had given all things into His hands, that’s where He came from and that’s where was going. He knew that He was God’s Son, He knew He had authority over everything, if he wished too he could speak to anything in Creation and say die (like an olive tree) or He could speak to something dead and say Live, like Lazarus. He had all authority.
What does this mean for us: God knows when we are about to fall, before we even know, and he loves us through that, there are times when my daughter Justeen is disciplined by me, but I know as soon as I look the other way, she will go back and do it again, Do I punish her harder the first to prevent the second, do I stop loving her the second or third or 100th time she does it, or do I continue setting the boundaries, and loving her through her learning process. God is so much more loving and compassionate than I am, how much more will He love us through our learning process?
Knowing these things, what did He do?
What He Did: v. 4-11
Can you picture the scene? Jerusalem is chaotic, masses of people everywhere come to celebrate the Passover, Somehow Peter and John and managed to get this room for them to have a meal together, all the disciple walk into the room expecting there to be someone to wash their feet, the towel and the bowl are there available, but it seems Peter and John forgot, or maybe Judas never gave enough money for a servant, so they all sit down to eat, maybe it crossed some of their minds to at least wash Jesus’ feet, but six days earlier they had come into the city with people crying, “Hosanna to the King.” Jesus was about to come into His Kingdom, none of them wanted to be the servant, when Jesus becomes King, so no-one picks up the bowl and towel, so verse 4 Jesus, rose from Supper, taking on the task not done before the meal, takes off his outer clothes and takes the bowl and fills it with water, and the towel, and ties it around his waist, and goes from disciple to disciple washing their feet, and drying them with the towel, no-one knows what to say, but when He comes to Peter, who suddenly seems to realise what’s going on and refuses Jesus’ offer, when Jesus explains this is something that has to be done, Peter want the full body treatment, maybe thinking, if this is a reward, give me the greater portion, allowing Jesus to point out the purpose of what He is doing.
Once again, he points out that one of them remains unclean, even after this washing, giving Judas a chance to repent, once again not naming him, yet still serving him, what was going on in Judas’ mind at that point, maybe seeing Jesus washing their feet, he justifies his actions, seeing Jesus not as a King but as a servant, unable to be the Messiah.
Then Jesus points out an important truth, each of the disciples is clean, except the one, this is an important moment, Jesus declares that they are clean in God’s sight, their sins are gone, they are in God’s Kingdom, knowing that Peter would deny Him three times, knowing that they all would scatter, knowing that each of them was about to fail a test, Jesus calls them clean, how often do we fail, do we fall or think it’s not possible. Jesus called them clean and by speaking those words they were clean.
What does this mean for us: I see two important truths for us to take out of this part of the message, the first is a repetition, we are clean, as Pastor Cam has been teaching our whole body is clean, but our feet get dirty as we walk through this world, we do sin, and that sin makes our feet dirty, but time with Jesus, allows us to confess and repent and be wholly clean. Secondly, not everyone of us is clean, my first pastor would often say in his messages, “No matter how long you sit in the garage, you won’t become a car, unless you are created as a car. There are some people in the church, maybe some faithful, week after week, church goers, who need to be created into a Christian, their lives and heart need a transformation and they need to become a new creation as Philippians 4:13 teaches, and if you are one of those people, speak to someone in the prayer ministry after this Service, or talk to one of the church Staff, or any other recreated Christian, but don’t stay as Judas.
What He Taught: v. 12-17
He taught about service. This then became the example to follow, was it actually washing each other’s feet, maybe in that century, we know that was one of the qualifications for widows to receive their church gift 1 Tim 5:10, but what Jesus saysis , “For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.” The Greek word translated “example” is hupodeigma. Other New Testament uses of this word refer not to a command to be precisely obeyed but to a representation, figure, or pattern—such as a spiritual pattern to be represented physically, or an object lesson of either good or bad behaviour (see Hebrews 8:5, “They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”
[wherehupodeigma is translated as “patterns”]; Jesus sets the pattern of service, reminding each disciple before they are in charge of a movement that will shake the world that they are to be in service to each other and to others to come.
He taught about the Prophesy about Judas, Have you ever thought about Judas’ feelings after the cross, or the disciples’ reaction to him. He had walked with these other 11 men for three years, they were his friends, they travelled a lot, if others saw him, they presumed he was a disciple, if the followers of Jesus saw him, would they spit on Him, turn and walk the other way but in verses 18-19, Jesus tries to remove some of that burden, by telling everyone before they even knew they was a betrayer, that the prophesy has to pass. He doesn’t excuse the sin, but he does say that someone had to do this, and if not Judas, then one of the others, I don’t know if that helped after Judas died, but maybe it did and got me thinking. Are we more like David in the Psalms about our enemies, Strike them down, or like Jesus, forgiving before it even happens.
He taught them that He had authority and was giving it to them, does this sound familiar, it should, Jesus repeated this in the Great Commission, that same authority is available to us, as believers. Jesus was as always giving and serving even when He knew they would all run away when trouble came.
What does this mean for us: We are called to serve, whether it be in the church, in our homes or in our workplaces. A servant is known by his service not by his words or promises. When looking for Stewards for Wildfire, what we mostly look for in Students in how they choose to serve, whether it be cleaning up, or choosing to be-friend new students.
Conclusion: I started off asked you how you would spend your last 24 hours, Jesus knew his time was up, he chose to eat a meal with friends, serve them by washing their feet, even washing the feet of the man about to betray Him, then went off to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane.
1 Peter 4:7-10
7 The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. 8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.”