September 15, 2019

Maundy Thursday 2012

NOTE: Please forgive the delay in getting this morning’s post up. Personal schedule issues. (CM)

Jesus Washing Peter's Feet at the Last Supper, Brown

John 13:1-17, 31b-35

Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, ‘Lord, are you going to wash my feet?’ Jesus answered, ‘You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.’ Peter said to him, ‘You will never wash my feet.’ Jesus answered, ‘Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.’ Simon Peter said to him, ‘Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!’ Jesus said to him, ‘One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you.’ For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, ‘Not all of you are clean.’

After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, ‘Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.

When he had gone out, Jesus said, ‘Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, “Where I am going, you cannot come.” I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.’

During Holy Week, we are running a special post each day here at Internet Monk. We glean one word or phrase for contemplation from the Gospel passage for the day, and hear a devotional thought from one of my favorite old books by Dr. John Killinger. The copy I have is called Devotional Thoughts on the Gospels but it was republished as Day by Day With Jesus.

• • •

Today’s word is POURED. When Jesus poured water into the basin to wash his disciples feet, he was not only performing a humble act of service and love. He was intentionally portraying the pouring out of his own life for our salvation. Many scholars have observed the parallels between John 13 and the Christ Hymn in Philippians 2:5-11. Some even believe that the Philippians text may have been a hymn written with Jesus’ act of footwashing in mind.

Note some of the parallels:

Gospel: “Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God…”
Philippians: “Equality with God”

Gospel: “…got up from the table, took off his outer robe…”
Philippians: “emptied himself”

Gospel: “…and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him.”
Philippians: “taking the form of a slave”

Gospel: “Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.”
Philippians: “he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death -— even death on a cross.”

Gospel: “After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, ‘Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am.”
Philippians: “Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name…”

Gospel: “So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.”
Philippians: “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus…”

John Killinger notes the significance of this passage in terms of Jesus’ death and his sending out of the disciples to likewise take up their cross and lay down their lives for others: “In other words, the footwashing had to do with sending the disciples out. Jesus anointed their feet as a preparation for them to go out and preach — and subsequently to die for the gospel, as he was about to die.”

Jesus pours his life out for us. The life we now live, we live by the faithfulness of the Son of God, who loved us and gave himself for us. As we live within his faithfulness, we lay down our lives for others.

Prayer for Maundy Thursday:

Father, on this day I bow the knee and confess Jesus as Lord of lords and King of kings, the risen and exalted One seated at your right hand, with a Name above every name, who was exalted after he had humbled himself beyond measure, taking the form of a servant and bearing the cross on our behalf.

Like Peter, I cry out, “Wash all of me!” Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.

Forgive me, renew me, and lead me, that in this holiest of weeks I may delight in your will and walk in your ways. Amen.

Comments

  1. Thanks, Chaplain Mike.

    ________

    It’s Maundy Thursday.

    I would like to share this Maundy Thursday sermon, which I believe is one of the finest sermons I have ever heard. It is brutally honest and revealing. And puts Christ’s sacrifice for us in even greater relief:

    http://theoldadam.wordpress.com/2012/04/03/the-last-day-of-jesus-life-on-earth-what-did-he-do-why-did-he-do-it/

    Please feel free to use it (anyone here) in any capacity you wish.

    Thank you.

  2. Just to digress for a moment: This is one of my favorite paintings. When he first painted it, Jesus was culturally dressed for washing feet – towel and loin cloth. It scandalized Victorian England’s art critics. Ultimately Brown reworked a robe on Him and the painting was acclaimed.

    • It’s an awesome painting. Interesting background story.

      Look at the discomfort of the disciples. They are squirming just as we do when we hear that we are commanded to serve those whom we would just as well forget.

  3. Adrian Z says

    Some of us have more defined ‘sacraments’ than others in our churches. Always seems a shame that foot washing never made it in as a sacrament – certainly seems to be more obvious than others. But moreso what it says about us, others, Jesus and grace, in my mind at least, puts it in line for sacramental status. Boy if we thought celebrating communion regularly in some places was an issue, what about foot washing!

    Holy Thursday blessings to all

    • I believe that Jesus’ example to us was more about serving the neighbor, in any capacity, than about literally washing people’s feet. There’s not a big need for that service…at least in my part of the world.

      • Adrian Z says

        Yes I agree steve, yet to me it says so much, means so much and speaks into our souls with simplicity but to a great effect.

  4. I’ve been in two footwashing services in my life. They were extremely moving, humbling, uplifting — you have to experience it to understand. And the most humbling part, ironically, is not getting down to wash someone’s feet. It’s sitting there and letting someone else do it to you.

  5. I attended a church who did actual foot washing services. Men with men, women with women. I was amazed by two things. One was the actual kneeling down before another (often a stranger to me) which was very humbling and the other was the negative feelings as another washed my feet (i don’t have very pretty feet and it was hard to have another hold and wash my knarled feet or so it seemed). Both experiences has helped to as little as I can understand what was presented today. I remember visiting a member in a care facility and as we talked, he mentioned that he wasn’t able to shave with many days beard growth. Unlike my deafness to this beforehand, I came back the next day to do the best I could. Have you tried to do that to someone else? I was hoping not to create nicks or miss spots – anyway, this was a beginning to understand beyond my ignorance of what “a cup of cold water” really meant. This has been a treasure of journeys this special week of worship. Thank you !

  6. I appreciate the cross ref. with Phillipians. Also what caught my eye was the need for cleaning the feet which are the connection to the earth. The rest of the body is clean. So, as long as we remain on this earthly plane we will be touching up the temple; no getting away from it. The comforting part is that Jesus says it first and it’s not some accommodation in doctrine that shows up later because we realize we are just really badly behaved. It is grace personified. He’s saying ‘We’re good, you and me, but not finished’.

  7. Thanks for this post. Great stuff.