Now We Know...Let's Follow
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. I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But it is to fulfill the scripture, ‘The one who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ I tell you this now, before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am he. Very truly, I tell you, whoever receives one whom I send receives me; and whoever receives me receives him who sent me.”
After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, “Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.” The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking. One of his disciples—the one whom Jesus loved—was reclining next to him; Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking.
So while reclining next to Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?”
Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot.
After he received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “Do quickly what you are going to do.”
Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. Some thought that, because Judas had the common purse, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the festival”; or, that he should give something to the poor. So, after receiving the piece of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.
Scripture Focus: John 13: 4-5, 14-15, 17 (NIV)
So he (Jesus) got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”
Now We Know...Let's Follow
Today on this Holy Thursday we will use the simple tokens of Bread and Wine. They carry us back to the Upper Room; they go out to the Cross; we are thrilled again by the words of Jesus. These elements and words recall days of covenant and conviction.
From my boyhood years I recollect a story told by my uncle, the late Rev. Dr. G. K Satvedi (1887-1976) a pastor, prolific writer, and later Principal of the Gujarat United School of Theology in India.
Once a gifted preacher took his congregation on an imaginary tour through the museum of the New Jerusalem. He told about what the guide showed the tourists: some swaddling clothes, a widow’s mite, a hammer and three nails, a few thorns, a spear, a piece of sponge dipped in vinegar, and a common drinking chalice with a few pieces of dry bread scattered on a white cloth. The last two items, the chalice and the bread, had a very honorable place in the museum. The guide proudly declared that these were the real genuine items used by our Lord. As the visitors prepared to leave, one of the tourists asked the guide, “Sir, have you got the towel and basin in your collection?” The guide humbly replied, “No sir, the towel and basin are not here. You see they are in constant use all over the world even now.”
No wonder the Bread and the Cup need to be blessed at Holy Communion before we partake. The Towel and the Basin are for each one of us to bless others to follow and obey the words of Jesus, “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done to you… Now that you do know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”
NOW WE KNOW… LET’S FOLLOW…
Dear God, as we partake in the Bread and the Cup today make each one of us towels and basins; set us to follow the humble example of Jesus Christ in serving humanity, and to be blessed as we bless others. In the name of Master Servant Jesus. Amen.
Rev. Dr. Anet Satvedi is a retired pastor serving at Pleasant Grove UMC, Vermilion River District.