It was the last supper that Jesus had with his disciple’s before his death, before the Passover. And He knew his time was coming. He knew he would be leaving. He knew that the dawn of his death was come. He knew he was going to leave his disciples to go and be with his father.
In this case and like many before it, he ate supper with his disciples. But, this one meal, this supper was special. Jesus was always eating and hanging out with tax collectors and sinners. This is one of the criticisms that the religious world had against him. Even though he had chosen disciples, some of them had been tax collectors, and few of them were known by the synagogue rulers.
Look at him, if he is so holy why is he eating and drinking with the unclean, the sinners. Why is he spending time with people that we have no respect for—people that are not religious. He’s eating and drinking with people that could care less about religion. He is hanging out with tax collectors who have a history of being thieves and robbers, and agents for Rome.
He’s eating with people that we as Pharisees and Sadducees do not recognize as religious. That was one of the things that Jesus was known for. But, Jesus was also known for one other thing. He was known for his abundant love. He not only ate with people, but he loved them. He loved them dearly.
And, this is the last supper where he is sitting with his disciples and he says, I have loved my disciples from the very beginning and will love them to the very end.
Jesus knew he was a person of authority. He was comfortable with his position. But, he wanted to teach his disciples something. He did not lord his position over them. He did not do as the Romans or as the religious leaders of the day did who lorded over their subjects. Jesus said the first will be last and the last will be first.
So he takes a towel and starts washing his disciple’s feet. And, he comes to Peter, and Peter says: “You are not going to wash my feet Jesus!” Jesus says that if I don’t wash your feet, you won’t be clean.
“Well, then wash my hands and wash my head too!” All I have to do is wash your feet. Just because your body is clean doesn’t mean you’re clean.
There’s a different kind of cleansing going on here. There’s a cleansing of the heart. I’m washing your feet because I am teaching you about true spiritual leadership.
“The son of man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life for the many.’
And, I am doing this for an example…because, I love you. I love every one of you
This is how the world will know us as followers of Christ. It is by our love for one another. Those outside of the church are not going to know you as a Christian just because you go to church.
That’s a good thing, but that’s not enough to convince anyone of your faith. They are not going to see Christ in you because you are religious. They are not going to see Christ in you because you live the way your faith teaches you to live on a daily basis.
They will recognize you as a Christian by your love…The love that you have for one another. This is the mark of a Christian’s life. This is the mark of a Christian.
It’s not the cross you hang around your neck. That’s a symbol and nothing wrong with symbols. It’s not your commitment to come to worship God in this church. That’s also a good sign, but that’s not how they will recognize Christ in you.
It’s the love that you have for your brothers and sisters. And, this is the love that Jesus shares. And, he says I will love you, I will love you, until the very end and throughout eternity.
This is just the beginning.