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Saturday, December 27, 2014

Wash All of Me Jesus


Wash All of Me Jesus

 (Luke 13:1-9)



Time was running out.  Jesus knew that in a few days he would be sent to the cross by the Pharisees and priests.  Jesus had done many things to anger them, but often during His ministry, Jesus had forgiven people of their sins.  That had especially made these religious leaders furious.  (Luke 7:44-47, Mark 2:9, etc.)  “Only God can forgive sins” they had fussed, not realizing that Jesus is the Son of God.


Jesus knew his time was running out and He was concerned about his disciple and how they would get through the difficult days ahead.  Persecution and hate would soon cause Jesus to go to his death.   And Jesus knew that in the future persecution and hate would cause most of his disciples to follow him to the death also.     


This would be one of the last times Jesus would be with his beloved disciples before his death and He still had so much to tell them.  As Jesus and his disciples were eating dinner together Jesus rose early from the table and wrapped a towel around his waste and filled a basin with water.  Then Jesus started around the room kneeling down in front of the nearest disciple and lovingly washing and drying his feet and then moving on to the next one and gently washing and drying his feet.


 Two of the disciples had been arguing about which one would be greatest in the kingdom.  And perhaps Jesus, our Servant King, was trying to show these men how they could humbly serve one another and perform the most menial tasks with Christian love.  To be a leader, Jesus told his followers, one should take the role of a servant. 


After Jesus had been moving around the table washing four and then five of his disciples’ feet, He finally came to Peter.  But when He started to wash Peter’s feet, Peter jumped up and stopped Him protesting loudly:  “Lord, you are not going to wash my feet!”


  Jesus answered: “Peter, you do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”  (John 13:7)  Jesus perhaps was trying to tell Peter to just trust Him even if he didn’t completely understand.


  But Peter wouldn’t listen!  He stamped his feet!  “No, you shall never wash my feet!” he insisted. (John 13:8a)  Peter probably didn’t think it was proper for Jesus to be his servant. (In those days the job of washing a guest’s feet fell to the servants or the slaves) 


But then Jesus answered Peter: “Unless I wash you, you will have no part with Me!”  (John 13:8b)  There was a long pause!  Uh oh!  Peter hadn’t realized how important it was for Jesus to wash him. – to wash him spiritually, that is.  “Then, Lord, don’t just wash my feet, but wash my hands and my head also,” Peter quickly replied, bowing his head.  (John 13:9) 


Peter was learning that Jesus is the One who would wash away his sins.  And Jesus is the One who will wash away our sins too.  There is no other.  Scripture says that we are all sinners.  (Romans 3:23)  And we are all in need of spiritual cleansing in order to enter the kingdom of heaven. There are no sins in heaven and we cannot enter the kingdom of heaven in our sinful condition.  We cannot come before a holy God in our sins.  We must be covered with Christ’s righteousness to enter in.  (Matthew 22:11)


Peter gave in and asked Jesus to wash him.  He didn’t want to miss out on his part with the Savior.  And we must allow Jesus to wash us too.  We can do that by repenting of our sins and asking Him to be our Savior.  Repentance is the doorway to grace. (1 John 1:9)   


The Psalmist proclaimed:” Wash me and I will be whiter than snow…”  (Psalm 51:7)  and Isaiah writes: “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord, Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.  Though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”  (Isaiah 1:18)  We celebrate Communion or Mass to remember that Jesus shed his blood and gave up his body to be put to death in order to take away our sins. 


Scripture records that once when Jesus was celebrating the Passover meal with his disciples, He taught them that when they partook of the bread and the wine they would be proclaiming His death and the washing away of their sins. (Matthew 26:26)


 As Jesus was eating with the disciples, He took the bread and gave thanks and broke it up in pieces and gave it to them saying: “Take, and eat, this is my body, broken for you.”  (Matthew 16:16b)  And then Jesus took the cup and gave thanks and offered it to them saying, “Drink from it all of you.  This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.  I tell you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom.”  (Matthew 26:27) 


Jesus told his disciples and all of his followers (that’s us) to eat this meal together in remembrance of Him.  “Whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes again.”  (1 Corinthians 11 26)  Christians around the world have been celebrating the Lord’s Supper or the Mass together down through the last two thousand years to remember that Jesus’ body was broken and that His blood was shed for us to wash away our sins. 


Scripture says that we should examine ourselves before we take communion or Mass.  “Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.  … For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord, eats and drinks judgment on himself.  That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have died.”  (1 Corinthians 11:27-32)  We celebrate the Lord’s Supper or Mass to remember that Jesus died for our sins.  It is a holy sacrament and we should not take part in it if we are not believers in Jesus and repentant of our sins. 


There was a woman we knew years ago who was a member of our church.  This woman did not believe that Jesus was the Savior or that He took away sins.  She tried to teach the rest of us the error of our belief – our faith.  In fact this woman did not even believe in sin.  She thought that there was no such thing as sin and she joined our church to enlighten all of us! And worse yet, she took the Lord’s Supper with us even though she didn’t believe.   


This poor woman was painfully thin and continuously ill and looked twenty years older than her actual age.  She was allergic to almost all food and could only eat eggs and apples.  Her doctors could never find what was causing her illnesses.  She also had to continuously wear a mask to cover her mouth and nose as she was allergic to something in the air all year round.  And she carried a pillow around with her as she hurt too much when she sat on a chair without the pillow.


I have always worried that perhaps she was ill because she was taking Holy Communion when she did not believe.  No one in our church asked her not to take communion or told her that Scripture warns against this.  None of us cautioned her that there is power in the Lord’s Supper and power in the Mass and power in the blood of Jesus – even though she might not have believed us.  I am sorry that I didn’t speak up!


Just as Peter could have no part with Jesus unless He washed him, we also can have no part with Jesus unless He washes us.  So let us join Peter and use his words to ask Jesus: “Lord wash my feet and my hands and my head also.”  Wash all of me, Jesus!














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