Jesus The Chief Servant

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Sermon Notes and Audio 

Scripture Focus- John 13:1-30

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There was a prison uprising last week in Delaware at their largest prison. Inmates staged a fight to lure the guards. Sgt. Steven Floyd came and radioed for help as he did. The prisoners overtook him and forced him into a closet. Other officers were on the way to help him and he called out to his colleagues that the inmates were setting a trap, saving their lives with his final actions. It cost him his own life. Sgt. Floyd was a 16 year veteran of the prison, and is described as a wonderful husband and correctional officer who went the extra mile for any human being he could help. His life ended, with an expression of selfless servanthood.

God calls each of us to serve Him and to serve others, and Jesus shows us how to do so. The setting of the passage of Scripture we are considering is Jesus observing the Passover Meal with his disciples. The Passover (Exodus 12) was a sacred feast for the Jews. It commemorated the final plague on Egypt when the firstborn of the Egyptians died and God spared His people by the blood of the lamb that was sprinkled on the doorposts. They would then roast and eat the lamb with unleavened bread. God commanded the feast be celebrated perpetually in remembrance of their deliverance.

After Jesus partook of the Passover Meal, He instituted the Lord’s Supper, which symbolizes the New Covenant, and is to be observed in remembrance of Jesus until He returns again.

Luke 22:19-21

According to Matthew’s Gospel he concluded the feast by singing a hymn (Matthew 26:30) and they went out to the Mount of Olives where Jesus was betrayed and the following day He would be crucified.

 John’s Gospel is unique in the perspective he presents, and gives us further insight into who Jesus the Chief Servant is, and how we should follow His example. Let’s consider how we can live as servants.

A servant is motivated by love.

Some of the things people do in the world for others is fascinating. A comedian named John Oliver, who is an Englishman,  started a non-profit organization called RIP Medical Debt. Their goal is to cancel out $1 billion worth of medical debt. The way it works is they purchase debt in bundles either from collection agencies, or debt that is about to be sold to collection agencies. Once the medical debt is purchased, RIP then forgives the debt, abolishes it, and informs the debtors that they are free forever from the debt.

Jesus paid a much greater debt for us. Jesus knew the time had come for the greatest demonstration of love that could ever be expressed. He would finish the work of salvation God had sent Him for and return back to Heaven with the Father. The hour of His crucifixion was fast approaching. He was with His disciples but He was looking to the cross.

God is love- 1 John 4:7-8 Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

God loves the world- John 3:16 For God loved the world in this way. He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.

God loves His own- V1 Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

This is a special, covenant, committed love. Jesus loved His people to the end of His life, but further than that through eternity. Jesus knew the traitor among them. The love of Jesus is contrasted with the betrayal of Judas. According to v2 . . .when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him. Satan was the immediate force of opposition behind the betrayal but Judas was the instrument who was responsible for his treacherous betrayal. Judas was one of the twelve who was with them, ate with them, saw the miracles of Jesus, heard the words of Jesus, and even had responsibility for the money. Yet he betrayed Jesus. He appeared to be devoted and honest but was really greedy and not trustworthy.

Jesus knew the things God had given into His hands. This was God’s plan. He was born to die for our sins. He left the glory of Heaven, and came in the flesh for our redemption. Jesus demonstrated the greatest love of all in giving His life for us, dying the death we deserved, and cancelling out the debt we owed.

A servant is characterized by humility.

Sometimes what we do, speaks more boldly than what we say. In those days, foot washing was normal when somebody came to your home. The roads were dusty or muddy and feet were often covered with grime and grit. What was not common was for the host to wash the feet of the guests. It was the job of the servants. Jesus rose from the supper, laid aside his outer garments, took a towel, and tied it around his waist. He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around Him.

There are no examples elsewhere of a superior person, or a person in authority, washing the feet of someone who was under them. This would have been a shocking moment for the disciples to have their Teacher, and their Lord, their Master, the Bread of Life, the King of Glory, wash their feet. There was likely silence in the room as this was taking place.

Jesus came to Peter and Peter expresses what the others are probably thinking. “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus told him what he was doing Peter would not understand but would afterwards. Peter said, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus said, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” Peter said “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!”

In humility we see ourselves with the right perspective. Cleansing is necessary because we are sinners. We all have dirty feet spiritually speaking. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23. Jesus washes away our sins in His atoning death.

Humility is defined as meekness, or absence of self. It is that virtue which, when you think you have it, you have lost it. When you think that you’ve just gotten hold of it, that you’ve finally become humble, that’s the moment you know you’ve lost it. God promises to give grace to the humble, but He opposes the proud. If we exalt ourselves, we put ourselves in a dangerous position. If we humble ourselves, we are in a position to be used of God.

Chuck Swindoll, in one of his books, says, “There are two primary marks of humility in the life of the believer. The first is a non-threatening attitude when you are confronted by another person. You are approachable. You can be confronted without getting angry, hostile or defensive. The second is deep sensitivity to the needs of others.”

In humility we see others with the right perspective. The disciples had not washed one another’s feet, but they had argued about who was the greatest (Matthew 20). 20 Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons approached Him with her sons. She knelt down to ask Him for something. 21 “What do you want?” He asked her. “Promise,”she said to Him, “that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right and the other on Your left, in Your kingdom.” 22 But Jesus answered, “You don’t know what you’re asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?” “We are able,” they said to Him. 23 He told them, “You will indeed drink My cup. But to sit at My right and left is not Mine to give; instead, it belongs to those for whom it has been prepared by My Father.” 24 When the 10 disciples heard this, they became indignant with the two brothers. 25 But Jesus called them over and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles dominate them, and the men of high position exercise power over them.26 It must not be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave; 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life—a ransom for many.”

Humility will cause you to take the focus off of yourself and focus on others.

A servant follows an example.

This is a great focus on what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. What is a disciple? A disciple is a follower of Jesus. Being a disciple is first and foremost about devotion to Jesus.

Oswald Chambers- My Utmost for His Highest- Discipleship means personal, passionate devotion to a Person— our Lord Jesus Christ. There is a vast difference between devotion to a person and devotion to principles or to a cause. To be a disciple is to be a devoted bondservant motivated by love for the Lord Jesus. Many of us who call ourselves Christians are not truly devoted to Jesus Christ. No one on earth has this passionate love for the Lord Jesus unless the Holy Spirit has given it to him. We may admire, respect, and revere Him, but we cannot love Him on our own. The only One who truly loves the Lord Jesus is the Holy Spirit, and it is He who has “poured out in our hearts” the very “love of God” Romans 5:5  Whenever the Holy Spirit sees an opportunity to glorify Jesus through you, He will take your entire being and set you ablaze with glowing devotion to Jesus Christ.

According to the Great Commission, (Matthew 28:18-20) a disciple is one who believes in the Gospel, is baptized publicly professing their faith, and who is being taught the truth of God.

A disciple of Jesus understands and believes certain things. Jesus asked them if they understood what He had done for them. 15 For I have given you an example that you also should do just as I have done for you. 16 “I assure you: A slave is not greater than his master, and a messenger is not greater than the one who sent him.

A disciple of Jesus does certain things. Jesus issued a challenge. 17 If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. Essentially- If it is true for me, how much more is it true for you. John 8:31-32  So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, you really are My disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

We often fail to follow the example of Jesus. How? Disobedience, Diversion, Delay

Jesus the Chief Servant came to us, so that we could come to God. He sends us into the world as His servant witnesses.