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John 13:8 -“Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.”

Thursday was here and Jesus was spending time with His disciples. The cross was excruciatingly near and He wanted to be with those closest to Him. And yet this night was more than just about spending time together, Jesus was still in the process of teaching His disciples so after supper He rose up and took up the basin and the towel and began to wash the disciples feet.

It was a very clear object lesson, you as my followers are called to serve.  He had taught them this lesson before when He said, “the Son of man came not to be served but to serve,” and then He added something that the disciples didn’t understand and didn’t want to hear, “and to give His life as a ransom for many.”  Now in John 13 they see the first part of that statement being enacted, on Friday they would see the rest. Jesus serving them by washing their feet was a preview of what was coming.

We see that very clearly as we zoom in on Jesus’ exchange with Peter.   Peter says basically “Lord you are NOT going to wash my feet,” and who can blame him.  If you’ve ever been a part of a foot washing service you know how humbling it is to have someone wash your feet so we shouldn’t blame Peter for saying “you are not going to wash my feet.”  He might have even thought that Jesus would admire His humility and yet Jesus didnt, in fact He said something that must have shocked Peter, “unless I wash you,  you have no part of me.”  In other words if I don’t cleanse you, you can’t be a part of my kingdom (Matthew 13:43).  Peter quickly replied, “then not just my feet but my hands and my head as well.”  In other words cleanse me let me be a part of you and the kingdom.

Jesus had taught them at the last supper that His blood would cleanse them.  John had referred to Him as the “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world,” and now Jesus makes it clear that they must be cleansed.  On Thursday He cleansed their feet but it was only a preview of what was coming.   Because on Friday He took up more than the basin and the towel,  He took up the cross and died to cleanse us of our sins and unless He does we have no part of them or of His Kingdom.  To God be the glory!

A Preview of What’s Coming

Mark 11:23 -“Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.”

Tuesday had arrived and the cross was drawing closer and closer. The time was drawing near and yet Jesus still had things to do.

He used the withered fig tree to teach His disciples about faith.  He had cursed the fig tree and caused it to wither the day before and now He uses it as an object lesson for His disciples.   What was His point? The power of faith.  If you have faith He said you can move mountains.  Faith produces victory.  This was a lesson that His disciples would definitely need because their faith would soon be severely tested.

Soon after teaching on faith, Jesus Himself was tested.   Not like He was in the wilderness,  this time He was tested by the religious leaders.  They wanted to know where His authority came from.  Who gave Him the right to cleanse the temple.  That was their job (of course they weren’t doing it), so in their eyes how dare He do what He did.  So in order to trap Him they asked Him basically an unanswerable question that He in turn answered with another question.  (Read all about it in Matthew 21).  They tried to trap Him and ended up trapped.  They tried to defeat Him and they ended up defeated.  They were silenced with no answers and nothing to say. Jesus emerged from their confrontation victorious.   It was a preview of things to come.

They thought they had Him but they found out differently.  They thought they had the answers they didn’t even know the question. They thought Jesus was defeated they had no idea of the wisdom and power of God. 

It was a preview of Sunday.  Again they thought Jesus was defeated.  Good riddance they thought and celebrated.  The rebel,  the trouble maker was dead.  Buried in a borrowed tomb with a huge stone rolled in front.  The movement was over. ….. This Jesus was dead.   Little did they know……… Stones move just as easily as mountains do,  and because of the power of God the dead can be raised.  Jesus wasn’t defeated.  Jesus once again emerged victorious.   Up from the grave He arose with a mighty triumph over His foes. Not only those early does but the enemies called death,  hell,  and the grave.  Sin and Satan were defeated as well.   Jesus was victorious. 

The disciples didn’t know that on Tuesday or on Friday.  But on Sunday they saw it in the most amazing way.   To God be the glory!

A Day of Cleansing

Matthew 21:13 – Jesus said to them,  “it is written,  My house shall be called a house of prayer,  but you make it a den of robbers.”

The cross was lurking around the corner and Jesus knew it.  It would come as no surprise to Him,  His time had come. He was the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world and the time was drawing close for the Lamb to be sacrificed.  Jesus however had a few things left to do before the cross.

So we see Him on Monday going into the Temple and overturning the tables and throwing the ones out who were using and abusing people.  Jesus had seen enough of the mistreatment so He acted in righteous anger, cleansing the temple.  There was no place in the house of God for evil and so Jesus cleared it out shouting the words, “my house shall be called a house of prayer. ”

Then as Jesus walked back into the city He came across a fig tree and He went to pick a fig to eat.   However the fig wasn’t there because the tree was barren.  So Jesus cursed the fig tree and it withered away.  The message should have been clear to the disciples our lives,  just like that fig tree are designed to beat fruit.  When they don’t cleansing must occur.

Jesus cleansed the temple by throwing out the money changers.  And He reminded the disciples that we  are called to bear fruit with our lives.  If we don’t cleansing will occur.  On the Monday before the cross Jesus showed us part of His mission.  He has come to seek and save that which was lost, and He has come to cleanse.  To cleanse people,  to cleanse the church and ultimately to cleanse and restore the world.  We see that on Monday,  but most of all we see it on Friday as the Lamb is all slaughtered on the cross to pay for the sins of His children.

His blood cleanses us from sin and from all unrighteousness.  To God be the glory.

Victory into Defeat and Back

Matthew 21:9 – “And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”

We began our spring soccer season today and thankfully it got off to a really good start.  After the last game my oldest son went to spend some time with some of his teammates and friends. In the mean time one of his other friends came by our house wanting my son to come out and play.  When he saw me shaking my head and saying I’m sorry he’s not here his smile instantly turned into a frown.  Happiness quickly turned to disappointment.

I wonder if Jesus experienced those same emotions on Palm Sunday? People were worshiping and shouting praises to Him and yet He is not extremely happy, in fact He is sad.  The Bible makes it clear that when He looked down at the city and the crowds of people that He wept. Why? Because He knew what was in the hearts of those people.  Today they were shouting Hosanna with smiles on their face, in just a few days they would angrily be yelling “crucify”.  What a difference a few days makes and Jesus knew.  He knew what was in their hearts, He knew their lack of commitment,  He knew that they were lost.  So He wept.  He wept for those who were lost without Him. 

On the day He should have been rejoicing,  on a day that should have been a  day of great happiness, Jesus wept.  Let that sink in for just a minute.  He wept when everyone was rejoicing    Why? Because He cared about lost people.

He knew that the city was filled with lost sheep who needed a Shepherd.  Hurting people who needed a physician.   Lost people who needed to be found.  Sinners in need of a Savior.  Jesus wept because Jesus loved people.

What about us? When was the last time we wept over someone who was hurting? When was the last time we cried out in prayer for those who are lost? When was the last time we pointed sheep to the Savior?

The people cried out, “blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”  Many of them certainly didn’t mean it and in just a few days would scream “crucify”, and yet even though they didn’t mean it they were right.  Jesus was the long awaited Messiah, the One who comes in the name of the Lord.  The one who is able to seek and save those that are lost because He was crucified, dead and buried.  And yet death didn’t have the last word, He is able to save only because He is resurrected, alive for evermore. Victory turned into seeming defeat and then into the greatest victory that the world has ever seen.  Jesus is alive! To God be the glory!