Maundy Thursday 10 am 13.4.17
I Corinthians 11:23-26 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me." 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me." 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.

John 13:1 It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love. 2 The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 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. 6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?" 7 Jesus replied, "You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand." 8 "No," said Peter, "you shall never wash my feet." Jesus answered, "Unless I wash you, you have no part with me." 9 "Then, Lord," Simon Peter replied, "not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!" 10 Jesus answered, "A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you." 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean. 12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. "Do you understand what I have done for you?" he asked them. 13 "You call me `Teacher' and `Lord,' and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
 31 When he was gone, Jesus said, "Now is the Son of Man glorified and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once. 33 "My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come. 34 "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

We are familiar with the expression familiarity breeds contempt. I wouldn't go quite that far regarding today's gospel, but if we are familiar with it we may lose the radical impact it had on the disciples that first Maundy Thursday. Perhaps this is highlighted by
7 Jesus replied, "You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand." You could say this was a motto for the disciples until the day of Pentecost!

We see this in the footwashing. The disciples arrived for the Passover meal. They would have expected to be met by the most junior slave who would wash and dry their dusty, dung stained feet. None of them had volunteered to do this, perhaps they considered others to be more inferior than themselves and, therefore, more deserving , of the role. Luke records that they had just been discussing who was the greatest, 22.24.

Jesus washed the disciples' feet, even Judas whom Jesus knew would betray him.

Jesus showed love and humility by taking on this role. He took the role of a minor slave, not a rabbi. He gave an example of Christian service. His cleansing prefigured the cleansing he would achieve on the cross the next day.

Peter intially objected to his master taking on this menial role, then impetuously asks Jesus to wash his head and hands!

Jesus pointed out the spiritual significance of what he was doing. The disciples would have dirty feet again that needed cleaning. It has been suggested that the bath Jesus spoke of referred to the forgiveness He brings for sins past, present and future through His sacrificial death on the cross the next day. So that believers sins would not be counted against them and they are free to know God & live for God. The blood of the sacrificial lambs painted on the door frames at the first Passover allowed the Jews to escape death in Egypt. Jesus, the lamb of God takes away the sins of the world through his innocent blood shed on the cross.

The footwashing may represent the occasional and regular confession of sins that are needed in the believer's life.

Jesus gave his disciples a lesson in love, humility & selfless service. He underlines this by saying 34 "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

As I have loved you referred to his footwashing but would also be demonstrated even more as Jesus voluntarily went to the cross the next day. Jesus referred to this as being glorified, in verses 31-32. We may associate glory with someone being praised and recognised for being wonderful or doing something that is impressive. But the glory of God is his visible self-disclosure & was ultimately revealed in God's Son, Jesus, weakened & bloodied by a severe whipping so he couldn't carry his cross, humiliated by his nakedness, a crown of thorns on his head and the jeers of the crowd.

Andrew Murray wrote "We today, just like the disciples that night, desperately need this lesson on humility. The church is filled with a worldly spirit of competition and criticism as believers vie with one another to see who is the greatest. We are growing in knowledge, but not in grace (see 2 Peter 3:18). 'Humility is the only soil in which the graces root,'.

In ten days time we have our Annual Meeting. We need people to serve on the PCC, to take over organising the sacristan's duties, the readers and intercessors rota, one of the Parish Editor's roles, a chair to the Parish Centre committee. Please pray about this. Please ask yourself if you could be the answer to this prayer.

Someone once said, "The world asks, 'How many people work for you?' but the Lord asks, 'For how many people do you work?'

Maundy Thursday 12/4/01 7.30 p.m. John 13:1-17,31-35.

Like any father I am involved in doing some tasks that are rather unpleasant. Getting up in the early hours to change a nappy and wiping up vomit is an example. But we do these things because we love our children and this outweighs our revulsion at carrying out such tasks.

The disciples were awaiting their meal. Reclining on seats in horseshoe shape. Each with someone's feet nearby. They had just walked dung filled streets in sandals. This didn't add to the flavour of the food ! It was usual for a slave to wash feet. Most menial job done by most junior slave. There was no such slave there.

Let us imagine what the disciples may have been thinking :

Thomas thought the slave had been delayed. He started to think about who's feet smelled the worst !

Judas Iscariot seemed too busy thinking about something else that was very important.

Peter decided that, as leader of the disciples he could not lower himself to such a menial task.

Andrew felt rather tired. After all they had just walked 65 miles from Capernaum to Jerusalem.

Bartholomew wasn't really concentrating. He couldn't be bothered. Perhaps he was going down with something ?

Philip was worrying about the future and Jesus predictions that he was going to die.

James and John weren't going to wash anyone's feet. They were fishermen, not gifted in feet washing. They were used to smelling of fish themselves anyway.

So Jesus steps in and takes the role of a slave or servant. A slave had no rights and was the personal property to be used or disposed of by his /her master.

Jesus had a slave's heart, and a slave's actions.

Slave's heart.

Slave could rebel against master, make life difficult by following his own way, or obey for a relationship of mutual goodwill & affection.

Jesus put the wishes of God the Father, and the well being of others before his own interests. Here he shows this by taking menial role of foot washing. The next day by going to the cross.

Motivated by love, verse 34.

Slave's actions.

Seen from imaginary thoughts of disciples that easy to make excuses not to serve. Someone else can do it. Too busy or preoccupied. Pride. Tiredness. Being unaware or apathetic. Concern about the future... or the past. Thinking we have to be gifted...

Unfortunately we live in a world where people would rather spectate and be entertained than be committed to a cause. This is not just in churches but voluntary organisations and political parties. Sometimes it is more difficult to bring oneself to serve than it is to actually serve, e.g. post pile ! once start not so bad !

Have you seen the badges some Christians wear with 'WWJD' on them ? It stands for What Would Jesus Do ?

Verse 15, 'I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.'

Verse 34, 'A new commandment I give you; Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.'

We live in a spectator mentality where many people's attitude is that they can sit back and be entertained. We see this in the rise in popularity of television, the internet and computer games, and in the decrease in commitment to voluntary organisations, the church and political parties.

Jesus teaches and shows that we are to follow his way of loving, humble service. Putting other people needs before our own. Working for him and others is true evidence that we love him and obey his commands.

Let us thank God for Jesus, his teaching, his example, his humility in willingly going to the cross for each one of us.

Let us thank God for the people who have given and do give their time and energies to the running of this church.

Let us commit ourselves afresh to the service of the one who is King of kings and Lord of lords. For over six years more people have been giving things up than taking things on. I have taken some of these responsibilities upon myself which has hindered my ability to discharge other aspects of my ministry. I am encouraged that we have a 'full' P.C.C. this year for the second year running and pray that God would bring forward more people to serve him within this church.

Ask yourself the question WWJD regarding your own involvement in this church.

Let us pray that God will give us the hearts and the actions of slaves.

Lord Jesus Christ,

you humbled yourself in taking the form of a servant,

and in obedience died on the cross for our salvation:

give us the mind to follow and serve you

and to proclaim you as Lord and King,

to the glory of God the Father.