Holy Week Bible Study – Maundy Thursday – John 13:1-17; 31-35

John 13:1-17 King James Version (KJV)

13 Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.

And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him;

Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God;

He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.

After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.

Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet?

Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.

Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.

Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.

10 Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.

11 For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean.

12 So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?

13 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.

14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.

15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.

16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.

17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.

After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.

It was a difficult job.  Smelly.  But he did it, and so left an example for us all to this day.

Following the Lord is never about lording over others.  It’s about humble service.

  • It’s about putting the needs of others before your own.
  • It’s about being willing to be with those the world rejects – the untouchable – the unacceptable.
  • It’s about not caring what others think about you as you go about loving as you have been loved by God.
  • It’s about being willing to love others who may not understand or even like us.
  • It’s about doing the dirty work no one else will do, as the Church, the body of Christ, his “hands and feet” in the fallen world.
  • It’s about pouring out ourselves, as living sacrifices, just as He did – first breaking bread and pouring out the wine – then allowing his body to be broken and his blood spilled on the cross.  It’s about taking up my own cross and following Him.

Even as I write those words – I stand convicted and in need of forgiveness – because so often, I have failed at that task.

On this Maundy Thursday 2020 I struggle with the fact that my Lord calls me to love in the simplest, most direct of ways.  I tend to overthink things.  I tend to think of all the possible obstacles to accomplishing this task.  I too quickly drive past that homeless man or woman, wondering why the city’s Social Services department isn’t doing something.

Lord, forgive me.

Today, I offer no in-depth analysis of the Scripture.  I just prayerfully submit that we need to take it seriously.

Jesus washed His disciples smelly, dirty feet – and then – he asked them…

Know ye what I have done to you?

He asks us that same question.

How shall we answer?

 

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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