Think about it. The ministry of Jesus was filled with startling surprises. The God of the universe, born in a stable, or Jesus, the King of the Jews, riding into Jerusalem on a donkey. Well, today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll presents another paradox. He's midway through a brand-new teaching series called Compelled by the Cross. And in this next study, we'll observe Jesus on the night before his crucifixion, stooping in humility to wash the feet of his disciples. Chuck titled today's message, Christlikeness in One Word. And we begin with prayer. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust. Oh God, you are our hiding place, our special refuge, often our only hope. There are times, our Father, we confess that your patience seems too long-suffering, that your grace seems too extensive, when wrong rules the throne and truth fights for its place on the scaffold. Remind us, our Father, as we sit at our full table today to eat our meals, that there are those just across the way who have nothing.
No place to sleep, no food to eat, no fresh water to drink, no promise of relief. So all of this, our Father, we lay before you that you might rectify. We pray for peace, for justice.
May it roll down. And may we be able to step back and say only the Lord, under whose wings we rested and waited, came to our rescue. You are sovereign, our God.
Oh, the death of the rich is both of the wisdom and the knowledge you have. How unsearchable are your judgments, unfathomable are your ways. We trust in you and we wait upon you. We lean hard in confidence and hope. In the name of our Savior, our victorious Lord, we pray. All God's people said, Amen.
You're listening to Insight for Living. To dig deeper into the Bible with Chuck Swindoll, be sure to download his Searching the Scriptures studies by going to insight.org slash studies. And now we resume the message from Chuck titled, Christ Likeness in One Word. Why did he wash their feet? First, because their hearts were proud. When you read Luke 22, you get the other side of the story of what went on at the Last Supper. Do you know what they were conversing about?
You know what the conversation was? Who would be the greatest among them? That's right. Who would come out on top when the kingdom came? Who would be first?
Who may come in second? This petty argument over their own greatness. He heard that without interrupting. He listened to it. There's another reason he washed their feet.
It may seem obvious, but I do want to mention it. It's because their feet were dirty. The streets weren't paved.
Oh, the Romans paved a few with stones, but the main roads of a city or of a town and the back roads were all dirt roads. People wore loose fitting sandals for their shoes. And so when they walked to their destination, if they came to the home of the wealthy, there would be a servant there with with a pail of water. And the servant would wash each person's feet after slipping off the sandals. Sandals would be left at the door and they would go in and bare feet that were clean. No one in this crowd had washed anybody's feet, not even his own. Jesus noticed that. The first characteristic of true humility is that it is unannounced. We read that he simply disrobed, wrapped a towel around his waist, drew water in a bowl, and then stooped hands and knees to begin washing the feet.
Perhaps beginning on his right would be John, the beloved disciple, and then around the circle of the table. Not a word is called to the attention of the master. He simply slips away from the table, begins to wash their feet. You see, for him to call attention to it is to contaminate the humility with pride.
Not even a hint, which brings me to the second because I have a confession to make with this one. True humility is being willing to receive without embarrassment. I get that from Peter's response. Lord, are you going to wash my feet? See, I think Jesus had washed John's feet and then another disciple or two and he got to Peter. And by now Peter has pulled his feet up from display and slid those filthy things under his romp so that Jesus couldn't reach them. He said, you're not washing my feet, are you? And Jesus said, you don't understand what I'm doing. Someday, someday you will understand. Peter protested, no, you will never, ever, ever wash my feet in a million years without quite so much drama.
But that's the essence of the way he said it. No, never. Not mine. What's wrong here?
What's wrong? Peter's embarrassed. Peter's proud. It's hard for Peter to receive. You see, it takes humility to receive.
Jesus said, if you don't let me wash your feet, there's the door. You're not a part of our group. I'll get to that part in a moment. Let me talk about receiving. It looks humble.
At first glance, it sounds like Peter's. No, I'll take care of my own feet. Thank you very much. I'm a grown man. I'm able to do that. And you don't have to do it. I mean, John's are awfully dirty.
And Andrew's, as always. But I'll get I'll take care of mine. That's pride. That's just stinking pride.
That's why he protests like he does. And here's my confession. I'm not I'm not very good at receiving. I have many faults.
This is a glaring one. I feel awkward when people want to do real nice things. I felt awkward that day. My neighbor was my first thought was, why didn't I create my own sidewalk?
Shoot. Another place that another time we had a friend in our church show up a little before Christmas. And I drove up toward the end of the day and I saw his car out front. So I went inside. I said, honey, it's Bob's car. Is he OK? She said, yeah.
Yeah. He's washing our windows. I said, washing our windows?
Why? She said, well, they're dirty. And I know. But what am I thinking? I'm able to wash my own windows. And so I walk out on the patio. I say, Bob, hey, how are you? He says, great, man.
This is a great day. This is my gift to you. I said, Bob, hey, why don't I get the inside and you do the outside windows?
We had a two story house. And I said, I'll tell you what. In fact, he said, no, I want to get the inside and the outside. This is my gift for you this Christmas. I said, I'll tell you what, I'll go upstairs. I'll do the upstairs and you do the downstairs. How's that?
He said, Chuck, I want to do inside, outside, upstairs, downstairs. It is a gift. Can I just please give you a gift? It was my protesting that revealed my pride. I can wash my own windows.
But that wasn't the point. First of all, how gracious of my friend Bob Patterson to wash my windows. And how foolish of me to resist it. Do you receive what people want to give? Without feeling, you have to take turns, like pay them back. It would have been just as bad if the month later I went over to the Patterson's house and said, well, I'm not here to wash your windows.
Same thing. True humility is able to receive without embarrassment. And then Peter goes to the extreme. Wash my hands, wash my head. Give me a bath. I mean, if it takes that, I don't want to leave.
Do it. Jesus said, no, you don't need everything washed. It is just your filthy feet. I'll just do your feet. That's the plan today. Once bathed, always bathed. You're all clean, except for one of you.
I'll get to him in a moment. I wonder if Peter ever really learned. I'm still trying to learn it. It's a hard thing to accept someone else's kindness. The third characteristic is humility is not a sign of weakness. Did you see what Jesus did when Peter resisted? If you do not allow me to wash your feet, you're out. Out. You're not one of us. That's that's a strong response.
You see, humility is not some kind of shameful humiliation. I have nothing to offer. I'm just trying to get along in life. I'm just trying to be a little lonely servant.
It's not that. You may have a lot to offer. And you may be the wonderful kind of person that is willing to offer it. Without calling attention to it or sending a bill for it.
You just want to do this because you love someone else. I love it also that when he got to the last one in the group, he still washed his feet. The fourth principle is that humility does not discriminate. Hold on here.
Don't answer out loud. Would you have washed Judas feet? Knowing that in a matter of really hours, he's going to kiss you on the cheek with that deceitful kiss and he's going to sell you into the hands of your enemy. When you know he's a traitor. Would you have washed his feet? Humility doesn't discriminate. You know what I'm impressed with? Jesus didn't draw blistering hot water to wash Judas's feet. Stick them in. Like a payback.
Nope. When he got to Judas, he said, let me have your feet. By the way, shortly after this, when he said to Judas, whatever you're going to do, do it quickly. Judas went out into the night.
Ever thought about this? He slipped on his sandals and his feet were clean. Because Jesus had washed them. When he got to the chief priests and the scribes and those who were putting the crucifixion plan together, his feet were clean because Jesus had washed them.
To the very end, he got the same treatment that the other disciples had gotten. No discrimination. Good place to pause. It would be a wonderful thing if we could throw away our list of people we don't like.
It would be a great thing. In every church, there are folks that we don't like. There are people we really do like. We usually sit next to them or near them. We always speak to them. We have a friendly word. When we're on our way to the car, they're friends. We get along well. We like them.
They like us. Then there are others who may have done something or said something. Or revealed a strain of depravity that runs through you just like it does through them.
But when you see it in others, it always looks worse. So you don't sit next to them. You never save them a seat. If they had a flat, maybe I shouldn't go there. I doubt that we'd stop.
Help them. I was speaking on this subject in another place at another time. And I remember a man who listened closely all the way through said to me, boy, this is really convicting, especially with what Jesus said. And he made a good point because Jesus didn't say what you would have expected him to say. When you go back to the sentence, he says, do you know what I've done to you?
Sounds almost like what you'd ask a kindergarten class. Of course, they knew what he had done to them. But that wasn't the question. The question went deeper. You realize what was involved in this? You called me teacher and Lord.
And you should. That's not pride. That's the truth. That's who he was. And you're right that that's that's what I do.
That's who I am. Now, if I have washed your feet being your teacher and Lord. Now, don't don't don't read ahead. Let's say you're one of the twelve and you're hearing this for the first time. If I wash your feet as your teacher and Lord, you ought also, what would you expect? You ought to wash my feet. But he doesn't say that.
That's easy. We get in line to wash Jesus feet. Who wouldn't want to wash his feet?
It's the most natural feeling in the world when I get a chance. I'd do anything for my master. That's not the point. This is not what you would what would you do for the Savior? It's what would you do for the one in the room?
Which is what makes it so significant. You ought to wash one another's feet. Like the neighbor you don't like. Ever thought about when you've washed your car washing his?
Has it ever dawned on you that you'll have a door wide open in that other person's heart when you do what is unexpected for all the right reasons simply because you care? And they're a fellow human being. Right now in Ukraine it's loud. Bombardments going on. Buildings are being destroyed.
They're empty, hollow shells of what they used to be. Rifles are being handed out even to some wives of husbands that want to stay back and fight alongside their mate. Do you think they care who gets a rifle? Do you think they're discriminating? No, no, no.
I remember what it was like living. No, they give that person a weapon. No discrimination whatsoever. Why? We're fighting for the same cause.
They may kill the man that was about to kill me. I need him. I need her. Get it? Of course you do. This man went on to say, you know, I realize when we get to heaven, I mean, we're going to all be there. These fellow believers that I haven't spoken to in months, maybe years, we're all together. Maybe I ought to start with kind of a head start.
Start here. Exactly. That's the whole point. Jesus has left us with an example of authentic humility. Why wait till heaven?
Why wait? When he came, he declared, I've come to give and to serve. Those are the two main verbs, to give and to serve, to give and to serve. That's why I'm here. And he died for all. All. He wasn't picky.
He didn't have a list. God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him should not perish.
Isn't that grand? I can say to anyone I ever meet on this earth, he died for you. He could be your savior because in absolute humility, he gave himself.
He served you by dying in your place. That's it, folks. That's it.
Christ-likeness in one word. It's overdue. So, let's do it. Start in the parking lot. Let her go first. Let him have that space that looks like just the one you had in mind for you to park in.
Pause and let them take it. It's simple things. Simple things. It's a kind word. It's a gracious, I forgive. I'm not willing to drag this grudge any longer. Maybe your ex-husband or your ex-wife. You're gonna let that eat you up? Let it go.
Maybe it's that child that has never been very grateful and now they've made a mess of their life. You're gonna write them off? I don't think you want to do that. And neither do I.
Okay. Let's bow together. This is a special day, Lord, where we've paused to remember brokenhearted people in a broken country trying to survive. As a way of sort of stripping us down to the basic part of life. We need one another.
We're not meant to make it on our own. Thank you that we have other people that gather here at this place where we worship. Thank you that their voices blend with ours when we sing.
Thank you that their smiles encourage us and their lives represent people who care. So help us, we pray, not to call attention to our humility, not to think of it as weakness. To realize that there's strength in it. Help us to receive freely and without embarrassment. And Lord, please, please deliver us from the habit of discrimination, prejudice.
Start with me. Please do this work in my life deeply, permanently, and the lives of my family and others in this church. May we be known as a church that walks humbly with its God. In Jesus' name I pray.
Amen. You know, here at Insight for Living Ministries, we never tire of proclaiming Christ and Christ crucified. And that's because no one can find deliverance, God's love, or purpose in life apart from the gospel. We do that every day through multiple languages in dozens of countries worldwide. And gratefully, not a day passes when we don't hear from someone who's discovered how to cultivate a relationship with God as a result of the teaching they hear on Insight for Living.
Let me give you an example. Recently, someone left us a message that read, I first heard about Insight for Living when I was a student at Moody Bible Institute. I didn't grow up in a Christian home, so the biblical truths you shared were like gold to me. The parenting and family principles you shared were invaluable. Literally speaking, Insight for Living helped me to build a Godly family and marriage.
I'm forever grateful. Well, if you're among those who give to Insight for Living, rest assured your gift enables us to deliver Bible teaching to those like this listener who need it most. To give a donation, go online to insight.org or call us.
If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888. In addition to receiving your donation, please take a few moments to share your personal story with us as well. We love hearing what God is doing in your life. Our web address again is insight.org. Why is Jesus so fascinating? It's a fair question. I'm Bill Meyer inviting you to hear Chuck Swindoll's convincing answer next time on Insight for Living. The preceding message, Christ's Likeness in One Word, was copyrighted in 2022 and 2023, and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2023 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
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