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Divine Foot Washing

The Voice of Sovereign Grace / Doug Agnew
The Truth Network Radio
April 6, 2023 8:00 am

Divine Foot Washing

The Voice of Sovereign Grace / Doug Agnew

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April 6, 2023 8:00 am

Join us for our Maundy Thursday worship service- For more information about Grace Church, please visit

The Voice of Sovereign Grace
Doug Agnew

I have your Bibles with you. Please turn with me, if you would, to John 13. We're going to be looking at verses 1 through 17. Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper, He laid aside His outer garments and taken a towel, tied it around His waist. Then He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around Him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to Him, Lord, do You wash my feet?

Jesus answered him, What I am doing, you do not understand now, but afterwards you will understand. And 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. Simon Peter said to Him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. Jesus said to him, The one who has bathed does not need to wash except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you. For he knew who was to betray Him.

That was why, He said, not all of you are clean. When He had washed their feet and put on the outer garments and resumed His place, He said to them, Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I the end of your Lord and teacher have washed your feet, you ought also to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example that you should do just as I have done to you. Truly I say to you, A servant is not greater than his master, nor is the messenger greater than the one who sent him.

If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. Bow with me as we go to our Lord in prayer. Heavenly Father, I come before your throne tonight, just first of all to lift up some in our congregation who are going through times of sickness. I pray for Esther Carol, who had cancers removed from her face today, and pray that you would be with her in power. Continue to pray for Jeremy Carriker, Lord, that you would be with him as he is making great progress, and Lord, I pray that he will just get better and better until he's able to be back with us and doing the things that you've called him to do that he wants to do again. Father, I pray for Angie Weekley's mom, Miss Hoffman, who is going through a very, very difficult time, and they're very concerned about her life.

I pray, Heavenly Father, that you would minister to her and help her. Heavenly Father, as I studied this passage this week in John chapter 13, I was absolutely broken. As I realized who you are, that you are the Christ, the Son of the living God.

You are the second person of the Trinity, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords. You are our everything, and yet, Lord, you showed us the value of servanthood as you bowed before your disciples, men who made a lot of mistakes, men who let you down time after time after time, and you washed the dirt and the grime from beneath their toes. Heavenly Father, help me and help everyone in this congregation who claims the name of Jesus that we might have that kind of heart, that we might put others above ourselves, that we might be foot washers. Guide and direct us through this passage tonight. May Jesus be uplifted. May this congregation be edified. And it's in your holy and precious name that we pray.

Amen. Thank you. Larry Bradley was my associate pastor when I was in my former church. We've been dear friends for over 50 years. About 17 years ago, his daughter, his oldest daughter, Jessica, called me up and asked me if I would help Larry and assist him in her wedding. She was getting married, and I agreed to do so. The night of the rehearsal, they had the rehearsal at a church, and at the church they had that rehearsal and also had the rehearsal dinner there. So we had just a great meal together, and after the meal, Matt and Jessica got up.

They were giving out the gifts for the wedding party. And then Larry stood up, and as the dad, he said, I'm not going to do something that is usually done at rehearsal parties. He said, I'm not going to stand up here and do the marriage toast.

He said, instead, I'm going to do something that might seem a little unusual, a little unorthodox. And he went in the kitchen, and he came back out with a big pan of water. And he walked right over to Matt and Jessica that were sitting down, and he put the pan down, and then he went over to Matt on his hands and knees, and he pulled off Matt's shoes and socks. He took his feet and put it in the water, and then he took the towel off and dried his feet off. Then he shifted over to Jessica, and he put her feet down in the water after taking her sandals off.

And then he took her feet out and dried her feet. He then just kind of looked at them for a minute. Both of them were both kind of red-faced, but they were silent.

They weren't saying anything. And he said, 2,000 years ago, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, did this very same thing to his disciples. And he said, I want you to know that he didn't tell them what he was going to do beforehand.

He didn't get them prepared for it. He just did it. And he said, that's what I did with y'all tonight. And he said, my purpose in this was to teach you the value of servanthood. He said, that's what I want to teach you. And he said, this is so important that you understand that. He said, you're going to be married tomorrow. And he said, marriage has its ups and downs, it has its good times and bad times. But he said, if you both learn how to serve each other, you're going to have a strong union. He said, the example of foot washing says, I love you more than I love me.

Larry said to Jessica and Matt, I hope you'll never forget this foot washing that we did this evening. Because when Jesus walked this earth, Jesus was a servant. And he said, my desire for you is to be in the will of God and be servant yourself.

Several years ago, Cindy and I saw a movie entitled Second Chance. Michael W. Smith was playing the pastor's son. And this pastor had gone in and started a church in a drug ridden community. And he went in and shared the gospel. And there were people there that had just hit rock bottom. And man, they had just been lifted up as they had been saved and came to a saving knowledge of Christ.

And Jesus just picked them up out of the muck and the mire. This area of where they were was just a horrible area. There were drug addicts or murderers, prostitutes, gang violence, all kinds of horrible, terrible stuff.

There's one particular scene that got to me. There was a young teenage boy in the community that started selling drugs for a gang there. And so the pastor's son went to this young boy and said, I want to share some things with you. Shared the gospel with him. The young man trusted Christ as his Lord and Savior.

Trusted Jesus as his Lord. It was just an exciting time for him, but he came across a problem. The gang didn't want to let go of him. And so the pastor's son went to the gang leader and said, what's it going to cost?

What's it going to cost me to pay for this young man's freedom? He says, well, this is what you can do. You can take his beating for him.

He says, okay, I'll do that. And the gang did beat him. They beat him almost to death. They left him unconscious laying beside the road. And finally his dad went out looking for him, found him there, laying there unconscious. Took him to the hospital. He had several broken bones, and it was just a bad situation. Kept him in the hospital for a few days, and then finally they took the church van up to take him back home.

Several of the people in the youth group, some of the young kids were there. And as they were taking him, trying to get him into the church van, his leg was all swollen up in a lot of pain. And as they were trying to get him into the van, the pain really hit him, and a curse word popped out. The young man in the youth group just blasted him. He said, I can't believe that you said this. What a horrible thing. He said, you should know better than this.

How could you do that? In just absolute utter disgust, he got up and he walked away. The next Sunday, the pastor's son was seated on the front row of the church. And the pastor was getting ready to get up and preach. And the young boy that had been criticizing him was in the back of the church, and he was holding a pan in his hand of water. And he said, pastor, would you wait just a minute?

He went all the way to the front of the church. He got down to his hands and knees before the pastor's son, and he took his shoes off and he started washing his feet in that pan. And the pastor's son looked at him and said, what are you doing? And he said, I'm doing this because I criticized you and I judged you the other day, and I had no right to do that. He said, you almost gave your life to be sure that this boy got freed from this gang. And he said, I criticized you and I judged you, and I had no right to do that. I said, I'm doing this because I want you to forgive me.

Would you forgive me? And the pastor's son got up, hugged him around the neck, they embraced each other, and he was forgiven. I never read John chapter 13 anymore without thinking first of all of Larry Bradley, and then second of this scene that I saw in that movie. Foot washing. That's part of what Maundy Thursday is all about.

It's very important for us to see this. The word maundy comes from a Latin word that means mandate or command. And that's what Jesus did. Jesus, at this Passover dinner, he was commanding his disciples to follow him in foot washing.

Now, first I want to get the setting in our minds as we look at this. This is the night that Jesus will institute the Lord's Supper. They had the Passover meal first. Jesus will institute the Lord's Supper. Later on that night, they go into the Garden of Gethsemane. Judas Iscariot comes up to Jesus, kisses him on the cheek, and sells him out for 30 pieces of silver. They take him at that point to Caiaphas' home, and there's an illegal trial that goes on. And Jesus is declared guilty. The next day, he is mocked, he is spit on, he is flogged, he's almost killed that way, and then they take him and they nail him to a cross. Well, not long after that, 3 o'clock in that afternoon, he's taken off the cross, and he's taken to the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, who is a councilman, and it's his tomb.

He gives the tomb up for Jesus, and they lay him in the tomb and seal the tomb up. Now, that takes place only 18 hours before Jesus washed the feet of these disciples. And at that time, when he's doing this and he's getting ready to wash the feet, what's going on in Jesus' mind? Is he thinking about himself?

No. Is he thinking about what the disciples need to do? He's thinking about the need for them to be a servant. And so he washes their feet, and then he preaches perhaps the greatest sermon that's ever been preached on the subject of the Holy Spirit. He's not preparing himself for his death.

He's preparing them for his death. Now, where is this? Jesus and the disciples have gathered together in the upper room in Jerusalem. Now, most scholars believe that this upper room is a house that belonged to John Mark's mother. And I believe that that's exactly who it belonged to. Who is John Mark? John Mark is the guy who wrote the gospel of Mark.

His mother's name was Mary. A lot of Marys at that time. But this room was the same room that the disciples are going to be in on Sunday, the following Sunday when Jesus is resurrected. About 8 o'clock that night, and they're scared to death. They're huddled in the room, scared the Jews are going to come get them. Jesus walks through the wall, and he looks at these disciples, and he tells them, do not fear. And he breathes on them, says, receive you the Holy Spirit. This is the same room that they're in on Pentecost Sunday, a few weeks away.

And they're in that room, and what are they doing? They're praying, and the Holy Spirit comes upon them and fills them, and they go out in great power and share the gospel with the world. This is the same house where the church had met when Simon Peter had been thrown in jail by King Herod Agrippa. And they were praying that God would deliver him, and God did send an angel. And the angel got Peter out of prison.

Peter came and knocked at that door. Folks, Mark tells a very interesting story in the Gospel of Mark that we don't hear about in any of the other three Gospels. I believe that that incident had to do with Mark himself.

Let me read this to you. Mark 14, verse 51 through 52. Now a certain young man followed him, having a linen cloth thrown around his naked body.

And the young man laid hold of him, and he left the linen cloth and fled from them naked. I think that that young boy was Mark himself. And I think what happened was that Mark was in his bed that night, and Jesus and the disciples are in the floor right above him. They've had the Passover meal. Jesus has washed their feet. Jesus has instituted the Lord's Supper. He has taught them powerfully on the Holy Spirit of God. And then he says, okay, it's time for us to go.

They head off for Gethsemane. And Mark, by that time, is so excited, he didn't want to miss it. So he's laying in his bed, probably without the benefit of clothing, and he jumps up, he takes his sheet, throws it around himself, and he takes off after them and follows them from a distance. Folks, if that's true, and that means that this John Mark who wrote the Gospel of Mark was a firsthand witness to the betrayal and the arrest of Jesus. You say, well, why didn't he just say that it was Mark? Well, you put yourself in his shoes.

If you'd run off naked and frightened and everybody had seen you, you probably wouldn't want to put your name there either. But there they are in the upper room, the top story of John Mark's mother's house. The disciples are seated around the wall, and Jesus, first of all, serves the Passover meal. And then right after the Passover meal, before instituting the Lord's Supper, Jesus washes the dirt and the grime from between the toes and in the feet of these disciples.

I've got three points I want to share with you. Point one, the practical need and the disciples' neglect. Look at verses four and five. Jesus rose from supper.

He laid aside his outer garments and, taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with a towel that was wrapped around him. In that culture, the roads were dirty and they traveled. They would travel by horse or by camel or by donkey. Sometimes they'd just walk. Their feet were always dusty, dirty, and sweaty.

And in that day, one of the things that they would do, just to show courtesy, was if you were a visitor, you came to somebody's house, before you came into their house, they would wash your feet. If they were rich, they had a servant to do it. If they were not rich and they had children, the children would do it.

If the children weren't there, then they were responsible for doing it themselves. But at this meeting, apparently nobody thought about it. Now, if I'd been one of the disciples, if I'd been Peter, kind of looking around, looking over there at Thomas' nasty old dirty feet, I'd have probably thought, nah, let's just forget this.

I'd rather not do that. But put yourself in their shoes for just a minute, and it would just appear to me that somebody would get pretty excited about the possibility of washing Jesus' feet, of jumping up before anybody else could do anything and getting on your hands and knees before Jesus and washing his feet. And yet nobody thinks about it.

Not one of them brought it up. So after the Passover meal and before Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper, he took his outer garment off, put the towel around his waist, went from one disciple to the next, and washed their feet. Let me travel back with you to the Book of Exodus for just a minute, and I want us to look at how God gave instruction for the people of God and how they worked to approach their holy God, who was their Creator, their Redeemer, and their Sustainer.

How were they to do it? God told Moses to build a tabernacle. A tabernacle was a tent, had two rooms in it.

Those rooms were separated by a six-inch thick veil. The first room was called the Holy Place. There were three things in that room. Number one, there was a menorah, which is a seven-pronged candlestick.

What was it there for? To show us that Jesus is the light of the world. Secondly, there was the table of showbread, to show us that Jesus is the bread of life. Thirdly, there was the altar of incense, and that was to show us that Jesus is our high priest. That was the first room. But then there's a six-inch thick veil, another room back behind that. There's only one thing in that room, and that's the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark of the Covenant has a top.

It's called the Mercy Seat. Now, only the priest could go into that first room, the Holy Place. Any priest could go in there, but only one priest could go into the Holy of Holies. He could only go one time a year, and that was on the Day of Atonement. And on the Day of Atonement, the high priest would take a basin of goat's blood. He would walk back behind the veil. He would walk over to the Ark of the Covenant.

He would take a branch of hyssop, dip it into the goat's blood, sprinkle it on the Mercy Seat. What was that done for? To appease the wrath of God against our sin, and to forgive sin for that year for all of God's people. There was a fence around the Ark of the Covenant, I mean, around the Tabernacle, and the area between the fence and the Tabernacle is called the Courtyard. And around that fence, there are 12 sections. Each section has a name, and it's the name of one of the 12 Children of God, 12 tribes of Israel.

As you go into the very front, there's a gate. And the name of that gate was Judah. That's the way that you got into the Courtyard, walking toward the Tabernacle, which represented the presence of God. What does the name Judah mean?

It means praise. In Psalm 100, the Scripture says, we enter into his gates with thanksgiving, but into his courts with praise. Well, you entered into the court, and when you did, the first thing that you came to was a thing called the brazen altar. And there was fire on that altar, and before you could move any further, you had to sacrifice an animal, lamb or goat, and you would sacrifice that, the animal would shed its blood, you would take the animal, place it on the altar, and the animal was burned. Folks, that was a picture of the cross of Calvary.

And what is the statement? Before you can enter into the presence of God, you have to go to the cross. Now, most of you read the great book Pilgrim's Progress, and the main character in that book is called Christian. And if you remember the story, Christian has this huge sack on his back. That sack is filled with the sins that he's had in his life. And it's not only his sins, but also the guilt of his sin.

And I want to take just a moment and share with you about this and what John Bunyan had to say. He said, That just as Christian came up with the cross, his burden loosed from off his shoulders and fell off from his back, and it began to tumble. And so continued to do so till he came to the mouth of the sepulcher, where the sin fell in and he saw it no more. Then was Christian glad and lightsome and said with a merry heart, He hath given me rest by his sorrow and life by his death. Then he stood still a while to look and wonder, for it was very surprising to him that the sight of the cross should thus ease him of his burden.

He looked therefore and looked again, even till the springs that were in his head sent the waters down his cheeks. Now as he stood looking and weeping, behold, three shining ones came to him and saluted him with peace be to thee. So the first said to him, Thy sins be forgiven thee. The second stripped him of his rags and clothed him with a change of raiment. The third also set a mark in his forehead and gave him a roll with a seal upon it, which he bid him look as he ran, and that he should give it in a celestial gait.

So they went their way. Then Christian gave three leaps for joy and went on singing. The brazen altar represents the cross.

This is a picture of the blood of Jesus, the blood of Jesus cleansing us from every sin and every iniquity and imputing to us the righteousness of Christ himself. But then after they left the brazen altar, they went to another brazen thing. It was called the brazen laver. The brazen laver looked like a big kettle and it was filled with water. And they would go to the brazen laver, and they would take water in their hand, and they would cleanse themselves before they could go not one step further.

Tremendously important. So in the Old Testament, you shed the blood of the animal first to symbolize your relationship with God. Then you went to the brazen laver and you took the water and you cleansed yourself to represent our need for fellowship.

So first there was the need for relationship before you can do anything. That's seen at the cross. And then there's the need for fellowship. And we'll see where Jesus is teaching them about the foot washing.

It takes us to point to daily cleansing for fellowship. Look at verses 6 through 11. He came to Simon Peter who said to him, Lord, do you wash my feet? Jesus answered him, what I'm doing you do not understand now, but afterwards you will understand. 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. Simon Peter said to him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. Jesus said to him, the one who is bathed does not need to wash except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you, for you knew who was to betray him.

And that's why he said, not all of you are clean. Many Bible commentators jump all over Peter at this point. And they say that Peter's actions were faithless, that what he was saying here was just arrogant, and that he never should have said it. And they really jump on him pretty hard.

I do not agree with that assessment. I think Peter is doing exactly what you and I would have done if we had been there. I think Peter is thinking to himself, man, I have blown it. I had the opportunity to go first and to wash Jesus' feet before he could wash my feet. I had the opportunity to be a servant to Christ, to get on my hands and knees before him. And now I've blown that opportunity.

How am I going to rectify my mistake? I don't think he's being faithless. I don't think he's being arrogant whatsoever. I think he's just sorry because I think he thinks he's hurt Jesus' feelings. And I think that Jesus saw that too. So Jesus said to Peter, he didn't say to him, you have no faith. He said, Peter, you just don't understand. Peter, who's notorious for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, some people say that Peter had foot and mouth disease.

I think that's probably right. He said, Jesus, you will not wash my feet. This is where you have to move from the physical to the spiritual. In the physical realm, this foot washing was a lesson in humility. So you want to be a humble servant of God, this is how you do it. You go the second mile. You think about others before thinking of yourself.

You take the opportunity to serve others and do to them what you would like done to yourself. Chuck Swindoll said one time that he had a lawyer in his church. It was a very wealthy lawyer. And he got elected as a deacon in their church.

And he said that one particular Sunday, he was there in this three-piece Armani suit. And he was walking to the educational building. And all of a sudden, he saw people just kind of slipping out, moving away very quickly. And what had happened was this little girl about 10 years old had gotten sick. And she had vomited right there in the floor, just went all over everything. So what does this new lawyer slash deacon do?

He went immediately to the janitor's closet. And he got a bucket, he got water, he got a towel and a mop, and he got a bunch of Lysol. And he comes back and he gets down in his hands and knees in his three-piece Armani suit, and he cleans that whole mess up as everybody else has just backed off and stayed away. Foot washing means that we have a servant's heart. Jesus wanted Peter to see not just the physical, but he also wants him to see the spiritual here. Peter said, Jesus, you shall not wash my feet. And Jesus said, Peter, if I don't wash your feet, then you have no part with me. And he says, well, if that's the case, then give me a bath. Just wash all of me, wash my head, my everything. And Jesus said, that's not needed, Peter.

You've had your bath. He said, now all you need is a foot washing. What does Jesus mean by that? Jesus is teaching Peter the difference between relationship and fellowship. When the Lord saves us, he cleanses us, cleanses us permanently, and positionally, we are clean before God. Positionally, he has taken all of our sins and thrown them into the depths of the deepest sea, and he has removed our sins from us as far as the East is from the West. What happened when you got saved?

This is what happened. He brought you into his family. He made you his. So you are his, he is yours, you belong to him, and all hell can't change it. I love the way Paul put it, what shall separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord? Shall tribulation or persecution or nakedness or peril or sword? No, for in all things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life nor powers nor principalities nor angels nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth nor any other creature shall separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. That's relationship, and that's where we are positionally. Practically, it's a different thing, isn't it? Because practically, I walk through a dirty world, and when I do, I get my feet dirty.

Practically, sometimes I fall on my face. Practically, sometimes I sin. And so the Lord gave us principles to deal with that.

Because that's not going to break our relationship, but it will greatly hinder our fellowship. 1 John chapter 1 verse 9, John says this, he says, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. A.W. Pink's one of my favorites, and he says that foot washing is much more than just confession of sin.

I want you to listen to what he said. What is the washing? If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. It is something which is needed by all believers.

We say believers, for though all such have a portion in Christ, how often they fail to enjoy their part with him. This washing is something more than confession of sin and the consequent forgiveness. It is the searching out of the word in the presence of God, of that which led me into evil.

It is judging the root of which sin are the fruit. Yet this washing must not be limited to God's remedy for our declension and failure. Rather, should we view it as his gracious provision for our daily need, as a preservative and as a preventative against outward failures, we need to get alone with our Lord each day, opening our hearts to the light as the flower does its petals to the sun. Alas, that we have so little consciousness of our deep need for this and that there is so little retirement and examination of our ways before God. To really place our feet for washing in the blessed hands of Christ is to come before him in the attitude of the psalmist. Search me, O God, and know my heart.

Try me and know my thoughts and see if there be any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting. This is imperatively necessary if while in such a defiling place as this world we are to have a part with him. At point three, our Savior's command and counsel, verse 12 and 14. When he had washed their feet, put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me teacher and Lord and you're right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought also to wash one another's feet. If Jesus had just been speaking in a natural way like we probably would have, what would he have said there? I think he would have said this, I've given you an example. I've washed your feet, now you wash my feet. That's what we just said.

That's not what he said. He said, I've given you an example. I've washed your feet, now you wash the feet of others. He's saying that when we serve others in his name, we're serving him.

Matthew chapter 25 tells us that in the last day that Jesus will stand before us, those that truly belong to him. They say, Enter now into the kingdom, for I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was in prison and you visited me.

I was sick and you came and you took care of me. And they say, Wait a minute, Jesus, when did we do this? And Jesus will say, When you did it to one of the least of these, my brethren, you did it unto me. What's that got to do with us?

Everything. When you as a lady bake a cake, take it over to the home of a family that's just lost a loved one and they're grieving, and you bring over love and a cake, you did that not just for that person, but for Jesus. When you as a man take some money out of your bill fold, give it to a poor man who can't pay his rent, and you do it in Jesus's name. You didn't just do it to him, but you did it unto Jesus. How important it is for us to get that principle and to understand it. That's our calling, folks. It's a call into humility. It's a call into servanthood. And Jesus gave us the example about 18 hours before he was crucified.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-06 23:29:52 / 2023-04-06 23:43:41 / 14

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