I stand constantly amazed at how many gifts God has given to this church. Wonderful talent. I'm amazed at how many babies He's given. Wow, every time I turn around, there's another new one coming in the door. Keep up the good work. That's nice. I tell you, these are God's children in God's house. There is nothing more precious.
I love their feet, tiny things with all the little toes on them. There is nothing more precious to me than a child's little puffy foot. Okay, maybe hands with those little fingers. They are great. But I don't know, it's a toss-up. I go with the feet. Both are irresistible to most people. If that is not irresistible to you, we need to talk. We need to melt that heart a little bit. That can melt your heart. My wife taught me this: When I saw her with our new one at church, she was holding his hands. "What are you doing that for?" "Because, everybody ants to grab his hands, then he puts his hands in his mouth and the germs go right to work." So she would stick his foot out; "Here, touch this." I often give this advice to new parents: "When you bring your new one to church, hold on to its hands because they are irresistible. Everyone loves to feel those tiny fingers as they practice their grip. But what else do babies do with those fingers? Put them in their mouths, along with all the germs that we have given them. So, you might wish to let a foot hang out instead. They are just as touchable but make it to the mouth less often."
People are funny when they see their child for the first time. Have you noticed? They start counting things. "Okay, all the fingers are here. All the toes." It's like it's an instinctive way for a parent to be sure of the normalcy of their child. If the child has all of these tiny digits then the child must be okay. When my mother-in-law first made it to the hospital, when our first-born came, she could see his hands, but she said, "Does he have all of his toes? Did you count his toes?" I answered, "Yes I did, he has all twelve." The look she gave me was unforgettable! We're interested in that kind of thing. We're interested, "Is everything all right?"
Luke 2 tells us about Mary and Joseph going to Bethlehem. You here about that a lot this time of the year. But I wonder beyond this part where it says Luke 2:7 says; and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. That doesn't tell the story to us.
I can almost guarantee that before Mary wrapped up the Son of God, she counted His toes, and they were there. He was perfect. As she first looked at those chubby little feet, I wonder what she was thinking. Did she think the same thoughts of all new mothers or was there something more in this instance? Did she realize that those little bitty feet had once stood in the courts of Heaven for ages uncountable? Did she think about those feet walking in the Garden of Eden beside Adam and Eve whom He had created? Did she understand that these feet had walked to Abraham's tent the day that Sarah had laughed at the announcement that she would bear a child in her old age? These were Jesus' footprints in that sand. Did she comprehend that these feet had walked in front of Moses as Moses was allowed to see God's back, during the time that this now chubby little finger had once ben great enough to carve in stone God's Law?
Did Mary realize that in a few short years, Jesus' cousin, John, would say that he was unworthy to fasten a sandal around one of these feet. That people would place their loved ones at these feet to be healed? That a demon-possessed man would sit at these feet in his right mind? That a sinful woman would be cast at these feet for judgement only to be forgiven? That a woman with her same name would sit at these feet to listen to Him teach so much that her sister, Martha, would get upset that the dishes were dirty, and that He would raise her brother from the dead? Or, that a woman of ill repute would be so grateful for His love and forgiveness that she would anoint these very feet with costly perfume and wipe them with her hair?
Could Mary comprehend the path that these feet would be clasped by women grateful that He had raised from the dead. Does she understand the path that they were to take towards death? Uphill, carrying a cross, that these feet would be standing in a mock trial, that they would be pierced by great spikes? Did she realize that she would gaze at her first-born Son and watch Him die? I wonder if she thought about those feet back when they were short and chubby and cute, only to e there on the cross.
Did she understand that these feet would lift off the ground one day after His resurrection and ascend back from whence He came, up to heaven to be with His true Father.
As she gazed at those tiny feet that had been kicking inside of her for many weeks, could she have imagined them being described by John in the last book of the Holy Scriptures as bronze glowing in a furnace? Wow! The wonderful feet of Jesus. How much did Mary think about that night?
If Mary could have believed even a small portion of any this, she could have never believed one thing, that the men who would become the closest companions of her Son would have ignored His feet. Look at John chapter 13. Here we find Jesus and His disciples preparing for the Passover, the last supper that they would eat together before His death. No servant was there for the customary washing of the guests feet. As they looked at one another wondering who would do this menial servant task, Jesus did something that they would never forget.
Look at John 13:4-17 ...so he got up from the meal, took off His outer clothing , and wrapped a towel around His waist. 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.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to Him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?"
Jesus replied, "You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand." Keep that in mind. Even that night, Peter would not know what was happening to him.
"No, said Peter, "You shall never wash my feet." You know, Peter was known for having pride. And this looks like maybe pride turned around backwards that, "I can't let the Son of God wash my feet." Peter is also thinking, "How will I react if He does this? What am I going to do? How can I allow this to happen?" It seems "I" is getting in the way.
Jesus answered, "Unless I wash you, you have no part with Me.
"Then, Lord," Simon Peter replied, "not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!"
Jesus answered, "A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. That is very significant. So true. In fact, Katy and Bobby said, "Since we are being baptized on Communion Sabbath, that means that we don't need to wash our feet, right?" And they are right. This was their bath. Foot-washing is for those of us that have been baptized. Yes, we're still following Christ, but in so doing on dreadful earth we are getting dirty. We still live in a place of sin and it gets on us, but that doesn't mean that we are not following Jesus. But there comes a time to remind ourselves, "Yes, I once was cleaned in the waters of baptism. Foot-washing is a miniature re-baptism, a chance to start fresh and new.
Look at verse 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. "You call Me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed you feet, you also should wash one another's feet. Well, that was a break in their tradition. Wash one another's feet? They always had a servant wash their feet. They didn't wash one another's feet. But Jesus is saying, "Everybody in My sight is equal. Everybody should be equally the servant. Wash one another's feet. Don't wait for somebody to do it for you." Verse 15. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them."
Did you notice something in this story? Even after all of this, even after Jesus has told them these things, and shown them by example what they are supposed to do for one another, nobody washed His feet. We have no record that anyone offered to wash the feet of Jesus! Not even John, His best friend. "Well Lord, let me start by washing your feet now." No! Not even Peter who went through all of this. Maybe Peter didn't understand it now. Not even Peter! He's still thinking about himself and how he has reacted. "Now, did that look right?" And, "How should I have reacted?" He was so busy thinking about that and not being a servant himself. Many may be going through that today. We can be so self-conscious that foot-washing makes us uncomfortable. We can be so self-conscious that we don't want to participate. But that is what this is all about, putting self aside!
I really wish that someone would have washed those precious feet that night. My wish had come true. We have been graciously given a second chance to do so. Jesus once said; "Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for Me." Matthew 25:40.
So when we follow His command to wash one another's feet, we are washing His feet!
Hymn of Praise: #140, Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne Scripture: John 13:12-14 Hymn of Response: #136, Good Christians, Now Rejoice
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last updated 12/16/2001 by Bob Beckett.