1 Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2 The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, 4 got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. 6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?" 7 Jesus answered, "You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand." 8 Peter said to him, "You will never wash my feet." Jesus answered, "Unless I wash you, you have no share with me." 9 Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!" 10 Jesus said to him, "One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you." 11 For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, "Not all of you are clean."
12 After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. 14 So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. 15 For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. 16 Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. 17 If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. 18 I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But it is to fulfill the scripture, 'The one who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me. ' 19 I tell you this now, before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am he. 20 Very truly, I tell you, whoever receives one whom I send receives me; and whoever receives me receives him who sent me."
21 After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, "Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me." 22 The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking. 23 One of his disciples—the one whom Jesus loved—was reclining next to him; 24 Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. 25 So while reclining next to Jesus, he asked him, "Lord, who is it?" 26 Jesus answered, "It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish." So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot. 27 After he received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, "Do quickly what you are going to do." 28 Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. 29 Some thought that, because Judas had the common purse, Jesus was telling him, "Buy what we need for the festival"; or, that he should give something to the poor. 30 So, after receiving the piece of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.
31 When he had gone out, Jesus said, "Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. 32 If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. 33 Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, 'Where I am going, you cannot come. ' 34 I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
The Gospel of Our Lord.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. Amen
“God cares for the least of these—which is why he cares for you and me.
“I don’t care what you’ve done,
I don’t care where you’ve been.
“If we want to know who God is calling us to love and show mercy to, we ought to think about whom it is that we are most uncomfortable showing love and mercy to.
As a Church we simply cannot be too loving, too forgiving, too merciful, too compassionate, and too accepting.
No amount of grace is too much grace.
We are the descendents of the Gentiles, of pagans, of barbarians. That is unless you are of Jewish heritage.
But Jesus doesn’t see that.
There is a radical sign that we are being Christ like in our ministries.
How many despicable people are in our midst?
Actually, that is a trick question because if we truly have the heart of Jesus, no one is despicable.
But if we have the heart of Jesus, we will welcome those whom the world despises.
These are themes we’ve explored as we focused on the heart of Jesus, and his gracious love these last few weeks.
We began with the parable of the last judgment.
We heard the story of the prodigal son and his indignant brother.
We saw how the Samaritan, a foreigner, proved to be the true neighbor as he showed mercy.
We witnessed how Jesus refused to condemn the woman caught in adultery.
We explored how Jesus love caused him to reach over every barrier, to reach those on the other side like the Samaritan woman at the well.
It is easy to love your mom and your dad. That’s the first love we experienced.
It is easy to love our brothers and sisters.
It is easy to love that special someone who comes into your life and captures your heart, that one with whom you choose to spend your life.
It is easy to love a son or a daughter, such a precious gift of life.
These familial relationships define us as people.
The love flows naturally and abundantly.
But there is nothing particularly Christian about such love. Every human experiences this type of love.
As we look into the heart of Jesus, what we discover is a love that goes beyond the normal and natural.
Jesus loves even the unlovable.
It was evening.
Jesus had gathered together with his disciples in the upper room in Jerusalem to share what would prove to be his last meal with them.
It was the custom at that time that a servant would wash the feet of the guests at a festive meal.
There was no such servant there that evening, and so Jesus, removing his outer garments took on the role of a slave and moved about the table, one by one, and washed the disciples feet.
One by one.
Water washing over their feet.
The intimate touch of his hands on their toes.
And then he took the towel tied around his waist and dried their feet.
Perhaps the first to be washed was Matthew, the tax collector, who’d found forgiveness and a place of belonging in this band of disciples.
Judas the son of James.
Simon the Zealot,
John and James, the sons of Zebedee.
Andrew and Philip.
Another James, son of Alphaeus.
He knelt before Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him and gently washed his feet.
And Peter. Peter who objected.
One by one, around the room. The water in the basin getting dirty as the dust of the road was washed from their feet.
One by one Jesus touched them as a servant.
One by one, Jesus knelt before them.
One by one, Jesus loved them.
"Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. 32 If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. 33 Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, 'Where I am going, you cannot come. ' 34 I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.
Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
Just as I have loved you.
We are the least of these whom Jesus loved.
We are the prodigal son whom Jesus loved.
We are the obedient son whom Jesus loved.
We are the Samaritan and the victim lying beside the road whom Jesus loved.
We are the woman caught in adultery whom Jesus loved.
We are the Samaritan woman whom Jesus loved.
We are Zaccheus whom Jesus loved.
We are the beloved disciple, John.
We are Peter, so full of himself, but whom Jesus loved.
We are Judas, the one whom betrayed him, yet whom Jesus loved to the end.
One by one, Jesus knelt before his disciples.
One by one, Jesus washed their feet.
And one by one he loves us all.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”
For God so loved the world, that one by one, Jesus washed each of us in the waters of baptism.
One by one we were cleansed.
One by one we who were lost have been found.
And one by one shall we be saved.
May this peace that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, our Lord. Amen