Chapter 26 – Jesus Came to Give

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Note: The section in “bold” was skipped over during the recording process due to a battery failure in the microphone. The sermon is basically fine without this section, but if you are following allow with the audio this discrepancy is noted.

Chapter 26 – Jesus Came to Give

John 13:4-5,12-17
Jesus sat down with his disciples so that they might have a meal together. While gathered they began to argue with one another trying to discover who was the greatest in The Kingdom. The least among them would be the servant of the day in charge of washing their feet before the meal. While they were yet speaking…
4 Jesus got up from the meal, removed his outer clothes, took a towel and tied it around himself. 5 He poured water into the washbasin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel he had wrapped around himself.

12 So when Jesus had washed their feet and put his outer clothing back on, he took his place at the table again and said to them, “Do you understand what I have done for you? 13 You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and do so correctly, for that is what I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you too ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example – you should do just as I have done for you. 16 I tell you the solemn truth, the slave is not greater than his master, nor is the one who is sent as a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you understand these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

Jesus came to serve. How many of us, though perhaps not in so many word, do the very thing that the disciples were doing? So often we are caught up with our own lives, our jobs, our families, our things that we forget about the world around us. We are so convinced that if we have to do it it must mean something about our identity.

The men here know what I’m talking about. How many times do you have to be told to do something by your wives before you do it? There are many reasons for why we do this, but I think the most damaging one is that which pokes holes in what it means, for us, to be a man. If you want, you can try and explain this to your wife next time. Say something like this: “haven’t you seen the movies. Men are conquerors. We go out and face all sorts of trouble, fight the bad guys, and come home with the prize. That’s what makes a man! What kind of a movie have you ever seen about a man who was praised for washing a dish!” Thinking you have won the argument, perhaps you sit back and cross your arms. Now, ladies, comes your part. Here is where you say, “Well, if you let those dishes get any worse they will have monsters made of mold growing on them, and then I’m really gonna need a man to wash them clean, conquer those enemies.”

We do ourselves a disservice when we think that something is “below” us, or it will destroy our sense of self worth if we do it. I hope that none of us here today will have an identity crisis if we have to wash some dishes, but perhaps there are others things that we think that about. For the disciples it was washing feet. It was customary for the host of the house to get someone to wash the feet of their guests. This was often the job of the household servant. In the scene we read, however, it was Jesus.

In a great sweeping statement he says, “I am willing to touch what no one else is. I will go where none of you will. I will kneel before you and get my hands dirty. I will not just come down to your level, but lower still.”

It says something when the master does a servant’s job. Jesus uses this as an object lesson for his disciples. He says is verse 14 – “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you too ought to wash one another’s feet.” Don’t worry about it. You won’t all of a sudden become less than you are by doing a servant’s job. Instead, it may even raise up the person you are serving far more than it will diminish you. How would it make you feel about yourself if God stooped down to wash your feet?

Jesus came to serve. However, he didn’t just want to help people out while he was here, give them some guidelines for how to live, and then leave. He shows his disciples this practical example of what he is about and then says, “one day I won’t be here to give you examples of how to live anymore. One day, in fact very soon, I am going to die. But when I do, I don’t want you to stop learning and growing. I want to continue to serve you.

John 14:16-17
I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you forever – 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept, because it does not see him or know him. But you know him, because he resides with you and will be in you.

He says, right now I am with you showing you the truth. I am showing you how to live and love better… but that is not the ultimate reason why I came. I didn’t come to show but to give. Often times during Jesus life he talked about being the truth. This means that he embodied what it means to be right. He, in all that he said and did, showed us the better way to live, but he gave us so much more than a divine example. He was not satisfied to just show truth, he wanted to give it to us.

Talking about the Spirit of Truth he says at the end of vs. 17 – “you know him, because he resides with you…” He’s talking about himself. He says, “you know what truth looks like because you see me doing it every day. You know what it looks like for me to give to those in need without any self-preservation reservations. But one day this spirit ‘will be in you.’ I don’t want you to just see what I have done and remember me after I die, trying to desperately model a man who had God living inside of him. How exhausting! I want God to be living inside of you as well. I want that spirit of truth to be so present with you that it becomes a very part of who you are!”

However, in order to do this, Jesus would have to die. In order for the Spirit of God to be released into the world for everyone to receive, the vessel which the Father had breathed himself into would have to exhale the spirit of Life and all Creation so that we might breathe it in.

There is truth in this world. In fact the very pillars of the earth were founded on truth. The great cosmos of God is breathing divine truth. The spirit of Truth that Jesus is talking about did not just magic into existence when Jesus began to walk the earth. In the very first chapter of Genesis God knit it into his creation story.

Genesis 1:2-3 – the VOICE
The earth was filled with chaos and darkness. A dense fog draped over the deep while God’s spirit-wind hovered over the surface of the tumultuous waters. Then God spoke. “Let there be light.”

The earth was a raging mass of chaos until God sent the Spirit of Truth out into the darkness of his Creation with a word. The word used for “spirit” here is literally translated from the Hebrew word for breath. God breathed out the Spirit of truth and it lit up the darkness. As the creation story goes on, it is by God’s breath (this Spirit of truth) that the sea settles, land rises, animals are born, trees flourish, and mankind is fashioned. Somewhere deep in the very nature of this world lies the seeds of the Spirit of truth.

In the book of Proverbs the Spirit of truth is described another way… wisdom. Proverbs 3 replays this scene which we have just read from Genesis 1.

Proverbs 3:19-20
By wisdom the Lord laid the foundation of the earth;
he established the heavens by understanding.
By his knowledge the primordial sea was broken open,
and the clouds drip down dew.

This same Spirit that, in all its fullness, rested inside the body of the Son of God. The very creative force of God was bottled up inside a bag of flesh and bones just waiting to escape. Little wisps of truth managed to free themselves when Jesus spoke and he pulled the world around him closer to harmony with heaving breaths as he served. When he looked at his disciples, Jesus saw chaotic masses of mixed emotions and the troubled waters of their hearts, and when two came together all they could do was argue over which storm was greater! That is, until the Spirit which once turned the mess of Creation into something beautiful washed over them, making them new as well.

If there was one thing Jesus was waiting for before he died, it was the Spirit to be ready to break out into the world. On that night the sky turned black. Storm clouds rushed in. A great storm was brewing. The writhing mass hanging above Jesus on the cross was all too similar to the chaos of the first creation. It was all too similar to the hearts of the people that day. Dark. Lost.

Jesus felt the weight of all that pain. He struggled to breathe it in, gasped as he let it out. In. Out. In. Out. That is, until he realized that his work was finished. John 19:28 tells us Jesus final thoughts and words while he hung on the cross.

John 19:28-30
28 After this Jesus, realizing that by this time everything was completed, said (in order to fulfill the scripture), “I am thirsty!” 29 A jar full of sour wine was there, so they put a sponge soaked in sour wine on a branch of hyssop and lifted it to his mouth. 30 When he had received the sour wine, Jesus said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

It is finished. My work here is done. Not the work of just being a good example to the people and living out the truth that I preached, but the work of releasing that spirit of truth into the world. And with those final words he died and “gave up his spirit.” The spirit of truth rushed form his lips with that final breath and breaks open the scene with a mighty crash. The whole life force of the heavens escapes from his body at once, rocking the world to its very foundations. The sky split open with a great light, the earth shook, and the witnesses stood in wonder saying, “surely this was the Son of God. Surely this was not just a simple man. Surely the Spirit of God lived inside of him, because nothing else could cause such a great commotion with its escape.


Jesus was the ultimate servant. He not only gave good advice but gave of himself. He gave up his very life so that we might receive. He died so that his Spirit might continue making all things new as it once did at the dawn of Creation. But instead of shaping worlds, he is shaping hearts. Instead of calming chaotic waters, he is calming chaotic thoughts. Instead of filling the ground with peace so that it might grow, he fills us with peace so that we might live. Jesus came to serve. Just as it says in Mark 10:45 – “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, (and how did he do that?) by giving his life as a ransom for many.”

If I were Jesus…

If I were Jesus, I wouldn’t have done it this way.
Born so small, frail hands reaching for the stars,
but never grasping those balls
of power which were once in my hands.
A baby come to simple Mary and regular Joe.
No, if I were Jesus I wouldn’t have done it this way.
It would have been a palace with pillows not bails of hay.

If I were Jesus, I wouldn’t have done it this way.
In a world run by fortune and fame
Why would I give everything away?
Why shun those with money, power, and a name
and turn to the poor, grungy, useless, and dirty?
“It is for your pain that I came.”
The king of kings wet lips with tears just to say,
“I’m here to give. Here to save. Here to stay.”
If I were Jesus, I wouldn’t have done it this way.

These are the things that he would say…
“It is better to give than to receive.”
But I go to work ever day
Slaving away to receive my pay.
But.. “The first will be last, and last be first?
Come to this water, and again never thirst.”
To the man with more money than heart he’d say,
“You can only enter my kingdom if you give it all away.”

If I were Jesus, I wouldn’t have done it this way.
A crown with jewels, not one of thorns.
My brow anointed with oil, not blood.
How can this be the one who was born?
The son of God raised up, not crushed in the mud.

If I were Jesus, we wouldn’t be here today.
I live to receive—to get what I’m due.
And if the service isn’t good, you’re gonna know.
If my paycheck is too light or steak not cooked through,
“That’s not fair!” I will say, even though
There has never been a life that was fair,
But there’s always been a Saviour who cares.

A man in the garden dropping blood as he cried,
God in the flesh who shouldn’t have died.
He served us by taking on our pain.
He gave to us the very spirit of his name.
It fell from his lips while we watched and denied.
The cock crowed three times before we even cared.
Only after we thought, “It should be me up there…”
But, there has never been a life that was fair.

If I were Jesus, I wouldn’t have done it this way.
My pedestal is too high to crumble in shame.
I won’t wash your feet. Too caked with clay.
I can’t be empty, have nothing, hang my head in pain.
I can’t—I’, sorry—I can’t love you so much to give it all away.

Are we willing to give up our lives for someone else? Can we put someone else above ourselves? Are we willing to follow Jesus not in word but also in deed, even if it means death of something we hold dear?

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