As a church, we decided to have a Maundy Thursday Service this year, our very first. When Senior Pastor asked me to preach, the account of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet immediately popped into my mind. I left it for a while, knowing that if this was from the Lord, the urge to share from this passage would only get stronger. And it did.
The weeks leading up to Passion or Holy Week were filled with much activity and ministry. On Palm Sunday, I was away at CVSOM’s Encounter Weekend enjoying and experiencing an awesome move of God! It was only on Tuesday that I had time to prepare the Maundy Thursday message, “The Towel and the Basin”. How the Lord ministered to me through John 13:1-17. One particular revelation from the following verses impacted me so deeply.
“Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself.” John 13:3,4
Jesus knew that all glory was His. Yet, with that knowledge, He didn’t just sit back and relax. Instead, He rose from supper to serve. Similarly, Christians all know that they are children of God and are given all power and authority in Jesus’ name. But how many are rising to serve? For many, they’d rather enjoy their supper and bask in their manifold blessings. For sure, the words of Isaiah 60:1 challenge each of us in these times, “Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.”
Then I read on … and saw what Jesus did as He rose to serve His disciples. He “laid aside His garments.” In other words, symbollically, He removed His mantle, His glory. He “made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant.” (Phil 2:7) The same verb tithesin was used by John in John 10:11,15,17-18; 15:13, to describe the laying down of one’s life. That revelation went straight to my heart. And there, in the midst of preparing the sermon, I wept and wept and wept. What Jesus went through for me, for all … laying aside His glory and then laying down His life.
But it didn’t end there. After He had done what He had to do, He put on His garment and sat down (v12). Having completed His work, His received the glory that was due to Him, sat down at the right hand of the Father! How wonderful! What a beautiful picture!
At Maundy Thursday Service, I preached with all my heart, challenging and encouraging the congregation with what the Lord had shown me. I could sense the Lord stirring the hearts of each individual as I provoked them to see that true ministry to people can get dirty and messy. Ministry from a distance, although helpful and needful, often keeps us in our comfort zones. But if we are to follow the example of our Lord and Master Jesus, we must be willing to get dirty as He did, washing the feet of His disciples. And the only attitude that will position us to love and serve in such a manner is humility.
As a fitting end to the message and service, all four pastors washed the feet of four members of various ministries. We all felt that this was led of the Lord that we may set the tone and spirit of ministry at Covenant Vision Christian Church. Indeed, we do not want to allow pride and personal agenda to get in the way of the Kingdom. As we washed the feet of these dear brothers, the song “Servant King” played softly in the background. What a touching and emotional moment it was. Clearly, the Holy Spirit was present and He ministered to many that evening.