From the moment Jesus arrives in Jerusalem, riding on a donkey, at what we refer to as the Triumphal Entry or Palm Sunday, to the time he rises from the grave is about .06% of his life.  Not a lot of time.  But if you read through the gospels, that one week encompasses 33% of the gospel narrative.  It’s one-third of the story that the gospel writers tell.  If you put it all together, this one changed the world.  Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John felt compelled to tell us about it.  From a lot of different angles and a lot of different ways to recount that week, and specifically these 96 hours—-Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday—of that week changed the world.

There’s a way that the world works.  If you watched the Academy Awards last week, you know this way.  Here’s what it looks like:  If you’re beautiful, if you’re wealthy, if you’re famous, then people cater to your every need.  They put out, literally, a red carpet for you.  The more powerful you are, the more prominent you are, the wealthier you are, the more people you have to cater to your every need.  I read an article a while back about the way celebrities use their assistants.  Christian Bale has an assistant who, as he walks down that red carpet, actually smells his armpits to see if he has B.O.  Madonna has an assistant that wakes up every hour (six times during the night) to get Madonna a cold glass of water.  She also has somebody who goes into the restroom before her with Lysol and disinfectant, and wipes them down from top to bottom before she uses it.  Mariah Carey, who is a notorious diva, has somebody who holds her drink for her while she drinks out of the straw.  She has somebody who washes her hair for her.  She has somebody who walks in front of her so she doesn’t trip while wearing her high heels.  That’s pretty impressive!  Ceelo Green has somebody in his entourage who is responsible for dabbing the sweat off of his brow.  Can you imagine being THAT dude?  Where do you sign up for that?  Or, Prince Charles.  Prince Charles has somebody who irons his shoelaces before he puts them into his shoes. . . . .and it shows!  He also has somebody who undresses him after his day and puts him in his pjs before he goes to bed.  Prince Charles walks in, falls down on his bed, somebody takes all his clothes off and puts his pjs on.  Frank Sinatra had a butler who wash his boxers (his underwear), by hand, and followed him around to straighten his toupee in case it got off.

There’s a way that the world works.  The more powerful you are, the more money you have, the more prominence you garner in life, the more people you have to serve you, the more people you have to cater to your every need, to make sure everything goes well for you.  It’s part of the wiring of our world.  In fact, during Jesus’s day, there’s a tradition that rabbis would try to teach their apprentices, or disciples, how to live in the way of Torah.  There were forty-eight different things you would do in order to train to live in the way of Torah.  One of those things was to be of service to a rabbi.  You would get dinner ready.  You would sometimes wash the feet of the rabbi.  These were all ways of being a personal attendant for someone who was really, really important.  It’s the way that the world worked.  Until Jesus flipped everything on its head.  John 13.  Open there with me as we look at the Thursday that changed the world.  Because there’s a way that the world worked and Jesus flips all of that on its head.  In one meal, he gives his disciples a picture of what you are called to do when you have the power, what you’re called to do when you have the influence, what you’re invited to do when you have the strength.  Do you use it to prop yourself up or do you use it to propel others forward?  THIS, friends, was a revolutionary meal.

John 13, starting at verse 1 — It was just before the Passover Festival.  Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father.  Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.   Or to the uttermost.  It’s not a word that signifies just a time period, but a way that you lavish love that it fills up a capacity.  Teleos in the Greek. . . to fulfill, to finish.  Jesus takes it ALL the way.  The whole life of Jesus, the trinitarian Godhead, is about love.  From the beginning of creation to the very end, it’s about relationship.  In Genesis 1, it’s God with his creation.  In Revelation 22, it’s God with his creation, motivated the entire time by love for people like you and people like me.  John tells us that what Jesus is doing is he’s painting them a picture.  When he wants to tell them what he’s like, he doesn’t give them a twelve-point sermon, he gives them a meal.  He doesn’t give them didactic, theological truth, he gives them a sacrificial, symbolic act that changes it all.

In the 16th century, Niccolò Machiavelli wrote a book entitled The Prince.  It was revolutionary in that it unpacked what you do with power.  His proposition was: “It is much safer to be feared than loved.”  Well, Michael Scott, in The Office, flipped that around a little bit and said, “I want people to be afraid of how much they love me.”  I think Jesus would agree far more with Michael Scott than he would with Niccolò Machiavelli.  This act of love.  Not saying I want to be afraid of me, but I want you to receive the love I have.  From the beginning to the end, that’s what he’s about.

This is the way he lives that out.  Verse 2:  The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus.  Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 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.

Everybody that writes about the gospel of John says that it’s divided into two parts.  Chapters 1 through 12 is Part 1, chapters 12 through 21 as a shorter Part 2.  Chapter 1 begins with the Word becoming flesh and dwelling among us.  It begins with God shedding himself of all of the benefits of being God.  Part 2 begins in the exact same way, with Jesus Messiah approaching probably a mat with his friends sitting around it, eating a Passover meal together, and shedding his outer garments to bend down and serve his friends.  Typically, the father or master of the ceremony would have, in this point of the meal, washed his disciples’—or the people sitting with him sharing the meal—hands.  But Jesus flips it all on its head and he gives them a new picture. . . . .a new picture of what you do when you’ve got the power.  What’s really at stake here is not just the way of Jesus, but the person of Jesus.  What you’re seeing is not just something Jesus DOES, you are seeing who Jesus IS.

So he washes his disciples’ feet, much to their chagrin, as we’ll see in a moment, and to their awe that the God of the universe bows down before them.  At the end of it he says this (v16):  Very truly I tell you, 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.  Jesus says okay, you want to be blessed?    And everybody does.  We have this human longing to be known, to be loved, to have the favor of God poured out on us, which is what blessing is.  He goes okay, you want that?  Well then do this.  There’s a way that the world used to work.  If you have the power, use it to push others down.  If you have the power, get the entourage, have them serve you, beat your chest, go that way.  Jesus says how’s that working out for you?  There’s a better way.  What he wants to teach you and me this morning, his followers during that meal, that evening, is that self-giving (this modeled way of Jesus) is the pathway to abundant blessing.  When we give ourselves away. . . . . .see, Jesus is illustrating with a meal what he told us last week, which is that in order to find out what it really truly live, you’ve got to die.  You can’t try to garner everything for yourself and expect that you’re going to find sustenance and joy in life.  Actually, joy is found when you shed the outer layer, get down on your hands and knees, and serve the people around you.  That’s the way true life is found.

It’s really interesting, if I were Jesus, I don’t know what I would have done because later on in this meal in Luke 22:24-27, Luke records what the disciples say.  Catch this: A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest.    {Can you imagine?  Jesus has washed his disciples’ feet, down on his hands and knees, with a towel, and a water basin.  He goes okay, the servant’s not greater than his master, love each other, DO this, you’re blessed if you do this, and then a few minutes later they’re going which one of you thinks he’s going to be the greatest?  Jesus was probably like Father, take me now!  I’ve suffered enough.  The cross is one thing, but these guys are a whole other thing!   Which one of us is going to be the greatest?  Jesus said to them, “You morons!”    No!  He didn’t!}   Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; {There’s a way the world worked.  When you had the power, you kept people under your thumb.}  and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors.  {They’re the ones that garner all the attention.}  But you are not to be like that.  {There’s a way that the world worked, but there’s a new way.  There’s a new day.  There’s a new invitation to what we do with strength and power.}   Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.  

In the 20th century, there was a missionary by the name of Wilfred Grenfell.  He was a missionary to Newfoundland, in the northeast.  Someone gave him a brand new motorboat in order to bring medical aid to people who were sort of off in the outskirts.  One evening he got summoned that someone needed his help.  He got in this brand new motorboat.  It was dark out, but he’d been on this route a number of times, but he followed the compass to get to the place he needed to arrive at.  But within a few minutes of riding in this little motorboat, he found himself in the middle of the vast open sea, his tiny boat being hit by a torrent of waves.  He eventually made his way back to shore.  In the morning he went and looked at his boat.  He noticed that instead of finishing the compass in the the correct way, whoever put the compass on his boat, finished it with a steel screw.  It took that arrow that was suppose to point north and turned it right back towards that screw.

The same thing has happened to us, you guys.  We have an arrow in our life that was designed to point north, that was designed to point toward God.  That we would love God and love others.  That would be what our life would be about.  But we’ve all got this steel screw—it’s called sin—in our lives that keeps moving the arrow back to us.   So when we get power, we prop ourselves up.  When we have authority, we use it for our own benefit.  Jesus says, “Not so with my people.”  You know what?  This plays out in life.  Jesus is not just saying hypothetical niceties.  Think about the people who have been the best leaders.  They’ve been servants.  The Martin Luther King, Jrs. of the world, they’ve been servants.  The Abraham Lincolns of our world, they’ve been servants.  The Mother Teresas — bending down and washing feet.  The Corrie ten Booms.  The people who have given their lives.  They were not only the ones who lived lives of legacy, but they were people who lived lives of blessing.  There’s a way that the world worked, and Jesus turns all of that on its head.  I love the way author Andy Crouch put it:  “The most transformative acts of our lives are likely to be the moments when we radically empty ourselves, in the very settings where we would normally be expected to exercise authority.”  There’s this self-giving that leads to abundant blessing.

Jesus illustrates this for his disciples and for us, because if you’re maybe like I am and go that’s a great idea, in THEORY, but to actually live that out, how do we do that?  {I’m glad you asked that.}  Here’s how Jesus lived that out (John 13:4-5):  So he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing…     For Jesus and people back in the first century, they would have had a tunic that was on the outside, and then, maybe, depending on how wealthy they were, they would have a really light shirt, like underwear, that they wore underneath.  Jesus takes off his tunic.  Everybody who writes about this—or at least writes well about what is going on in the gospel of John—says that what’s going on at the foot washing is the same thing that’s going on in chapter 1 and Jesus is not just shedding a tunic, but he’s shedding all of the things that he could hold onto in being God.  He takes it off so that he could bend down.  When you have one of those big outer coats on like they had, getting down on your hands and knees, in order to serve the people around you, would be physically difficult.  So he takes off his coat and the king of the cosmos bends down.  Lays his glory, lays his majesty, lays his power aside.  This is the same rabbi, that just a few chapters earlier, a few days ago. . . .the disciples had seen him walk up to his friend Lazarus’s tomb and go, hey Lazarus, I hate that you’re dead, so why don’t you be undead.  Come on out.  He’s spit in the mud and wiped it in people’s eyes and they’ve started to see.  They’ve seen lame men walk, blind men see, sick people healed. . . .and he takes off that coat.  For Jesus, power isn’t something you wield over people, it’s something you use to prop people up.  He takes it off because it would have gotten in the way of serving.

But if you and I are going to follow the Jesus way, the Jesus model, there’s some things we’ve got to release to.  In the same way, in the same vein that Jesus did, we’ve got to release power, and instead, live in the way of vulnerability and humility.  According to Philippians 2:3-4, Paul writes about living in the way of Jesus, and he says:   Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.  Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.  {Anybody nail that one yet??  I mean, my goodness.  To be quite honest with you, as I’m preaching this, I envision myself sitting with you rather than telling you, man, I’ve got this one.  Rather, in humility. . . .literally, lowliness of mind.  I think it was C.S. Lewis who said that humility isn’t thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less, having others in your view.  That’s the attitude.}   …not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.  This is the attitude, but the action is vulnerability.  It’s taking off the outer garment so you can see what’s underneath.  The outer garment prevents us from getting on our knees to serve.  The outer garment prevents us from actually being able to love and to love well.

This vulnerability is maybe summarized by one word, the potential for being WOUNDED.  Which is why we don’t embrace it often.  I mean, thanks to Brené Brown—and I mean that genuinely—vulnerability is on our radar screen now.  That’s a great thing.  Vulnerability is a beautiful thing and it’s extremely difficult to live out.  We’ve got some robes too, don’t we?  We have some robes, we have some outer garments, some things that we’d like to cinch up so that people can’t see on the inside.  Let me give you two that I see in my life and in the life of people I walk closely with:  One is the garment of pride.  I’ll let you see my successes, but I will not let you see my shortcomings.  Sometimes pride looks like a title.  Sometimes pride looks like a position.  Sometimes pride looks like a sarcastic, humorous, or maybe even, condescending comment so we can deflect somebody from getting into what’s really going on in our life.  Right?  That’s just me.  Sometimes pride might look like a physical build or an ability to manipulate people to get them to do what you want.  Or maybe even to say I’m going to withhold forgiveness so I have this power that I can just wield over you.  But when we have that robe on, there’s no way we can get down and wash feet.

Here’s the other robe we sometimes wear.  We have the robe of pride.  We have the robe of pain.  The robe that says, “Be vulnerable again?”  I was vulnerable once and it bit me.  I shed that outer layer and I let somebody in and they abused that invitation and took advantage of it and took advantage of me.  That story, that truth, that thing that happened replays over and over and over again, and maybe even subconsciously that anthem is I will not be vulnerable because I will not be hurt again.  Listen, if that’s you this morning, I just want to say, one, I get it.  I don’t understand exactly where you’ve been, but I know that that’s one of the things we do.  We cinch that coat up tight because we’ve been hurt.   And more than I get it, God sees it.  And he’s asking if you’ll open up just a little bit, because your inability to love well is actually preventing you from walking into the blessing he has for you.  Friends, if we are going to live in this Jesus way, we’ve got to embrace the reality that what we continue to hide, God is not going to heal.  What we continue to hide is going to prevent us from actually being able to give and receive love.  When we only wear the outer garment and refuse to take it off, the only thing the people around us can love is the outer garment.  They can’t love you if they don’t really know you.  You can’t genuinely give love if you’re not willing to genuinely be known.  So the shame just keeps that robe on and it keeps it on tight.  Here’s the truth of the matter, though.  What I don’t want you to hear me say is if you’re walking in pride or if you’re walking in pain, you just gotta muscle up and shed that robe!  That’s not what Jesus would say.  The truth of the matter is that if we’re going to do what Jesus did, we’ve got to know what Jesus knew.  You can only do what Jesus did if you know what Jesus knew.

What did Jesus know?  Verse 3:  Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power…    Jesus knew his authority.  Do you know yours?  Scriptures say that all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to .  (Matthew 28:18)  He promises I will never leave you nor forsake you, I am with you always even to the end of the age.  He’s going, my authority is your authority.  Do you know that?  Do you know that you can take a risk and make a difference because the King of kings and the Lord of lords is with you and for you?  The second thing is that he knew all power had been put under him, so he knew his power so he didn’t need to prove it.  Make sense?  When you don’t genuinely know you have power, you’ve got to continually prove it to all the people around you.  You know people like this?  They always feel like they’re on the bottom so they’ve got to one up you, one up you, one up you.  You’re like, this is laborious to be around you.

The second thing Jesus says it that he had come from God.  First, authority.  Second, identity.  Jesus knows who he is.  Do you know who you are?  You’re a son or daughter of the Most High King, loved beautifully and perfectly by Him.  You have been new by faith in Christ.  That’s who you are.  It’s the truest thing about you.

Finally, he says this: ….and was returning to God.  Authority, identity, destiny.  Jesus knew it all.  He’s going listen, I can bend down and I can serve, because death is a real thing but it’s not the most ultimate thing.  I know, I KNOW what awaits me on the other side, so I can serve.  Authority frees service, identity frees vulnerability, and destiny frees inconvenience.  And washing feet is inconvenient.

Listen to the way Jesus goes on:  He came to Simon Peter,  {Any time that happens in the Scripture, you should just sit back and wait.  You just know it’s going to be great, because Simon Peter is what we all would be and do if we didn’t have the inhibitions the other disciples have.  He just says what everybody’s thinking.}  …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.”  “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”  {You wonder if the other disciples were like, oh gosh, it’s sorta like watching a train wreck.  Peter has said some ridiculous things to Jesus, so much so that Jesus had said to him, “Get behind me, Satan!”  You wonder if the disciples, as they’re walking down the road, are like, remember the one time He called you Satan?  That was awesome!  Amazing!  This is another one of those times where they’re sitting back going, listen, if Messiah wants to wash your feet, I know it’s going to be awkward, but just let Him!  Let Him!!  Peter, in his quintessential overreaction says in verse 9…}  “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”  Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean.  And you are clean, though not every one of you.”  For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.  

This phrase in verse 10 stood out to me — And you are clean.  Peter, you’ve been washed new.  It’s a picture— most commentators would say—of salvation expressed in baptism, fully cleansed, fully covered, fully washed, made new.  Totally!  {Would you look up at me for just a second?}  If you follow Jesus, YOU. ARE. CLEAN!  You’re clean.  That’s the beautiful truth of the gospel.  Jesus is teaching that believers are not only saved by faith, but that they’re invited to continue to walk by faith, to be purified day by day by day by day.  Isn’t it a beautiful thing that Jesus doesn’t just wash us, save us, cleanse us, and then go, well, see you when you get to heaven?!   But it’s a daily, minute by minute, hour by hour, walk with me.  You’re forgiven, let me continue to forgive you.  Let’s do this together.  Let’s do this life together.  He does not just save us and let us go, he washes us clean and then continues to serve us along the way.

So the first we thing we do is release.  We shed this outer garment that we often wear of pride and pain. . . . knowing our authority, knowing our identity, knowing our destiny.  We shed that so we can actually get down and serve.  The second thing we do is we receive.  We receive lavish, ridiculous, reckless, messy love and grace.  You want a verse that summarizes the gospel?  Verse 8, Jesus saying to Peter:    Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.    It’s Jesus wooing you and I and Peter in, by his love, saying, “I will not be your Lord if I am not first your servant.”  There’s no other picture of a deity in any world religion that would suggest such absolute insanity.  I will not be your Lord if I cannot first be your servant.  Picture it:  You’re sitting around this table and the King of the world, who’s just risen somebody from the grave, comes to you.  He bows in front of you, picks up a water basin, and starts to wash your feet.  If you’ve ever been part of a foot-washing service, here’s what you know.  You know that it’s a lot easier to wash somebody else’s feet than it is to get your feet washed.  It’s a lot easier to extend grace sometimes than it is to receive it.

In the mid-1850’s, an artist by the name of Ford Madox Brown painted a picture of Jesus washing Peter’s feet. He painted Jesus, at first, having no robe on, like the Scriptures would say.  The painting wouldn’t sell with Jesus looking like that, he was too scantily clad, they said.  He painted a green robe on him and eventually the painting sold.  It’s a fascinating picture of Peter, isn’t it?  With his head down, almost can’t make eye contact with Jesus, because it’s so awkward to have the Ruler of It All bend down and wash your feet.  Look at the way Jesus’s hands are around Peter’s foot.  I picture a teenage mom grabbing her boy’s face and planting a big kiss on it, as if to say, “You’ll kiss me whether you like it or not.”  Jesus is like, we’re doing this and I ain’t letting go.  All the people in the background look around in awe.  In terror, thinking, my time’s coming next.

It’s this picture of grace, this picture of mercy, that you and I often resist.  Jesus saying, “I will not be your Lord if I first cannot be your servant.”  The truth of the matter is, friends, we resist it on two fronts.  Some of us think we just don’t need it.  You’re not washing my feet!  Absolutely not!  And Jesus says, “If I don’t wash your feet, you have no part with me.”  If you miss grace, you miss God entirely, that’s what he’s saying.  Forgiveness is the foundation that every life of faith is built on.  You can’t skip this part and jump to something else.  This is something we all must first receive.  The King of kings and Lord of lords bowing down to wash our feet.  Unneeding?  No!  None of us is beyond the grace of God.  Nobody in this place!

The second thing that happens is like Peter, like the other disciples, we go, well, Jesus, I’m not unneeding, I’m undeserving.  So many of us have this narrative of God like he’s just waiting for us to earn what he wants to freely give us.  The picture is one of grace, friends.  So, if you’re struggling with being undeserving, let me assure you. . . .you are!!  Let me assure you. . .WE are!  Every last one of us!  {Look up at me for a moment.}  You are perfectly loved, but you are not loved because you are perfect.  You are loved to the uttermost, not because you’re amazing, but because your God is awesome.  So he looks at us in our undeserving, and sometimes thinking that we’re unneeding, and he comes up and he grabs our foot and says, “We’re going to do this or you don’t have any part of me.”  As if to say, when you let me be your servant, you get a part of me.  So we release and then we receive the lavish love that the Father has poured down on us.

Then Jesus ends this picture, this parable, like this (v12):  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, you Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.  {Look up from your Bible for just a second.  Look around.  These are people that we’re called to wash the feet of.  Do this for each other.}  I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.  Very truly I tell you, 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.

Teacher and Lord.  Living in his way, living in his rhythms, but can we just be honest?  Sometimes being a foot washer is really inconvenient.  I was driving with me kids in the car the other day, and my daughter Avery is having some trouble with this boy at school that sort of picks on her a little bit.  It mostly happens before school and my older son Ethan knows this.  They’re both there before school.  He says to her in the car, “Avery, I was going to come stand up for you on Friday, but I had to go see about a candy-gram.”  Like, I was going to come to your rescue but there was candy involved, I know you’d understand.  Then he follows it up with “I was going to get you a candy-gram too, but I had to get one for Cooper and Fletcher before that, so I ran out of money.”  She’s like, “Oh, that’s cool, Ethan.  Thanks for thinking of me, buddy.”  Kids are just more honest.  We do the same thing too!  I was going to serve you, but I got a better offer.  Something came up.  We cloak that, but we say the same thing.

Jesus said:  As the Father has sent me, I am sending you. (John 20:21)   We release power, embrace vulnerability.  We receive lavish love and grace.  And then we respond with extravagant forgiveness.  In a selfie culture, God is calling us to be selfless Christians.  {So look up at me for a second.}  I’ve said this to you before, and I’m saying it again to us, if you are a follower of Jesus, you don’t get to decide who you love, but how you love.  You are called to love every single person that you meet.  The people that can’t reciprocate it, you’re called to love.  The people that won’t reciprocate it, you’re called to love them.  The people that have hurt you, you’re called to love them.  The people who believe differently than you and have a different lifestyle than you. . .you don’t get to decide if you love, you only get to decide how. The people of a different faith?  Jesus is bending down to wash Judas’s feet.  Friends, what if followers of Jesus started to actually live in the way of Jesus?  Do you know how much pain, and war, and violence, and hurt, in our world would be healed if our posture was ‘I know we disagree on a lot of stuff, but I want to listen.’  I want to learn where you’re coming from.  I want to hear you out.  I want to serve you.  I want to wash your feet.  That takes a confidence in our authority, our identity, and our destiny that most of us just don’t really have.  But Jesus is inviting us to embrace it.  To serve in his way.

I read this story about Pope Francis, who, on Holy Week of 2016, washed the feet of twelve Muslim and Hindu immigrants.  No strings attached.  Just living in the way of Jesus.  What if someone can’t reciprocate it?  I love the way C.S. Lewis says it:  “Love is never wasted, for its value does not depend upon reciprocity.”

So how might we practice this way together this week, friends?  Biblical compassion does not say we’re just content with whoever’s around our table.  It’s continuing to pursue, continuing to build bridges, continuing to love people who are very different and “other” than we are.  This is his way.  This is his calling. . . .for you and for me.  He says it will change the world if we live that way.  It’ll change you, and, if you read John 13:34-35, the world will know that we are his disciples by the way that we love.  So what might you do this week, if you want to practice this?  What if you volunteer?  We have Family Promise coming this week.  There’s opportunities to serve in our Food Bank.  I had a friend let me know that right now there’s about forty kids in the foster care system who need homes.  I don’t know about you, but I just can’t imagine what it would be like to be a little kid without a place to call home.  I don’t say that to guilt or shame you, I’m just thinking we have to enter in with them.  How do we do this?  What if you just, as a random act of kindness, bought somebody coffee who was behind you in line?  Or send somebody an encouraging note, or watched someone’s kids, or listened to somebody who you disagreed with.  I know, it’s crazy, but it’s possible.  I just want to say, South Fellowship, you do this so well, and I want to say, let’s listen to the Spirit as he pulls us forward to say. . . .let’s hold our lives open to say, “Jesus, it’s all yours.  You speak into it and tell me what to do and how you want me to love.  I’m going to do my best to follow you.  I believe that there’s blessing there.  There’s some things in me that stand in the way and I want to receive from you in a way that I can shed my robes.  I want to receive love from you in a way that allows me to stand firm.  And I want to respond to live in your way.”  Just a huge shout-out to the parents, to the moms who do this, to the grandparents who do this, to the single parents who do this.  Oh my gosh, you think no one sees.  I just want to affirm to you that your God knows the way that you love, the way that you serve.  You’re a picture of what he’s done for you.

Friends, the reality is that a life of service leads to a legacy of influence.  Jesus says you want to be great?  Wonderful!  He’s not down on greatness.   He wants to tell you how to get there.  The greatest among you will be your servant.  Let’s live in this way.

We’re going to sing “Reckless Love.”  It’s a picture of foot-washing God coming after you.  I’d like to invite you to come during this last song and write a word .  Maybe it’s a name, maybe it’s a family member, maybe it’s someone who’s driving you crazy at work, and you’re going to serve them this week.  I want you to write down how you’re going to do that and live it out this week.  Our prayer is that the light of Jesus will shine through us saying, “This is how we want to live, that the world might know that He’s good and that He’s God.”  Jesus, we love you and our lives are open to you.  Would you bring something to mind?  Would you bring a person to mind?  A way that you want us to love sacrificially the people around us.  We believe that there’s blessing in living your way and we want it.  Lord, we’re following you.  Amen.