Starting Point….and Destination…

John 13:1-17

3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 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.

“Where do you come from?”

  • Have you ever been asked this question?
  • We can answer it simply: “I come from Washington….” or, “I was born in St. Cloud, MN…..” or , “I come from Spain”, etc.
  • Of course, this question can be taken on a deeper, philosophical level as well. “Where do we come from?” “What is our origin?”
  • Adopted children often sense these origin questions sooner than biological children. “Who were my birthparents?” “Where are they now?” “Why didn’t they want me?”
  • Even deeper would be the question of life. “How did we get here?” We know the biology…. We just don’t understand the mysterious life force…

Knowing where we come from can be a powerful thing…..

How about this question….

“Where are you going?”

  • Have you ever been asked that?
  • Again, we can answer simply: “I’m going to Tokyo”, or “I’m going to the store….” or “I’m going to CA to visit my son…”
  • But this question too, can have profound meaning: “Where are you heading?” “Where are you traveling to?” “What is your life goal?” “Where is your final destination?”
  • These are all difficult, some might say unanswerable, questions.

Yet, knowing our final destination can be a powerful thing……

Where we have come from….. where we are going……

Our Starting Point….. our Destination.

In verse three of today’s text, we read these words:

“Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God…”

He had come from God, he was returning to God, and in the meantime….he had the power of God with him.

What was the result?

Look carefully….the sentences are connected grammatically. Because he knew where he had come from, and because he knew where he was going, and because he knew that God had given him power for this work, Jesus got up, wrapped a towel around his waist, took a basin of water, and began to wash his disciples’ feet.

Because Jesus knew where he came from…. and where he was going…. and that the power of God was with him…. he was able to serve his disciples.

I challenge you today with the words here in verse 3.

They’re almost hidden. They almost slip by unnoticed. But I think they’re important.  If we truly want to love each other, if we truly want to serve each other…. as Jesus has commanded, then I think we need to understand the words of this verse.

So we’re back to the initial question.

Where do we come from?

Do we truly believe that our life…. the breath we breathe, the pumping of our hearts, the mysterious life within our bodies and souls are all a gift of God? Do we truly believe that our lives are not our own…. as scripture teaches?

Or, have we been fooled into thinking that the family into which we were born, the country in which we have citizenship, the health we presently enjoy, the food we so easily eat each day…. Have we been fooled into thinking that it’s by our own efforts and struggles that they have all become ours?

And how about that other pesky question.

Where are you going? Where is your destination?

Do we truly understand that since our lives are not our own, that in many ways we are NOT in control of how many years and days we will live. Do we see that our days, and the hairs on our heads, and the health of our bodies are… in many ways – not within our control? Of course because our bodies and lives are a gift and precious, we need to take good care of them. But even so…. our destination is in God’s hands. We will eventually return to Him. Do we believe this?

The reason this is all so important is that it gives us the power and steam to wash other peoples’ feet.

Without a clear sense of where we’ve come from…and where we’re going… and the fact that God has called us and given us power for this journey….we won’t have the ability to serve others freely as our Master has served us.

We will always be tempted to grasp, to collect, to hang on, to keep the best for ourselves, to store up earthly treasures….. and on and on.

Eventually we’ll just stop talking about serving each other….or living sacrificially for each other. We will instead use words like “rights” or “privileges” or begin to focus on “taking” rather than “giving”.

Church, we have been called to wash feet. We should be in the business of washing feet. How can we do that this week? Whose feet will we wash? What does that really look like? Of course, we are speaking metaphorically since we don’t actually have a custom of foot washing in our culture. But what does serving others look like?

“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” John 13:14-15

(The above is a summary of the message shared during worship on May 15, 2022.)