GOS-13 - The First Lord's Supper

Tonight in Luke 22:24 we go back to THE Lord’s Supper, by that I mean the first, the original, and the model for us from Jesus Christ Himself to us His Church. 

On this night of the first Lord’s Supper, Jesus models an attitude what we must choose to have each time we come to His Table.

The Problem They Faced

On this last night there was a problem among His disciples that Jesus had to address. 

While Satan waited at the door, while the High Priest plotted for His life, and while the Roman cross stood not far away, a greater priority than all others was Christ's—His disciples had to learn what genuine love was all about. 

The hearts of His disciples contained unforsaken selfishness, disagreements, contention, jealousies, impatience, and ambition; and none of those are acceptable at Christ's Table. 

Listen to Luke 22:24 

“Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest. “

The Passover meal was about to start, but no one was willing to take the lowest job. In a home without slaves, someone (usually the lowest in rank) had to take a basin and wash feet before the meal. None of the disciples felt like serving that night. 

During the long meal in reclining couches feet would be near faces. Dirty feet would distract, so would dirty hearts. So Jesus addressed their hearts as He washed their feet. Jesus girded Himself as the slave. Jesus knelt before all of His men and took the lowest place. 

The picture they got of Jesus was burned into their hearts forever. Peter wrote of it, John wrote of it, and they talked so much about it that Paul even describes that humble servant attitude and action of Jesus.

What was Christ's answer to their selfishness? His Love. 

What was Christ's cure for their selfish ambition? His love.

Christ's Last Supper Message to Us

As we turn to John 13, we enter into that night of nights. It is Christ's last night on earth. It is Passover time and the Seder meal that both Christ and His disciples had participated in from their earliest childhood. Tonight the disciples came troubled, unfocused, arguing, and out of step with Jesus. They had everything on their minds but Him. 

That is the constant struggle that He had with them. 

They thought of Earth as He talked of Heaven. 
They thought of others as He pointed to them. 
They were self focused when He asked for them to think of others.

John 13 is Christ's lesson on how to prepare for meeting Him at His Supper. Jesus teaches a life-changing lesson on the choices we must make in order to have a wonderful evening dining with Him and enjoying the blessings of a meal with God. 

This night is the night that marks the first Communion; and as we look back we see it was a night defined by love.

Now listen and watch, as we see John 13:1-17.

Ways to be Like Jesus

The picture of love is nowhere more clearly seen than in Jesus on His knees washing His disciple’s feet. Not just the good, He also washed the bad. Not just the loyal, He also washed the traitor’s. Of all the pictures of Jesus this is the most compelling.

There are three vital elements that John 13.1-17 presents to us. These three elements should be on our minds and hearts each time we have the privilege to meet across the Supper Table of Communion with God. 

What did Jesus model for us, that we should also do?

Jesus demonstrates how we get dressed for the Lord’s Supper (with a loving attitude).
Jesus demonstrates how we get prepared for the Lord’s Supper (with a cleansed life).
Jesus demonstrates how we get the most at the Lord’s Supper (with a serving heart).

Look back with me over these verses in John 13:1-17:

v. 1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end (lit. ‘to the limits’ – the ultimate love was what Jesus demonstrated).

v. 2 And supper being ended, the devil having already put it (lit. ‘to throw or cast’ like the fiery darts’) into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him, 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 rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself (Peter never forgot this and at the end of his life was commanding all believers to follow Christ's example in 1st Peter 5.5). 5 After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. 6 Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, “Lord, are You washing my feet?”

v. 7 Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.” 8 Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” (This does not mean, “Unless you are baptized you cannot be saved,” but, “Unless I wash your sins away by My atoning death (cf. Rev. 1:5) you have no real relationship to Me” 1 John 1:7).

v. 9 Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!”
10 Jesus said to him, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.” 11 For He knew who would betray Him; therefore He said, “You are not all clean.” 12 So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13 You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. 16 Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.

Did You Dress Properly For the Lord’s Supper?

First, Jesus demonstrates the Proper Dress for the Lord’s Supper (with a loving attitude). As Paul tells us, inColossians 3:12-14, we are to dress ourselves, put on like a garment, Christ's love.

Love is not optional, but mandatory. John 13:34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 

Lovelessness prompts all disobedience by believers; love prompts all true obedience. John 14:15, 21 “If you love Me, keep My commandments; 21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”

Love is the seal of the Holy Spirit. Romans 5:5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Love is supreme. 1 Corinthians 16:14 “Let all that you do be done with love.” All means all, so everything a Christian does should be done in love. Correct theology can’t substitute for genuine love. Ministry can’t substitute for love. Nothing can take the place of this need for genuine love. 

Love must be practically demonstrated to be real. 1 John 3:17-18 But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? 18 My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. 

Love is the proof of salvation. 1 John 4:7-8 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

Did You Bathe Properly For the Lord’s Supper?

Second, Jesus demonstrates how we are to prepare ourselves for the Lord’s Supper (with a cleansed life).

When someone we love deeply like one of our children sins against us by disobeying or dishonoring us – we are still related to them as their father or mother. We are always wanting and waiting to forgive them. But the closeness that we had before the sin can’t return until that sin is confessed and forgiven.

As families are distant where the simple restoration of confession and forgiveness is not present, so it is with us as believers. If you feel far from God tonight He invites you to come and receive the cleansing of forgiveness.

How willing is Jesus to forgive? He kneels before you, girded with the apron of a slave waiting to wash and cleanse us tonight, 

Now watch the rest of that night that Jesus shared with His disciples.

Before we celebrate the same meal that Jesus asked them to continue as a reminder of His sacrifice, let me ask each of you gathered at His Table:

Are You Getting the Most at The Lord’s Supper?

Jesus demonstrates how we get the most at the Lord’s Supper (with a serving heart). Christ's actions must have deeply impacted Peter, because his memory of the humility of Jesus gets captured in I Peter 5. Turn there with me as we prepare (like they failed to do).

Peter actually calls all of us to be like Jesus. He says “clothe yourselves (imperative as in a command) with humility toward one another” (1st Peter 5.5). The word ‘clothe’ is the word for a slave putting on the apron of service.

As long as we think that we are better than any other human – we do not have Christ's heart and attitude.

As long as we think our way is better, our ideas superior, or ministry more important, our gift more vital – then we are not prompted by the Spirit, but by our own flesh.

As long as we grasp as ours – our life, our position, our power, our rights, our ways, we are not pleasing to the One who loves us and gave Himself for us.

Jesus did not grasp His place as the “Christ the Highest Heaven adored’ as the carol states it – He humbled Himself. Nothing will expose the flesh more than an attempt at godly, self-sacrificing humility. All that we are humanly will rebel at the act.

Jesus is showing His disciples they were running their own lives – and not Him. 

Either we walk in our flesh or in His Spirit. Our flesh gets hurt, our flesh gets upset, and our flesh gets angry – not the Spirit of God.

The humility of Christ's washing the feet of His disciples should be the attitude we his children should also display. But foot washing that night was more than a living portrait of humility -- it was a reminder that we need lifelong cleansing. 

Jesus was portraying the ongoing cleansing we need as believers through Christ's sacrifice. The powder dust of the roads of Christ’s day soiled everyone’s feet. On rainy days it turned to mud. Each home had a place for sandaled feet to be cleansed. Dirty feet portray life tainted by sin as live in this world.

When Jesus explained to Peter that only his feet were dirty, He showed us that sin never makes us lost as believers. He actually gave the greatest assurance that we can’t lose our salvation by getting into sin once we have been saved. Our justification at the moment of our new birth is not undone by any sin. Nor do we need it repeated. But to walk in holiness and fellowship with Jesus we need to be regularly washing our spiritual feet.

Every day as we pray we need to agree with the Lord that our feet are soiled and only He can give us the cleansing that forgiveness brings. 

Any dirt (un-confessed sins) will remove our enjoyment of the benefits of salvation which are joy, peace, and communion with the Lord. 

In the prayer that Jesus taught His disciples “forgive us” is a reminder we need to plead to God through Christ's blood shed for us, for moment by moment cleansing because we confess our sins to Him.

So how do you look in His sight as you come to the Table?

Are you dressed for the Lord’s Supper with a loving attitude?

Are you prepared for the Lord’s Supper with a cleansed life?

Have you looked upon others at the Lord’s Supper with a serving heart?

John 13 is Christ's lesson on how to prepare for meeting Him at His Supper. Jesus teaches a life-changing lesson on the choices we must make in order to have a wonderful evening dining with Him and enjoying the blessings of a meal with God. 

The next time you feel someone has ignored or slighted you—think of Jesus on His knees washing YOUR feet.

The next time you think that you are better than someone, look down and see Jesus, the Lord of Glory—on His knees washing YOUR feet and ask Him to give you His love anew and afresh.

And the next time that you feel far away, cold and distant from God—look down, there He is, still there, towel and basin ready. Jesus waits for your foot, He wants to wash and restore you to complete, heartwarming, and life altering closeness to Him.

He’s kneeling and wait, let’s respond to Him today!