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Jesus loves to the end


Maundy Thursday, 28.3.2024, Copenhagen and Aarh. (LGJ)

John 13:1–15 ESV
Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2 During supper, when the devil had already put it 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 back to God, 4 rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. 6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, do you wash my feet?" 7 Jesus answered him, "What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand." 8 Peter said to him, "You shall never wash my feet." Jesus answered him, "If I do not wash you, you have no share with me." 9 Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!" 10 Jesus said to him, "The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you." 11 For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, "Not all of you are clean." 12 When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, "Do you understand what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, 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 also should do just as I have done to you.



"He loved them to the end!" It is a key phrase and a key issue of our Christian faith. "Jesus loves Until the Last."

Our love is fragile. But Christ's love is stable and lasting and selfless. He does what a slave does: washes the disciples' feet. Bowing in humility.

At the same time, we experience that His love is firm and strong, and that He is their Lord. He puts Peter in order: "If I don't wash you, you won't have lot and share with me." And he warns Judas. "You are clean, though not all!"

He is the Savior. He does what is necessary for his disciples. The eyewitness says: Jesus knew that his hour had come when he was to depart from this world to the Father; ... Jesus knew that the Father had put everything in His hands and that He had gone out from God and was now going back to God. One with the Father in eternity, but also deeply united with us to save us in time and eternity.

His love is the Father's love for us. His love is our salvation.

Therefore: Love is not that we imitate Him and love each other. Love is that He loved us and sacrificed Himself for us. He died on a cross and suffered our punishment. John tells it this way: Jesus knew that His hour had come for Him to pass away. It was terrible for him. And good for us. For He was to be sacrificed as the Lamb of God for our sins. He does it unsolicited. That is how he is. He does what is necessary. And he finishes it completely.


LOVE REVEALS that we are unclean

Then Jesus rises from the table and puts down his robe, takes a cloth and ties it around him. Then He pours water into a dish and proceeds to wash the disciples' feet and dry them with the cloth He had tied around Him.

Where did he get the cloth from? And the washing dish? And the water? The disciples had prepared this. They had prepared the Passover meal and waited for whom Jesus would ask to be the slave who washed their feet. And then he chooses himself.

Who is going to do the dirty work in your house, in your family, in your ward? Do you nap sometimes?

Here at the meal, it turns out that a dangerous impurity threatens at the table. It does not come from food, nor from unwashed hands, but from the hearts of the participants.

We don't recognize it in ourselves. We find it hard to believe that we are sinners from birth, even though there is enough evidence, both in Scripture and in reality. David says it somewhere: "I was a sinner from the time my mother conceived me." He needed purification and salvation.

Jesus reveals the disciples—and us. And he does it with his act of love. And we also get to know something about each other and about ourselves, and our family and parents and children.


LOVE PURIFIES by water and word

Now he says: "If I don't wash you, you don't have no share with me!" ... "And you are clean, though not all!" For he knew who should betray him; wherefore he said: You are not all clean.

Judas was threatened. And so was the John and Peter who had prepared the meal. After all, they were the ones who had been given the task: to prepare (Luke 22:8).

You and your family and your ward are also threatened. He must purify each of us if we are to have fellowship with Him. The terrible thing is, of course, that otherwise we will have no share with him.

We humans cannot possibly realize this by ourselves. Isn't it going well with me without it? Peter thought so. He then came to Simon Peter, and Peter said to him, "Lord, are you washing my feet?" You might think so too.

Jesus knows that purification is needed. The pollution in our hearts cannot be reconciled with God and His holiness and righteousness. You must and must be cleaned. And look at Jesus, what it cost him in the end on the cross, as he took upon himself our punishment and our death.

Here at the Passover meal he cleansed them with WATER. And after His Resurrection, He instituted Baptism, saying, "He who believes and is baptized will be saved!" And "Go ye and make disciples of all nations, baptizing in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."

Even if we do not comprehend it, it is His imperative that He purifies us in the water of Baptism and by the Word attached to the water. Here he saves us.

Peter couldn't believe it. Jesus knew that and said to him: "What I am doing, you will not understand now, but later you will understand." And Peter understood it later. He wrote of baptism in his first epistle: That water which carried Noa and his family in the Arch is a picture of the baptism that now saves you; not a removal of the filth of the body, but a covenant of good conscience with God, through the Resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 3:21).

Our Savior and Lord in the bath of baptism cleanses our hearts with water by the Word. Here, in the bath of baptism, we get, as he says to Peter, "lot and share with him." Baptism brings joy, future, perspective and salvation.


LOVE UNITES the disciples among themselves

Now when he had washed their feet and put on his robe and sat down at table again, he said to them, "Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Master and Lord, and rightly so, because I am. Now that I, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you also owe it to wash each other's feet. I have set an example for you to do as I have done to you.

Don't go home from church without taking this role model with you. Hang it up in a place where you can't help but see it daily. The role model. It can be your birth certificate that he cleansed you. Or it can be a crucifix that he died for you.

We must use the love He has for us in our relationships with mom and dad, siblings, spouse, children, and grandchildren, and with sisters and brothers in the church.

Don't wait for them to do the slave labor.

He asks us , "Do you understand what I have done to you? It was an example I gave you."

Salvation is salvation. Baptism cleanses us and gives us fellowship with God. But it is also a purification that is your model. Use it.

When we use the example in our congregation and family, there is no elderly person who is left alone, no children who are ever being overlooked, no spouse who is allowed to carry the whole load alone, and no brother and sister in the congregation who lack understanding and comfort and help against sin and suffering. For Christians are eager and ready to help the others.

And while we know about it, we also know of continuing failures in ourselves, in our families, and in our churches. But we trust that He loves us to the end and calls us into service again.

There are infinitely many good reasons to use the role model. We receive the purification in the sacraments, and we use the purification for service tomorrow. Amen.

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