- The Washington Times - Monday, December 31, 2001

The following is an excerpt from a sermon preached Saturday by Elder Ken Snedden of Upper County Seventh-day Adventist Church in Clarksburg.
We have just experienced a part of the Communion service, the washing of the feet. It is only recorded in the gospel of John. It is not done in many churches today. In some churches it is not done because of the inconvenience, some because of the social embarrassment. I'm very glad the Seventh-day Adventist Church has not left it out. It is a very big part of what God is trying to tell us.
We find recorded in the 13th chapter of John what took place at the Passover feast. At a feast it was customary for a servant to wash the feet of the guests. All the preparations had been in the upper room that evening. The water and towels were there. But there was no servant present.
[Ellen G. White writes, in "The Desire of Ages":] "The disciples made no move toward serving one another. Jesus waited for a time to see what they would do. Then He, the Divine Teacher, rose from the table. Laying aside the outer garment that would have impeded his movements, He took a towel, and girded Himself. With surprised interest the disciples looked on and in silence waited to see what was to follow. 'After that He poureth water in a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith He was girded.' This action opened the eyes of the disciples. Bitter shame and humiliation filled their hearts. They understood the unspoken rebuke, and saw themselves in altogether a new light."
Here we find at least 13 men Jesus and the 12 disciples in the same room. Jesus had so many things he wanted to say to them on their last night together. He wanted to save them from much heartbreaking anguish. But they were unprepared to receive, so the words of warning and comfort were not spoken by the master. Moments passed in silence as they sat around the table.
Are we prepared today to receive what Jesus has to impart to us? The disciples still had a very serious attitude problem. It appears a lot of the time when they were by themselves, the main question was, "Who is the greatest?" Who was going to sit on the right hand and who was going to sit on the left? Who is top dog? Each wanted to be leader of the pack. And yet each one of them refused to humble himself.
You see, to lead, we must be willing to serve. This church has a unique way of ministry. We each have to humble ourselves.
Jesus wanted the disciples to reach back into themselves and be willing to do what was considered to be the lowest of the low. To humble themselves and wash the others' feet.
And you would say to yourselves, "Oh, see, we didn't have any problem with washing each others' feet this morning." But for us this morning it is only a symbol. You see, we can let it be just a ritual.
What about the person who needs encouragement this morning? Do we say someone else will do it? "I'm not qualified." What about the person who needs transportation to the doctor? What about the person whose gutters are falling off their house? Or even that person you heard about last week who didn't have Christmas because they couldn't afford to even purchase a pair of gloves to keep their hands warm. What about the person who said, "I'd like to get to know your God"?
Are you ready to put the towel around your waist, take the basin, and share with them of Jesus Christ? Are you willing this morning to share your Jesus with the inmates of the detention center?
My prayer is, "Oh Lord, we thank you so much for being willing to wash our feet. Help us to be willing to wash not only our friends' feet, but also that person who needs a friend." Let us endeavor to respond as we think Jesus would respond.
Next week: A sermon from Fair Oaks Alliance Bible Church in Fairfax

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