20190203 Sunday Worship Sermon
Loving just like Jesus (John 13:1-8)
One little boy received a very cute puppy as a gift.
At first, the family members were against it, but because the boy really loved the dog, they allowed him to raise it.
The mother told him that every responsibility was entirely up to him.
The boy gladly said “Yes”.
He named the dog “Happy” and loved everything about Happy.
As soon as he woke up, he would look for Happy.
Right after school, he would continue to hug Happy.
He would wash Happy’s food bowl and filled up her bowl with water whenever it was empty.
He took care of Happy with great compassion.
However, after a few days, the boy changed.
Happy was still his dog and his friend, but now, Happy’s bark became tiresome and it felt like Happy was hungry all the time.
The family members started to complain a lot more.
“Take care of Happy! It’s your dog!”
“Happy is your Dog…”
The boy didn’t like hearing those words, “your dog.”
He wouldn’t have minded the phrase “your dog to play with” or “your dog when you want it” or even “your dog when Happy is behaving.”
But they said, “Happy is your dog.” That’s it.
In sickness and in health, in hunger and in fullness, Happy is a dog that the boy always has to care for.
That’s when it occurred to him, “I am stuck with Happy…”
Happy went from an option to an obligation, from a pet to a chore.
It may not be the same, but relationships with humankind is the same.
Many of you may have been through a similar experience.
“He is your husband” / “She is your wife” / “They are your children” / “They are your parents” / “They are your sibling” / “They are your friends” / “They are your neighbors…”
Yes, you may have heard of this before.
When you hear this, what are you thinking?
Do you say “Yes Of course!!” and easily acknowledge this relationship?
Or do you get pressured?
We sometimes think about this when we are in a close relationship with someone.
But, sometimes, such close relationship can lead to panic.
In Genesis chapters 6, there is a story of Noah’s ark.
According to the God’s word, Noah built an ark so that Noah’s family and many animals can escape the great flood.
I thought of this while reading this passage.
“How did they survive in the ark for 40 days…”
I thought of their close relationship in the ark for 40 days.
All kinds of animals were in this ark.
For 40 days, they ate, slept, fought and whined.
Think about this close relationship they had.
They had nowhere to escape even if it smelt bad, or was loud.
In addition, for 40 days, Noah, his wife, his three sons and their wives were in the same place.
For 40 days as these 8 family members and many animals faced and smelt each other, do you think there would have been any hardships?
I thought of this.
Is this like a relationship when you are stuck to someone?
But, the Bible never mentioned the life in Noah’s ark in detail.
What about our reality?
There is the time when we feel stuck with someone.
Famous writer, Rev. Max Lucado called this a type of disease called, “Stuckititis.”
This is a very common disease.
Stuckititis manifests itself into symptoms of irritability and short fuses.
And it’s common symptom is the repetition of questions beginning with “Who? What? and Why?”
I am not sure if your family member or someone around you has this disease.
Maybe you have experienced these symptoms, big or small.
This is a disease that needs treatments.
What are ways to respond to this disease?
There are 3 ways.
The first way is to escape.
It is to end the close relationship and escape from it, make a new relationship.
Will running away solve this problem?
Well, maybe it will be the same experience and symptoms from the new relationship.
Escaping will not solve this problem.
The second way is to fight
It is to fight with the person that is giving you pressure and burden.
Will fighting help solve the problem?
In a husband and wife relationship, parent and child relationship, relationship among church members… will the problem solve if we fight with these people?
No, it does not.
Fighting will create greater conflict, followed by a broken relationship.
This cannot be a solution.
But there is another way to solve this problem.
The 3rd solution of this disease is as many of you may have already guessed, love.
It is to love until the end.
This is the way Jesus showed us.
Today’s passage John chapter 13 is a very well known story.
This passage is when Jesus washes his disciples’ feet.
Jesus knew the feeling of being stuck with someone.
Jesus ran with the same people for three years.
By and large, Jesus saw the same twelve or so faces around the table, around the campfire, around the clock.
Basically, all day long, they were in the same boats, walked the same roads, and visited the same houses.
There was an intimate relationship between Jesus and his disciples.
This intimate relationship might be a burden for Jesus.
Besides, these disciples were all insufficient, foolish, doubtful, and selfish.
Jesus knew well about the disciples, their insufficiency, foolishness and selfishness.
And he knew their thoughts.
Think about it.
Jesus indeed has the ability to do everything.
Jesus could hear the unspoken thoughts of the disciples.
He knew their private doubts.
Not only that, he knew their future doubts.
What would you do if you had the ability to know what your close ones were thinking and to read their mind?
How do you feel if you knew what someone is thinking about you?
What if you knew every unspoken thought that they have about you?
Then what would happen?
This relationship may break apart soon.
It would be ok if they were only thinking good and positive things about you, but is that possible?
They may have negative and secret thoughts about you.
Can you be able to tolerate all these emotions and bad thoughts about you?
Can you be able to continue the relationship with them?
“How can they have these bad kinds of thoughts of me? / How is this possible? / Ok, this is the end of our relationship…”
This will probably happen.
If you make a new relationship with someone else, there will be the same situation.
In this sense, it must have been hard for Jesus to know all those thoughts and feelings that people had.
Was it hard for Jesus to love Peter, knowing Peter would someday curse Jesus?
Was it hard for Jesus to embrace Judas, knowing Judas someday betray Jesus?
Was it hard for Jesus to trust Thomas, knowing Thomas would someday question Jesus’ resurrection?
Jesus might have had a thought every day, to possibly end the relationship with these disciples and recruit new disciples.
Just days before Jesus’ death, his disciples were arguing about which of them was the best!
How was Jesus able to love these people who were hard to like?
Jesus knew his disciples too well.
He knew their thoughts.
How did Jesus live everyday with limited, selfish and arrogant disciples for 3 years?
It must have been hard for Jesus.
If I were Jesus, I would have already escaped from them or fought with them.
It is very hard to be in a stuck relationship.
When you are in the stuck relationship, what would you do?
What did Jesus do?
In this stuck relationship with the disciples, what did Jesus do for it?
Yes, Jesus only showed love.
He did not escape from them or fight with them.
Jesus loved until the end.
On the night before Jesus was captured, Jesus prepared the last supper for his disciples.
The disciples entered one by one and sat around the table.
During the supper, Jesus wrapped a towel around his waist, grabbed a basin and kneeled in front of one of his disciples.
And Jesus began washing each one of his disciple’s dirty feet.
Although the disciples were baffled, no one could stop Jesus.
In Jesus’s day, the washing of feet was a task reserved not just for servants but the lowest of servants.
The servant with the lowest rank was expected to be the one on his knees with the towel and basin.
But now the one who is carrying the basin and towel is Jesus, the King of the Universe.
The most powerful and almighty person is now washing the dirtiest feet.
The noblest hands are now washing the dirtiest feet.
This was how Jesus showed love.
Jesus had only one concern.
As washing the disciple’s feet, Jesus wanted them to know how much he loves them.
Jesus knew what would happen later.
He knew the fact that he was going to be crucified.
This would be the perfect time for Jesus to demand focus as he tells the disciples something important.
In this moment, Jesus should have had a lot to say to his disciples.
But Jesus did not say anything.
He just washed his disciple’s feet and showed love and the act of serving.
Jesus knew the future of these feet he was washing.
He knew the fact that these twenty-four feet would not be following Jesus the next day, but running away.
Jesus also knew that Judas would abandon Him that very night at the table.
I looked for a Bible translation that reads, “Jesus washed all the disciples’ feet except the feet of Judas,” but I couldn’t find one.
What a passionate moment when Jesus silently washed the feet of his betrayer!
Think about it again.
You have the ability to read others’ thoughts.
With this ability, if you realize the fact that those people you love will betray you, what would you do?
Can you still love them?
Can you be with them even for a minute?
You probably escape from them or fight them.
But, Jesus loved the disciples.
He loved them until the end.
And Jesus wanted the disciples to realize and remember that love.
So, Jesus told them “You should do as I have done for you…” (John 13:15)”
Brothers and sisters, what about us?
We were not alive at that night in Jerusalem.
But what Jesus did for the disciples he has done for us.
Jesus is still washing our feet as well.
And he wants us to remember his love and to repeat that love and serving.
Because Jesus lives in us, you and I can do the same.
Because he has loved and served us, we can love and serve others.
Yes, we have to do just like Jesus did.
In fact, we are not qualified to receive Jesus’ love.
We do not have qualifications to love other people.
The disciples of Jesus didn’t have qualifications.
But Jesus washed their feet.
And they could serve others.
That is true. We have no qualifications.
All we have to do is just accept the Lord to love us.
And we have to share the love we have received to those who are with us.
Brothers and sisters, let’s look back upon our lives.
There are family members whom I love.
There are colleagues who I’ve worked together with.
There are believers gathered in the church.
There are all friends whom we have relationships loving.
Yes, there are lots of intimate relationships.
Sometimes, we can get joy and strength from these relationships.
Also, sometimes, we are proud of that relationship.
However, sometimes, that relationship can make us tired, become difficult, and turn into a burden for us.
There may be relationships that we are thinking of “I am stuck with them”
Also, there may be broken relationships due to our escape and fight.
Brothers and sisters, let us love them again.
Let us love them until the end.
This is what Jesus wants for us.
Please do not escape, do not fight, but love and serve them just like Jesus who showed us how to love.
I wish that our life is filled with love and serving, so that our life would be meaningful and beautiful through this love and serving. Amen