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March 29, 2024


 

Good Friday. Celebrated around the world remembering the events surrounding Jesus’s crucifixion. I remember being in San Luis Potosi, Mexico on Good Friday one year scouting out a mission trip for White Oak teens. That evening was unlike anything I’d seen before. Thousands of people packed into the city square. Food and craft vendors everywhere. Children were dressed in their best clothes. A parade was occurring with beautifully dressed people, those in colorful costumes, some dressed as Roman soldiers re-enacting scenes from Jesus’s arrest, trial, and crucifixion. People were carrying large elaborately decorated floats, called pasos, with statues of saints lifted high above the crowd. It was a party!

 

The tradition I grew up with was slightly less… well, umm, exciting. Good Friday was a day of mourning and reflection upon my own sin. Jesus had died that day and the sentiment was darker and marked by solemnity and grief. No parades. No colorful costumes.

 

No matter your tradition for Good Friday, there is something that happens on Thursday night of Holy Week that we sometimes gloss over. It’s a bit more of a subtle scene compared to the adrenaline-filled and emotional moments of Jesus’s arrest, the trial, his time with Pilate, and his eventual execution. Here it is. John 13.


It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 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.

He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”

Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”

“Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”

10 Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.

12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.


While there is nothing wrong with and certainly a place for somber quiet reflection upon our own sin and/or grand celebrations and parades acknowledging Jesus’s sacrifice, perhaps there’s something more we can do this weekend, instead. Perhaps we can DO what Jesus DID. Serve one another. I don’t want to miss the awkward, humbling, even humiliating act that Jesus modeled for us as it gets lost in the shadows of the more compelling scenes that come later.

 

Following Jesus means we are his apprentices. We walk in his footsteps. He does, we watch, then, we do. We practice the way of Jesus. We aren’t just Christians who believe in certain things about Holy Week. We are apprentices of the Master and therefore we do what he did. Get down on our knees and serve others. No judgment. No thinking ourselves too good. Not considering anyone unworthy. Not even celebrations or somber reflections ahead of doing good in service to one another. Wash the feet of someone this weekend. Don’t just celebrate Good Friday. Re-enact Thursday night. Follow the way of Jesus this week and next. And the next…

 

Resting in Jesus’s love,

Nathan

 

 


Nathan Hinkle

Lead Pastor

White Oak Christian Church





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