Easter is to all of creation what the super bowl is to America or the world cup to the rest of the world! The greatest event ever! This year, I don’t want us to miss this greatest celebration of all so for the next few weeks we are going to take a closer look, a deeper dive into this season and the power and joy behind it all.

I also wanted to remind us of who Jesus expects us to be….there is so little kindness and love these days….very little grace and We of all people are the ones who can bring that, stepping away from all the issues of the day and being Jesus fighting the need to respond to everything instead reacting to the Lord’s heart for people…

Let’s begin our journey of discovery today in John 13:1

Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. He had loved his disciples during his ministry on earth, and now he loved them to the very end.

If we are going to begin to understand Easter, we need to begin by understanding that this is not a story of tragedy but triumph, of Jesus, and as a result, all of us being victors not victims.

John tells us that Jesus was in complete control, “he knew his hour had come” everything that happened was designed and ordered by the Father. It was part of the God’s plan that Jesus came to fulfill.

Let’s take a step back just a few verses earlier and maybe it will help you understand better.

John 12:44-50

Jesus shouted to the crowds, “If you trust me, you are trusting not only me, but also God who sent me. 45 For when you see me, you are seeing the one who sent me. 46 I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark. 47 I will not judge those who hear me but don’t obey me, for I have come to save the world and not to judge it. 48 But all who reject me and my message will be judged on the day of judgment by the truth I have spoken. 49 I don’t speak on my own authority. The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it. 50 And I know his commands lead to eternal life; so I say whatever the Father tells me to say.”

Jesus was saying He is God, He is in control of everything that is happening and will happen….Isn’t it interesting that He says He will not judge those who reject Him but they will be judged by the truth….in other words the Father will show them how many times He reached out to show them the truth and they rejected it…so Jesus does not judge them they judge themselves…..Jesus is doing everything under the Father’s authority…they are completely in control…all of the Father’s direction leads to eternal life…

A Little side note throughout the Gospels Jesus is constantly reminding us of relationship He calls God, Father every time but once….do you know the one time He addressed him as God?

There was a plan from the beginning

Genesis 22:6-8

So Abraham placed the wood for the burnt offering on Isaac’s shoulders, while he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them walked on together, 7 Isaac turned to Abraham and said, “Father?”

“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.

“We have the fire and the wood,” the boy said, “but where is the sheep for the burnt offering?”

8 “God will provide a sheep for the burnt offering, my son,” Abraham answered. And they both walked on together.

God did provide for us a lamb that rescued all of mankind not just Isaac…the mountain where this took place is the mountain where Jesus was crucified…it is interesting to note that Isaac was at least a young man when this took place and could have very well been 33 years old (Clarke) and willingly laid down his life trusting his Father completely (just like Jesus)

Exodus 12: 21-23

Then Moses called all the elders of Israel together and said to them, “Go, pick out a lamb or young goat for each of your families, and slaughter the Passover animal. 22 Drain the blood into a basin. Then take a bundle of hyssop branches and dip it into the blood. Brush the hyssop across the top and sides of the doorframes of your houses. And no one may go out through the door until morning. 23 For the LORD will pass through the land to strike down the Egyptians. But when he sees the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe, the LORD will pass over your home. He will not permit his death angel to enter your house and strike you down.

Notice the blood of the lamb and the sacrifice protects the familes from death, it is placed on the door in a way that reflects the cross…..they are protected from death as Jesus protects us from eternal death

John 1:29

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

Jesus is the lamb, chosen by God to take our place so we might have relationship with the Father, free from sin not because of our works but His grace, love and kindness toward us. 

There are dozens of other scriptures equating Jesus to the sacrificial lamb just showing this was not a tragedy but a victory staged, planned and controlled by the Father for our benefit.

Back to John 13: 2-9

It was time for supper, and the devil had already prompted Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. 4 So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, 5 and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him.

6 When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

7 Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.”

8 “No,” Peter protested, “you will never ever wash my feet!”

Jesus replied, “Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me.”

9 Simon Peter exclaimed, “Then wash my hands and head as well, Lord, not just my feet!”

As Jesus is wrapping up this section of his earthly ministry, He gives us the model of true leadership….

You can read leadership books that discuss styles of leadership from Attila the Hun to Abraham Lincoln to Ronald Reagan to Donald Trump but none of these styles compares to Jesus.

He did not give a state of the union although He will talk about how they will be able to continue on in power and authority and bring hope and love to a broken world

He did not choose a successor but instead told each one they will be given what is needed to continue on…

What he did do was leave his seat, rolled up his sleeves (so to speak) and showed through example how to love and respect one another even those who hate you….

We read in this part of the story Peter’s response….

Jesus is reversing roles here with the disciples, they served Him, learning growing becoming more like Jesus every day now Jesus is serving them showing that true leaders are not afraid to get their hands dirty and showing them that they are about to be cleansed of all their sin “Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me”….. “ you don’t understand now….but someday you will” 

Jesus will go to the cross to completely cleanse them and us so we are always clean and if we blow it again, we are already clean but coming to Jesus again in repentance will cleanse that sin away too.

We need to look at John 13:27 for a minute so I can make a further point…

When Judas had eaten the bread, Satan entered into him. Then Jesus told him, “Hurry and do what you’re going to do.”

I need you to notice something. If you go back and read the in-between verses. You will see that after Jesus washed the disciple’s feet, he got up and sat down to break bread with them. He explains that the one he serves first will betray him.

He knew all along that Judas was going to betray him….yet he still washed Judas’ feet, Judas did not leave until after he was served.

Why would he do something like that, He knew Judas was his betrayer in fact Jesus knew he was even a thief as we hear later in the narrative. But Judas also went out and healed people and preached the good news.

Jesus was teaching us that to the Father every life is important. He knew Judas would betray Him but he wanted Judas to know there was still love and I believe Jesus was giving him a choice. If we are to believe 2 Peter 3:9

The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.

Matthew 5:43-48

You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. 46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. 48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Judas made the choice to betray Jesus….Jesus made the choice to love him and show him kindness and grace.

As the Easter story ramps up we see Jesus is in control, He knew what the next 24 hours held for him but he also knew what was most important, that people still see and understand the Father’s heart. He was totally God and totally man…he knew the fear, anguish, rejection, and pain he was about to suffer but he understood the prize….freedom for you and me, the defeat of Satan’s control over mankind, release of the Holy Spirit to empower us to keep changing the world.

Hopefully you understand the depth of Jesus love. If he could love his betrayer so much to wash his feet give him a last chance to a make a different choice, give him the opportunity of grace and forgiveness what will He do for you today.

Jessi talked about surrender last week…I want to ask you will you surrender your wounds, hurts rejections, your beating yourself up over past sins and allow Christ’s forgiveness to have impact in your life.

Jesus would wash your feet today, telling you how much you are loved and His plan for your life. Because He really loves you and if He would love Judas that much, just think about how much He loves you and wants you to let go and walk in freedom