Sermon for Maundy Thursday preached by
The Reverend Dr Sam Cappleman
17th April 2003
In the gospel reading today we have described the story of Jesus washing the disciples' feet.
The funny thing is, it's a strange time to wash them. It's the middle of the evening, just as the meal was being served. Normally your feet would be washed when you'd just arrived, to clean the dust of the road off them. But in washing the disciple's feet in the way that He did, Jesus is giving us a graphic reminder of 2 key truths of the gospel story.
The first is that the life of the Messiah and the life of the disciples are inexorably coupled with the life of servant hood and service.
Normally it would be one of the menial servants who washed the guests feet - not tonight.
Tonight, Jesus took the role of a servant and washed His disciples' feet. Peter, as in other things, did not grasp what was going on until much later.
The other truth that Jesus demonstrates is that the journey is over. The journey they had been on together had come to an end. You washed people's feet at the end of the journey, and this was the end of the journey for them.
Jesus had loved His disciples over the last 3 years in many different ways, some of which are detailed on today's bible notes. But the journey was only part of the story. The importance of it was that it led to the cross.
All that Jesus had done for the disciples had been shaped and shadowed by the cross.
And now the journey was over because Jesus was in Jerusalem to come to the cross.
We're coming the end of a journey too. Our journey trough Lent. As we look to the Easter weekend our journey is over. And it has the same 2 themes as Jesus' journey to Jerusalem.
For all that we've done through Lent, the things we've given up, the things we've taken on, the Lent course, the things we haven't done, just coming to church through Lenten journey have all been done in the shadow of the cross.
All point us inexorably to the cross.
There is no other destination in Lent, the journey ends with the cross and ultimately the resurrection.
And in coming to the cross we're reminded of the other truth of discipleship: That the journey of Lent, the way of the cross, leads us to a life of service.
A life of service for Christ and a life of service for others. It's no coincidence that the passage this evening finishes with the words:
As I have loved you, so you must love one another
As individuals and as a church we're called to a life of service focused through the cross and empowered by the resurrection.
Bible Readings and Notes for 17th April 2003