Some time ago I heard a taped message by a well known minister with the title of: Jesus Took a Towel. The text was these verses from John 13.
1 Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.
2 And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him;
3 Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God;
4 He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.
5 After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.
6 Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet?
7 Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.
8 Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.
9 Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.
10 Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.
11 For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean.
12 So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?
13 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.
14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet.
15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.
17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.
There are many messages you can preach from the above verses. The importance of servant hood. The need to be cleansed by Jesus. The betrayer in the midst. The way to set an example. Etc., Etc,
What the Lord showed me was something quite different. It began when He got my attention by something very odd in the text. Look again at verse 5. "After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded."
What is so strange about this is that Jesus is wiping the men's feet on a towel that he is wearing, not one that he is carrying.
My wife will often give her dog a bath. When she does, she puts on an apron to keep herself clean and dry and she uses one or more towels to dry the animal.
But Jesus is wiping the men's feet on himself! He is getting the mud and filth off their feet and on to the towel he is wearing, onto himself. This is really strange! And it's awkward: You try doing that!
The bible is full of strange things like that. Often they are clues that there is a deeper spiritual meaning to be found in the passage.
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