Have you ever thought, ‘I wish I could have one-on-one time with Jesus to ask Him questions?’  Wouldn’t that be pretty cool to have Jesus walk with you every day for a week?   You could ask Jesus anything.  Questions like, how do I live out every day?  What do I do with my life?  How do I deal with the people who drive me nuts?  How do I deal with the world I live in?  Would that not be awesome?

Actually, we know what Jesus would say.  It’s written down and we call it the Gospels.  The Gospels are the first four books in the New Testament Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  What makes the Gospels so special is that God walked with us, and everything God said is recorded in the Gospels.  When you read Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John you get a front-row seat to what God would do and what God would say if he walked with you for a week.

That’s why I’m excited about our new Bible study this summer called The Simple Questions of Jesus.  And we must add, remember, simple doesn’t mean easy.  When God walked with us in the form of Jesus, He asked questions.  We are taking the questions of Jesus and personalizing them.  The first question was, ‘Do you want to get well?’  Sam brought out that when we personalize this question, the reality is that many don’t want to get well.  Many just want to stay where they are.  Many want to avoid making intentional choices so that they can stay comfortable.  Instead of intentional change, people would rather make excuses.  They can blame others for their lives.  They complain about their circumstances.  In all of it, people struggle to change.  And when people don’t make choices to change, they are pushing their healing way.  By the decisions we make, we are telling Jesus, ‘I do want to get well’ or ‘I don’t want to get well.’

The second Jesus question we talked about was, ‘What do you want?’  George was with us that week.  The next Jesus question, ‘Why are you thinking these things in your hearts?’  Sam said, our thoughts, the things we think about, create our reality.  Remember his examples?  If I gossip, I assume others gossip about me.  If I am dishonest, I assume others around me are dishonest.  If I manipulate and leverage others to get what I want, I assume others are manipulating or leveraging me to get what they want.  If that’s true, sadly, I can’t enjoy being in a real relationship.  If I think I’m a failure, I keep failing and feel devalued by others.  Why is this?  Because what we think creates our reality.  The challenge is to stop living in a false reality, capture those rebellious thoughts, and teach them to obey Christ.

Today we jump to another question.  Let’s get into today’s scripture.

John 13:1 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. NIV

This story is the story that took place the night before Jesus was betrayed, beaten, and crucified.  Jesus knows he is about to die so Jesus has one last moment with His disciples over an evening meal.  We call it the Last Supper.  Let’s read what happened.

John 13:2 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 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. NIV

Jesus’ death and resurrection is the epic moment of all human history.  This moment was the moment God announced would take place when Adam and Eve sinned.  This moment is what was prophesied for thousands of years.  And Jesus is fully aware of this.  What does Jesus do?  With all the power and authority of heaven, Jesus washes the feet of His disciples.  The disciples had no idea what was happening and would not fully understand it until later.

Quick time out here.  Just curious, what would you do in this moment?  Imagine someone who has hurt you or betrayed you.  Imagine someone whom you passionately disagree with.  Imagine you are given the power and authority to put them in their place or show everyone around you that you are right, and they are wrong.  What would you do with that kind of power and authority?  Would you put them in their place, or would you serve them?

What is the first thing Jesus does with all His authority and power?  He takes a servant role and quietly washes the feet of His disciples.  This includes Judas who is about to betray Him.  This includes James and John, the two guys who met privately with Jesus to get the key leadership titles.  This includes Peter who is about to deny Jesus three times.  This includes all the disciples who just moments ago were arguing over which one of them was the greatest.

What would you do in that moment?

As Jesus begins to wash their feet, it’s confusing to them.  Are you curious how they respond?  Let’s read.

John 13:6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” 7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” 8 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” 9 “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. NIV

What is happening?  Peter continues to struggle to simply follow Jesus.  Peter has no idea what is happening, and notice, Peter is comfortable telling Jesus what Jesus needs to do.  Can you connect with Peter?  Do you experience moments in your life when you have no idea why something is happening and instead of surrendering, you tell Jesus what He needs to do?  We all have those moments, don’t we?

In this moment, Jesus is serving the disciples and Peter is struggling to accept it.  Here is why this is such a big moment.  We must first experience Jesus serving us before we serve others, we call it grace.  But pride in us can conclude, I don’t need Jesus serving me, I will get busy serving Him.  Jesus tells Peter, ‘Peter, unless you allow me to serve you, to share my grace with you, you can’t be my disciple.’

Quick time out here.  How do you live life?  Do you allow Jesus to serve you, to share His grace with you?  Are you comfortable jumping into your day without Jesus serving you?  You might say, ‘But Ken I am living out what it means to be a Christian.  I pay my bills, I get the kids to the right sports fields, I try to love my spouse, I’m a good person, I don’t have time for that.’  You might be struggling as Peter did.  Remember what Jesus said, ‘Unless you allow me to serve you, to share my grace with you, you can’t be my disciple.’

After Jesus talks to Peter, Jesus asks the question we want to talk about today.  Let’s read.

John 13:12 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. NIV

The answer is no.  They didn’t have any idea what Jesus was doing.  So, Jesus continues to explain.

John 13:13 “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. NIV

In this last moment Jesus had with His disciples, Jesus modeled for them what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.  Jesus doesn’t point out their failures.  Jesus doesn’t criticize them for not being good enough.  Jesus doesn’t try to show the disciples how much He knows.  He takes all the authority and power of heaven and washes the feet of those who didn’t understand Him, who would betray Him, and who would deny Him.

Jesus in this quiet moment is modeling for them, if you understand what I have done for you, it will radically change your life.  You will leave your self-focused and selfish life and exchange it to lay down your life to love and serve others.

Let’s stop here and personalize Jesus’ question.  Imagine Jesus looking you in the eyes and asking, “Do you understand what I have done for you?”  If we fully understood what Jesus has done for us, it would radically change our lives, wouldn’t it?  Your answer to Jesus’ question shows up in how you live.

Three things would change in our lives.

Jesus asked, Do you understand what I have done for you?  Jesus took all the authority and power of heaven and gave it up to die for you.

Philippians 2:6-8 He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death – and the worst kind of death at that – a crucifixion. MSG

When we fully understand what Jesus has done for us, it should give us so much hope and trust in Jesus, it would remove fear from our life.  If Jesus didn’t love you, Jesus wouldn’t have set aside the privileges of being God to come after you.

I remember when I was dating Karen.  I pursued her pretty hard.  She worked in a Daycare when I first met her.  To surprise her and get her attention, I started sending her flowers.  A lot of flowers.  I kept sending flowers even when we were engaged.  One day, one of the kid’s mom called Karen because her son came home upset to the point of tears.  Apparently, the kid saw the much older flower delivery man deliver flowers and believed that Karen was going to marry the much older man.  Poor little guy.

How did Karen know that I liked her?  I pursued her.  That dating story is silly compared to Jesus pursuing us, but I hope it helps make the point.  How do you know Jesus loves you?  Jesus set aside being a God to pursue you.  God’s pursuit of you should remove fear.

Let me ask you.  If someone calls themselves a Christian and fear continues to define who they are, are they really a Christian?  You can be a Christian and struggle with fear.  Maybe a better way of saying it is, they don’t fully understand what Jesus has done for them.  Fear is real and we all face fear at some point.  The best way to fight fear is to fully understand what Jesus has done for you.

Jesus asked, Do you understand what I have done for you?  Because of Jesus you are forgiven and can live a whole new life in freedom and healing.

Ephesians 4:22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. NIV

When we fully understand what Jesus had done for us, it should radically change our attitude every day.  Jesus frees us from the kingdom of the demonic and places us in the kingdom of God.  How could we stay stuck in miserable and negative attitudes knowing that because of Jesus we are forgiven?  We are walking into heaven someday.  And God Himself lives inside us to empower us.

Article about attitude.  Psychologist Carol Dweck from Stanford has spent her entire career studying attitude and performance, and her latest study shows that your attitude is a better predictor of your success than your IQ.  Dweck found that people’s core attitudes fall into one of two categories: a fixed mindset or a growth mindset.

With a fixed mindset, you believe you are who you are and you cannot change. This creates problems when you’re challenged because anything that appears to be more than you can handle is bound to make you feel hopeless and overwhelmed.

People with a growth mindset believe that they can improve with effort. They outperform those with a fixed mindset, even when they have a lower IQ, because they embrace challenges, treating them as opportunities to learn something new.

According to Dweck, success in life is all about how you deal with failure. She describes the approach to failure of people with the growth mindset this way, “Failure is information – we label it failure, but it’s more like, ‘This didn’t work, and I’m a problem solver, so I’ll try something else.’” Source: Travis Bradberry

Too many people spiritually have a fixed mindset.  They believe, spiritually it is what it is, I am defeated.  But the whole point of what Jesus did is that Jesus destroyed death and its damage in our lives.  Because of Jesus, we have freedom and hope.  Every day we wake up, we have a choice to make.  Will I spiritually embrace my old, miserable, rotten attitudes, or will I embrace my new spiritual life in Jesus that gives me hope and joy?  Scripture explains it like this.

Ephesians 4:22-24 Everything – and I do mean everything – connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you. MSG

Which attitude do you embrace when you are… alone?  If someone calls themselves a Christian and continues to embrace their old, miserable, rotten attitude, are they a Christian?  Yes, you can be a Christian and wrestle with choosing a good attitude.  Maybe a better way to say it is, they don’t fully understand what Jesus has done for them.

Jesus asked, Do you understand what I have done for you?  Jesus loves you and comes after you when you are at your worst.

Later in the Last Supper, Jesus said this.

John 14:12 My commandment is this: love one another, just as I love you. 13 The greatest love you can have for your friends is to give your life for them. 14 And you are my friends if you do what I command you. …17 This, then, is what I command you: love one another. NIV

When we fully understand what Jesus has done for us, it should radically change how we treat others.  Think about your life.  What changed you?  Was it when someone pointed out your failures?  No, you knew about your failures already.  Was it when someone criticized you?  No, that just makes you feel worse.  Was it when someone pointed out how much more they know compared to you?  No, that just makes you feel small.  What changed your life was when you realized that Jesus loved you when you were at your worst.

If that is true, what do you think will change those around you?  Will it be when you point out their failures?  No, they already know their failures.  Will they change when you criticize them?  No, that just makes them feel less.  Will they change when you point out how much you know compared to them?  That never works.  What changes people is loving them when they are at their worst.

Let’s make this even more practical. To love someone simply means that you go out of your way to wash the mud and filth this world splashes on them.  You know what I am talking about – right?  This world has a way of wearing people out.  It makes people feel insecure.  It makes people feel defeated and discouraged.  The way you love people is when you intentionally wash the mud and filth from this world off of them.  Your spouse.  Your kids.  Your leaders.  Your kids’ teachers and coaches.  And everyone at church.

The problem many people have is, that we want Jesus to wash the mud and filth off of us, but we aren’t willing or intentional about doing that for others.  We act like we are ‘god’ and if someone hurts us, we want to hurt them back.  We struggle to remember that Jesus loved us when we were at our worst.  We struggle to remember we never once deserved Jesus’ love.  Remember what Jesus told us?

Matthew 5:44 I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the supple moves of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. MSG

That’s pretty simple, isn’t it?  Remember, simple isn’t easy.  Here is a help.  You have been washed clean by God which means you are not ‘god’, instead you are just someone able to wash the mud and filth of this world off others.

Let me ask you this.  If someone calls themselves a Christian and continues to treat others poorly, are they really a Christian?  Yes, you can be a Christian and wrestle with this.  Maybe a better way of saying it is, they don’t fully understand what Jesus has done for them.

Let me close with the Jesus question.  Have this posted all over your life, “Do you understand what I have done for you?”