Theme: Pour IN
Series: IN – Lent / Easter 2020
Bible Reading: John 13:1-17
Preacher: Rev Phil Swain
Preached for the ONLINE 9am worship – 29 March 2020
10:45am Traditional Service … Prerecorded and available on Youtube
How are we going with the service so far? I am being genuinely moved by seeing different people leading worship from different places. To see Liss reading the bible in her own home for us this morning is special. It almost makes up for us not being able to meet together at the church.
So for the last two weeks the sermons have had significant “how do we respond to the COVID-19” sort of feel about them, and while that is still very much on our hearts and minds, I am going to refocus our Lenten journey back more on the Easter story again. This Easter we are hoping to get in touch with the more personal side of Easter – to not only hear about the grace and life that comes through the cross … but to draw closer to Jesus himself, our saviour and our friend.
So today, I want to explore two Easter stories … separated by a couple of days.
The first story was the one from our bible reading … Thursday of Holy Week and Jesus and his followers gathered to share the Passover meal together. This was a significant meal in the Jewish culture and it was hugely significant for Jesus to host this meal. Not only did Jesus host the meal, he chose to spend it with the people he was closest to … the disciples and most likely the other followers like the woman who supported him.
In this time of social distancing … are you missing getting together with people that are close to you? Other than your family … like my family have eaten together more in the past week as we have probably in the previous two months … so I am not talking about them … but other people who are close.
Here is a warm up interaction question for you…
Imagine we are past this COVID-19 situation and you could invite 6 people around for a special meal and time together … who would they be. Maybe they are just people you are missing … or maybe people you haven’t seen for a while … or just someone who popped into your mind right now. Now explanation is necessary … just, who are the six dinner guests you would have for a special meal.
Type them in the comments below. Please do, it is encouraging to see people respond.
Ok … back to Jesus special meal. The first thing that jumps out from the bible reading is the line… “Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God.” Jesus knew that he had all power … he had come from glory and was returning to glory … which makes the what happens next even more amazing…
- Took off outer clothing … wrapped a towel
- POUR IN water into a basin….
- Washed their feet.
There is so much in this imagery … Jesus … the king of kings, the one with all the power … taking the role of a servant. There is much to explore which I have in the bible study handout (which you can download and look at)
The imagery from this reading that I would like explore today is the line that Jesus POURED water into a basin … Jesus POURED IN water. I want to suggest that in the same way Jesus wants to POUR into our lives this easter.
In the same way that Jesus said to Peter … unless I wash your feet, you are not part of what I am doing … I think that Jesus is saying to us … I want to pour into your life this morning. I need to pour into your life this morning so because you are part of what I am doing. I need to pour into your life.
What do I mean by “pour into our lives”. Well, there are loads of examples of God/Jesus pouring into us from scripture
- 1 Timothy 1:14 … The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
- Romans 5:5 God’s love has been poured out into our hearts
- Titus 3:4-7 Salvation … poured on us generously through Jesus.
- Malachi 3:10 … pour out so much blessings that there will not be room enough to store it.
- Joel 2:28-29 and Acts 2:17-18 … I will pour out my spirit upon all people.
Jesus wants to pour into our lives – pouring in grace and faith and love and salvation and blessing and the spirit. Are we open to Jesus pouring into our life today?
Now … those who are connected with TUC might be thinking that there is something familiar about this sermon. Actually it is similar to a sermon that I preached during the Lent series in 2018 … Jesus the Life-Giver. Do you remember?
- Bible reading was the woman at the well.
- Talked about how Jesus wants to pour into our lives
No? Well, I made three big points in that sermon that are worth repeating … especially for those who are joining us online from other churches.
The first point I made was that I said that we were like a teapot. Short and stout. No, I said that we were like a teapot and Jesus was wanting to fill us up. And I said a jug of water up the front in church and poured it onto the teapot but it went everywhere because I still had the lid on? (Remember it now)
The point I was trying to make was that if Jesus is going to pour into our lives we need to be open to that … we need to first take off the lid so that the water can flow in!
It might be a simple point but it is so important. Are you open to Jesus pouring into your life today? We need take of our lids … be open to that infilling.
The second point I made was about the generosity of God. I had fun with this idea that when we are open to receiving … God is really generous with the amount that is poured. If you remember, I had this huge glass vase and was pouring so much water that the teapot could not possibly hold it all. God is generous with this infilling.
But the third point of that 2018 was possibly the biggest. Yes, a teapot needs water to be poured in, but if that is all that happens, the teapot is not doing what it was designed to do … a teapot also needs to be poured out the tea too.
Jesus wants to pour into our lives not only for our benefit, but also for the benefit of others.
Jesus in our bible reading John 13:12,15 … “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them… 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.
As followers of Jesus – God/Jesus generously pours into our lives so that we can pour the same love, grace, forgiveness, hope, joy, peace etc into other people, into our communities, into the world.
I said at the beginning that I was going to share two Easter stories. The other story I wanted to just touch on briefly is the story of Jesus being anointed by the woman who poured expensive perfume on Jesus – found in Matthew 26, Mark 14, Luke 7 and John 12. You remember the story?
Actually … resisting the urge to look up the passages … just take a moment to respond in the comment section. What is one thing that you remember about the woman anointing Jesus with perfume passage? Each gospel version is slightly different … so what thing do you remember.
60 seconds … write us much as you can in the comments.
The thing that I remembered was the response from Jesus to Simon the Pharisee … the host in Luke’s version. In Luke 7, Jesus (who remember was the host at the Last Supper), has a go at Simon for missing the point…
44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
Jesus at this meal received from this woman who poured generously onto Jesus … of not only perfume and tears … but of gratitude and thanks and love.
Jesus as host at the last Supper, also poured generously into the lives of his followers. Not only taking the role of a servant and washing their feet … but also shared how he was about to pour in an even greater way.
Matthew 26:28 – This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
I reminded us all at the beginning that our focus this Easter is to not only understand the profoundness of Easter but to be open to being personally connected with the message.
May we today not only hear that Jesus has poured himself out for us at Easter, but wanted to POUR Into our lives today.
May we open ourselves up to that infilling this morning. May we reach out with our hands right now and feel Jesus pouring his love and grace and presence and peace into us right now.
And may we be so overwhelmed by this generosity – so touched peronally by this, that, like the woman with the perfume, we draw close to Jesus and offer all that we have to Jesus.
Our worship band is going to sing the great song – Once Again. Let’s sing it to Jesus right now.