Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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Maundy Thursday 3/28/2013
John 13:21-35

Today we celebrate what is called Maundy Thursday, (from the Latin word mandatum which means commandment) tomorrow we observe Good Friday, and on Saturday we wait for Sunday's resurrection celebration which we call Easter. The term Maundy has its origin from John 13:34 which is in the text below.

John 13: 21 When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.
22 Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake.
23 Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.
24 Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake.
25 He then lying on Jesus' breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it?
26 Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. {sop: or, morsel}
27 And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.
28 Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him.
29 For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor.
30 He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night.

This last meeting between Jesus and his disciples has progressed to the point that the betrayer, Judas, is going to be pointed out by Jesus, with only Jesus and Judas himself knowing what was underneath the interaction that was going on at the fellowship table. When Jesus made the statement in verse 21, there was a looking around as to who could do such a thing. Both John (the one whom the Lord loved), Peter and Judas are singled out here, but as already mentioned, only Jesus and Judas knew what was happening. Judas went out into the night.........

31 Therefore, when he was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him.

Now our Lord makes a statement which is huge in meaning for us today in helping us to understand the meaning of what Jesus says concerning his new commandment. Let me say that in my studies of John's Gospel I have seen that there is a simple theme that is brought forth: Life, Light and Love. Christ is eternal which means that he has always existed as Life, he came into the world as the Light to show us the way back to God, and as a result those who come to the Light, the Love of God begins to dwell in them. Then the cycle repeats itself, we now live in Him, we walk in the Light as he is in the Light, and we love others are we are loved by God.

It was love that motivated and moved God to send his Son to this world in order to redeem us back for himself, to the desired end that all who receive this love through repentance and faith then become vessels in which Love (Christ) dwells. Jesus has not spoken much about our love for God and others to this point in John's Gospel, but has spoken and demonstrated of God's love to mankind/us. This is the glory, or the pleasure of God, to redeem sinners through His Son Jesus Christ unto himself!!!

Micah 7: 18 Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.

Now after demonstrating humility and love through the foot washing, he now gives them the new commandment which is contained in verse 34, going onto say that this is how Christians will be recognized by all those who observe the followers of Jesus Christ.

32 If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him.
33 Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you.
34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Some churches practice physical foot washing before partaking of the Lord's Holy Supper as a way to foster humility before coming into the Presence of our Lord. Those who practice this testify that it works towards bringing a person into a humble and soft spirit before eating and drinking of the body and blood of Christ. In general, the men wash the men's feet and the women wash the women's feet.

I remember a few years back when I was in a prolonged stay in the hospital that a nurse washed my feet as an act of service to the Lord. She had detected that I was in need of being ministered to and asked if she could wash my feet. As she washed my feet, I saw and experienced Jesus ministering unto me through her. It was profound experience, one which I will not soon forget. To my regret, on another occasion a man asked if he could wash my feet as I was at home recuperating from another hospital visit, I declined to let him minister to myself. After thinking about it, given the opportunity again, I would not refuse his request should another occasion present itself.

As we come to the Lord's Table tonight, and as we hear the words of insitution,

1 Cor 11:24 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread,
25 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, "This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me."
26 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me."
27 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.

We remember His sacrifice for us, we celebrate His Presence with us and in us, and we proclaim his death until the day when our faith becomes sight!! Through this we are assured of his forgiveness, we are strengthened in faith and we are inspired to proclaim his death through faith and practice as we go from His Presence today.

May we love as we are loved,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 28 Mar 2013 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Wednesday March 27, 2013

John 13:9-17

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.

As we continue with our meditations today in the 13th chapter of John's Gospel, we notice that Jesus referenced Judas' heart which was hidden from all but Himself. Here there is difficulty in understanding what is meant concerning Judas and as to why he is not clean. Christ's atonement was for all: "KJV 1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." Objectively Judas would be clean through the Word spoken unto him by Christ. That which Christ has done for the world on the cross is for all, but salvation is conditioned upon believing: "12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: {power: or, the right, or, privilege}
13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."

Now Jesus asks them if they know what He has done for them? We note that this time Peter does not offer a reply as perhaps the humility of his Master has softened his heart so that he wanted to listen. Jesus went on to tell them that they refer to Him as their Master and Lord, and so, if He has washed their feet, they also ought to wash one another's feet. He finishes his instruction to them by telling them that the hallmark of living in His kingdom is found in serving one another in humility and love.

It is not the knowledge of it only, but it is living in this reality. It means forgiving as we have been forgiven, it means looking out for the spiritual best interests of others. It means living in a state of forgiveness towards others, especially those who may not treat us kindly or even reject us.

As we draw closer to the cross and as our hearts are softened by observing and meditating on the love of Christ which He demonstrated before us in this text, may we not only know these things, but may we also "do" them in our lives. May we simply "be" who Christ has made us,

Galations 2:19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me........

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.
See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
His dying crimson, like a robe,
Spreads o’er His body on the tree;
Then I am dead to all the globe,
And all the globe is dead to me.
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

May we be blessed in our meditations in Him.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 27 Mar 2013 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Maundy Thursday 3/28/2013
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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