Memory Verse: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world” (John 6:51).
INTRODUCTION: There are great and significant events that happen in the life of nations as well as individuals that needs to be commemorated. The Lord instituted the feast of Passover as a memorial of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt. Each year they were reminded of their former slavery and how the Lord delivered them and started them on a new path.
As the children of God, we have a greater deliverance to commemorate in this dispensation. Through the blood of Jesus Christ, we were delivered from the bondage of sin and death and given the assurance of eternal life.
The night before His crucifixion, Jesus replaced the memorial of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt with a greater memorial, our deliverance from sin through His blood. He asked us to remember His death by partaking of the unleavened bread and the fruit of the vine. John 6 explains that the bread represents His sinless life as an example for us to follow. Verse 56 shows that this is not to be taken literally but represents our acceptance of His spirit in our life and our abiding in Him. In John 15 Jesus elaborates on this theme by illustrating our relationship with Him as a branch on a vine. We are dependent upon Him, and without Him we can do nothing (John 15:5).
It was the custom in those days for the host to appoint the lowest servant to wash the feet of his guests. Since they wore sandals and the roads were dusty, this was a welcome service. It has been suggested that, as only Jesus and the disciples were present, and that, for lack of a servant, their feet may not have been washed. It has also been suggested that a discussion of who should assume the role of a servant and wash the others’ feet may have triggered the strife as to who was the greatest.
If this was the case, it would make Jesus’ example more dramatic; but whether or not this was the case does not alter Jesus’ lesson in humility. For Jesus to willingly take the place of a servant and begin to wash their feet was too much for Peter, and it was only because of Jesus’ insistence that he allowed it. This, no doubt, was a perpetual reminder to them in later years to guard against pride.
- What ordinance was given to Israel as a memorial of their deliverance from Egypt? Exodus 12:13-14.
- When was it to be kept? Exodus 12:5-6; Leviticus 23:4-5.
- What ordinance did Jesus institute to replace the original Passover? Matthew 26:19-21, 26-29.
- What does the bread represent? Luke 22:19. What does the cup represent? Luke 22:20
- What is the purpose for this service? Luke 22:19 [last part]; 1 Corinthians 11:24-26.
- What did Jesus mean in John 6:47-58 regarding eating His flesh and drinking His blood? How important is this? John 6:50-51, 53 [last part].
- What other ordinance did Jesus institute the night He was betrayed? John 13:4-5.
- Did He intend for us to follow His example in this? John 13:14-15, 17.
- What did Jesus mean by “If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me?” John 13:8.
- It is evident that this washing had a much deeper meaning than the physical act of washing feet. What does it represent? 1 Corinthians 6:11.