13:1 Just before the Passover feast, Jesus knew that his time had come to depart from this world to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now loved them to the very end. 13:2 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, that he should betray Jesus. 13:3 Because Jesus knew that the Father had handed all things over to him, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 13:4 he got up from the meal, removed his outer clothes, took a towel and tied it around himself. 13:5 He poured water into the washbasin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel he had wrapped around himself. John 13:1-5
What does it mean to be a Christian in times like these, where the fear of disease is genuine? I believe that this day of global pandemic is one of the greatest tests of our Christian character. What we do, what we say (what we repost?) in challenging times points to who and what we believe!
Jesus’ also lived in challenging times, especially as he approached Jerusalem. At this point in the Scriptures (John 13:1-5), Jesus is approximately one week out from his crucifixion and so the text gives us an example of how Jesus operates under pressure. Notice that Jesus is not lounging about, nor is he running from the task before him; instead, we find him served by Mary (last week’s sermon) and serving his disciples. In other words, when he was in the midst of his greatest trial, death on the cross, he sought not isolation, but a community of people.
The temptation in the days of a pandemic is to isolate completely, body, mind and soul. While all of us understand the importance of taking precautionary measures, even cancelling a church service, some go farther than this to complete separation. However, being separated physically does not mean that we should be separated spiritually. I want to encourage everyone to still pray for one another, still send messages, call, video chat, offer help when it’s needed. We are not just any community of people, we are a family, dedicated first and foremost to God, and secondly, dedicated to His people, brothers and sisters in Christ.
Friends and family, may I remind you that you are not alone, the Church is still here, a physical expression of God’s love and care. The days ahead are going to provide the Church and all Christians an opportunity to shine the light of Christ. To that end, remember, and take comfort, knowing that God not only holds the future, the worlds future, in His hands but that those same hands also washed the feet of those dedicated to Him. Remember that even though Jesus is most concerned about our spiritual health – he doesn’t forget about our physical needs in the process.