Title: Unwritten

Bible Book: John 13 : 1-27

Author: James William Mercer

Subject: Lord's Supper; Communion



Natasha Bedingfield wrote a popular song that begins with these lyrics:

“I am unwritten, can’t read my mind, I’m undefined

I’m just beginning, the pen’s in my hand, ending unplanned.

Staring at the blank page before you

Open up the dirty window

Let the sun illuminate the words

That you could not find….

Drench yourself in words unspoken

Live your life with arms wide open

Today is where your book begins

The rest is still unwritten.”

As we gather this morning to celebrate the Lord’s Supper, I believe there is a great spiritual truth in that secular song that is also revealed in our text. Here we discover that Jesus introduced that meaningful meal with:

I. Words of Warning

These words of warning are something we should remember the rest of our lives. In the moments that led up to His final Passover observance, Jesus revealed…

A. Two Threats by His Words and Actions

John records that the unity of the group was threatened by their pride and ambition. So, Jesus washed their feet to teach them that those who would be great in the Kingdom of God must become the servants of all. Because none of them were willing to perform the basic courtesy of washing the dusty feet of their friends, preparation had not been made by the arrangements committee. Jesus laid aside His garments and stooped before each one of them to complete this menial task. “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example that you should do as I have done to you.” (John 13: 14-15)

Matthew said that when Jesus revealed that one of the apostles would betray Him. All of them looked around and asked, “Could He be talking about me?”

John records that they were perplexed with His declaration. Certainly Judas knew who was being challenged, but all of the rest were so convicted by the statement that they questioned themselves. Have you ever felt so guilty in your heart that you started to confess something that you had not done?

Like the apostles we approach the table with guilt in our souls. There is pride, even if it is just the variety of the Pharisee, “Lord I’m glad I’m not a sinner like that guy.”

Last week we talked about the healing touch of the Master, but in the Lord’s Supper we often experience a…

B. Troubling Touch from His Holy Spirit

We experience that ‘troubling touch’ as we are convicted and chastised for our weakness and sin. When we are confronted with the sacrifice that God made on our behalf, it troubles us with the knowledge of the sin in our lives.

“Is it I?” Could I be guilty of betraying Jesus? That was the Lord’s intention. The word of warning was designed to confront Judas with His plans and perhaps turn him from the evil of his ways.

We are told by the Apostle Paul that the observance of the Lord’s Supper is to be preceded by an individual examining himself.

A few weeks ago as we discussed the subject of God’s watchful gaze always being directed our way, we saw that Psalm 139 concludes, “Search me, O God, and know my heart.” The song “Unwritten” recognizes that no one else knows us for who we really are behind the masks that we wear. Much of what we have done in our lives is only known by our closest friends and even they don’t know it all. But hear me when I say to you that God knows you better than you know yourself.

The touch of the Holy Spirit on your life at this very moment is not present to to push you away from God, but to draw you to Him. The Lord’s Supper reminds us that God knows our sins. Hegave His life on that cross to pay the price of our sins so that we might have a meaningful relationship with Him for eternity.

Have you heard someone say, “God loves you warts and all?” It is true, but the Lord’s Supper tells us that His intention is to…

II. Whiteout the Warts

The message of the Lord’s Supper shares that God wants you…

A. Changed

Jesus went to the cross to change your life and mine. He intended to transform our daily lives and empower our existence. At the Cross, He took our sin upon His shoulders and paid the price for our salvation.

In the day when we used typewriters instead of computers, mistakes were fixed with something called whiteout. When you made a mistake on a typewriter, you would use that little bottle of white fluid to mark over the error. When it dried you could type in the correction. It is still obvious that a mistake was made, but the correction would overwrite the typo.

The movie “The Green Mile” was about death row inmates. One of the main characters was a huge prisoner who had the power to take others’ sicknesses away. Tom Hanks played a prison guard with a painful bladder infection. Out of compassion, this big prisoner reached through the bars and took away his infection. He literally took it within his body and then he coughed out what appeared to be a swarm of ugly insects. Afterwards he was so tired he had to lie down. Although the movie was pure fiction, when I saw that I thought immediately, “That’s exactly what Jesus did whenever he healed someone.” He took our sins, our sickness, or our suffering into His life. However, He didn’t cough it out like a swarm of insects, He carried it to the cross. When Jesus used His power to change someone, He took that person’s infirmities and sins upon Himself. The result was a changed life.

The symbolism of this moment in the Upper Room, when Jesus washed the disciples feet, was more important than the thick layer of dust they had collected as they walked through Jerusalem. We do need our sins washed away by the Savior. We need a daily washing as we confess our weaknesses and seek His help. Notice also that the disciples were

B. Charged with a New Task

Matthew 20:26 echoes the teaching of our Lord when it says, “Whoever desires to be great among you, let him be your servant…just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” I recently saw in a church newsletter a sentence: “Some people think service is spelled: S-e-r-v-e U-s.”

The self-help sections of book stores are filled with literature on intimidation and assertiveness. But the Bible is filled with lessons on humility. Jesus was not concerned about the dirty feet of the disciples that night. His main concern was their attitude. As Jesus poured out His love upon each one, He left their hearts refreshed with a new awareness of their proper role as disciples. Those road weary feet were refreshed by the careful massage of the Master’s hands but it was their spirit that received most of the Lord’s attention.

This was not a charge to wash feet, but to serve one another; and, to serve with the spirit of humility by which our Lord knelt before them. The church today is filled with people who are standing on their dignity when they should be kneeling at the feet of their brothers and sisters. When we are tempted to think of our place, our prestige, our power, let us see again the picture of the Son of God, the towel around His waist, kneeling at the disciples’ feet. It is men and women who stoop in ministry like Christ that are to be honored by others in the church.

Today, think of someone who has said something or done something against you and mentally wash their feet by praying for them. Ask the Lord to bless them and help you make things right. Imagine yourselves stooping to bathe the feet of a person who has been a blessing to you or your family. Let your imagination carry you to a friend whom you perhaps need to ask for forgiveness. Or perhaps think of a friend with whom you should share joy. Or think of those who need love to be poured out upon them.

Foot washing takes the form of any kind of ministry you perform for someone else. It is a visit, or phone call to encourage parents having difficulty with their children. It is an invitation to lunch for someone who just needs to talk or get away from their problems for a while. It is a card reminding a classmate that he or she is missed when not at church. It is a word over the fence to your neighbor just to let that person know you are glad to be a neighbor.

According to what we read in this passage, not a single one of the disciples took the towel away from Jesus to wash His feet. Jesus was the only person in that room that evening that ate with dirty feet. Who among us would pass up the opportunity to wash those nail-scarred feet today? The Master said in Matthew 25, “Inasmuch as you have done it unto the least of these my brothers and sisters, you have done it unto me.”


Now here is where the song I spoke about in the beginning of this Lord’s Supper devotion comes back into play. It really doesn’t matter what you have done or where you have been so far in your life. The rest of your days are unwritten. You can still change the book by what you determine to do today.

“Live your life with arms wide open;

Today is where your book begins,

The rest is still unwritten.”

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