Monday, September 20, 2010

Life of Christ Devotional - John 13:1-17

“It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love. The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” Jesus answered, “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean. When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. ” (John 13:1–17, NIV)
So, in case you didn’t know, the land of Palestine is basically a dusty desert. People walked around in sandals all day. It was hot and sweaty and so when you come into someone’s house, you basically had mud all over your feet. And so it was customary for the host of the house to provide a servant to wash people’s feet. It was a mark of honor and respect for your guest.
But in our passage, no one is willing to lower themselves to do this menial task because verse 2 says they were already eating supper. Instead of washing someone else’s feet, they decided to sit on the floor and eat with stinky, dirty feet. (Typical men, right)
Well, Jesus uses the occasion to teach a very important lesson. In the middle of supper, He stands up and the text says, “He laid aside his garments and girded himself with a towel.” Some versions say, “He removed his outer clothes” or “laid aside his robe”.
I don’t think Jesus had to do this. I think He did do it because He wanted to make sure His disciples didn’t miss the point. When He removed his robe and girded himself with a towel, he assumed the dress and posture of a slave – a servant for the guests. Had a servant been in the room, this is what it would have looked like and Jesus is saying, “I am that servant.”
And then He went to each disciple and washes their feet in a servant’s dress and a servant’s posture. I can only assume that there was complete silence in the room… until Jesus came to Peter.
Peter’s question was more of a protest. “Lord, you…wash my feet?” You notice that Jesus doesn’t try to explain. He just says, “It doesn’t make sense right now Peter, but it will soon enough. Just trust me.”
What does Peter say? “Never shall you wash my feet.” Peter challenges Jesus.
This was his pride talking. He was certain that He would never dishonor Jesus. Peter was saying, “Maybe these other guys in the room are willing to dishonor you, but not me! I’m different. I am uncompromising!”
We learn from the other gospel writers that during this same meal, Jesus will tell uncompromising Peter, “Before the cock crows, you will deny me 3 times.”
Pride comes before the fall…Faithfulness flows out of humility.
You see…When we think we have all the answers. When our theology is wrapped with a nice little bow. When we look at others and say, “Maybe them Lord, but not me!” Watch out!
If we are not humble in our relationship with God and with others, admitting that apart from Him we can do nothing, our enemy grabs a foothold that he will undoubtedly use against us.
He’ll convince you that community within the body of Christ is really not that big of a deal. That’s for people that are weak. I am strong enough to do this on my own. And when the lion can section you off, he will chase you down for the kill.
And what about our dependence on God? Isn’t it pride that keeps us from spending just 5 minutes a day in the truth of God’s Word? Let’s be honest. When we can’t seem to find time for God, what we are saying is “You know…I’m pretty good on my own. If I get in trouble, I’ll give you a call. And I will definitely see you on Sunday. But otherwise, I think I can do this without you.”
No you can’t! Be careful!
Pride comes before the fall…Faithfulness flows out of humility.

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