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John 13.12-17 – After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord — and you are right, for that is what I am. 14 So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.
15 For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. 16 Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. 17 If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.
In yesterday’s article we asked questions from both Jesus and ourselves. Let’s do it again today.
Question: Who are you, Jesus? “I am your Teacher and Lord” (verses 13-14). Jesus made perfectly clear his relationship with the Father. He identified himself with the “I AM” claims that only God could make. Jesus has every right to be our Lord.
John 6.35 – I am the Bread of Life.
John 8.12 – I am the Light of the World.
John 10.9 – I am the Gate.
John 10.11 – I am the Good Shepherd.
John 11.25-26 – I am the Resurrection and the Life.
John 14.6 – I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.
John 15.5 – I am the Vine.
Even though Jesus was and is the “I AM” of God, he was and is aligned with the will of the Father completely. We remind ourselves that Jesus frequently said something like this, “Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise” (John 5.19).
Question: Who are you, Jesus? “I am your Teacher” (verses 13-14). As our Teacher, he shows us the way to the best life possible. He calls us to align our lives with God’s purposes. As our teacher he will show us the will of God, so we can both know it and do it.
In this section, our Teacher shows us God’s will and the path to the best life possible. We are to be servants to one another as pictured in foot-washing. How can we make foot-washing practical today?
(1) Foot-washing today can be accomplished as we strive to be good listeners. How many prayers does Jesus listen to in a day from all over the face of the earth? Imagine the millions of people who approach Jesus every day in prayer. He is able to hear them all and to make each person feel personally loved.
I don’t know about you, but much of my praying involves my talking to Jesus, and I don’t do nearly enough listening. If Jesus, our Teacher and Lord, is listens to us, shouldn’t we do the same to others.
An influential book in my library is “Just Listen,” by Dr. Mark Goulston. Besides being a husband, a father and a doctor, Goulston is also a FBI hostage negotiator. In that role his job is to reach people who don’t want to have anything to do with him. From the title of the book, we know what his answer is to building relationships with difficult people – just listen.
Where did all of the good listeners in the world learn the this key aspect to having a good life? Whether they know it or not, they learned from Jesus – the wisest Person to ever walk the earth – who is the best listener ever. If he, our Teacher and Lord, listens, so should we.
(2) Giving hospitality to people is another practical expression of foot-washing. We have been welcomed by Jesus into his life. Did you know that Jesus has made us adopted brothers and sisters in his family? (see Ephesians 1.3-8). No one is beyond Jesus’ forgiveness and his welcome into the family of God. We are not just God’s servants; we are part of his family in a very real sense.
How can we demonstrate hospitality, like our Teacher and Lord, during a pandemic? We can use social media to build up others and make them feel significant. We can use our phone to check on people who may be in need of encouragement. We can include those who are often excluded. When we are able to socialize again, we can welcome people with coffee, lunch or a personal visit. You may have other ideas. Please share them on Facebook or on the comments section of real-voices.com.
(3) Jesus took on the role of a servant when he washed his disciples’ feet. Our service to others is a way to follow Jesus’ leadership. Jesus was such a servant that he was designated the “Suffering Servant” by Isaiah (chapters 52-53).
I am not a “suffering” servant, because I run the vacuum cleaner, and my wife, Toni, is not one because she cooks dinner. But we are both blessed because we serve one another. I told Toni, yesterday, that I am happy to be able to be with her during this time of semi-quarantine, because she is such a delightful companion. Part of why we are able to enjoy each other’s company is that we are happy to serve one another.
That’s my story of service to my wife. What is your story of service? If you have a good story, please include it in the comment’s section of the blog or on Facebook. Our Teacher and Lord gave us an example that was his life of service, hospitality and listening. Let’s do it, too!
A Tragic Story of Rejection
John 13.18-20 – I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But it is to fulfill the scripture, ‘The one who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ 19 I tell you this now, before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am he.
20 Very truly, I tell you, whoever receives one whom I send receives me; and whoever receives me receives him who sent me.”
The foot-washing passage in John’s Gospel is one of my favorites, except for Judas. Judas reminds us that people “lift up their heel against Jesus” (verse 18).
Once again, I have to ask myself how I can be like the “bad guys” in the story. Could I be like Judas? Have I ever “lifted up my heel” against Jesus? I am afraid that the answer is “yes.”
Every time I turn my back on Jesus to follow my own self-will, self-pleasing, self-centered way of life, I am turning away from Jesus and letting him see my “heel.” When I don’t pray, but live out of my own best thinking, Jesus is seeing my “heel” and not my face. When I refuse to know and to do God’s will, I am giving him the “heel.”
I am thankful this passage ends with good news. We have the opportunity to receive Jesus and the Father who sent him. We open our lives to him and he welcomes us into a relationship with him. Praise God!
How can we live the best life possible? We can accept Jesus’ invitation to live with him. He will listen to us, welcome us, and serve us out of love. In the same way that we receive Jesus, we can listen to others, welcome others into our friendship, and serve them. Let’s determine to know God’s will and to do it today.
Dear Jesus, we praise you, our Teacher and Lord. We recognize that you are the Lord and are worthy of all of our devotion. We determine to know and to do your will. Please help us as we listen to others, welcome them, and serve them. Thank you for your magnificent character!