Scripture: (Jesus) came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.”
Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.”
When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am.
If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.” Excerpts from John 13:6-16
Observation: Biblical principles are found everywhere in the Bible. It takes more than just complying with a task to plant and cultivate a reflex.
Analysis: I think I have been to dozens of prayer meetings where washing feet was the agenda of the day.
The thing about meetings like this is that the task may overwhelm teaching about the principle behind it. In this case, servanthood.
My inner being recoils at the idea of being someone’s servant. Oh, being a servant of Jesus is OK, supposed to come with the territory of being a Christian. And best of all, from a practical POV, I get to choose who and how I serve, and determine where the threshold of servant accomplishment has been achieved.
That isn’t quite biblical servanthood.
There are two principles involved with biblical servanthood:
- A disciple is not above (or greater) than his master, and;
- Consider others as more important than yourself. (Phil 2:3)
Easy to say, hard to do. The flesh (or self) always wants first place. “I should be respected; I should be treated better; I should get…etc., etc.” Give? Give out of strength, where it doesn’t hurt. Give out of weakness? If I am weak that is where I need to be given to…”
Jesus was making a point to the disciples. Peter went first; how did the other guys feel watching Jesus as he went down the line? Squirming? Uncomfortable? Embarrassed? Warring with their feelings? “Come on”, a few of them probably thought, “Let’s get over with this…”
Reading through the NT, it took years for the guys (and subsequent disciples) to get this principle. And then only because, like many Spiritual Disciplines, it must be hammered and hammered and hammered again in rebellious hearts…like mine.
Hammer point: Cultivate the same attitude that Paul writes about in Phil 2:3-8. Easy to write about, lifetime worth of work.
Prayer: Father, so much of being a Christian has to do with mortifying the flesh, putting death to self. How do I be firm in my confession and yet not come across proud or superior? I know: Not only remember the cost that paid for my salvation but remember what a sorry prize God got in exchange—I will forever be grateful for His mercy. AMEN