Journal Jn 13 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “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 ought to wash one another’s feet—for I have given you an example, that you 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.
If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” John 13:12-17
Observation: A foundational principle is found right here…and is a principle easily ignored in American Christendom and is especially ignored where the rubber hits the road at the point where “turning the other cheek” is called for…
Analysis: Serving one another—does the above fall into that category of being a disciple?
Yes….and no. This one is deeper…
Washing feet was probably the duty of the house servant—a bond slave, perhaps—certainly a person that didn’t have a choice, was not a hired hand, nor an employee of any kind. These guys didn’t have choices; they couldn’t say “No way!” and quit. It was wash feet and shut up or suffer consequences.
This was forced service. It was not a decision to be humble, it was unprivileged and disgraceful humiliation.
Foot washing is disgraceful. Yet, Jesus uses it as the example that the Disciples should follow; use the example of “foot washing” to underscore this: “A servant is NOT greater than his Master.”
Not greater than his Master; yet that is done every day. I am prideful; I reject the idea that I am actually and specifically a servant to a Master. Oh, I call myself a servant but when I have to snap choose to serve rather than be served, what do I do? Do I give myself up or do I defend my pride, my choice to be more important than the person in front of me?
What if that person was my spouse? Is my attitude to defend that, as a husband, I should be respected? What if I am a wife? Is my attitude to not be taken advantage of by this man, my husband?
Am I determined to do what Jesus says, no matter what the cost? It is easier to take a bullet for another than to lay down my life in the little thing’s day after day after day…until the End.
Paul wrote: “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think…but to think with sober judgment.” (Ro 12:3), and this in Phil 2-3-7:
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, BUT in humility count others more significant than yourselves….Have this mind among yourselves…who, though (Jesus) was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant…”
How do I think of myself? Is “Servant” a title taken with arrogant jealousy? Or is Servant a description found in secret and awarded by the Host of Heaven at the End of Days?
It is like saying, “See? Look at me, I am a Humble Servant” because I have just proved I am neither humble nor a servant….
Prayer: Lord, this is one of the hardest attitudes to overcome. With all the emphasis on esteem in this world, you have changed what most folks think the definition is about.
You are worthy of all praise; I am worthy of none compared to you.
You showed yourself a servant; you say, “follow my example.” I want to be famous and lauded by all.
My crown, if at all, is given by you at the Throne of Grace. My reaction, realized in full at the End of Times, is to give it back because I don’t deserve it.
Work your mind in me, O Lord. Help me humble myself so, candidly, you don’t have to humble me.
Help me embrace the Cross fully, thank you for rising from the dead and defeating sin and death.