Jesus (knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands and that He had come from God and was going back to God) rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments and…began to wash the disciples feet…When He had washed their feet, put on his outer garments, and resumed His place, He said to them: “Do you understand what I have done to you?” John 13:3-4a, 12.
Kind of neat that Jesus teaches by the “”see what I have done?” then explanation afterward” method. Some of the things He does are puzzling to the Disciples (like Peter). Maybe because guys like Peter (and like me) think there should be a different outcome? Does my “stinking thinking” get in the way of the Holy Spirit?
I don’t get Jesus sometimes. Like has been written before some of the things He says are hard. They are hard to think about, they are hard to assimilate into reflexive action, they are hard to replace other thoughts in my punkin’ head, they are just plain difficult to understand at times.
Take for instance towards the end of John 13 (v 35): The world will know you are My disciples if you have love for one another.” (Confession: I had to look this up. My first writing was “…if you love one another.” Maybe not a huge distinction but certainly different from Jn 13:35 in the ESV. Ever wonder if there is a distinctive difference? I haven’t but I am going to look into it. This is what Journaling can bring to you, an “I wonder why” attitude to the Scriptures and Church Doctrine.)
Anyway: Love for each other and Washing feet have a connection. Jesus is mining for gold in the disciples by asking “Do you understand what I have done…?”
I think it has to do with my attitude towards service-not the act of service in particular but the attitude.
In Luke 22:24-27 Jesus tells the disciples don’t be like politicians or as like what leadership is usually displayed as: I am over you, top dog, boss, etc. Paul tells the church at Philippi to “think of others as more important than yourself.” (Ph 2:3) It is the attitude of leadership that expresses itself in “boss-manship.”
After the Cross, the disciples were starting to get it. Paul writes of Jesus:
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit but in humility count others as more significant (or important) than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others. HAVE THIS MIND among yourselves (which is yours in Christ Jesus) who, though he was in the form of God did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself taking the form of a servant…” (Phil 2:3-7)
Last thought: There is a difference between being a humble servant and having holy ambition. That difference is in dynamic conflict because the ambition side of this equation can be infected with worldly ambition. I need to shake the worldly cobwebs out of my mind and participate in renewing my noggin.
Lord God, I am aware of a distinction in myself that struggles day in and day out: Service to be seen by men and service to be done in secret only before You. How difficult it is to resist pointing out “my halo” to others. How difficult is it to resist “tooting my own horn?” I am not quite sure of all the details behind service but I do have a grip on this: Polishing my halo before others to receive the applause of men isn’t cool and certainly isn’t Eternal. Help me look at the Eternal daily, please? AMEN.