Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Friday, 15 November 19:
John 13:2-5, 12-17 — During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, 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 taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him…. 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 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. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
Knowing Judas had already decided to betray Him unto death, Jesus washed Judas’ feet as a servant would – “He loved them to the end.” (John 13:1) Jesus then said His disciples should treat others the same way. To do otherwise would be to act as if we deserve more honor than Jesus – “A servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.”
Jesus’ instructions here are easy to understand but very hard to do. However, Jesus is equally clear that those who are blessed aren’t the ones who know what they ought to do but rather those who know what to do and actually do it. So, how can we possibly live up to Jesus’ example?
Unconditionally loving those who treat us poorly has a lot to do with perspective – “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… and began to wash the disciples’ feet.” When we fully appreciate all that God has given us, that our Sovereign God is in complete control of everything which happens to us, that nothing can separate us from His love, that He will work all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose, and that we came from God and will return to God, we can love, forgive and give confidently and joyfully without fear of loss and knowing that our loving response brings glory to God and will be blessed by God. Also, knowing our Righteous Master, who gave His life for us while we were still sinners, personally sent us with a message of grace to proclaim in word and deed, we should have more than enough motivation to surrender our supposed rights so others might believe and be saved. If we aren’t willing to carry our cross daily in relationships with others, what does that say about what we really think about the Cross of Christ? “In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.” (Hebrews 12:4)
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 15 November 19: Deny self, take up your cross today, and follow Jesus.