April 7, 2020
“Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.” (John 13:1)
Jesus was celebrating the Passover with His apostles. Luke writes that on the way to the upper room the apostles argued about which of them would be greatest in the kingdom Jesus promised.
What a shock it must have been when Jesus assumed the attire of a slave and washed their feet!
Having washed their feet Jesus asked them the question “Do you know what I have done to you?” His question is answered in the words quoted above. The most dynamic characteristic of Jesus is love. He had loved these men for three years in ways they had never been loved before in their entire lives.
Jesus also answered His question by telling them that He had given them an example. If He as their Lord and Teacher had washed their feet, they should wash each other’s feet. Then He made the connection between foot washing and love by giving them a New Commandment: they were to love one another in the same ways He loved them. This is the absolute credential that they are His disciples.
A New Commandment directed them to a New Commitment. Each of them had made a commitment to Jesus, but now they were to make a commitment to each other. This new commitment established a New Community. We call it the church.
Secular people said of the early church, “Behold how they love one another!” If they made that charge today about our churches, would there be enough evidence to convict us?
Oh Lord, make it so!
Dick Woodward, 05 April 2012
September 16, 2014
“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant…” Matthew 20: 25-26
The incident recorded in Matthew 20 (verses 20-28), precipitated by Mrs. Zebedee and her two sons, James and John, sets the stage for one the great teachings of Jesus Christ. We can assume these two ‘sons of thunder’ (the nickname the Lord game them), who were partners with Simon Peter in the ‘Zebedee Seafood Corporation,’ were obviously the instigators of their mother’s request that they be seated on the right and the left of their Lord when He was crowned King. When the other apostles griped about this, Jesus called them together. In so many words, He told them the world plays the game of “Over-Under!” This is a world of credentials and status symbols that often say, “I am better than you,” or “I am over and above you.”
Acknowledging that the secular world is like that, Jesus tells them not to play the world’s little games. To paraphrase, Jesus says, “this is not to happen among you. If you want to be great in the Kingdom of God, you should join the ‘Order of the Towel’ – get a towel and basin, assume the position of a slave, and start washing feet.” He uses Himself as an example when He says, “Even as the Son of man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28) Think of how He spent His last hours before He went to the cross, literally washing the feet of His disciples. There is no place in the church and body of Christ for the “Over-Under” philosophy of this world.
If you want to be great in the fellowship of Christ, you must improve your serve!
Dick Woodward, MBC New Testament Handbook, p.86