DEVOTIONS WITH PASTOR BOB
The Gospel of John Chapter 13
“Make Me a Servant”
The Book of John in Song / Chapter 13 / “Make Me A Servant"
JOHN 13:1-5, 14-17 (NIRV)
1 It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world. It was time for him to go to the Father. Jesus loved his disciples who were in the world. So, he now loved them to the very end.
2 They were having their evening meal. The devil had already tempted Judas, son of Simon Iscariot. He had urged Judas to hand Jesus over to his enemies.
3 Jesus knew that the Father had put everything under his power. He also knew he had come from God and was returning to God.
4 So he got up from the meal and took off his outer clothes. He wrapped a towel around his waist.
5 After that, he poured water into a large bowl. Then he began to wash his disciples’ feet. He dried them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
14 I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet.
So, you also should wash one another’s feet.
15 I have given you an example. You should do as I have done for you.
16 What I’m about to tell you is true. A slave is not more important than his master.
And a messenger is not more important than the one who sends him.
17 Now you know these things. So, you will be blessed if you do them.
THE WAY OF A SERVANT
This incident of Jesus washing the disciple’s feet, foreshadows, and gives to us a physical picture of the way that Jesus serves us; when he washes our sin away, by taking it upon the cross.
Jesus is also providing a model for us, by setting an example, of what it means to lay down our lives for others.
This is Jesus, who is most deserving of honor as the King of all kings and the Lord of lord’s,
Yet in washing the disciple’s feet, He humbles himself to the task reserved for a slave.
Jesus doesn’t just take a detour from his higher task, to do this humble act.
This kind of service is a central part of His divine work, that He has given to each of us.
Servanthood is the true way to greatness, and the way to real honor and status.
Jesus washes the disciples’ feet, and then explains to them about why he did it.
BEING GREAT IN GOD’S EYES
This story paints a picture of Jesus, who gives a new model for what it means to be great in God’s eyes.
It’s a model of humbly laying our lives down for others.
It’s the true mark of someone who is worthy of honor in God’s eyes.
Jesus very directly says that he’s setting a pattern for us as, “The Servant King”.
THE ACT OF WASHING SOMEONES FEET
To fully understand Jesus’ example, it helps to examine the act of washing someone’s feet.
People walked everywhere back in the time of Jesus, and they all wore sandals.
People would have really dusty, dirty feet.
If the idea of touching someone’s feet grosses you out now, imagine doing so back then!
Needless to say, foot washing was a dirty job, most often left for slaves to do.
Yet Jesus takes this task upon himself.
He was giving a physical demonstration of the way that He was going to wash the world with his own blood.
BUT THERE IS ALSO MORE GOING ON HERE
The point here is not that he humbled himself and washed the disciple’s feet despite the fact that he came from the Father, and would soon be glorified and return to the Father.
No, Jesus washed their feet BECAUSE he came from the right hand of God.
He is a perfect example of greatness, and worthy of the highest honor.
He is the supreme master of the universe, and yet he doesn’t just take on the task of a slave, HIS ACT OF SERVICE IS HIS TASK.
Jesus gives us a new definition of greatness: “HUMBLE SERVICE”.
Humble service isn’t just how we become great, or how we gain honor or status,
IT’S WHAT WE DO IF WE ARE GREAT.
SERVING OTHERS LIKE JESUS SERVES
If our honor comes from being united to the most honorable One, the King above all kings, Jesus Christ, then we will serve others just like Jesus served the world.
Peter had a really hard time understanding this, when Jesus attempted to wash his feet. (Verses 6-10)
Jesus gives us a beautiful illustration of what sanctification is, which is the process of becoming more like Jesus in His conversation with Peter.
Peter was shocked by what Jesus was doing.
He asks, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
He even tells Jesus that He would never wash his feet.
Jesus points out that He has already washed us, when He becomes our Savior, and washes us in the waters of spiritual baptism.
But we still need continual cleansing from the effects of living in the flesh, and in a sin filled world.
The continual washing of sanctification is done by the power of the Holy Spirit, who lives within us, through the “washing of water by the Word” (Ephesians 5:26), given to us to equip us for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16–17).
HUMBLE SERVICE DISTINGUISHES US AS FOLLOWERS OF JESUS
So humble service is an expression of the Gospel, to the watching world.
It is a way to test our own submission to Jesus’ example.
For Jesus, it was His display of humility and servanthood.
For the disciples, the washing of their feet was in direct contrast to the heart attitudes at that time among the people.
FOR US, WASHING FEET IS SYMBOLIC OF OUR ROLE IN THE BODY OF CHRIST.
The disciples must have been stunned by this act of humility and condescension, that Christ, their Lord and Master, should wash their feet, when it was their proper work to have washed His feet.
Jesus’ attitude of servanthood was in direct contrast to that of the disciples, who had recently been arguing among themselves as to which of them was the greatest (Luke 22:24).
Since there was no servant present to wash their feet, it would never have occurred to them to wash one another’s feet.
When the Lord Himself stooped to this lowly task, they were stunned into silence.
2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIRV),
Christ didn’t have any sin. But God made him become sin for us.
So, we can be made right with God because of what Christ has done for us.
As followers of Jesus, we are to emulate Him, serving one another in lowliness of heart and mind, seeking to build one another up in humility and love.
In verse 17 of our text, Jesus gives a promise,
“Now you know these things. So, you will be blessed if you do them.”
Dear Heavenly Father you have revealed yourself to the world through Jesus Christ our Lord. He demonstrated to the world the character qualities of the Kingdom of God. One of those character qualities was “servanthood”. Jesus truly showed Himself to be the Servant King who came among us to redeem us, to restore us, and make us sons and daughters of Yours. Teach us that greatness is obtained through servant hood, in Jesus name we pray, amen.