Tuesday, May 15, 2012

John 13:1-5

We have come to the passage of scripture that is called the “upper room discourse.” Jesus was celebrating the Passover with His disciples and was preparing them for what lay ahead. This is when He would teach them His most important lessons. This is when we want to lean in to listen!

It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love. (John 13:1)

The King James Version translates that last phrase, “having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.” Jesus knew these men better than anyone. He knew exactly what was in their hearts. He had seen them at their worst, knew that, even then, Judas had already betrayed him. He was aware of their impulsivity and rashness. James and John had wanted to call down fire from heaven on any who would not believe (Luke 9:54). He knew Peter would resort to violence (Mark 14:47). He knew how they would fail Him at the end (John 18:15-27; Matthew 26:36-45), and would hide for fear of the Jewish leaders (John 20:19). Even on this very evening, they would be arguing over who among them was the greatest (Luke 22:24). But Jesus loved them to the end, stinky feet and all! Imagine that!

And that is how He loves you and me. He knows ALL about us - more than we even know ourselves. He has seen all our failings, past, present, and future. He knows when we have doubted and even denied Him by our actions. He has seen the deepest part of our hearts where we hide bitterness, jealousy, and resentment. Yet He loves us unconditionally - and endured the Cross for the joy set before him (Hebrews 12:2). He looked forward to that day when we would come to Him and receive Him as our LORD and Savior. Talk about AMAZING LOVE!

So, here in the Upper Room, Jesus would not only tell the disciples about the preeminence of love (vs.34-35), He would show them by adopting the posture of a servant, stooping to clean their feet.

The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus.  Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God;  so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist.  After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. (vs. 2-5)

The verse I’ve highlighted reminds us that Jesus KNEW exactly who He is. He is the Creator of the universe, the great I AM, the Good Shepherd, the Way, the Truth, and the Life, the Rock of Ages, the Lamb of God, the Son of God, God the Son, the Alpha and Omega, the Prince of Peace, and the King of Kings. Knowing all of that, how amazing that the conjunction that joins the two clauses is “so.” In other words, BECAUSE of Who He is, He got up and served His disciples! His model turns the world’s view of leadership on its head. And in this final evening of fellowship with His disciples, He is giving the disciples, and us, a terrific lesson in humility as the ultimate Servant-Leader!

Jesus came to serve, not to be served. Do you and I display this same attitude? When we complain because someone has taken “my” seat in the sanctuary? When we are upset with the pastor because his message “didn’t feed me” this morning? When the promotion goes to the other worker? When someone cuts us off on the freeway? When someone else on the committee gets all of the recognition? Our attitude really is evident in the little things that bother us, isn’t it? We need to constantly ask the Holy Spirit to check our attitudes throughout the day, so that we might become more and more like our wonderful Servant Savior!

Tomorrow we’ll see how humility is not only required of the servant, but of those being served.  

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