Bible Reading: John 13:1-17
My security in my relationship with God…will determine my relationship with other people.
Thoughts about God for My Grandkids:
I’ve got a funny story to tell you. Years ago, when I was the Pastor of a church in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, I got a phone call late one afternoon. It was a friend of ours who had been a member of the church where I had served as Youth Pastor while in Seminary in Ft. Worth, TX. His name was Don. Don and his wife, and another couple, were on vacation in Florida and were spending the night in Ft. Lauderdale. I had no idea that they were in town but was glad to hear from them. They were great folks. Don told me that they wanted to take Patty and me out to supper and that they wanted to go to a real nice, fancy restaurant on the beach. I told him that I knew just the place. We had a favorite restaurant that was right on the water in Pompano Beach but that this was the peak of the tourist season and that meant that it would be very, very busy. I doubted that we could even get in this late in the day. He said that was okay, it that sounded great and they would pick us up. We all drove to the restaurant and wouldn’t you know it…there was a line a mile long. I mean…there must have been over 100 people standing outside, plus all of the people inside. Don and I walked to the front of the line to the reservation desk. I told the lady that we wanted a table on the outside porch by the water and asked how long the wait was. The lady said, “The current wait time is 2 hours and 15 minutes…minimum.” I looked at Don and shrugged my shoulders. Too bad. He smiled at the lady, slid his hand onto the desk and turned it slightly over…there was a $100 bill in his hand. In his friendly Texas drawl he said, “How long did you say that would be, little lady?” The lady looked at his hand…then shook his hand (and took the money)…and said, “Follow me right this way, sir. I think your table is ready.” And with that she led us to a table…on the porch…by the water. I couldn’t believe it! I could never have gotten that table on my own. But, who I was with changed everything. Boy, that was a great meal!
It was the Saturday before Jesus would be crucified (on Friday). He was celebrating the Passover with His disciples. He knew what was going to happen in just a few short days. And yet, He didn’t bring attention to Himself…but instead, focused on the disciples. John writes, “having loved His own…He loved them to the end” (13:1). Even there, at that moment, He was more concerned about them, than Himself. John then gives us some amazing insight into how Jesus could be so calm and how He could keep His focus on ministering to His disciples. He writes, “knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God, and was going back to God…” (13:3). He is telling us that Jesus was aware that God had His past, present, and future in control. He knew that His life was in the Father’s hand and that there was nothing that could affect, or change that. His relationship with the Father was absolutely and completely secure. That freed Him up to focus not on Himself…but on His disciples.
Now, watch what happens next. John has carefully written this so that we understand that what is about to happen…is built on what he has just said about Jesus’ relationship with the Father. John tells us that Jesus now stood up, put a towel around His waist and began washing the feet of His disciples. Dirty feet. Smelly feet. Feet that had walked miles in the heat of the day, on a dirt road, in sandals. This was something that only a servant was supposed to do. The master, the teacher, Jesus…should never do this. This was the menial work of a servant.
The disciples were flabbergasted. “What is Jesus doing? He’s the Master. He can’t lower Himself to do this.” What was the problem? They would never be willing to wash the feet of the other disciples…and they didn’t think that Jesus should, either. Why? Because this was servant’s work…not leader’s work. Most of them would been humiliated if they had to do this kind of work. “What will people think? I’m supposed to be important, doing important stuff. Not doing servant’s work. I will lose my position of importance among the disciples if I do this.”
Jesus was teaching them a lesson. An important lesson. One of the last lessons He would teach them before He was crucified. He was teaching them to serve one another…to place each other, above themselves. But how could they do that? If they washed someone else’s feet…then it would appear that the other person was superior to them…and they all wanted to be the most important one in the room. Here is the key. Jesus was unconcerned about His reputation with them…because He was confident in His relationship with the Father. Nothing could change His relationship with the Father. So, based on that fact, He was willing to do whatever it took in order to serve the disciples…even if it meant washing their feet. And then He told them that they were to do the same thing. They were to be servants to one another. And, because of their confidence in their relationship with Him…they didn’t have to be concerned about their reputation with each other.
Remember our supper on the beach? Everything changed because of who I was with. And that is also true in how we relate to other people. Because of my relationship with Jesus, because I am His child, and because nothing can ever affect that…I never have to worry about my reputation with other people. My relationship with Jesus is more important than my reputation with people. I can do whatever is necessary to serve them and never give a second thought to what people may think about me. I am secure in who I am…because I am secure in Who I belong to…Jesus.
Now, who can you serve? Who can you serve…for Jesus? Exciting, isn’t it? The door has just been opened for you to serve other people in ways that you have never, ever have risked before. And there is one more thing to keep in mind. When you serve people…you are serving God. So, go serve people…I mean God…I mean people…you know what I mean. Go serve.
Love you more than bunches and bunches,