Final Instruction on Serving-Lent 3, 2015

John 13:6 [Jesus] came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” 7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” 8 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”

Even With Christ in the Upper Room, Peter was a rather stubborn guy.  I can appreciate that.  I guess I’m stubborn too, in my own way.

you first cropStubbornness and serving are incompatible.

It sort of reminds me of two people getting ready to go through a doorway and one says, “You first.”  The other says, “No, you first.” And the cycle continues as the stubbornness of each entrenches them to the exact opposite of serving and the die-hard assertions of “You first” instead of selfless generosity and concern, could really be translated, “I want my own way.”

“I want my own way.”  Yikes, that isn’t serving at all!

Instead of Jesus’ deciding to do Peter one better at being stubborn, Jesus teaches about humility and the selfless heart.  He offers two explanations as to why He is, in fact, going to wash Peter’s feet.  Both have to do with Jesus’ final preparations regarding the concept of serving.

on serving black border

  • Jesus says that Peter doesn’t understand the full picture.  Serving God well requires letting Him call the shots.  He knows the full picture.  We don’t.  Since God knows the plan, humility before God is our best attitude.
  • Then Jesus doesn’t argue with Peter.  He simply says, here’s the deal: “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” Peter truly does love Jesus and wants to be part of what Jesus is doing.  Jesus appeals to the heart desiring to be selfless and states the simple truth:  Sinners must be made clean by Christ or they simply cannot serve.

The sin of self-will is at the heart of pride and is the opposite of serving others.  Only when we let go of ourselves–and getting our own way–will we see that Jesus offers a better way:  Serving God by serving others.

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Give it up for Lent: Stubbornness

Put it on for Lent: Serving God by serving others.

For further thought:

  • Have you ever been embarrassed by someone serving you?  In the Greek language, there is a contrast in verse 6 (atop this page) of you…my feet with the words you and my side by side to emphasize how much Peter felt this was inappropriate for whatever reason.  What kinds of feelings do you think Peter must have felt by having the Lord stoop to doing slave’s work for him?
  • Read about the baptism of Jesus in Matthew 3:13-17– 13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented. 16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”  How did John’s initial reaction look like Peter’s?  How did it differ?
  • Now read John 3:25-36, especially verses 27-30:   27 To this John replied, “A man can receive only what is given him from heaven. 28 You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of him.’ 29 The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. 30 He must become greater; I must become less.”  What did John the Baptist (who came to “prepare the way”) know about Jesus that Peter needed to see as the future beyond the moment of foot washing?
  • How does a future view help us to serve God with a whole heart?
  • Finally, read Romans 8:17 “Now if we are children, then we are heirs– heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”  Taking part, sharing in what Christ suffered means what?

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Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on February 20, 2015

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