Hello everybody and welcome in to episode #304 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading John 13 today and our focus is on Jesus the Ultimate Servant-King + How Are We Supposed to Love Each Other? We are a daily 10ish minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast! Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\
Jesus does something in John 13 that is absolutely mind-blowing, and stunning. The only reason it doesn’t effect us quite as much as it should is because most of us have already heard it before, so the magnitude of what we will see Jesus do in this chapter has lost some of its impact, which is a shame, because the fact that Jesus stooped down to wash the feet of His disciples is just utterly astounding. He is facing the most extreme trial that anybody has ever faced before, and if anybody ever needed some encouragement or care, Jesus did…and yet, instead of asking His disciples to SERVE HIM and cheer Him up, what does Jesus do? Let’s read:
3 Jesus knew that the Father had given everything into his hands, that he had come from God, and that he was going back to God. 4 So he got up from supper, laid aside his outer clothing, took a towel, and tied it around himself. 5 Next, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel tied around him….12 When Jesus had washed their feet and put on his outer clothing, he reclined again and said to them, “Do you know what I have done for you?13 You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are speaking rightly, since that is what I am.14 So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done for you. John 12
In that culture, as you might imagine, washing somebody’s feet was a very lowly job, and yet Jesus – the magnificent King of Kings who created the world by His words – washed the nasty old feet of a bunch of guys who walked everywhere and didn’t have showers. It is amazing. Why did Jesus do this, and what can we learn from it? Well, He explains Himself to a degree – calling Himself their teacher and Lord, and pointing out the role reversal that has just happened – and then He tells the disciples why He did what He did…because they are supposed to do for each other what Jesus has done for them.
Now – does this mean that Jesus wants all of us to wash each other’s feet – or is something deeper going on here? Well, I think it is something deeper – though I have no problems with foot-washing. I don’t think Jesus is demonstrating for us the great importance of foot-hygiene, but rather the great importance of serving-love – the kind of love that isn’t just a feeling, or words, but the kind of love that gets on the floor and gets dirty in serving and taking care of somebody. The kind of love that might cost us our dignity, our time, and our pride. Jesus speaks of it elsewhere in Luke 22:
24 Then a dispute also arose among them about who should be considered the greatest. 25 But he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who have authority over them have themselves called ‘Benefactors.’26 It is not to be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever is greatest among you should become like the youngest, and whoever leads, like the one serving.27 For who is greater, the one at the table or the one serving? Isn’t it the one at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves. Luke 22:24-27
Jesus came as a king who serves, and He tells His disciples – including us – that such is the way that we are to love each other. Not just with words, but with actions – serving each other, and the fact that Jesus washed His disciples feet pretty much means that no servant-love task is too menial or low for us to do.
Jesus’ washing of His disciples feet is an example and a command to us to love each other in a radical way. We see this if we keep reading:
34 “I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35
What kind of love are we to show each other? The kind of love that Jesus showed His disciples. What kind of love was that? A BENDING OVER, STOOPING DOWN, GETTING ON THE FLOOR, FEET-WASHING kind of love. The kind of love that bruises your knees and gets your hands dirty. The kind of love that ELEVATES the other person and LOWERS us. The kind of love that blesses others and costs us. You might think – hey, wait…that doesn’t sound fair, but in fact – it is beautiful – because a community that is always loving each other in this way will have every need met and every foot washed (metaphorically). And what will be the results of a community expressing this kind of love – THE WORLD WILL KNOW WE BELONG TO JESUS!
Does the world know we belong to Jesus now? I don’t think so. Christians right now – even and maybe even especially in my own denomination of Southern Baptists – are very much known for in-fighting, political division, complaining and criticizing on social media, making passionate stands against this or that thing, and just generally being quite difficult in a lot of ways. Until we grasp – not just understand but live out – the command of John 13:34-35 – loving each other with a radical and humbling level of service – then the world will not know that we really are the disciples of Jesus.
So, dear friends, let us love one another the way Jesus loved His disciples – we are all servants of the most high King, and it is time we hit the ground serving.
Bible Memory passage for the month of October: 7 Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:7-8
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