Scripture Text: John 13:12-17 Title: Blessing and Servanthood
Question of the Day: What blessing is in store for a believer when he to learn to serve his fellow believers?
In today’s text Jesus set an example for His disciples when He took a towel and a basin and washed the disciples’ feet. The disciples were all there—including Judas—and the last Passover meal with them was over. Jesus then laid aside His outer garments, took a towel and a basin of water and began to wash the disciples’ feet. All went well until He came to wash Peter’s feet and Peter objected. “You will understand later,” He told him, and it was necessary for the Master and Lord to wash his feet for then he would be part of His life and ministry. As he later explained to them in today’s text what He had just done, He ended up telling them of future blessings if they followed His example. How is that?
Here is today’s text: “So after He had finished washing their feet and put His outer garments back on, He said to them, ‘Do you know what I have done to you? You refer to Me as “Master” and “Lord”, and you have well said because that is who I am. So if I, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, then you too should wash one another’s feet. I have just given you an example so that you will do as I have just done for you. The absolute truth from God is this: the employee is not greater than his boss, and the one who is sent is not greater that the one who sent him. If you keep these things in mind, you will be very happy and richly blessed if you practice them.’”
Our Lord’s example here is stunning. In those days, we are told, it was a custom to have the feet of the guests in a house to be washed before a meal by a servant. But what were the disciples doing? Luke 22:24 records that just after the last Passover meal—which is right at this same time—the disciples were arguing among themselves as to which of them was the greatest. So Jesus arose from the table, took off His outer garments, put a towel over His shoulder, got a basin of water and knelt down before them and washed their feet. Why would He do that? In the verses that followed He explained to them the greatness of a servant.
A Christian learns greatness when he or she learns to humble themselves and become a servant to their fellow man—and especially to their fellow believer. But, since I have been a Christian longer, shouldn’t I have more and more believers serving me? Or since God has given me this important position and big task to accomplish, shouldn’t other jump in and serve me so that I can fulfill what God has given me to do? Often we let thoughts like that control our minds and actions, but Jesus demonstrated for us the epitome of what it means to be a servant. At one point He said that we are not to be like the Gentiles lording it over others—and a servant never does that (See Mark 10:42).
Jesus then brought in the thought of greatness and servanthood. When we call Him our Lord and Master, we are right, but when our Lord and Master became our Servant, then He was showing us the path to greatness. In our world we have an organizational chart with the “top dog” at the top of the chart, and then the dozens or hundreds that we are “over” in this organization. Jesus turned the organizational chart up-side-down! He stooped to become our Servant—the bottom of the bottom (see Philippians 2:8-11 where He stooped to become a man and to die a criminal’s death—and He did it by “humbling Himself”). You see, we are never more like Christ when we have humbled ourselves and become a servant to our fellow believers and to the world around us. The surprising result? When we learn to be a servant, then we are blessed richly by God when we carry out our role as a servant.
Prayer: Lord, teach me to be a servant like You. You were a model Servant when You walked this earth. Instead of jockeying for a position of leadership, teach me to be the number one servant in any situation or any church that I work with. I desire the blessings that come from being a very good servant, so teach me to humble myself like You did, and serve freely th