Go Lower Yet

footwashing

“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.”

John 13:14

Some Christians reading this part of scripture, have concluded that foot washing should be part of the Churches customary routine.  Their case is compelling, and they may be right in their interpretation.  There is as much support for this as with other things, and Lord knows we could use the humility by getting on your knees with a basin and towel before a brother.  It probably would relieve issues between saints. It may even heal Church splits. (Oh my!)

Jesus pronounced that His act of service was to be imitated by everyone who would follow.  He further would assert that His example would be emulated by every believer that followed after Him.  Our service to our brother, or sister is to help them become clean Christians.  We have this ministry of the basin and towel to remove the dirt and filth that comes from walking in this world.  Of course, we cannot remove sins.  But we can serve as Jesus would and intervene with His power.

Cleansing people we encounter will be a demanding challenge.  It will call us to strip our lives down to a minimum, and to get lower.  We need to get so low that we’re on the floor.  This requires much grace and discipline.  We must weed out every pretense and pride–especially the kind that says, “Look at me serving; am I not wonderful?  I am a true disciple now.”  We are to shake off thoughts like that.  We are to love others, and be brutal on ourselves. (Not in a morbid way, just less of ‘yourself.’)

While in my first year of Bible college, I developed a bitter dislike for a classmate.  He had been a lead guitarist; he was handsome and popular, and he oozed pride from every pore (at least I could see it).  I actually took it on myself to be God’s hand in humbling him.  I became antagonistic and scorned him every chance I could.

Within days, my prayer life shut down, the heavens became brass.  One day I was praying and the Holy Spirit graciously zapped me.  I became aware of my sin toward my brother, and I repented. There was a real definite leading, to find a basin and a towel, and then to wash his feet.

God reconciled us, as I kneeled at his feet in that dorm room.  From that point on we became very good friends.

We must go lower still.  We must scrub our way into the heart of our sister and brother with a basin and towel.  Water always finds the lowest point, were it pools and gathers.  When we lower ourselves even deeper we find His presence waiting for us.  But we must cleanse our own hands first, and His blood must work its ministry on me. It’s then I can proceed to clean the filth off of their feet.  If I am not clean myself I will only perpetuate the dirt on to my brother with my dirty hands.

The challenge for us is exceptionally real.  Christlikeness will always demand this humble grace.  When we think about being like Jesus we must make sure we are following the Jesus in the Bible.  The Jesus who washed dirty feet as a slave.

Let us not have any foolish nonsense of a discipleship that doesn’t kneel before our brothers in humility.

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I Must Do What He Has Taught Me

servant-king

“If I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash each other’s feet.”

John 13:14, NCV

Jesus sets out a lot of things and lays them out on the table.  We gather around to get a closer look.  A significant issue is this deal about  becoming a servant.  It stipulates a certain fact that drives us all ‘very crazy’.  Jesus has stated so much, but now we’re being pushed to the edge.  Afterall, there is only so much we can put up with.

But Jesus fully intends to open up this subject, for us to see.  The idea is beyond bizarre, He is saying things which are very strange.  He dictates that we are to start acting like the lowest slaves in our homes.  These slaves have the gross task of cleaning everyone’s feet.  This is the sole work of the ‘bottom scum’.  This is now the ready place for His followers.

There are many ways we can wash feet in the 21st Century.  But the two stages involve #1, stooping down low, and #2, providing beneficial service to our brother on-the-chair.  These are the two essential thrusts to our new life of servanthood. It is only Biblical servanthood if we connect with both stages.

Jesus sees all of this, this washing business, as something He has done first-hand.  He certainly hasn’t ‘commanded’ us without doing it Himself first.  He leads us, and just doesn’t direct us.  Many leaders have gotten confused on this issue.  But our Lord ‘excels’.  He models it, and we begin to understand its glory.

In essence, He states, “Look at Me, watch how I do this.  And then you must copy Me’.  We believers are always to be looking, spiritually observant.  We see our example cleaning dirty feet, and we find ourselves in that same role.  Understanding the disgusting concept of feet-washing was very close to the level of wiping someone elses butt.  Extremely disagreeably, with zero upside to it.  It would’ve been crude, gross and demeaning.

Jesus is disciplining us, and we look unswerving to Him.  We will follow and not look back.  We are an army made up exclusively of servants.  We will take the lowest spot, and we will love everyone we come in contact with.

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