Focal Passages: John 13:12-20, 33-38
As we read John 13:12-15, it is appropriate to ask, what does it mean today to follow the example of Christ in his washing of the disciples’ feet? My husband and I had an experience I will never forget that helped me gain understanding about this example of Jesus. We were appointed as missionaries for the International Mission Board in 2001.
During the appointment weekend, a vice president of the International Mission Board symbolized the washing of the feet by kneeling before us to clean and then brush our shoes with a shoe brush. It was so humbling to have him kneel before me and do such an act of service.
They gave us the shoe brush as a reminder to serve in the same way on the mission field. It was a meaningful and special experience!
There is a popular and true saying that the “ground is level at the foot of the cross.”
Jesus conveys that truth as we continue our reading in John 13:16-20. Jesus lists the servant, master and messenger as all significant … if they are fully aware of Who sent them.
God is the sender, no matter what our role. Whether the person serving is the brand new missionary or the vice-president who served 30 years in one of the toughest places on earth. What matters is that we are sent by God. We go because He calls us. It is an act of obedience.
And as we obey, John 13:33-35 reminds us to serve in love. For if we omit love we just sound like a “noisy gong, or a clanging cymbal” (1 Corinthians 13:1). Jesus also reminds us in John 13:36-38 to resist boasting.
Peter declared what he was willing to do, and Jesus questioned him to humble him. We can all think of that service-oriented person that we certainly admire, but every time we talk to them they are telling us all the things they are doing. In all humility, our focus of service must stay on the person of Jesus Christ.