Friday, May 2, 2014

Ready? Get Set! Go Serve! Go Wash!

Peter leaned back. Most of the men looked content. They patted their extended stomach, and wiped at their beards in an attempt to remove any crumbs. Jesus was sitting in the middle on one side of the long table, and everyone else was seated around the table. Judas sat at the corner, fidgeting every so often. What's that about? He's been acting weird all night.

There was a lull in the conversation, and Jesus stood up from his seat. He looked each of them in the eye, studying them, like he was trying to memorize each singular feature on each man's face. He turned away, and whipped off his outer robe. Peter looked at the others, and they seemed just as confused and curious at what their radical teacher was going to do next as he was! Jesus then grabbed a clean, white towel that had been resting next to him throughout the meal, and tied it around his waste.

At least I'll know why he asked me to get that towel now.

Jesus continued to ignore their stares. He walked to the back of the room where there were some pitchers of water and a water basin.

At lease we will know why he sent James after those.

Jesus poured some water into the basin, and walked back to the group. He stopped in front of John, and set the water basin down. Then he got down onto the floor. Peter realized what he was about to do in one horrifying instant.

Jesus, the Son of God, was going to wash this mere man's feet!

Sure enough, Jesus picked up John's right foot, and dunked it into the clear water. He gently, deliberately washed John's foot. Then Jesus used the towel that was tied around his waste, and dried John's foot. Jesus repeated the process for the left foot. Then Jesus got up and changed the water.

Jesus washed each man's feet, working his way counterclockwise around the table. Peter was seventh in line.

When it was his turn, he held out a hand to stop Jesus, "Lord, what are you doing?"

His eyes flashed their usual message of love with a Heavenly intensity. Peter saw the corner of his mouth quirk up in a smile. "What I am doing, you will not understand now." Great. "But afterwards you will understand."

Peter started shaking his head violently. "You will never wash my feet!" He couldn't sit there in an uncomfortable shock as Jesus washed his feet. He was the Son of God, the Savior, for crying out loud!

Jesus disregarded Peter, and got back down onto the floor, in position. Prepared to wash. Well, they would just see about that! He opened his mouth to say more, but Jesus interrupted him. "If I do not wash you, you have no share with me."

Peter let the words sink into his spirit. No part with Jesus? How could he live like that? "Well, then don't just wash my feet, Lord. Wash my hands and my head, too!" With that, he dropped both feet into the water basin. He cupped some of the water, and rubbed it up and down his arms.

Jesus chuckled like a father does when his son says something ridiculous, but something so cute that it pulls on the love strings of your heart. He grabbed Peter's hands, and moved them to his lap. He scrubbed at Peter's feet while he talked. "No, the one who is bathed doesn't need to wash again." He looked pointedly at Peter's dirt-caked feet. "Except for his feet!" Everyone laughed in agreement before Jesus went back to his topic. "That bathed man is completely clean. You are clean." He dried off Peter's feet as proof. "But not every one of you."

Jesus stood up, and Peter looked at the dirty water. It sloshed in the basin as Jesus picked it up off the floor. His Lord just washed his feet. His Lord?! Could today get any weirder?

Based on John 13:1-10

What makes a leader? Is it because they are called to it? No, because anyone can spit on their calling. Is it a because of a top notch education? No, Jesus was a carpenter, Jeremiah and Timothy were young, and David was a shepherd boy. What about looks, money, or an engaging personality? Ultimately, none of those things matter.

A servant makes a leader.

Look at this gem in 2 Chronicles 19:4, "Jehoshaphat lived in Jerusalem. And he went out again among the people, from Beersheba to the hill country of Ephraim, and brought them back to the Lord, the God of their fathers."

Jehoshaphat went out among the people, and brought them back to the Lord. That's what a leader does! God had placed him over those people. God had made them his responsibility. His duty was the people.

A leader's duty is the people. In His own special way for us, God has called all of us to be leaders. However, you need to understand that being a leader isn't about the title, the status, or the perks. It's about the people you are leading. You have been given charge over them, and you are required to do your absolute best to always steer them towards God. One cannot do that if they are puffed up with the pride of being a leader.

"The greatest among you shall be your servant." Matthew 23:11

Too often we confuse leadership with status. A leader is a servant who willingly gives. Jesus is the ultimate leader because He was the ultimate servant. He was a servant unto death so that we, the undeserving, may have life.

Jesus washed smelly, dirty, man feet so that we can go and do the same. "When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, 'Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have give you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them." John 13:12-17

Jesus is saying, "I am the Messenger, the Master, the Lord, and I got down on the ground and washed all your dirty feet. I humbled myself. This is an example. If  the Savior can serve by washing smelly feet, then any of His appointed leaders need to be able to go and do likewise."

Being a leader for Christ isn't about yourself. It's about pouring yourself out in service. Just like Jesus.

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