Monday in the Twenty-Seventh Week of Ordinary Time

John 13:1-20

The Call to Humility — In the Most Humiliating Way

In the shadow of the cross, the disciples actually had a dispute about who was greatest among them.  Jesus reminded them that they were not to think like the Gentiles who lorded over everyone else, but instead to think like him.  He further reminded them that as Kingdom children, they were to look upon the trinkets of the world with disdain; after all, they were to inherit a heavenly kingdom which far surpassed any and everything in this world.

But Jesus further thought to give them a wonderfully humble example of the kind of service he expects from his disciples.  So Jesus laid aside his outer garments and assumed the humiliating attire of an ordinary slave, with a towel wrapped around his waist, which he then used to dry the feet of his disciples upon washing.  In my mind, washing someone’s feet would not be near as humbling as doing so barely dressed, and then using the only cover you have for your nakedness as a towel for their feet, which must invariably exhibit the grime of such a chore, which you must now wear about your waist as a reminder of your humiliation before the whole world.  The disciples were, of course, immediately aware of all that Jesus was acting out before them, but only Peter was brave enough to verbalize his offense: “You shall never wash my feet.”  I don’t think it was a statement of arrogance on Peter’s part; I really think he had trouble bringing himself to allow Jesus to take such a humiliating role on his behalf.  He understandably recoiled.

And so do I.  Jesus said to his disciples, “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.”  Okay, I can serve people.  That’s not an issue for me.  Yes, and thanks to centuries of Christian teaching and godly examples, our society now glorifies the word, “service.”  Our politicians are public “servants”; businesses seek to “serve” you.  But do they do it from the position of the ancient slave, who had no choice and who was robbed of his dignity while serving?  It’s easy to serve when it’s no insult to your personhood and sense of self-worth, and when you will be thanked or even praised for it afterwards.  That’s not what Jesus illustrated.  As usual, Jesus calls us to do that which only the Holy Spirit can do through us.  And so without him, we can do nothing (John 15:5).

This passage began by telling us that Jesus was preparing to return to the One who sent him.  His work was almost complete.  But he loved these men so much, there was something more he had to teach them – and this was it.  And, “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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