Today’s word? SERVE. Here’s our key verse:
Serve one another in love. (Galatians 5:13)
The ancient Bible-y word for “serve” in this verse was douleuo, which actually means “performing the duties of a slave.” In other words, we’re called to put others’ needs way way waaaaaay above our own.
Are you a sheep or a goat? Believe it or not, that’s a question with eternal implications.
For the past several days, we’ve been discussing Jesus’ Olivet Discourse — a series of lessons he taught on the Mount of Olives during his final week on this planet. Today, we reach the heart-hitting conclusion of that teaching:
Yesterday, Jesus battled with demons. Today, he encounters a mother-in-law.
This week, we’re walking in Jesus’ footsteps to the cross and beyond.
Imagine for a moment that you’re Jesus. You have one last meal with your disciples. What one lesson do you want to leave them with and how will you teach it?
In describing the scene, one disciple began his account by remarking that: “Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God” (John 13:3).
Let me ask my question another way. If you knew that (1) you had all the power in the universe, (2) your betrayer was sitting right there at the table with you, (3) he would turn you in for thirty measly silver coins to the religious leaders who would falsely convict you in a mockery of a travesty of a sham of a trial and (4) you would be tortured, spat on, publicly humiliated and then crucified by the Romans, what would you do?
Incinerate Judas? Smack down the religious leaders? Blow up the Romans? Beam yourself up to heaven?
Well, here’s what Jesus did:
He got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. (John 13:4-5)
Huh? The disciples were confused and had no idea how to react. When Jesus got to Peter, he objected. “No,” Peter said, “you shall never wash my feet.”
Jesus responded: “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
“Then, Lord,” Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” (John 13:8-9)
Our response should be the same.
Jesus concluded by saying:
“Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” (John 13:12-15)