In our current series of blogs, we will look together at John 13.1-30 and see what a church that loves God’s people looks like.
John 13.1-4… It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal…took off his outer clothing…and wrapped a towel around his waist. …he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
Do you see God’s heart? It is love…servant-hearted…costly…humiliating…love. What he will do on the cross demonstrates the full extent of that servant hearted love, but here in the upper room he acts it out in a simple but startling display of humility.
Startling, because v.3, he does it knowing who he is. He is the one who John 1.1 tells us was with God in the beginning and is God. He is the one with authority over all things, before whom all knees will bow.
He knows who he is and this leads to servant-hearted love!
Here in this simple deed, Jesus acts out for us his entire life – he leaves his place of honour, at the table, he sets aside his rightful garments and bends the knee to serve.
This simple act unveils the heart of our God – what life is all about for him – service…voluntarily carrying the cost for others…
You look at this scene and see Jesus standing there serving and you think he had all sorts of choice as to whether to get up and do this. He could have sat there, sitting on his rights. This is voluntary.
But see this, the foot washing is here to show us that his great act of love on the cross was just as voluntary. He was not subjected to death, he submitted to it, for us. Remarkable!!! You see when death meets you or me, it brings us to our knees. We don’t have a choice, it forces us to our knees. We’ve no power to resit it, but when Jesus comes to his own death, he, in love bends the knee. What he will do the next day is as voluntary as what he does in the upper room this night.
We must see his death this way…voluntary self-abasing love…it as if Jesus walked onto that hill and took his body and soul and ripped them apart…for you…
Behold your God! Whatever faulty view we may have of our God, here He is – a lowly servant, bent before you…utterly committed to your good…he doesn’t do it in spite of who he is…but because of who he is…he doesn’t do it in spite of his glory…but because he is glorious!
Here is what living God is really like. It is not what we expect, perhaps not even what we want, but it is what we need.