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.
When Jesus finished washing the disciples feet in the upper room, he puts on his clothes and returns to his place, and asks, (v.12), ‘do you know what I’ve done for you?’. I’ve shown you what life is about…humanity 101…here it is. This is who you are – a creature made in my image, you are a servant, committed to the good of others.
Those cleansed by Jesus blood are called to serve each other. That is his nature. And we, now covered in his blood, are to look the same.
Back to our question from the second blog in this series, what do you live for? Jesus answer – I live to serve, I’m calling you to join me. Here is where blessing is found. And any presumptions that such a life is beneath my station fades when I realise that the one before whom every knee will bow, is bent before me to wash me. I have every reason to join him and none to refuse.
Jesus says, you are to do likewise. Bend the knee, take off your dress-up king outfit that you parade through this world in, grab a towel and wash each others feet.
But, here is the danger for us. To hear these calls of discipleship and offer a hearty ‘Yes’ to them – a servant…absolutely…of course…count me in!
But, in the muck of life as a church, surrounded by people who are prone to sin (like us), people prone to let others down, as we are, people that are hard to serve, hard to love, we find our heart to follow…to go do likewise…is weak.
And beyond the church, in the relentless pattern of normal life, how on earth can I go an do likewise? I barely manage to care for myself, let alone others…
And in this weakness and in this self absorption, we start to see that our heart is not like Jesus. Our heart is more like the other heart revealed in these verses – Judas…
Here are three things about Judas’ heart, that we find in our own, that make it hard to follow Jesus here:
- His heart is committed to betraying Jesus – self-rule, which of course leads to self-serving
- His heart is a selfish heart – John 12
- His heart is an ignorant heart – destructive…miscalculating self-love. Jesus is worth more than the whole universe He created and yet Judas sells Him for a 30 pieces of silver. It is a breathtakingly foolish exchange. Only someone who has no idea what they are giving up would do that.
It is the same for those who rather than heed his word to ‘come follow’ here in John 13…would hold back…play it safe…and cling to to the cheaper prize of self-protection…self-love.
How can we have a heart that loves like Jesus…not Judas?