John 13 – The Servant God

Hi Friends! Cece from the Dallas First Church here. I just wanted to take some time to share some of our highlights from this week’s Stepping Stones class. I hope you will be blessed!

We centered our study on John 13 this week, Jesus’ last supper with his disciples. It’s interesting that John is the only Gospel that doesn’t mention the bread or wine in the last supper and, on the other hand, is the only Gospel that discusses the foot washing. As John walks us through the meaning of the New Covenant, it seems he felt it was more important for his audience to understand the significance of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet in this covenantal relationship, rather than the bread and wine which we typically associate with it.

The foot washing narrative brings us right to the heart of John’s message. But, let’s be honest, having to wash someone else’s feet is something we just don’t quite “get” in our society today. We’re used to well-clipped toenails, expensive creams, glittering nail polish, and comfy pedicures – for us ladies, that is! 😉 We really have very little comprehension of the filth and degradation that feet were associated with in Jesus’ day. The roads were filled with dust, muck, and animal waste, and to wash someone’s feet was the job of the most menial of servants. It wasn’t just humbling – it was humiliating! And so, we are confronted with a radical, even seemingly sacrilegious picture: the Monarch of the Universe, girded as a the lowliest of servants, kneeling down in front of us to gently wash the sewer filth off of our stinking feet. “The Servant God.” Does that concept make you uncomfortable? (It does me.) And, yet, it’s written all over the Bible! God has the heart of a loving servant. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). Christ came to serve us!

We sometimes delude ourselves into thinking that we can possibly bring something to the table for God – our good works, witnessing efforts, special gifts, etc. But all we can really do is accept what He has done for us. And, yet, Christ said, “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you” (John 13:14-15). Although we are reminded that we can really do nothing to serve God, He asks that – as a result of and in response to HIS love and service for us – we lovingly and unconditionally serve those around us. John uses this intimate (yet uncomfortable) narrative to launch into the greatest commandment given in the New Testament:

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34-35)

Now that I have a better understanding of the context of these words, I want to take some time this week to think and pray about what it will mean to practically apply these words in my own life. I invite you to do the same. May God bless each of you.

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2 thoughts on “John 13 – The Servant God

  1. Thanks for this reminder of the “new commandment” and the character of the one who gave it.

    I’m blogging my way through The Bible’s story in 2013. Feel free to stop by.

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