The great philosopher Tim McGraw once wrote, “I went sky diving, I went Rocky Mountain climbing, I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fumanchu, and I loved deeper, and I spoke sweeter, and I gave forgiveness I have been denying” when he asked a friend for his reaction to news he was dying. Many of us would probably react in a similar way under a similar situation. However, our role as Christians is to ask the famous question what would Jesus do? The text in John 13 gives us this incredible picture of, the ever counter cultural, Jesus’ reaction to his knowledge that “…the hour had come for Him to leave this world and go to the Father… (v1)”. He starts in a way we can all relate to by gathering up the people he loves to share a meal with them. Then, he moves into something less typical of our culture as he turns to His servant nature when “…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 begin to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around Him. (v4-5)”. Even though Jesus knows he is about to go to the cross he is still serving the people of God. This is a great example of how a life in the kingdom of Jesus is marked by service. We are both served by Jesus and called into service like Jesus. In verse eight we can see that Peter initially tries to resist being served by Jesus, “’No’, said Peter, ‘you shall never wash my feet’. I see how that seemed like the right thing to say and I can see that being my reaction. However, Jesus stressing the importance of being served by Him said, “…Unless I wash you, you have no part with me (v8)”. This is a great illustration of how we enter the kingdom of heaven. We cannot earn our way into heaven because of our sinful nature and actions but we require the servant nature of Christ to intercede on our behalf. We don’t come to God with something to offer but we come with dirty feet in need to be washed by our perfect savior. Once we accept this, the greatest act of service, we move into a life of service. Jesus goes on in verse 14 to call the disciples into a life of service, “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. (v14). Our service to our fellow people is a wonderful and appropriate response to the gracious service of Christ. Though, even more than just an expression of worship the passage continues to tell us in verse 17 “Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” When we think of people who have been greatly blessed, it isn’t often the person with the best service opportunities. However, the passage tells us service is where we will find our blessing. Often, it is easiest to see how service was a blessing in hindsight. The summer after I graduated from college, I worked at a church camp. At the time I didn’t feel like the most blessed: it was very hot, there were spiders in my bed, and we were working long hours. Despite all those things, when I looked back, I see that time as one of the most blessed times in my life – getting to see those boys have their lives transformed by Christ. At the end of the summer, I even heard one of my campers when home and got baptized in his local church. When I heard that, I started to see how blessed I was to be a part of the transformative work of the Lord even if I had to relocate a spider or two. As we move through the Lenten season together, I encourage you to look to the past at times when you were blessed because you took the opportunity to serve and look for those opportunities to serve in your present while you remember that Jesus first served us.
-Written by Jake Weskamp