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Becoming Less

John 13:1-17

Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.” -John 13:1

Think of the person that you admire the most, someone you look up to, learn from, love and respect. Someone who is typically a leader or a role model in your life. My dad comes to my mind for me when I think of someone who is “above me.” As a Captain in the Kentucky State Police, his position was one of respect. He provided leadership and guidance to others and when he gave orders, people obeyed. People frequently “served” him. So to think of my dad “lowering himself” to serve me or others, seemed, for lack of a better phrase, kinda backward. But isn’t that what good leaders do? 

In John chapter 13, we see the greatest example of someone who held a high position, the highest actually, lowering himself to serve others. 

 “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. 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 13:3-5

What a strange turn of events! In verse 3 we are told that “the Father had put all things under his power.” And what was Jesus' response to being given this power?  He lowered himself to servant status and washed his disciples' feet. 

One thing to note in this passage is that Jesus didn’t pick and choose which disciples’ feet to wash. He didn’t wash only the non-stinky feet, nor did he reserve this act only for the feet of those who had been loyal to him. He washed all of their feet, including Judas, who Jesus knew meant him harm and would betray him in just a few short hours. 

Likewise, we are not to pick and choose who we serve. The Bible tells us that Jesus is our perfect example in all things. We don’t just serve people that we like or who are nice to us. We serve the ones with “stinky feet,” who maybe aren’t the most pleasant to be around. We serve those who don’t think like us, who have made bad decisions, who have behaved badly toward us, and even those who may straight up oppose us. 

Serving doesn’t always look like literally washing someone’s feet. It can look like many different things. 

It could be calmly allowing the guy who cuts us off in traffic to go in front of us. 

It could be giving our waitress a generous tip. 

It could be spending time with an elderly person who is lonely and just wants someone to talk to. 

It could be cooking dinner for your family even when you are exhausted after a hard day of work. 

It could be giving up a week of your time to volunteer at the local church camp. 

The list of ways we can serve others in our home, school, and community is truly endless.  Any situation in which you sacrifice your time, energy, money, or anything else in order to meet the needs of others is service.  

“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 13:14-15

Jesus displayed the ultimate act of service by sacrificing His very life to secure eternal life for us.  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  The love that led Him to the cross should well up in us a desire to follow His example by serving Him and others with all of our hearts. What great representatives we will be for Him if we would do just that!

Reflective Questions:

Think about someone in your life that has a need (physical, emotional, or spiritual) that you may not have had the time and/or energy recently to address; how can you imitate Jesus by serving that person?

Telling someone about Jesus is the absolute best way you can serve them!  When was the last time you shared the gospel of Christ?

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