Christ the Servant
Week 11 Day 2
John 13:1 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. 2 The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 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. 6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” 7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” 8 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” 9 “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” 10 .Jesus answered, “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean. 12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
Self-sufficiency can be a liability. Perhaps the big question in your life is whether you will ever get to the place where you have learned to not rely on your own abilities. This is counterintuitive and countercultural, but not “counter gospel.” Peter did not want the master to serve him. This may look like humility in his life, but at this point Peter still knew little about that. It was his pride. In part, it was also no doubt his respect for Jesus and his position as “rabbi.” But much of Peter’s refusal to be served was the fact that he still did not understand the nature of the mission of Jesus, that he came to serve and not to be served. He also did not understand the true nature of his own need. In the garden Peter would try to rescue Jesus with a sword. In the dark hours after Jesus was arrested, Peter would try to rescue himself with a cowardly lie. Such is the result of self-sufficiency; it is never ultimately sufficient. Of course we should take care of ourselves, work hard, and provide for our families. But the person who believes that their own energy, gifting, skill, drive, or talent will carry them through life will end up like Peter. At the worst possible time, all they relied upon will fail them. Their self-reliance will prove to be utterly unreliable. When Jesus offers to wash your feet, let him. When others offer to wash your feet, let them. Train yourself to abide in the sufficiency of Christ. Not by being passive, or lazy, or cowardly, but by refusing to put the full weight of your confidence in yourself. The direction this “Jesus sufficiency” will take you is not into low self-esteem. In fact, it will take you to the place where you esteem him much and, as you learn that he is sufficient, you will find that his sufficiency unlike your own, does not fail. In your weakness you will find what his real and reliable strength is.
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)