A startling moment in the ministry of Christ is depicted in John 13. An intimate, behind-closed-doors episode so precious and so unfathomable that even Jesus' closest disciples were uncomfortable. Jesus was compelled by love, "Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end" (John 13:1b). Jesus knew his hour had come, and stirred by love, he arose from the dinner table, and took the posture of a servant, stripping off his outer garments, he wrapped a towel around his waist and humbly washed each of his disciples feet. This picture wreaks me.
It is UNTHINKABLE that God would become a man. It is UNFATHOMABLE that he would voluntarily dwell in darkness alongside his creation, taking on the constraints of humanity in order to save humankind. That he would take it all the way to serving his friends in such a humble posture is almost too much to bear. His Love is so real. So penetrating. So open-ended... Beloved, do you know that he even washed Judas Iscariot's feet? The man devoted to destruction, a man hell-bent on betraying the Son of Man. Jesus washed his feet too. The beauty of this Man...
"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).
This scene offends the religious. This account confounds the unbelieving mind. But to the humble, to the weak, to the desperate, this passage provokes love! It inspires worship and it is a wellspring of hope, joy and so much more! Thank You Jesus.
Jesus knew this was his last night with his friends before crucifixion, and love & compassion overwhelmed his heart for them... and for you! John records Jesus' last words with his disciples in John 14-17 and if you read it, it will deeply speak to you, but I want to specifically highlight Jesus' ending prayer,
"My prayer is not for [these disciples] alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one - I in them and you in me - so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me" (John 17: 20-23, emphasis added).
Beloved, I want to encourage you to live as a fulfillment to this prayer practically in your daily life. What does this look like in our daily lives? What does it look like to practically live this way in our families, friendships and churches?
Living at peace with one another.
Serving one another.
Forgiving one another again and again.
Lovingly confronting problems, miscommunications and sin.
Extending mercy unreservedly.
Praying for one another.
Refraining from shutting the door of fellowship on fellow brothers and sisters.
Refraining from gossip, slander and perverse speech.
Ephesians 5 goes into great depth about how we are to walk in love even within the context of family (I encourage you to read it with fresh eyes when you have a minute!), verses 25-27 draws a parallel to Christ and his church,
"just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish."
This is our example! And let me just encourage you beloved, Jesus WILL HAVE his spotless bride. Anyone who has done laundry knows how challenging it can be to get out stains and spots in clothing, the friction and intentional application of pressure that it takes to get out wrinkles... this is what we as a Church get to look forward to! Lets make Jesus' job easier by resolving some of these blemishes ourselves!
- xoxo -
I would love to hear from you, what does it look like to practically live this out in your daily life? How do you maintain the bond of peace in the context of friendships, especially when offense, accusation or strife comes?
"I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." Ephesians 4:1-3