John 13:13-15 (NIV) 13“You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.
John’s gospel is the only one that relays this important lesson. You can imagine the disciples wondering who was going to get the thrones to the right and left of Jesus in the Kingdom. Certainly they were not going to stoop to do the lowly job assigned to the lowest of servants. They may have been thinking that one day soon, they would be served continually. Luke tells us they were actually arguing during the Passover supper about who would hold the top positions. It is amazing how we can hear only what we want to hear.
Jesus’ words were not understood, so He gave them an illustration that was certain to stick with them every day of their lives. He took a towel and basin and did the job of the lowliest of servants. Most teachers were waited on by their disciples. Some groups would even purchase servants. In Jesus’ band, the Master was the servant. He always had been though they did not recognize it. That was unthinkable, unheard of, and almost impossible to accept. Peter balked at having Jesus perform such a menial task.
After the picture was clearly painted for them, He told them that they were to do as He had done. This was so contrary to the thinking of the world that it must have taken a long time to sink in. Has it sunk into your concept of reality? We never read of the Apostles fighting for power and position again. Maybe that is why the spokesman in Jerusalem during those early days of the church was not one of them. It took a century for the church to start making a hierarchy. If you are a leader or desire to be one, do you think of it as being the lowliest of servants? This was one of the factors in the rise of Christianity during that first century. How could Rome capture the leaders when it could not recognize them? Who would pick the servant as the leader except those whose thought- life had been transformed by the Spirit of God.
Consider: Like Jesus, mature spiritual leaders do not come to be served but to serve. Serve alongside them.
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