Tag Archives: foot washing

I Am Among You As One Who Serves, part 2

In Ephesians 5, Paul reminds us of one of the great mysteries (as he calls it) of the Bible. We are all reminded to submit ourselves to a life-long washing, cleansing, and sanctifying purification by this great Being who was sent to earth to wash us all, and serve us all.

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives, 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. (Eph. 5:22-27)

Thoughts about Christ

A while back, my wife was reading a book entitled The Law of the Offerings by Andrew Jukes that contained this quote: “Christ is, throughout the Bible the key to scripture. He is the one great idea of the Bible. Know Christ, understand God’s thoughts about Him, and you will understand the Bible.” As we look at the Bible, we could rightly claim that there are many things that are a bit vague and that are “hard to understand.” But if there is one issue that is crystal clear, it is how these two great Beings feel about each other.

God the Father must think very highly of His son because He gave Him many offices of authority and responsibility over the church. He made Him the Head over all things to the church, the Captain of our salvation, the Author and Finisher of our faith, the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls, the Apostle and High Priest, our Savior, Mediator, and King. As Christ faithfully executes the duties of each of those offices on a very intimate, personal level in each of our lives, His appeal to us is the same as it was to Peter on the Passover, which we talked about last week – “let Me serve you … if I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.”

We all want Christ more fully involved in our lives, and He is ever ready to serve us, work within us, cleanse us, and purify us. So, as we go through the rest of this material on how He is “with us” to lead us in this totally unique and unselfish way, let’s keep in mind the many functions that He is there to perform for His “sheep” every moment of every day of their lives.

I Know My Sheep

In Mattew 28:20, Jesus said “I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” His being with and helping His followers didn’t end with his human life. He is still with us, still among us “as one who serves.”

I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. (John 14:18-21)

The word “manifest,” emphanizo (G1718) in the Greek, means to exhibit someone or something to view, to show one’s self, to come to view, appear, indicate, disclose, or declare. Jesus makes Himself known to us, just as He tells us in John 10 when he says that He is known by His sheep (John 10:14).

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“But,” you might be thinking, “He’s speaking here to the church leaders … the apostles … the important people in the church. I’m not important enough to be included in this.” For a direct answer to this fear, we need look no farther than Matthew 18:20 where Christ says, “where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Christ is personally present whenever His people gather, not matter how small the group. A small family, a couple, two or three brethren in fellowship, there He is in the midst of them “as one who serves.”

An Individual Call

But here again you might be thinking, “yea, but I’m alone. I’m a single person all by myself,” or “I’m living hours away from any group that I could fellowship with. What about me? Surely Christ doesn’t have time to spend on an unimportant little person like me … I’m not worthy of his attention.”

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. ( Rev. 3:20)

This is Christ’s message to an individual in your shoes – “open the door, and I’ll come in for you. Just for you, even if you’re the only one in there who wants Me! I will come in to you and dine with you “as one who serves.”

Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish. (Matt 18:10-14)

Yes even you , the lone individual isolated from other brethren or outcast from corporate groups, is important to Jesus, the Christ of God, if you want Him involved in your life. It’s up to each of us to make that choice, though. Will I answer the knock on the door? Will I let Him serve me as He was sent to do?

“I Am Among You As One Who Serves” series

Part 1

I Am Among You As One Who Serves

We’re going to start this new series of posts in Luke 22:21-27. This is a section of scripture that lies at the root of what’s been wrong with all “religions” from the middle of the first century to today. It’s an excellent picture of raw human nature in the very human beings that were to form a part of the foundation of the New Testament churches of God. They needed to be corrected on a few misconceptions here about leadership by the only One who knew how to straighten them out.

“But behold, the hand of My betrayer is with Me on the table. And truly the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!” Then they began to question among themselves, which of them it was who would do this thing. (Luke 22:21-23)

In Matthew’s version of this account, we see that after He said one of them would betray Him, “each of them began to say to Him, ‘Lord, is it I?’” (Matt. 26:22). Every one of the disciples had doubts about themselves and their own loyalty to Christ. It wasn’t “just Judas.” Then, right on the heels of their own doubts about whether they themselves would be Christ’s betrayer, each of them envisioned himself as the great leader of the group.

Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest. And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’ But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves. For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves. (Luke 22:24-27)

Lordship

The phrase “exercise lordship over” in Luke 22:25 is from the Greek word kurieuo (G2961), which comes from kurios (G2962). This root word is translated “Lord” in the New Testament and is equivalent to the Old Testament Hebrew YHWH. “Kurios” means owner, master, ruler, and is the word used to refer to Christ as “Lord.” The derivative kurieuo means “to be lord of.”

Let’s recap what just happened here in Luke. This is the Passover service. Christ introduced His disciples to the symbols of the New Testament Passover, told them in veiled language that He was going to die for them, and that one of them would be His betrayer. Each man asked himself, “could this be me?” and right on the heels of that, they were all arguing about who was going to “be lord” over the others after their Lord Jesus Christ was betrayed by one of them. This is human carnality at its worst! It’s hard to come to grips with, but it is a part of human nature. The desire to dominate – to be lord over – and rule other human beings is at the root of every “evil empire” that has ever been on the face of the earth. It is also at the root of every church split, scandal, and heresy that has divided the churches of God and Christianity in general during the last 2,000 years.

Now notice the contrast evidenced in the character of Jesus “the Christ of God” (as Peter called him in Luke 9:20). He says, “I am among you as the One who serves” – this is My character as a leader, this is who and what I am! and this is the type of leader I want you to be as My called out ones.

Foot Washing

Let’s remember that Luke’s account of Christ’s last passover before His death doesn’t include all that took place that night. John 13 shows us that Christ used a very pointed type of “show and tell” activity to drive this point about service and leadership home. It was the simple act of Jesus Christ rising during the meal and girding Himself with a towel, and washing his disciple’s feet.

Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. (John 13:3-5)

What makes this such a remarkable act is found in the phrase “the Father had given all things into His hands.” This same idea is worded differently in other passages – “power over all flesh,” “all authority in heaven and on earth,” “a name that is above every name.” Christ knew where He came from, and exactly where He was going to be after His execution, which was now only hours away.

If he were an ordinary man, and had this type of assurance from the throne of the universe, the Passover may have taken the form of a victory dance, with high fives all around, but this Being knew He had responsibilities to fulfill for those He was leaving behind.

The King of kings, and Lord of lords chose to demonstrate ‘leadership’ by washing feet. It was one of the most menial tasks of the day, but considering who was doing it, one of the most meaningful acts of all human history. This event is rehearsed each year at the beginning of the Passover service, and perhaps it gives us a greater insight into the true character of the God family than any other.

Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, “Lord, are You washing my feet?”
Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.”
Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet!”
Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” (John 13:6-8)

Christ’s statement to Peter was an ultimatum. “Let Me serve you, as I have been sent to do, or you can’t participate in My work.” We normally focus on foot washing as an act that reminds us of our obligation to serve others, and that is a valid point of emphasis. We should always follow the example of Christ in serving others. But there is another important lesson in this service that encourages us to be served by Jesus Christ as He performs His many duties for the churches of God today.