Thursday, April 21, 2011


Often, on the Thursday before Easter, we remember that Jesus ate the passover meal with His disciples and as a result, Chrisians though out history have commemorated "The Lord's Supper" which is called "Communion" or "The Eucharist" in various faith traditions. One element of that evening is still practiced in some Christian circles but not universally as is the Lord's Supper. That element is foot washing. Both of these aspects of the last supper reflect strongly on who Jesus was and why He came.

His death was the ultimate sacrifice paid to take away the sins of the world and deliver us from the wages of those sins which death. He was the perfect Lamb of God. Just as the blood of the lamb smeared on the doorpost and the faith of the people who put it there, shielded the Hebrews from the Angel of Death long time before in Egypt, so faith in Jesus and His atonement, shield His followers and bring them to abundant and eternal life.

Jesus death was the supreme act of a servant. He laid down His very life for us.

But the foot washing that occurred that night before the disciples ate with their Master is also important. Back then, roads were dirty. Sandal clad feet got really, really nasty. Someone could wash their own feet and the lowliest of servants could wash the feet of other people, but it was very, very rare for a person to wash their peer's feet. When it was done, it was a mark of great love. So for Jesus to wash His followers feet was radical! He was their Lord, teacher, and master.

But He was also a servant.

Jesus....THE son of GOD, a servant.

He left all that was glorious and perfect in Heaven to come down to this crazy, desperate, dirty world to serve us because He loved us that much.

When we say that we are Christians, we are saying that we are "little Christs". We are saying that we are followers of Jesus. And when you follow someone, well, you follow them! You do what they do. You speak the way they speak. You live the way they live.

But somehow, we have seemed to lose track of this. We have too often confused following Jesus as just being a "good person" who follows the rules and knows a bunch of Bible stuff. But it is so much more! To be a follower of Jesus means that you have put your faith in Him and then you are seeking to emulate His life of servanthood. The bathing of the disciples' feet was a symbol that He would take away their sins. He would wash them clean.

I think there must be something very powerful in the pairing of servanthood and redemption. I have often heard it said by one of my favorite Bible teachers, Steve Brown, that the lost don't care how much we know, they want to know how much we care.

I don't think we're really going to be able to impact our corner of the world til we fully realize that and then act on it. I spent years thinking that being a "good witness" for the Lord meant I followed all the rules and when I could, witness verbally about the salvation of the Lord offered them. I am seeing more and more that though living a life of Holiness is important, if I life a life of "goodness" that doesn't involve showing "goodness" to others, then my witness is not a "good" or effective one. If I am really going to be a follower of Jesus, I must lay down my life. I must tell the Lord that I will go where He wants me to go and do what He wants me to do. I must live my life not to serve my desires and needs but to serve Him and His least of these.

This quote from Jean Vanier, founder of the L'Arche Communitywas in today's reading out of COMMON PRAYER: A LITURGY FOR ORDINARY RADICALS:

"To wash the feet of a brother or sister in Christ, to allow someone to wash our feet, is a sign that together we want to follow Jesus, to take the downward path, to find Jesus' presence in the poor and the weak. Is it not a sign that we too want to live a heart-to-heart relationship with others, to meet them as a person and a friend, and to live in communion with them? Is it not a sign that we yearn to be men and women of forgiveness, to be healed, and cleansed and to heal and cleanse others and thus to live more fully in communion with Jesus?"

I challenge you today to meditate on the servanthood of Jesus and then ask the Lord how your life reflects that aspect of our Messiah. I know I'm pondering that a lot lately and quite honestly, I know that despite the strides I've made to live more for Him and less for me, I still have a long, long way to go.

COMMON PRAYER also had this:

"Lord Jesus Christ, You knelt to wash from our feet the dirt out of which You made us. Teach us to humbly serve one another so that the world may know that we are your disciples. Amen."

And I add, in knowing that we are His disciples, that the love of Christ that they see in us would cause them to want to follow Him, too.

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