Do What Has Been Done For You // John 13:3-17
What would you do with the final hours of your life? The final week of Jesus' life before the cross is the subject of each Gospel in the Bible. The Apostle John gives us a glimpse into the final meal Jesus shared with his disciples. The meal was the Passover; a meal of national as well as religious significance. During the Passover meal, Jesus startles his disciples by stooping to wash their feet. Sit with the disciples and reflect on this moment. In a few short hours Jesus will be delivered up, betrayed, and crucified.
The Passover meal was a special celebration and for most of us, a special meal calls for personal preparation. We get cleaned up and presentable for special occasions; the disciples were no different. They arrived at the location where the meal was set and found no one there to serve them by washing the dust off their feet. Jesus makes the first move and prepares to wash their feet. The washing of feet was clearly a servant's role—and a lowly role, at that. None of the disciples had moved to wash anyone's feet. Jesus was about to teach them that humbly serving others is a character trait that must be cultivated to become second nature. The natural inclination of most people is to project power, advantage and strength—not a subservient posture or weakness. The natural inclination of most is to be served not serve.
Jesus' actions give us an incredible picture of who God is. Jesus equated himself to God on several occasions. Here we see 3 important things:
- The nature of God in action: Love, sacrifice and humble service is reflective of the heart of God; this is the King.
- The priorities of God in action: With only hours left before his arrest, Jesus conveys caring for one another, serving the needs of others before your own and the power of humility are priorities. This is indicative of the Kingdom's priorities.
- The calling of Jesus' followers is to be like Chris: Take on humility, love and the service of others as our pattern for living.
Do what has been done for you. Jesus washes the disciples feet and asks them, "Do you know what I have done for you?" Being their Lord and teacher, he served them in one of the most lowly ways possible—washing their dirty feet. He tells them he has given them an example to follow; do as I have done for you. Jesus reminds them, "If you remember these things, you are blessed if you do them." They will not be blessed with the knowledge alone—they must do what they have been shown.
Who do you and I have authority over? Maybe you wouldn't say authority; how about was say privilege or advantage over? Do we see ourselves as above our employees, the Safeway clerk, the homeless person on the corner, the quiet and awkward kid at school, the mentally handicapped person, the person of no social standing?
This week, I ask you 3 big questions:
- Who will you serve (that is beneath you)?
- How will you serve (without expecting nothing in return)?
- Why will you serve (because of the grace you have been shown by God or because you want the favor returned)?
Do what has been done for you.
The kids are watching. This past weekend kids from all over our country marched demanding that the adults in their world do something to make their world safe. We live in very unsafe, insecure, and reckless days. We must change the culture our kids are growing up in and we do this by showing them what humble service, love and caring for others looks like with our actions.
You say you love Jesus. Then follow Jesus and do what has been done for you. Stop it with memorizing Scripture unless you're willing to do what it commands, teaches and implores us to do.
Imagine a world where freedom overwhelms fear, resulting in security. Imagine women in the home, work place and public are safe. Imagine children in the streets, schools, and home are safe. Human flourishing begins with humbling serving one another in love and giving grace.
It starts with us who say we follow Jesus. We must follow him out of our pews, Bible studies, quiet times, worship events into the rest of the world—serving the least among us!
This brief glimpse into the last night of Jesus' life reveals a profound teaching—do what has been done for you.