Thursday, June 1, 2017

"...are You going to wash my feet?' -- (Anne -- DE)

Today I want to share a topic with you that I have been thinking about doing as a devotion, for a little while now. So follow me into the book of John 13:1-17 (NIV):

"It was just before the Passover Festival.
Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus.
Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist.
After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.”
For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.
When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them."

Two years ago, some Tauernhof women went to a Women's Conference at Klostermühle, a Torchbearers Center in Germany. The speaker challenged us to wash one another's feet. And this really stood out to me during that weekend. If you knew that you would die in a few hours, what would you do? What would you say? I think that most of us would tell the ones, which are close to us, what is most important to us and what we would want them to know.

In the gospels we can read what Jesus did. He broke the bread and shared the wine with His disciples. And that's why in church we have the "Lord's Supper". But before that He/Jesus Himself, took off His outer clothing, knelt down and washed the feet of His disciples. What I never really recognized is what He said after He washed their feet. He said in John 13 : 15
"If have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you."

This is interesting. I ask myself, what would it look like if we did that in our fellowship, our community, or our churches at home? Do we think of that? Do we only think about Jesus command to have the Lord's Supper and what He did for us on the cross? I still think this is super important, but Jesus also gave us another command, that "we should do...." John 13 : 15. I really didn't know what that would look like.

Should we wash each other' s feet before every meeting? What should we do? When I started looking more into that verse I came along some cross references, including the following:

Romans 12 : 10
Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.“

Philippians 2 : 3-5
„Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:“

Matthew 20 : 26-28
„Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Acts 2:42-47
„They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.“

If we take seriously what the Bible is saying, it is challenging, at least for me. I also need a reminder that, once I belong to God, it is not about myself anymore. It is about loving God and loving our neighbor through serving them in love.  And for me, Anne, I need a reminder of that multiple times. Because it is so easy for me to think "Anne you really deserved that. Anne, this person should come to you and ask for your opinion. Anne, nobody should speak about you like that, ...". And then my thoughts are just about me, me, me. But Jesus did gave us an example of how we should live with one another, through washing the feet of His disciples and His death on the cross. He gave up His rights, His home and His comfort. He understood that it wouldn't be easy, but that did not stop him because He knew that what He did was precious in the eyes of His father. He did it out of obedience and love! And what kind of love? The type humans are not capable of on their own. We need Jesus and more understanding of His love for us.

During the time we were washing each other's feet, at the women's conference, I recognized two things.

First, it is not easy to admit that you need to wash your feet/that you are dirty and need him every day.

Secondly, it is also not easy to bow down and wash the feet of another person. I don't want to imply that we can cleanse the sin of another person. But we can help the other person to come before Jesus, pray with one another and help practically where needed, with whatever we have. We must also be willing to say, "I need help.".

Reflecting on this, it is a picture of what Jesus did for us. He didn't think about himself. Jesus sees us, sees our need and does everything to help us. Are we willing to do that for on another? Are we interested in one another? Do we care what the other person needs? I pray that I gain this mindset more and more, that people might see Jesus in me through the way I Iive.

Personally, washing each other's feet would practically remind me of Christ's example and servanthood. By doing so, we can say to others, "You are precious to me, you belong to my family, you are my brother/my sister and I want to help you wherever I can, just as Jesus does for us."

Through Him I can do this, because HE is my strength. Washing one another's feet reminds us that we are all in need of the grace of God! And praise God, His grace for us is new every morning!

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