No Greater Love – 1 - (John 13:1-5)
“It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for Him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved His own who were in the world, He now showed them the full extent of His love.
The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, 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.”
This is a story of love. It was the night Jesus would be arrested, and the day prior to His crucifixion. He had gathered with his disciples to partake of their last meal together. It was the one in which He blessed them with the powerful symbols of the covenant of Blood as He broke the bread and gave them the cup, saying ‘Do this in remembrance of Me’. He knew it was time for Him to face the cross. He knew that in a matter of hours He would be sold out, and abandoned by those who had been nearest to Him. He knew the hearts and thoughts of those who sat around Him and called themselves His friends, and the guilt of his betrayer was apparent to Him. But He is love. He was motivated by love, and what love! He had touched and transformed the lives of the men who sat around Him. He had nurtured and taught them with love. But there was another level still to be discovered. “Greater love has no one than this, that He lay down His life for His friends.” They were still to see the full extent of His love. The Lord loves you and me, His own, and we have not even begun to see just how much!
The Passover Feast, to be celebrated in a few weeks by people around the world symbolizes to us the blood sacrifice of Jesus. The very first Passover was observed in Egypt, when the people of Israel were preparing to break out of their lives of bondage. A year old lamb without defect had to be slain at twilight, and its blood smeared on the sides and tops of the door frames. This ensured their safety as the angel of death passed through Egypt and hit every house which was not covered by the blood of the lamb. Generations through the ages have continued to avail themselves of the power of the Passover, acknowledging the omnipotent protection of Almighty God, as they apply the blood of the lamb, and partake of it, with bitter herbs and unleavened bread. The blood of Jesus, the lamb of God, is our inheritance and our right. When we discern its reality and power (1 Corinthians 11:29) and apply it to our lives in faith, we receive all the power resident in the blood covenant of Jesus. We are covered!
Jesus knew that the Father had placed all power and authority in His hands. He had no reason to prove anything to anyone – He is the Son of God! In the culture of Jesus’ day, foot washing was the job of the lowest of slaves. He was acknowledged as the teacher, the master and Lord. His men should have brought water to wash His feet, but it appears that they never even considered the possibility! Jesus did not wash their hands, or their faces. Rather, He bent down and washed their dusty, desert feet. He did what only some slaves were meant to do, as He humbled Himself to the lowest task, tenderly ministering to each one, as He poured clean water over their dirty feet, and dried them with a towel. There is no extent that Jesus would not go to show us His love, and to minister to us where we need His cleansing touch the most. Those fishermen’s feet were not too dirty for the Prince of Heaven who sits upon a throne. Whatever issues you need His help with today, it is not too sticky, too dirty, or too complicated for Jesus. He is ready to get down into your situation, and to lift you up into total transformation! He is rolling up His sleeves even now, and donning his towel in readiness!
So why did He do what He did? To show them the full extent of His love.
Just a few days before, the disciples had grumbled when Mary Magdalene washed the feet of Jesus with her tears, and anointed Him with expensive perfume. They had begrudged Him this act of service and worship. Now here He was, doing the same for them, serving them in such a spirit of abject love.
The love of Jesus is honoring others better than oneself. He was expressing His love by laying Himself down for others. It was the same love that prayed to the Father just hours later: “…yet, not My will but Yours be done…” Jesus does nothing in half measure – it is all or nothing. He wants to show you and me the fullest extent of His amazing love, and He will go to any lengths to prove it!
The love of Jesus is humility. Would you consider serving someone who is supposed to be serving you? If Jesus can do it, so can we! People often do things for those they consider their superiors, because it would be advantageous, socially, professionally, etc, and because life in the world seems to be all about earning brownie points! However, Jesus had no motive in what He did for His disciples. There was nothing He hoped to gain, except to express His love and be an example of what real ministry is – humble servanthood. The love of Jesus enables us to forget about society’s norms and get down where His love is needed most, despite the risks, inconvenience, or difficulties.
The love of Jesus is a willingness to be vulnerable. Loving the ‘Jesus’ way means that we will be exposed to hurt or rejection. He was down on the floor at the feet of His ‘friend’ Judas, who had already betrayed Him for thirty pieces of silver. Washing the feet of a person makes us vulnerable to being kicked, rejected, or stepped upon. There is a possibility of pain somewhere along the way, but are we willing to love anyway? Jesus laid aside His outer garments. He was ready to get real with His friends, and let them see Him for who He was. No protective shell, no pretense. No agenda. “I am just here to serve you.” He was aware that he could get splashed with dirty water, and he was ready for that!
There are two thoughts I feel the Lord would have us receive from this message today.
1)Receive the Love of Jesus. Jesus came a long way to prove His love for you. He stepped into an earth suit, and laid His life down as a gift for you! Sometimes we get so focused on loving Him and serving Him, that we never really learn to receive His love. We have not begun to even scratch the surface of how He loves us, His blood bought bride! I challenge you today to lift up your heart and hands to Jesus and say “show me Your love; help me to understand how You love me. Love me more”! He will take you at your word. It will begin a whole new journey of discovery. You will begin to feel the extent of His love! This brings so much deep healing and acceptance, as you begin to know how the Father values and cherishes you. It frees you from the lie that you need to do something to earn His love. He loves you no matter what, and you could never out love Him!
It will also give you victory in every situation you face, as you experience the revelation that He is on your side, wants to bring His blessing into your life, and wants only good things for you. It will change the way you pray. Let Jesus wash your feet today!
2)Be the Love of Jesus. I believe the Lord would have us live His selfless, humble, honoring love by being a blessing to others. Who’s feet can you wash today, in terms of bringing some joy, or healing, or relief to someone who needs it? This is the heart of the Father – the restoration and renewal of those in need. Today is a great day to bless someone else. As you reach out to others and serve them in the very areas you need to be blessed, you will find heaven’s rivers of abundance pouring into your life. God is no man’s debtor and He takes note of how you pour out your heart to those in need. Let Jesus wash another’s feet through you!
May you walk in the revelation of the love of Jesus. May you live under the powerful protection of His blood. May you begin to see the extent of His love for you, because you are called and chosen. You are His very own!
Minoli Haththotuwa, 04 April 2011
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