LOVE LESSONS FROM THE LEADER - John 13:12-17
“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. I tell you the truth, 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.”
Last week’s Word was about how Jesus, the King of Glory, humbly did what a slave would do when He washed the feet of His friends. He said to Peter “Unless I wash you, you have no part of me” because having our life and walk cleansed by the Master is a part of living in Him. When He finished washing twenty four feet, Jesus donned His outer garments and returned to His place. Humbling Himself to serve another in love did not mean that He lost His authority or position as Rabbi and Leader. The silence in the room was probably deafening, when Jesus returned to his seat as each disciple awkwardly tried to digest what they had just witnessed and experienced, during this lesson in servant leadership.
Jesus washed His disciples feet to show them the extent of His love. He also wanted to set them an example of humble, selfless, loving service, and give them a clear definition of Christian ministry. The fire, power and miracles are wonderful, but love makes them complete; love brings out the fullness of the blessing. Paul wrote to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 13:2) “If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”
Jesus would soon show His disciples the ultimate act of love, when He laid down His life for the sins of humanity, but He washed the feet of these men to show them that loving and serving Jesus means loving and serving people. He wanted them (and us) to see that ministry or service is not necessarily convenient or pleasant, neither is it something we might always be happy to do. Jesus wanted them to see that true ministry means laying down your life. It means going where He takes you, doing what He asks you to do, and forsaking whatever He does not want in your life to follow Him. Ministry is not about ‘me’; it is about obedience to Jesus. His love is so real, and so strong that we cannot help but give Him what He asks for, and do what brings Him joy. In verses 34 & 35 of the same chapter, Jesus said “A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” True ministry is the way of love; it is the ‘Jesus’ way!
We cannot help but be like Jesus if we learn from Him and follow His example. He said “no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him” because He is our source, and we learn from the one we follow. Psalm 133 talks about the anointing which flows from the head down and this means that we receive (negative as well as positive!) what is flowing through the life of the ones we acknowledge as our leaders. This is why it is important to see what ‘signs’ are following them and what fruit has manifested in their lives. When we place ourselves under the authority of Jesus, there is no limit to how high we can fly – in love, in power, in prosperity, in victory. We place ourselves in the overflowing river of His Spirit, ever growing, ever blessed. Plant yourself where Jesus is acknowledged as Lord and King and where His presence is seen and welcomed. You are headed for higher ground because He is infinity!
Jesus said to His disciples “Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them” because once we receive a revelation, we experience the blessing of walking in it. Jesus is saying to you and me, “Do as I do, love as I love, serve as I serve”. He did not say “now that I have washed your feet, you wash mine”. This is the way of the world – where people return favors and do for someone what was done for them. He said instead, “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet”. He asked His disciples to care for and minister to each other the way He did. He is the servant leader, He is the humble King!
Finally, we see that Jesus, finished washing their feet. He did what He set out to do. He taught His friends a lesson for life. When He hung upon the cross, He said “It is finished”. He fulfilled the purpose for which He was sent to the earth. Jesus never left anything half done. There was no one He ministered to who was never fully healed or fully saved. – He always finished what He started. He calls us to be finishers too. He calls us to keep our promises, fulfill our commitments, and finish the assignments He has given us.
In summary, let me leave you with these thoughts:
1)Be a “Finisher” like Jesus and keep your promises. Finish the assignments He has given you.
2)Jesus provided us with the supreme example of humble and loving ministry. This is the measure of true greatness.
3)Jesus is “greatness”, and whenever we seek to be like Him, we aspire towards greatness. Seek “greatness” in every area of your life – this is what Jesus wants for you!
4)The anointing flows from the head down (Psalm 133) so a person can fly only as high as the one who is teaching them, or who they serve. The same signs shall follow so look for the signs; but it is also true that no signs follow someone who is following no one! There is no covering in the Kingdom for lone rangers!
5)Jesus shows us that just as we need to let Him minister to us (wash our feet), we also need to minister to others.
6)Experience the blessing that comes from serving others. It delights the heart of God!
Friend, as we remember the amazing sacrifice of the supreme Passover Lamb, who gave His life that you and I may be free and forgiven, may you experience His love and presence, and may all the miraculous power of the resurrection fill your life today and always, in Jesus’ name, Amen!
Minoli Haththotuwa, 18 April, 2011
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