Glenn and I were privileged to have a week down on Durban’s coast, connecting with the church we will soon be moving to join. The church held a conference whilst we were there, including a leadership meeting one evening. Unsurprisingly, the speaker’s topic for the evening was “leadership”.
Ryan (from Glenridge Church, Ballito) was sharing and asked us to turn to John 13:1-20; Jesus washing His disciples’ feet.
In all honesty, something like “original choice” may have entered my mind. I wasn’t closed off to his message, I just didn’t think it would hold anything new or any particular challenge for me (proud, I know, and stupid!). Maybe it didn’t hold too much that was new, but it certainly held a challenge for every believer.
I believe his message was very timely not only for me, or our congregation, but for the body of Christ, and so I want to share the five points Ryan pulled out:
1) Christ was able to serve out of His intimate relationship with the Father.
Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father . . . Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. (John 13:1a, 3).
2) Jesus served from a place of love. We see that He even loved Judah to the very end; Judah, the one who betrayed Him.
Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him (John 13:1b-2).
3) Jesus served from a place of identity.
Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. (John 13:3-4a).
4) Jesus lived a life of service; He did what He taught; He put “skin into the game”.
He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. (John 13:4b-5).
It needs to be noted that, in Jesus’ day, washing of the feet was not a pleasant task. It was far worse than washing someone’s slightly smelly feet straight after they come out of a gym shoes. Travelling on dirt roads in sandals meant feet got dirty and sweaty. This was a lowly task. The person who washed the feet was the most inferior present, and usually a slave.
5) Jesus knew that serving did not remove His authority.
When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.” (John 13:12-16).