Thursday 21 August 2014

Bible Book:

“… whoever receives one whom I send receives me and whoever receives me receives him who sent me.” (v. 20)

John 13:12-20 Thursday 21 August 2014


We are still in the room where Jesus and his disciples arecelebrating their meal. Feet have been washed (John 13:1-11), but John's Gospel suggests apregnant pause as the implications of this gesture sink in and arereinforced by the words of Jesus. It could be helpful to pause asyou read and allow these few verses to connect with the great sweepof the story the Gospel tells.

The simple act of washing dusty feet turns out to be a clue tothe heart of the Christian gospel. We can imagine that in the earlyChurch it was already tempting for Christians to jockey forposition and to see leadership in church as an opportunity forself-expression and power. They - like Christians today - need tounderstand just what it means to follow the example of Jesus. Youcan't have Jesus as your Lord and not share his humility andservice. 'Servants are not greater than their master, nor aremessengers greater than the one who sent them' (v. 16).

To be on your knees and handle someone's feet is an intimateform of service; it reveals something of the person serving, andrequires trust and vulnerability on the part of the person beingwashed. In opening ourselves to receive this gift from Jesus, weopen ourselves to a life-transforming encounter with God. But wecan only do this if we put to one side our self-sufficiency anddefensiveness.

Throughout these passages there is the counter-narrative of whatit means not to receive Jesus and to close your life off to God.Judas has been an unnamed character in the foot-washing story andwill become more prominent in the verses that follow. Jesus isaware that even in the intimacy of his inner circle there is morethan misunderstanding; there is someone who represents that powerof darkness which will become more and more obvious as the dramareaches its climax.

To Ponder

  • What do you think it would mean for foot washing to be a moreregular part of Christian worship and service?
  • Is there anything that you can do that would be similar to footwashing in terms of humble, intimate, service? What might thatbe?
  • If Jesus is your teacher, what do you most need to learn fromhim?
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