“Now, if I were in charge…!”
Ever had that thought? ‘Fess up, because who hasn’t. And not just about the government, but the media, the job, or even the church…(c’mon, Someone bigger than me is reading your thoughts.)
It’s been said that absolute authority corrupts absolutely. I’m sure that’s probably true in a human sense and, although I’ve never had absolute authority, I know what I messes I’ve made with the little authority I have had.
So I’m struck with this statement:
“Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God.”
Now, in this same paragraph, it also tells us that Jesus knew Judas was about to betray Him. I know what I probably would’ve done in His shoes, and one well-placed lightning bolt would’ve taken care of it.
I might even have a few words to say to hot-headed Peter who was about to betray Him also. The Pharisees would be my next target, maybe the Roman emperor. I mean, Jesus had authority over everything!
But what does Jesus do?
In our definition, that little transitional word “so” means “therefore”, as in, since He knew He had all authority from the Father, this is what He chose to do:
“So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him.”
Many of us know by now that such was the disagreeable chore assigned to the lowliest of household servants. This particular event, however, didn’t have anything to do with clean feet, but everything to do with divine humility. Divine because it was Jesus’ own choice, borne of His identity with His Father. Jesus even demonstrated this for Peter…and for Judas. Which tells me that washing someone’s feet comes in many modern-day forms:
“Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.”
This one plays out not only in how we spend our time, but also in conversation. Do I talk more about myself, or am I well-practiced in bringing out the ideas of others? Do I insist on being heard, in full, right now? Or am I willing to wait patiently?
“A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.”
And speaking of, well, speaking, how I react to others indicates my level of humility as well. Counselor Gary Smalley once said that irritation is a sign of selfishness. Think about it.
Mike Ridenour also makes a good point about gentle answers:
“Gentle answers are not a wimpy way of limping through life as someone’s doormat. They are the language of the truly strong and courageous.”
“Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.’”
How about forgiving a wrong before an apology is spoken (if ever)? Or better yet, being so un-offendable that you don’t even consider a wrong has been committed?
I’m still quite thankful for the limitations God has placed on my temporal authority (as those around me should be for their sake!). Yet, I know that divine humility cultivated from our oneness with Christ is just as powerful today as at the Last Supper. So, before I lift my cup at the table, I need to be in the posture of washing some feet.
(May God make them not so stinky as my own.)
John 13:3-5; Philippians 2:4,5; Proverbs 15:1; Luke 23:34 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.