Word from Scotland: Love and power combine to produce service
In John Chapter 13, Jesus Christ shows his disciples, and us how to serve humbly and powerfully and lovingly.
This is one of the great love chapters because here we see what someone can do when unlimited love and unlimited power are combined. In Jesus Christ, there is this perfect combination.
Love without power would only produce sympathy, and power without love produces selfishness, or worse, but here we see in Jesus Christ love and power producing service. Whereas power tries to climb, love gets down on its knees.
Power is interested in being exalted. Love serves humbly.
What Jesus did was very ordinary. It was who did it that was such surprise to everyone. What Jesus did would happen at every mealtime.
People would come in and their feet would be in need of washing. The second lowest slave undid the sandal, but it was the lowest slave who washed the feet.
No one among the twelve was prepared to do this menial task, and there was no servant on duty because Jesus wanted these men to Himself on this occasion.
We have this picture of utmost humility. Humility is not getting out of the limelight and keeping in the background. Humility can mean at times that you have to put yourself right at the very centre. What matters is how you put yourself in the centre.
Humility is a very positive quality. It was what Jesus did, and, how He did it.
It is not what you do not do that is central here. It is what you do.
Jesus Christ does the job that nobody else was prepared to do and Jesus willingly humbled himself, just hours before people tried to humiliate Him. With all the power and authority in the world and cosmos at His control, Jesus was prepared to get down on His knees in front of others.
Jesus can come to us very gently at times. “Would you let Me do something for you?” This is where He can sometimes begin.
Was it that Peter did not like to be treated just like all the others? Did he want to be different? There can be something in us all that likes and wants to be treated differently, and Jesus will not do that.
Unless I wash you, we cannot be friends – we cannot be in real fellowship – we cannot go any further together – you can be no part of this ministry.
What makes us a Christian is not what we do for Jesus, but what Jesus has done for us. Peter, let me clean you. If you allow Me to wash you, we can do mighty things in partnership. Peter, we can walk together – talk together – minister together. This is where it all has to begin.
Is that wanting to be different there when he swings to the other extreme – from toe to head – as if still saying – I’m special – I’m different from the others. He has just said that he would be with Jesus no matter what might happen. They might run away, but not me.
Jesus explains to Peter that what he wants is not necessary. As I wash you in this way, you will be clean, but Peter, there is somebody else here who is not clean and he is so dirty that washing his feet will not do much good. Not only are his feet dirty Peter, but unlike you, his hands are dirty and his head is dirty. Judas had already agreed to sell Christ.