Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Heavenly Servant

"Christ Washing Peter's Feet" by Ford Maddox Brown (19th C British Pre-Raphaelite Artist)

The Heavenly Servant

John 13:1, 3-10 (ERV)
It was almost time for the Jewish Passover festival.
Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go back to the Father. 
Jesus had always loved the people in the world who were his. 
Now was the time he showed them his love the most...
The Father had given Jesus power over everything. 
Jesus knew this. 
He also knew that he had come from God. 
And he knew that he was going back to God. 
So while they were eating, Jesus stood up and took off his robe. He got a towel and wrapped it around his waist. 
Then he poured water into a bowl and began to wash the followers’ feet. 
He dried their feet with the towel that was wrapped around his waist. 
He came to Simon Peter. 
But Peter said to him, “Lord, you should not wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, “You don’t know what I am doing now. 
But later you will understand.” 
Peter said, “No! You will never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, “If I don’t wash your feet, you are not one of my people.” 
Simon Peter said, “Lord, after you wash my feet, wash my hands and my head too!” 
Jesus said, “After a person has a bath, his whole body is clean. He needs only to wash his feet. And you are clean...” 

In this Scripture passage, Jesus is giving His disciples a powerful visual metaphor of His mission on earth, who He is and why He has come.

The Apostles will not understand the full scope of His mission until after His death on the cross and resurrection though.

"So while they were eating, Jesus stood up and took off his robe." 

Here Jesus is showing that He laid aside His Heavenly Throne temporarily and in the words of St. Paul,  "although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men." (Philippians 2:6-7 NASB)

"(Jesus) got a towel and wrapped it around his waist. Then he poured water into a bowl and began to wash the followers’ feet. He dried their feet with the towel that was wrapped around his waist."

Jesus, their Master and Lord, performed this humble task of washing His disciples feet, a menial chore that normally a slave or common household laborer would have done, in order to graphically demonstrate His mission from the Father. 

He also wants to remind them that He is their example in all things. Whatever He does, they must likewise do. 
Be humble. Love one another. Serve one another. 
Why? Because He is their Lord and has asked them to, just as He is now on His earthly mission because His Father has asked Him to do it. 
You can never have love without obedience in true worship.

Why does Jesus need to clean the disciple's feet? 
Because they are stained with sin. 
Jesus is showing them that His mission is to cleanse people of their sins. 
What would have been the filthiest part of the body in a time when most people walked everywhere over rugged roads and basically wore sandals? 
Jesus came to cleanse the filthiest part of each of us---our hearts. 

Matthew 15:19-20 (NASB) "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. These are the things which defile the man...” 

Jeremiah 17:9 (NASB) “The heart is more deceitful than all else
And is desperately sick; Who can understand it? 

Jesus came to cleanse away the stain of sin that each of us are born with and to  make us whole, to redeem us from the curse of death and hell and to give us His own righteousness which we could not ever earn by being good enough on our own. 
Only Jesus Christ can wash our sins away.
Detail: Ford Maddox Brown Artist 19th C British

Peter said, “No! You will never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, “If I don’t wash your feet, you are not one of my people.”

Jesus Christ told Peter that if He did not wash him, he could not be one of His people. 

Only the shed blood of Jesus Christ can wash away the stain of our sins. 

Jesus Christ was the spotless Lamb of God sent to bear our sins on the cross as a blood sacrifice. He died in our place so that our sins could be forgiven. 

In Christ's demonstration to His disciples He had wrapped the towel of a slave around Himself and washed their feet as a slave would have. 
We are all slaves of sin apart from salvation in Christ.
Sinless Jesus took off His beautiful Heavenly spotless sinless robe and put on our robes stained with the slavery of sin and bore them on the cross.

"For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ." ~2 Corinthians 5:21

Hebrews 9:22 "And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness."

On the third day God raised Christ from the dead. All who receive Jesus into their hearts as their Lord and Savior will be raised from the dead and given eternal life with Christ in Paradise.

John 11:25-26 (NASB) "Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die.” 

By washing their feet, Jesus wanted to leave His disciples with a powerful visual reminder of what His earthly mission was all about.
His humble, selfless act still speaks to us today about our need for His cleansing from our sins.
It tells us to follow His example of obedience and love to His Father and to serve one another humbly out of our love, obedience and worship to Him.

John 3:16-17 (NASB) “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 

Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Thy only Son to cleanse us from our sins. 
Thank You, Lord Jesus, for laying aside Your Heavenly Throne for a season so that You could suffer & bear our sins on the cross & die in our place; 
Thank You Holy Spirit for making Thy truth known to our hearts,
We love You, Lord,  in Jesus' name, amen. 

"The Heavenly Servant" © 2015 Suzanne Davis Harden All Rights Reserved. //Bible Illustration by Ford Maddox Brown, 19th century British Pr-Raphaelite Painter, //Photo of Jesus holding Lamb via Pinterest//Scripture Quotations (NASB) New American Standard Bible, © 1995 The Lockman Foundation All Rights Reserved.// (ERV) © 2006 World Bible Translation Center All Rights Reserved. /"Nothing But The Blood" Music Video & Vocals © 2015 Suzanne Davis Harden

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