There is no possibility of anticipating what the Lord Jesus will do next. Following Jesus is to constantly be caught off guard. Just when you think you have His modus operandi deciphered, He blows your preconceived notions to smithereens!
The unanticipated God in action! We read in Ecclesiastes 5:11,
“JUST AS YOU DO NOT KNOW THE PATH OF THE WIND AND HOW BONES ARE FORMED IN THE WOMB OF A PREGNANT WOMAN, SO YOU DO NOT KNOW THE ACTIVITY OF GOD WHO MAKETH ALL THINGS.”
So too Jesus’ path is like the path of the wind. The disciples never knew which way the wind would blow. He would catch them off guard again and again, and they would have to adjust their sails to the SOVEREIGN LORD.
One moment He is walking on a storm tossed sea, and the next He is fast asleep 😴 in an-about-to-sink boat ⛵ that violent waves are tossing like a cork. And He never failed to use it as a teaching moment for His jaw dropped disciples.
What is about to happen in the following real life drama is no exception. The walk of faith in God must be a flexible walk indeed. Stay tuned, stay alert! Don’t be surprised when you are surprised.
THE TOWELED SERVANT
Supper is over. It’s kick back time. Day is over. Time after dine to recline. Let’s sit back and relax, and chat about the issues of the day. Preferably small talk, and time to wind down. Come and sit a spell. Put your feet up and unwind. On second thought, leave your feet where they are.
Think again. For Jesus the day is far from over. Before they knew it, Jesus their MIRACLE MASTER becomes a lowly servant! He takes off His outer garment. He girds Himself with a towel, fills a bowl with water, and begins to wash His disciples feet! Suddenly I see a lot of feet shuffling.
Jesus is in the process of foot washing and towel drying, as some of the disciples have already been foot washed and dried by Him. Get the picture. Stunned silence fills the room.
Very unusual! The Jewish people would come in from work or from the market place. They had their traditional WASHINGS that took place before supper, before they sat down at their tables.
The foot washing after supper that Jesus is doing here was a washing that He wanted to soak through the disciples bodies into their souls. He wanted it to go from His hand to their ❤ hearts! This was no ordinary washing.
FOOTWASHING? That is the duty of the household servant, and certainly far beneath their Master Who some of the disciples believe will topple the Roman Empire and set up His 👑 kingdom. What in the world is He trying to prove here? This doesn’t in the least fit their script.
This contradicted the entire image they held of Him. This is not going to fly, certainly not with impulsive and opinionated Peter. He flat out rejects what Jesus is doing, and says to Him in John 13:8
“YOU SHALL NEVER WASH MY FEET.”
Got it Jesus, this is not going to happen! Never! Peter the master of overstatement! Not only will you not wash my feet, you will NEVER EVER DO SUCH A THING! This is shameful for both You and me! Stop it!
End of story, this is embarrassing and degrading. Far beneath You! Jesus, detowel yourself, dump the water, and ditch the bowl! Stop this whole thing! Now!
Sometimes the better part of wisdom is to remain silent. Peter was far from wisdom’s wisest course! Silence was not his forte, let alone making understatements.
They tell the story of the 🐢turtle who envied the ducks swimming in a nearby pond. His heart was inspired by the stories the ducks told about the beautiful scenes that the ducks saw when they were in flight.
Of course the 🐢turtle’s perspective on life was quite different being able only to crawl and that with great effort. He longed to see the sights that the the ducks saw when on the wing
Two of the ducks came up with an idea 💡. They told the turtle that they each would hold the same stick in their mouths. Then the turtle could fasten it’s mouth to the middle of the stick. The ducks then would take off and the turtle in flight could see 👀 the stunning panorama below.
When in flight a black bird flew by and made the comment to the turtle, “You must be the king of turtles.” The turtle could not resist making a response, and when he did, he lost his grip on the stick and plunged to his death.
Like the turtle, Peter didn’t know about the wisdom of silence. He would have to learn it again and again. Open mouth insert foot Peter.
Peter was not an overnight piece of work. He would be a life long endeavor! Thank God that the work He begins in us, He will complete it no matter how long it takes. None of us are short term projects.
Peter’s rejection of and rebuke to the Lord’s action would not go unanswered.The Lord’s response to Peter was quick and terse! We read it John 13:8,
“JESUS ANSWERED HIM, IF I WASH THEE NOT, THOU HAST NO PART WITH ME.”
KAWAAM! If you do not let me wash your feet, those feet will not be allowed to follow me! You then have nothing in common with me. I then am not your Lord, and you are not My servant. No matter how you say it, Peter’s soul was in eternal jeopardy.
Excuse me, but Peter just had his words jammed down his throat. He is now choking on them. Jesus’ words suddenly dumped Peter into no man’s land. All of his hopes were dashed, and he feels totally cut off from Christ.
Is Peter really that different from us? 😣Dirty feet, towels, basins, urinols, changing adult diapors, dressing them, undressing them, bathing them potty assistance – all of this and more belongs to VISITING ANGELS. Certain people have that gift, but not me. Isn’t that how we think and speak?
Thank God for people who do dirty, stinky jobs. Better them than me! They simplify and make life much easier. What would we do without those WHO HAVE SERVANT HEARTS?!
And suddenly the towel girded Christ levels the playing field. And there we are with the disciples barefoot with our mouths hanging open and Peter’s shoe stuck in his. As He states in John 13:14,
“IF I THEN YOUR LORD AND MASTER HAVE WASHED YOUR FEET, YOU OUGHT ALSO WASH EACH OTHERS FEET.”
It has nothing to do with GIFTS, it is THE VERY ESSENCE OF THE GODLY LIFE.
Hear 👂 it:
“IF THE SON OF GOD IN THE FLESH BECOMES THE SERVANT OF MAN AS HIS ESSENCE, THEN THE SONS OF GOD ARE ESSENTIALLY SERVANTS OF MANKIND TOO.”
We will never be discharged from His Service Corps, to do the utmost and the lowermost service that our Lord and Master calls us to do. Washing feet is our calling, cleaning and feeding the homeless at the city mission is our heartbeat.
The last shall be first. In our Lord’s heart, the lowermost is the uppermost.
Hear 👂 it:
“THIS IS HOW WE KNOW THAT WE ARE PART OF CHRIST.”
From July 26 to August 7,1971, the eyes 👀 of millions of Americans were on the Apollo 15 moon mission. You may remember the Astronauts David R. Scott and James B. Irwin, who landed on the moon 🌙 and spent 18 of their 36 hours there outside the spacecraft. They covered over 17 miles of the surface in a specialized vehicle which people dubbed THE MOON BUGGY.
Upon returning to earth 🌎, James Irwin, a professed Christian believer, declared, “As I was returning, I realized that I am not a CELEBRITY BUT A SERVANT. So I am here as God’s servant in planet earth 🌎 to share what I have experienced, that others may know the glory of God.”
Most of us will never attain the status of James B. Irwin, but all of us can and must have the spirit he possessed – THE SPIRIT OF A SERVANT.
Peter had THE SPIRIT OF CELEBRITY! After all, a KING 👑 and His COURT should not be involved in such menial activity as foot washing and foot drying! I mean to say that they had an IMAGE to preserve, and Jesus was harming their image. What will people think if He ushers in His Kingdom wearing a towel instead of a REGAL ROBE? This is all antithetical to ROYALTY!
Peter had said to the Lord, “YOU WILL NEVER WASH MY FEET.” He might just as well added, ” AND I WILL NEVER WASH YOUR FEET EITHER.” Peter is totally opposed to Jesus Christ!
Peter was shocked 😲 off from his high regal horse 🐎. And what he now says should be the cry of all of us! We read his desperate words in John 13:9,
“AND PETER SAITH UNTO HIM, ‘LORD, NOT MY FEET ONLY, BUT ALSO MY HANDS AND MY HEAD.”
Peter was in fact asking Jesus to wash him head to foot. He wanted not just to be partly connected to Jesus, but totally connected to all of Jesus! Let’s not overlook any parts here. Peter is asking Jesus to give him a bath.
Peter is covering all of the bases, and wants to be sure that He touches every bag so that he can cross home plate safely. Sorry for the baseball analogy here, but I struggle to capture the depth and height of Peter’s cry. I read his words with tears 😢 in my eyes.
Some may make fun of Peter here by pointing out that Peter is an either ALL OR NOTHING kind of guy, DEFICIENT OR EXCESSIVE. Peter the EXTREMIST, either nothing or everything. And in many ways they would be right!
We know Peter’s words to Jesus,
“LORD, EVEN THOUGH I HAVE TO DIE WITH YOU, I WILL NEVER FORSAKE YOU. ”
Peter missed it by 3. Apparently the rooster 🐓was better at mathematics than Peter. In fact, Peter missed it by a country mile. He told Jesus he would die with Him, but he was nowhere around Golgotha. He was hiding with the other disciples, except John, to save his own skin. Yes, Peter was all BLUSTER but no MUSTER.
But not here. He took Jesus’ punch flush on his soul. It rocked him into stunned semi-consciousness that his life was in jeopardy. As he staggers from the mighty blow, he gathers himself just enough to cry out to Jesus, “LORD WASH ME FROM THE SOLES OF MY FEET TO THE CROWN OF MY HEAD.”
When I read his words, I realized that they are some of the most important words that ever fell from human lips. It was like I had never heard them before, even though I had read them many times.
Suddenly his words became iconic! I could only pray them and not just hear them! I cried,
“LORD WASH ME TOO, AND TAKE THE DIRT AND SMELL OF THE WORLD OFF FROM ME. IMMERSE ME IN YOUR HOLINESS. BATHE ME IN YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. SATURATE ME WITH YOUR SERVANTNESS.”h
And then I saw America as I have never seen her before. The land that I love, the land of my birth. And I realized that I don’t recognize her any more. It is no longer familiar to my eyes and my heart ❤. A government that recently voted to allow parents to kill babies that have been born if they deem the child unfit to live. A nation that has sunk into barbarism on top of the millions of murders of the unborn.
“NATIONAL SINS REQUIRE NATIONAL REPENTANCE. ”
“THERE MUST BE EQUAL PROPORTION BETWEEN THE SIN AND THE SORROW FOR SIN.”
“IF A WHOLE NATION SINS, THE WHOLE NATION MUST BE BROKEN BEFORE GOD OR PERISH.”
Remember when the whole world was corrupt before God, the whole world had to humble themselves in confession or drown. They drowned!
The highest to the lowest had provoked God, and the contagion of sin had metastasized throughout the entire body of civilization. The body of this nation must cry out to God as Peter did to Christ,
“LORD, WASH NOT MY FEET ONLY, BUT ALSO MY HEAD AND MY HANDS.”
May the Spirit of God somehow before it is to late, humble not only the vulgar but the high and great ones to humble themselves in broken hearted tears and sorrow and confession before God.
“GENERAL SINS ARE THE STRONGEST TO BRING DOWN GENERAL JUDGMENT; THEREFORE GENERAL SORROW BEFORE GOD AND TURNING FROM SIN MUST BE AS STRONG TO PREVENT IT.”
We hear the words of Jeremiah 31:18,19,20,
“I HAVE SURELY HEARD EPHRAIM BEMOANING HIMSELF, THEREFORE MY BOWELS ARE TROUBLED FOR HIM; I WILL SURELY HAVE MERCY UPON HIM, SAITH THE LORD.”
“IF AMERICA PURPOSES IN HER HEART TO RETURN TO GOD, GOD IN MERCY WILL RETURN TO HER.”