“I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” (John 13:15)
Yesterday we talked about some of the most amazing words that Jesus ever uttered. They are Jesus’ promise that anyone who believes in Him will do the works He has done (and greater works, as well). The wonder of God’s grace is that it is grace itself that empowers and enables (it never was about us anyway). We are just the vessels that receive God’s grace and let that grace flow from within us.
That was the secret to Jesus’ ministry. Grace in Him, flowing out through Him. That is WHY anyone who believes in Him will do as He did… it is what God’s grace does through any committed and willing vessel.
But before we get all caught up in exercising our “miracle-working chops” we need to gain some perspective. We really need to understand the scene behind Jesus’ words. It wasn’t miracle training. It wasn’t demon-extraction lessons. It wasn’t the how-to’s behind changing water into wine. It wasn’t water-walking 101…
It was the essential lesson of… washing feet.
Jesus stunned His disciples, by donning the basin and the towel and commencing to perform a lowly servant’s task. Here was the Master, the Word made flesh, God incarnate… performing the most menial (and humbling) of tasks.
This lesson is even more amplified by the fact of WHEN it was given. Jesus was just about to be betrayed, go through a night of unbearable suffering, and go through the excruciating ordeal of the cross… for the sins of the whole world. And the most essential lesson He desired to impart… was one of humble service.
The reason for Jesus’ actions, and the basis for His promise of “blessings upon those who will do them,” is often easy to miss. Just as His first disciples, we can get all caught up in the importance of ministry (and of being recognized in our ministry) and forget the most basic of fundamentals in the Kingdom of God.
It is simply this:
If grace is really what is on display through our lives, then the most important thing we can do is to get filled with grace – and the best way to do that is to humble ourselves (in love) and serve people. It just might be that God is actually seeking hearts who will lose themselves in His importance… and who will see humble service as their most important achievement in life.
Jesus seems to be telling all disciples that the key to being full of grace is to be emptied of ourselves (and our own self-importance).
This makes beautiful sense. We can get so caught up in importance and honor and recognition and our own worth – that we can miss the fact that God is all important, should always be honored and recognized, and should be lovingly worshipped – through what happens through our lives…
Doing the works that Jesus did can only begin by humbling ourselves as Jesus did – for it is to the humble that God seeks to pour out the immense measure of His grace.