Friday, September 4, 2015

John 13:1-17 comments: the humility of God in the flesh

1 ¶  Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end. 2  And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him; 3  Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God; 4  He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. 5  After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. 6  Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? 7  Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. 8  Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. 9  Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. 10  Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all. 11  For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean. 12  So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? 13  Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. 14  If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15  For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. 16  Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. 17  If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

Jesus has come to the time when He knows He is to be offered up. Satan has put into Judas Iscariot’s heart to betray Christ. Jesus then sets an example for the disciples, that of service and servanthood to each other.  Peter, at first, refuses this offer of humility from Christ but then repents. It is so with the person who will not accept Christ’s sacrifice on the cross as an atonement for his or her sin. They might even at first declare that they are beneath Christ and not worthy of His work but it is, in all reality, pride that keeps them from accepting the work on the cross. 

Christ, God in the flesh, came to earth and humbled Himself to live as one of us. He then offered Himself up for our sin. This humility of the God who created all things is impossible for us to completely understand. It is, though, an example for us in our relations to our brothers and sisters in Christ and, for that matter, to all the world as we best show the character of God by serving others in humility and kindness. Christianity is not for the proud and haughty, the self-righteous, but for those who are willing to subject themselves to Christ and to serve others. This self-congratulatory breaking your arm to pat yourself on the back for being saved is a contradiction with what Christ calls us to think.

Matthew 5:5  Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

James 4:10  Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

1Peter 5:6  Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

We are to mirror and reflect the humility of God.

2Corinthians 8:9  For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.

Philippians 2:5  Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6  Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8  And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

The classic “alpha male”, the control freak, the self righteous, the glowingly proud dominator of other, less gifted, less handsome, less beautiful, less talented, less intelligent mortals makes for a terrible example of a follower of Christ. Your German pride, your Anglo-Saxon pride, your Black pride, your White pride, your Gay pride, your Southern pride, your whatever pride does not sit you in good stead with Christ, believe it or not. Humble yourselves before God and before others. Do not make your profession of Christianity a joke and a menace as others before you have done and are doing.

While foot-washing is not part of our culture this is a representation of humility. Foot-washing in a culture where a day was a dusty, dirty walk in sandals was an act of hospitality offered to one’s guests; water to wash the feet and, perhaps, a servant with a towel to dry the feet off after a journey. See Genesis 18:4; 19:2; 24:32; 43:24; and most particularly 1Samuel 25:41.

Verse 10 may be telling us simply that Christ’s sacrifice is sufficient and we will not be saved and lost, saved and lost, over and over again. One sacrifice for sin is all that He needed to do.

Hebrews 9:23 ¶  It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24  For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: 25  Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; 26  For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27  And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: 28  So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

Christ’s sacrifice is sufficient for all of our sins; past, present, and future to be removed from us. Or, as it says in a prophetic context in Psalm 103;

12  As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

Do not think of yourself as better than your Creator by refusing in your pride and vanity to be the servant that Christ showed for us as an example.

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