The Footsteps of Service

January 18, 2012

The Footsteps of Service

John 13:1-17
1It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love, 2The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. 3Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. 6He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” 7Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” 8″No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” 9″Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” 10Jesus answered, “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean. 12When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13″You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

Imagine the CEO of the most powerful company in the world taking off his jacket, tucking back his tie, rolling up his sleeves and washing the feet of his board of directors.  Imagine the president of the United States doing the same with his cabinet.  One by one he removes their shoes and socks, washes their feet and dries them.  We would think that was pretty odd and out of place for a person of their stature, power and authority to do such a thing.  That isn’t in the job description, is it?  For Jesus it was and He was far greater than even the men I have just described.
Through this servant act of foot washing Jesus was demonstrating the mission statement of the Kingdom, “Service out of love.”
Jesus gave us the bath when we accepted Him as our Savior.  We were washed by the blood of the Lamb and baptized into Him.  While His righteousness covers us, our feet still get dirty as we trod this earth.  We don’t live and walk through this world without getting tainted from it.  Sometimes our feet can get down right dirty and muddy.  They have to be washed.  Spiritually speaking, we need those feet of our spiritual walk cleansed as it says in Ephesians 5:26, “That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word”
The principle of the natural world and natural man is to live for self.  Selfishness, in the person of God, defiles their walk and yet most all of us have that in us.  That is why Jesus gave us an example of washing one another’s feet with selfless acts of kindness and mercy.  That is why the Word tells us we are not to judge our brother, but seek to restore them in humility and love, taking heed that we don’t fall into disobedience.
We have talked about how our feet carry us through life and in the path that we choose to follow.  Our feet govern our walk in the natural and the spirit.  The only way the man of God knows how to walk is by the light of the Word of God.  Psalms 119:101 says, “I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey your word.” And verse 105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”  What Jesus taught His disciple on this last night before His death is a key principle of the kingdom.  It is like what He told his disciples when they were fussing over who would be the greatest in the kingdom.  In Mark 9:35 it tells us, “And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, [the same] shall be last of all, and servant of all.” That is what our walk is all about and that is the economy of the kingdom, “service out of love.”  Our vision has to be, not to be served, but to serve.”  We have all been called into the ministry.  It is the ministry of service.”  I would expect to see a great many women promoted in heaven, because more of them have learned what it is to serve out of love.
There will be those who abuse your service.  There will be those whom you will wash their feet and they will turn and betray you, as Judas did Jesus.   Your greatness is not in your authority or riches or power or giftings; it is in your humility, your love and your service to others.  Humility is simply strength under control.
Listen to Paul’s philosophy of his ministry in 1 Corinthians 10:31-33, “31So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— 33even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.”  You see, many of us are walking in a wrong way of thinking; it is about us and what we can accomplish.  We may have the pretense and delussion that it is for the Lord’s glory, when really it is for ours.
Will you wash someone’s feet today?  Will you serve them, love them, minister the Word of God to them, not in condemnation and judgement, but in love.  Will you help someone find their way and set their feet on the path of the kingdom of heaven?  Your greatness is in your love and your ability to serve others.  Everyday we can wash someone’s feet.  How great are we?


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