The power of the towel
by Terry Broome
The glory of the Gospel lies in Jesus Christ.
He makes it a glorious Gospel! The glory of Jesus is the cross and the love that placed Him there. He loved His disciples even to the end. This love was so thorough that the Son of God was willing to empty Himself of His former state of glory as Paul discusses in Philippians Chapter Two. It was also this love that gave Christ the ability to wash the disciples feet.
It seems that the more natural tendency in this life is to let other people take the initiative to serve us instead of our being the first to serve. Jesus was constantly teaching the disciples to be different from the world. He wanted these men to have the frame of mind that if something needs to be done, do it, instead of waiting to see if someone else will take care of it. We must be self-starters and have a volunteer spirit. That coupled with a good dose of humility can make for a great servant of the Lord Jesus Christ.
In John Chapter 13 we read of the occasion of the band of disciples joining Jesus in the upper room to observe the Passover Feast in what we now call the Last Supper. Had they been in Peter’s home there would have been no doubt as to who the host was, but on this occasion they were on neutral turf. Thirteen weary pilgrims made their way to this moment, twelve of whom had not learned yet that greatness comes from being willing to serve others. They had already squabbled a bit over who was the greatest in the Kingdom (Mark 9:33-34).
They had proud minds, but still dirty feet. To them perhaps playing host and washing the other disciples’ feet would declare them the least, and the others the greater. Perhaps they were merely thoughtless and didn’t give the subject due consideration. The culture of the day sheds some doubt on that option, but it is possible. What we do know is that these twelve men were in the presence of the Lord Jesus, and not one of them took on himself the role of “servant.”
We need to learn that Jesus wants a “servant” church more than a “success driven” church. “But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted” (Matthew 23:11-12). Jesus was not diminished in esteem by His willingness to wash feet. He actually demonstrated Himself the better man for it. The disciples would need this special quality if a “servant” church was going to succeed. We still need the very same mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5-9).
Oh, some of us serve all right, but we pick and choose who we will serve. Many times we will serve if we believe the ones we serve actually deserve it. Yet Jesus washed the feet of a man who would betray Him, another who would deny Him. In fact, not one man in the group deserved to be served, but He washed their feet anyway. Our service to God will not always result in their serving Him, but we serve because it brings glory to God. Sometimes it also causes some to turn from the world to serve God as well. Lord, make me a servant.
The author can be reached for comments at 256-574-2489.