Reading through the Bible together
In this chapter, Jesus’ public ministry ends. Christians have called this week between Palm Sunday and Easter “Passion Week.” The meaning of the word, Passion, is outdated; it’s from the Latin passio, meaning “suffering,” so this is the Suffering Week of Christ.
The disciples took uncomfortable risks with Jesus for 3½ years. Would this be their last risk? Some of them thought so. Jesus made plans to celebrate the Passover dinner in a rented room. It seemed safe enough. All were present, except for a servant. The disciples just ignored the dirt beneath their leather sandal-straps. The culture was to lie down around the table as you ate, with everyone’s feet on the same level. A servant would wash all the guests’ feet from the dusty pathway’s journey. But with no servant, the dirt was ignored by everyone, except by Jesus.
On this most critical night prior to Jesus’ crucifixion, how did Jesus make use of the time? Did He explain a list of doctrines? End time events? No, Jesus dealt with their dirt. He washes their feet. The churches that practice foot washing, call it, The Ordinance of Humility. While Jesus, the King, was definitely a humble servant and calls us to treat one another in the same manner (Philippians 2:5-8), a study of the Gospel of John shows that the word humility is absent, and so is any other form of the word. Jesus dealt with their dirt, and then instructed them to do the same for each other, giving a new command to love one another with HIS love.
It does take humility and a dose of risk to admit where we’re dirty and need washing. It also takes a lot of love to be forgiven over and over again. How do we get there? Maybe like the author John, who laid his head against Jesus’ chest at the table, listening to the righteous rhythm, the holy cadence of Jesus’ heartbeat. This is what turned a “son of thunder” into “the beloved disciple,” the one “whom Jesus loved.”
Do you really know that you are loved by Jesus? May your heart also beat in rhythm with the heart of Jesus.
Christopher Bullock, M.Div.
Pastor in Atlanta, Georgia.
North American Division.