Monday, May 22, 2023

             John 13 is loaded with movement and heart-stopping moments.  Immediately, John tells us the timing of the chapter.  He wrote, “It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for Him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end” (John 13:1).  The cross is practically in view.  So too, are Jesus’ last supper, betrayal, arrest, denials and trial.  Everything is moving rapidly forward.  Events are unfolding that will bring the Father’s plan for redemption to finality and completion.  The hour has come and Jesus will move to the center of salvation’s stage.
            Imagine having a few remaining moments with your closest friends and family before you know the end will arrive.  What would you say?  What would you do?  John’s gospel tells us that Jesus and His disciples enjoyed an evening meal (what we would come to know as the Lord’s Supper).  Stated decisively and matter-of-factly, we learn that Satan has entered Judas (John 13:2).  At the same time, we learn that Jesus got up from this meal and began to wash and dry the feet of His disciples.  What an extraordinary sight!  Jesus—teacher, master, Lord—stooping down to wash and dry the feet of ordinary men who had walked many miles, literally and figuratively, with Him caught the attention of everyone in that room on that most solemn of evenings.
            When Jesus came to Peter’s feet, this disciple first responded with a question.  He asked, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” (John 13:6b).  Dismay, shock and even bewilderment were how Peter reacted to Jesus’ humble washing and drying this room full of feet.  His response is recorded in the form of a question, but was it only a question?  Sure enough, he did ask about what Jesus was doing.  But his words might have been about his surprise more than inquiry.  Are YOU going to wash my feet?  You, Jesus?  A simple recognition of what Jesus has done for us and given to us can often leave us shaken and startled in a good way.  We deserve nothing.  We have not earned any grace.  We do not deserve to be singled out for any kind of award or acclaim.  Hearing the gospel of Jesus’ death and resurrection for the first time might lead a man or woman to wonder why the Lord would die for him or her.  Grace often overwhelms us and surprises us because it shows up in the most unlikely of places.
            Peter’s words might have been motivated by a profound sense of humility and unworthiness.  Are You going to wash MY FEET?  If the emphasis is placed on the last two words, then we are looking at something far deeper and richer than a mere question or query.  We are witnessing someone who has suddenly come face to face with the riches of God and a lavishing love and grace that captures him in a tidal wave of divine embrace.  This fisherman named Peter was in the family.  He was securely drawn into the new kingdom and family that the Lord was building.  When we gaze at our blessings today, we are often overcome and astounded by what God has done for us and given to us.  We have been entrusted with far more than we could have ever ordered or expected by ourselves.  But that is grace—favor and goodwill that have been lavished upon us.  Grace is not rationed or strained.  It is poured out and showered upon us.  The Lord’s well of grace is not too shallow.  This well does not run out.  There is always an abundance of sufficient and sustaining grace for God’s people.
            If we could have been the proverbial fly on the wall of the room that night when Jesus washed those feet, we might have found ourselves reacting the same way Peter did—asking questions and simply struggling to make sense of it all.  When we are captured by the joy of a completely unforeseen and unexpected moment, often all we can do is question the amazement of what we have been gifted.  A new mom is shaken by the first sight of her just-born child...moved to tears and thankfulness.  A young man entering the workforce for the first time is stunned and thrilled when his dream job becomes reality and an employer gives him a chance. 
            Peter might have been voted least-likely-to-succeed-as-a-disciple.  He might not have been anyone’s first choice to be used by God to change the world.  And the same might be said about each of us too.  But just as God made man from the dust of the earth and woman from the rib of a man, He can make disciples out of modern-day men and women who might be stunned by such a thought and prospect.  Peter knew his resume for the job of carrying on the work of Jesus was terribly thin, short and shallow.  But Jesus chose Him.  And Jesus chooses us too—to witness, to serve, to share, to be His hands and feet and even to kneel down with a towel and a tub of water.
            If we know the Lord, we have been washed too.  We might wonder why the Father or Son would surround and shower us with such riches when we see ourselves as so undeserving and so small.  But it is the reality that God chooses to do this on us and for us that is the real headline today.  True, we have done nothing and we deserve nothing.  But grace is always more about the depth, height, breadth and length of God’s compassion than our performance and merit.  Me?  You?  Us?  As Paul wrote, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).  Have a great Monday.  Remember you can worship any time at 

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