A Scandalous Love

Imagine you’ve been asked to a dinner party for the small company you work for. When dinner is done and people are sitting and chatting while dishes are being taken away, your boss has quietly gone to the corner of the room and stripped down to his underwear and with a jug of bottled water, starts going down the line of guests and begins washing their feet.

Besides being the basis for a huge lawsuit – how would something like that make you feel? Would it unnerve you? Would you protest this action?

We’re going to be reading John 13:1-17 this Sunday, and the events described above sort of play out in our text. Sometimes we pass this strange display off as a cultural thing, something that everyone was accustomed to – but we have nothing to support that claim. Actually, just the opposite. Foot washing happened, but by and large, guests at a home would wash their own feet. Jewish servants were not required to do this sort of humiliating and intimate thing. Only gentile slaves were known to do something like this.

John sets the stage for this event by saying that Jesus had become aware that all things were in his hands…that is, he wielded the supreme authority of God. So with that knowledge, what did Jesus do with those hands, very first thing?

I don’t have a lot of questions to prod you with this week – just that image to ponder. If Jesus is our greatest revelation of God…who IS God as we see him on display in this section?

This is humbling, challenging and potentially life-altering stuff. Hope to see you this Sunday.

One comment

  1. Peter’s response is so indicative of the bumbling disciples and future, legalistic, Christian denominationalists. Until the disciples received the Holy Spirit, they had a difficult time
    understanding what Jesus’s mission was and how to walk like Him. So do we. We all tend to take the most controllable, predictable route and “do it our way”…by works, by whatever law we know or can make up. The good news of grace is foreign, un-predicable, and destructive of the religious pillars that have supported us, protected us, and yet, also bound us with an invisible burden.
    Peter is no different than the founder of every major denomination that exists today. I call it OCD. Obsessive Compulsive Denominationalism…someone hears a “truth” and all of sudden it becomes the “whole loaf of bread” to them. Something everyone must have to be saved, to walk with Jesus…the “end all” and “be all”. “Lord wash my whole body”. We make that bit of truth into a law. One that fits our legalistic mentality…something we can promote and take control of others with. And just like Peter, we miss the real meaning of the truth we are promoting. Our miss-use of that bit of truth blinds us and bounds us from the power and meaning of it. Truth is supposed to set you free not bind you and others. Every denomination began with a bit of truth that which the group has over promoted…most often to the point of generating separatist pride. That’s what legalists do.

    Jesus is teaching Peter to be a servant: “Relax Peter…let Jesus just wash your feet.”

    PS: Peter, bless his heart, did a similar thing in front of Paul, when he wouldn’t eat with the gentiles. Paul “called him out” for expecting more of them than he did himself. He should have been busy serving everyone at that meal and no one would have gotten offended.

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