May 27, 2016
READ: John 13:1-15
I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you (v.15).
Steady rains had transformed the hardened terrain of our back garden into a soaked softness. Walking outside, I felt the coolness of the water and mud squishing between my toes. Our dogs had been digging in a small area, so I decided to move a few cement blocks to block the patch of ground from their reach. My work left me covered with moist dirt and grass. Deciding to wash before heading indoors, I watched the clear stream of water make my skin clean once again.
As Jesus knelt before His disciples, He willingly took their callused feet—layered with the dirt of a day’s travel—in His capable hands (John 13:3-5). The men were stunned. Peter even dared to refuse Christ’s cleansing (v.8). But Jesus, unaffected by their dismay, continued His work. Washing away the grime on their feet, His actions both fulfilled and declared prophecy in this quiet moment: He had come to give up His life for a kingdom different than this world, and He was charging His beloved disciples to do no less (Mark 10:45).
We exchange our pride for Jesus’ perfection when we follow in His footsteps and lay down our ideas about success, reputation and self-advancement for what we can’t see right now (John 13:7). Like Peter, we’re afraid of our own brokenness, or at the very least we want some measure of control (vv.8-9).
Self-preservation calls us to hold tightly to whatever we can; but love, more powerful than fear, obligation or recognition, tells us we’ve been washed. We’re purified so that we too might give up our lives (John 15:12-13). No longer muddied with guilt and shame, what was once unclean becomes beautiful (Isaiah 52:7), making God’s hope visible to the world.
365-day plan: Ezekiel 37:1-14
Read 2 Corinthians 5:11-21 and consider how God uses us to reach others with His cleansing ways.
In what experience in life did Jesus’ love become overwhelmingly real to you? In what ways is God calling you to visibly represent Him to someone else?