For the audio version: https://youtu.be/bZl1fZ3W-DI
Prepare to Listen. Remind yourself of God’s promise: I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
Prayerfully Read John 13:12-17
12After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, ‘Do you know what I have done to you? 13You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. 14So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. 16Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. 17If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.
One of my students once argued that the primary symbol of Christianity should be a basin and a towel, not a cross. He had a point. Jesus picked up and used a basin and towel (vv4-5), tools of a servant, to wash his disciples’ feet. The basin and towel symbolize the way followers of Jesus must live, as servant to all, taking on the lowliest of tasks. However, many of us would rather be warriors, fighting a noble cause, or be in positions of influence and power. We don’t want to be servants, doing those lowly tasks few acknowledge or even see. But we weren’t called to visible power positions. We were called to servant roles, putting the needs and interest of others before our own.
Jesus didn’t give lists of theological propositions to believe and moral principles to obey. He showed us, by example, how to live. He acted as a servant and washed his disciples’ feet. He then commanded his disciples, which includes us today, to follow his example of being an active servant. It’s that simple, ‘take up the basin and the towel’ and serve one another, however menial and unnoticed by others. However, it won’t be unnoticed by Jesus. He promised a blessing, saying, “If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.”
So perhaps we should include the basin and towel in our images of what Christianity stands for, but not as the primary symbol and nor as replacement for the cross.
To whom can you be a servant today and how?
Respond to Jesus
Your call, Lord Jesus, isn’t to be great or number one, but to take on the role of servant. Help me today to see where I can serve you by serving another that I may a reflection of you to the world. Amen.
Go live obediently in the world. Take up ‘the basin and the towel.’
Reflection on Scripture has been a constant in my life ever since I can remember. Reflecting on Jesus in the Gospels has become a necessity to get Jesus right. Join me in reading John to see Jesus more clearly this Lent.