Wednesday, June 10, 2015

the behavior of true love (part 3)

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. The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”

Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”

“Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”

Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.

When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. (John 13:1-17)


It was soon Passover, and according to other New Testament scriptures covering this same event (Matthew 26, Mark 14, and Luke 22), this was the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread - the day on which the Passover lamb was to be sacrificed. Here in John 13, we are dropped in the middle of suppertime with Jesus and His disciples. Now, before we expand upon the meaning that this particular supper held, let's first pause to consider the commonality and familiarity of these men eating together with the King of kings. Don't you just love the thought of how comfortable it was for ordinary men to enjoy dinner with their Master? How normal it was for them to share a table and engage in conversation with the Lord? Other scriptures that record this account inform us that Jesus and the disciples were actually reclining at the table as they ate. This was customary of that age, but can you imagine it? Twelve guys kicking back, enjoying good food, and bantering as only close friends are known to do... and doing so in the presence of God Himself!
When I think about this scene, I must admit that this is not necessarily the place I naturally go to when I think about my relating with God. It is easier for me to worship the Almighty, Sovereign God of the universe as the only true omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient deity of which I know Him to be. But to consider reclining back and enjoying a good dinner and good conversation alongside Him... no, that's not my go-to image with the Almighty. But that is exactly how intimately He wishes for us to relate.

This isn't the first time in scripture that God presents Himself in such a manner. Think about His interaction from the beginning with Adam and Eve. No two people had more one-on-one exposure with God directly. Even after man's sinful fall, Adam still knew and relied upon God more than we ever have. How do I know this? Well, Scripture tells us that in the cool of the day God would walk through Eden. And God continued to talk with both Adam and his offspring even after man cursed his future. Man's rejection and defiance to God's Word could not change the Almighty's love and faithful friendship. In fact, throughout scripture we see that this is a God who is engaged with His people. A Creator who cares enough for His creation to physically make garments and clothe man so he would not be ashamed. This is a Father who disciplines and loves His children even after they stumble. A Teacher who purposefully demonstrates His life-giving lessons. A Savior who willingly sacrifices Himself in order to redeem and restore man from his sinful mistake. A King who joyfully looks forward to spending quality time celebrating His coming kingdom amongst those faithful to Him.

When I think about how natural it was for these men to both relax and remain in awe of their Messiah, I have to wonder why we all don't strive to better befriend the Savior the same way. Why don't we invite Him to join us in all our dealings? Why don't we ask Him to celebrate every moment? Why don't we welcome Him when we eat, when we interact and converse, when we work, or when we kick back and relax with others? Do we deliberately listen for Him to teach and guide us in every one of these circumstances? And during these times, do we feel free to ask His advise on anything - even the embarrassing things? Do we trust Him enough to drop everything we think we know and follow Him wherever He leads? Is God a true, faithful Friend and confidant who has our best interest at heart? Is He?

Ladies, I encourage you to think about your friendship with Jesus Christ. Think about how you really view Him... not only as the Almighty, Sovereign God of the universe, but also as a Best Friend. Are you comfortable to receive and claim the Messiah as your Best Friend? Is He someone you enjoy spending time with in prayer and being influenced by His Word? Or is He the Almighty, Sovereign God of the universe that you keep separate at arms length?

When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.” (Luke 22:14-16)

Please think about it.

Until tomorrow... XOXOXO!

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

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