Servant

Kings and servants are often found in the same room, but never in the same class.
Jesus turned all of that on its head. His teaching was an inversion of human nature. Without thinking, we exalt leaders and debase servants. Is the natural order of things but is it inevitable and irreversible? It is natural because nature has fallen into sin. Jesus came to accomplish just such a reversal. Leaders are to be servants in His Kingdom. Servants are exalted as they serve and never debased. How can this be? It is because such false exaltation and debasement is based in the fall, not in creation. In creation, there is an equalizing order. Some created things are beautiful and valuable while other things lack in beauty but are still valuable for their usefulness.

After the Object Lesson
Jesus finished washing the feet of the inattentive Judas. He put away the towel and put his outer garments back in place. It was time to explain the object lesson.

“Do you know what I have done to you?
You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am.

The men, still so moved by the intimacy of the touch of Jesus and the sacredness of the moment, were as ready as they would ever be to hear what He had to say. None of them had any idea this was their last time together. Before the next dawn, Jesus would be in chains and they would be scattered seeking shelter where they could find it. Knowing this, Jesus began to take them deeper.

“If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet,
you also ought to wash one another’s feet.”

It was difficult for them to see the object of the object lesson. This was not so much about washing feet as it was about serving one another as they all served the Lord. They must at all costs avoid the trappings of “lordship:” pride, position, power, posturing, and pretense. Jesus could see their struggle to understand.

“…I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.”

It was crucial for them to understand that they were not supposed to lead the way men normally led, ranking important people and unimportant people. Everyone was important. He was about to prove that at a place called Calvary.

“Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master;
nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him.

In His Kingdom, greatness must not be measured downward, amassing servants to do one’s bidding. Greatness is to be measured laterally, holding each one in equal esteem. He had demonstrated this kind of greatness and now they must do the same when He was gone.

The Waiting Reward
There was a crown to be won for each of them. For Jesus, it was the coronation on the other side of the cross. For each of them it was a Crown of Life when they stood before Him again and received His commendation, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” A crown of rejoicing awaited each of them, if they could master this reversal of the roles of leaders and servants.

“If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”

Scriptures:
John 13:12-17

So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
2 Timothy 2:20-22 NKJV
But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, You have called us to live supernatural lives. You conquered the desire for pride and position and power in the human heart. Continue to save me from these things. Let me amass friends, brothers and sisters, yoke-fellows in the work of the Kingdom, not servants! May each person I lead feel his or her value. May they sense the esteem in which I hold them. May those who lead me also be servants at heart. Help us to come together in a marvelous ensemble of grace making the music of heaven here on earth. For Your Glory, Lord, for Your glory! Amen.

Song:
Show Me Your Ways

Words and Music: Russell Fragar

Show me Your ways, that I may walk with You.
Show me Your ways, I put my hopes in You.
The cry of my heart is to love You more,
To live with the touch of Your hand,
Stronger each day. Show me Your ways.

Show me Your ways, that I may walk with You.
Show me Your ways, I put my hopes in You.
The cry of my heart is to serve You more,
To live with the touch of Your hand,
Stronger each day. Show me Your ways.

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

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