"And having loved their own who were in the world, I love them to the end"
Saint John 13: 1
This chapter tells us that the feast of Easter was approaching. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world to return to the Father. Then he retires to be with his own family: The disciples. What did you feel at that time towards the disciples? The text says: loved them to the end.
-Jesus was a person he loved.
In his heart he found a place for his people. His concern was to continue preparing them for their future duties and tests. It was not selfish. He did not stop thinking about his sorrows or the prospect of later joy. The constancy of Jesus is highlighted. Jesus shows us love until the end, although not everyone loved him that way.
The Father had placed all things under his control. He had complete control, authority and power. What did Jesus do with this power? Jesus performed a simple and profound act: "So he got up from the table, took off his cloak, and tied a towel around his waist. Then he poured water into a bowl and began to wash the disciples' feet and to dry them with the towel that was around his waist "(John 13: 4-5).
Jesus makes a dramatized exposition of the greatness of his love: he offered his service to people who did not deserve it, who would leave him and also offered his service to a person who was opposed. He showed that divine love reaches the ultimate consequences. Jesus was a person who loved. He loved them to the end.
-Jesus was someone who knew his identity.
As an act of personal cleanliness, people washed their feet. This is not a problem unless you have to wash the feet of others. Usually it was a task that slaves did or maybe women and children.
Most likely, this foot washing was caused by some misconduct of the disciples. Perhaps they were discussing what order they should sit at the table or who on that occasion should be the servant and wash the feet of everyone. Luke in his Gospel tells us that they had an altercation about who would be the most important. The disciples were willing to fight for a throne but not for a towel. It was not likely that someone would take the towel to wash his partner's feet. They preferred to sit down to eat dirty before being clean.
Jesus did something impressive. No slave appeared, the one that appeared was Jesus. He humbled himself. He washed everyone's feet. He used all his power to serve. Jesus knew who he was and did not need the power to complete his identity. He did not misuse the power and did not manage to feel important or fill a void in his life. We can misuse and abuse power when we do not really know who we are, what our identity is and to whom we have to be similar.
-Jesus was a person who was turning social order.
The love of Christ transcended the barriers of social class. This attitude of Jesus produced a strong reaction in Peter. "No, Pedro protested, you will never wash my feet" (v 8). I could not bear the thought of Jesus humiliating himself in that way. Jesus was breaking with the paradigm of honors and prestige that we usually have in our midst. Pedro probably did not feel worthy. He was right: he was not worthy of receiving this, none of us are, but it was not a question of merit but of Grace.
What we have trouble understanding is the central message: Jesus Christ serves and gives his life for sinners. His humiliation magnifies him merienda more and from this comes the model of the Servant, the model of the pastorate, the model to be a disciple. The reverence of the current system or the world is different. He finds it difficult to do what the Lord did.
-Jesus washed the feet of Judas
Jesus knew who Judas was (John 2:25, 6: 64, 70). What would we do if one of us had a person like Judas in his group? Perhaps for much less than a betrayal we would not have people who do not agree with us.
Judas had heard Jesus' message but that did not transform him. It is very interesting when Paul speaks to the Corinthians about the folly of the cross (1 Cor. 1:23, 25). Exposing yourself and being indefenso to the enemy is really crazy. However, Jesus washed the feet of Judas. To respond fully to the example of Jesus in washing the feet of all implies abandoning the right to choose who I want to serve.
"Do you understand what I have done with you?" "You call me Master and Lord, and they say well because I am." Teacher whose doctrine we have to learn and Lord whose will we must obey. Make it clear that your humility does not ignore who and what He is. Your humility is that of a King, that of a Divine being. We do not usually see this in our minds and surrender in adoration. The models learned are often different and distort our understanding – behavior.
Jesus shows the model of meekness, humility, service and brotherly kindness. It is the model he recommends for his followers. It demands that we pay attention to its behavior and strive to imitate it. "I have set an example for you to do the same thing that I have done with you … Do you understand this? Blessed are they if they put it into practice. " Saint John 13: 12-17
Questions for reflection
– What is the position for? The responsability? The leadership? The authority and the power? How do we usually use it? How are we serving others?
– Are we people who experience the grace of God and share it with others? Do we show ourselves legalists and develop a relationship based on merit? How should the model of the servant be? Are we open to serve others in love, acceptance and forgiveness? How is my attitude towards people from another context and culture?
Local and Global Mission (GloCal)Author: Carlos Scott
Carlos is a member of the executive committee and total leadership council of the Missions Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), Resides in Buenos Aires.(tagsToTranslate) articles (t) pastoral leadership (t)