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The Call to Servanthood


The Call to Servanthood

1236-b


It was a most unusual meal; the kind of occasion that changed the course of history; yet at the time it was being held, (as is so often the case) no one there (except the Master) fully realized the importance of the event.

Who would have attached such significance to thirteen men having dinner together in an upper room? It was perhaps in the festively-lit upper chamber of Mark’s house that the Master and the twelve gathered for the meal. Sadly, we note that the supper began with a spirit of contention dominating the scene. More about that later.

There they were, gathered around the table, as was the custom in that day, reclining in a semi-circular arrangement. (perhaps not exactly as so many paintings depict it)

In all likelihood, the apostle John was seated at one end of the table, to the right of The Lord Jesus. This would explain his leaning back on the bosom of the Lord. It was a low, eastern style table, with the guests reclining, their feet away from the table, leaning their arms on pillows facing the table. Across from John, at the other end of the table would have most likely been Peter, who, having been brought to a state of humility, had taken the seat of the least honor. It would also explain Peter’s conversation with the Apostle John, asking him who the traitor  was. The most interesting assumption is that immediately to the left of Jesus, actually in the place of honor, was Judas. This would explain why, when Christ whispered to John who the traitor was, no one else heard him. It would also explain how Christ handed Judas the sop, which formed part of the Paschal ritual, without anyone taking special note. It also would explain, how, when Judas had the audacity to ask if it was he, no one else at the table needed take note. Regardless of the seating arrangement, what took place that day, which has come to be known as “The Last Supper”, was crucial to the future of the Church. And as we follow the events that came at its conclusion, we come to the next great calling of the Christian, taken from the lips of the Master Himself. If heeded, these words would form the very backdrop of the Church’s ministry.

This was to be the last meal they would share together before that dramatic hour when God was to die. His public ministry was over. The feast of the Passover was at hand. And a series of events was to unfold that would change the course of history forever. We read about it in John, chapter thirteen, beginning with verse one:

Jn 13:1 Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that He should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end.

2 And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him;

3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He was come from God, and went to God...

4 He riseth from supper, and laid aside His garments; and took a towel, and girded Himself.

5 After that, He poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith He was girded.

6 Then cometh He to Simon Peter; and Peter saith unto Him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet?

7 Jesus answered and said unto Him, what I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.

8 Peter said unto Him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.

9 Simon Peter saith unto Him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.

10 Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit; and ye are clean, but not all.

11 For He knew who should betray Him; therefore, said He, Ye are not all clean.

12 So after He had washed their feet, and had taken His garments, and was set down again, He said unto them, ÔKnow ye what I have done to you?

13 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well, for so I am.

14 If I, then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.

15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.

16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.

17 If ye know thee things, happy are ye if ye do them.

Jesus is issuing a call to servanthood. More than that, He is explaining the Christian life. And His explanation is not what the disciples wanted to hear. I’m afraid it’s not what he want to hear either. Our outline:

The Call To Servanthood (John 13:1-17)

I- The Length of God’s Love (13:1)

II- The Source of Evil (13:2)

III- The Call to Servanthood

a- The Heart of The Message (13:4-5)

b- Simon Says (13:6-11)

c- Jesus Explains (13:12-16)

d- We Respond (13:17)

The Length of God’s Love

You can sense the urgency of the hour by the statements The Holy Spirit makes at the outset of the passage. He tells us several things we must know if we are to understand how critical this moment was..

1- It was just before the Feast of the Passover was to begin. (vs. 1)

2- Jesus was well aware that the time of His departure was at hand (vs.1). Whatever He needed to impart to these twelve, He needed to impart now.

3- Jesus knew that the Father had given all things into His hands. (vs. 3) He had the power to do what He was called to do.

4- He knew who He was, and where He was going. (vs. 3) John wrote “He knew that He was come from God, and went to God.”

5- Therefore, He needed to assure them and us of one thing:

Having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end.

Memorize that verse. It tells you a great deal about the nature of God. Having loved them, He would love them... always. His love was a choice, based not upon their how lovable they are or their response to His love, but on His desire to demonstrate the character of God, which would never change. Therefore, His love, which had no beginning, would have no end. Not when Peter cursed and denied he’d ever known the Living God. Not when the others forsook Him and fled. Not when you resisted His calling and fled like Jonah from the path He designed for you. Not when you like David, threw away all that was dear to His heart and violated His very Holiness through disobedience. He loves you to the end. The end is the day of days when you are caught up into His presence to forever be bathed in His love. Until then, and from then on, He will love you. Not because you’re so lovable. By now, you should have figured that out. Not because you are so faithful in returning His love. You’re not. But because of who He is. And because of who He is, He cannot stop loving you. Aren’t you glad?

It’s hard for a parent to stop loving his child. But it’s been known to happen. But even “if father and mother forsake you, the Lord will take you up.” Nothing you can or will ever do will separate you from the love of God. Not tribulation, or distress, or peril, or warfare; nothing in the present, nothing in the past, nothing in the future. Paul exclaimed “I am persuaded, that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come; nor height, nor depth, nor anyone or anything else shall be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 9:38,39) Nothing. Zero.

Because of the finality of that love and the intensity of that love and the faithfulness of that love, we are secure in our relationship with Him. And it is that security that ought to motivate us, not to presumption, but to utter, complete abandonment to His will. That is why, I believe, God included this phrase where He did in this passage. What was about to follow would demonstrate the goal of the Church. It was to love by giving itself away. And before He could illustrate that, He had to describe the source of that kind of love... God, Himself.

God will never stop loving you. God will never stop loving me. God never stopped loving Judas. He loved them to the end.

The Source of All Evil

The Lord’s next statement is one that is theologically complex, but practically quite simple. It is an explanation of the source of evil. It reads simply:

And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son to betray Him.

James said “Let no man say when he is tempted, ÔI am tempted of God’. God cannot be tempted. Neither tempteth he any man. But every man is tempted, when he is led away of his own lusts and enticed. God does not entice us to evil. He can’t. And Satan cannot make us do evil. He can’t. We are enticed by the devil. We are responsible ourselves for how we respond to that temptation. Judas set himself up for the fall. He pondered evil in his heart. He faked allegiance to the Master. He was ripe for Satan to pluck from the tree of rebellion. But he chose to do so. And the enticement did not come from the hand of the One who so abhors sin. He does not play games with us. The devil put it into Judas’ heart. He whispered in his ear... just as he did to Eve. And Judas listened, just as Eve did. “The devil made me do it” is a catchy phrase, but it’s a lie. “The devil tempted me to do it” would be accurate. “I chose to do it” is the equally accurate, but disappointing postscript to that statement.

The Call to Servanthood

So now we come to the meat of the passage. We know of God’s unfailing love, and we know of the enemy’s unfailing attempts to undermine our hearts through temptation. Now Jesus, having clarified the choices, illustrates the challenge. Hang on. It’s heavy duty artillery from the arsenal of God’s discipleship handbook. It begins:

and supper being ended, He riseth from supper and laid aside His garments; and took a towel and girded Himself.

You cannot help but think of Philippians, chapter two, where we have that glorious description of God becoming a man, so that man could come to God. Remember? Look at the parallels: Philippians 2, John 13,

Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.

Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He was come from God and went to God.

But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of man.

He riseth... and laid aside His garments; and took a towel and girded Himself... and began to wash the disciples’ feet.

Just as Jesus laid aside His robes of Diety to come to earth and become a man, so He now lays aside His robes of humanity and takes upon Himself the towel of a slave, to further demonstrate what He meant when He said... “He took upon Himself the form of a servant.”

And what happens next, boggles the mind. God washes dirty feet; the dirty feet, incidentally, of a group of self-serving followers who were so insensitive to what was happening around them, that even in the light of the impending arrest and conviction of their Master, they were arguing among themselves as to who was the greatest.

They were sitting at the feet of God exalting themselves. But don’t be too hard on them. We do the same thing. Look at Luke 22:23, 24. Here is another account of this sacred time in the Life of Christ. Jesus had said, in verse 15:

“I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer, For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”

Then, Jesus proceeded to take the cup and break the bread and demonstrate visually the awesome fate that awaited the Son of God on planet earth. You would think that these twelve who owed their very lives to the Master would be so filled with grief and disbelief over what He was saying that they would weep tears of love on His behalf. But instead, we read in verse 24:

And there was... strife among them, (over) which of them should be accounted the greatest.

God was about to be murdered, and these guys, who had been the chief beneficiaries of His ministry on earth, were locked in a theological debate over which of them was of the most importance in the Kingdom. I know it’s easy to get angry at the gross insensitivity of these fools. It’s tempting to wonder how anyone could be that stupid.

Unless we look in the mirror. And remember the times we have, in the face of great spiritual struggles in which the reputation of God and the souls of men hung in the balance, were too busy arguing over who would be chairman of the committee; or who would get to use the best room in the church; or whether or not we would get recognized for the gift we gave or the ministry we performed, never even realizing the real issues at stake. These men were no different; just self-centered disciples who thought God had come to recognize them and serve them and make them comfortable and reputable.

The Heart of The Message

Jesus immediately turns to the heart of the message. And in verse 26, He reminds them of a Biblical truth that runs at total odds with man’s philosophies. He says:

“He that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief; as he that doth serve. For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat; or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I among you as He that serveth.”

Back now to John, chapter thirteen. Jesus proceeds to paint with the brush of human behavior on the canvas of reality an indelible portrait of how God views the mission of His ministers.

He riseth... laid aside His garments; took a towel,...

5- After that, He poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith He was girded.”

It may well be that the behavior of the disciples as they argued about who would be "numero uno" led up to this graphic demonstration of a servant heart. Certainly the two were connected. The circumstances were this: The roads of Palestine were dust covered pathways which in times of rain turned to oceans of mud. The shoes worn by Jesus and His followers were not $60 Reebocks or $100 Bostonian slip-ons. They were bare sandals, consisting of a flat sole, connected to a couple of simple straps. You can imagine what that did to the feet of those who travelled those roads on foot.

Because of this, there were always huge waterpots stationed at the front entrance to every house, and in most cases, there was a servant there with a ewer and a towel to wash the soiled feet of the guests or the family members as they arrived. It was a menial task, but one that must be done before they could enter the house.

The Lord’s little band of followers had no such servants. And so it was to be their duty to perform this task for one another. No one ever expected it to be done by God Himself. Their immediate reaction indicates that they not only were taken by surprise, they didn’t understand what He was doing, or why. That fact is only emphasized by what followed.

Simon Says

You would only naturally expect the first response to be from Simon Peter. He was always the first to ask questions, and always the first to put his mouth in motion without his brain in gear. His response was one of evident good intentions, but obvious immaturity.

Peter said to Him, in effect, “Lord what do you think you’re doing? Surely, you don’t think I’m going to let you wash my feet.”

Jesus’ first response was “Simon, you don’t understand what I’m doing now, but if you’ll sit still a moment, you’ll get the picture.” Now, it seems to me that God was being very patient with Simon, (the way He is with us). But Peter jumped all over Jesus at this point. “No!” he exclaimed. “Not on your life. If I live to be a hundred, you’ll never wash my feet.” With sanctimonious self-righteousness, he straightened God out in a hurry. There are just some things a man can’t let God do for him, right? Wrong. You let God have His way in your life, and you may well find yourself in a position of helplessness you thought you could never tolerate. After all, growing up you were told if you just wanted to badly enough, you could do anything you want! Now, here you are without a job. Or without sight. Or without the ability to walk. Or without the finances to do for yourself. And you are dependent on God and on God’s people in a way that is humiliating and awkward. And you cry out to God, “No, Lord, I’ll never be this way. I’ll never let you do that for me.” And God quietly answers, “Oh, really? I thought you wanted to be mine whatever the cost. This is the cost. Trust me.”

“You’ll never wash my feet”, Simon Peter insists. Jesus answers: “The choice is yours. But either I wash your feet, or you’re off the team.” It was that important to God that He be permitted to serve those He loved. At this point, Simon Peter, never the one to do anything halfway, bellows back to the Lord, “If that’s the case, Jesus, give me a bath.”

The custom in Palestine was that before people went to a feast, they bathed themselves. When they arrived at their destination, they did not need to be bathed again. They only needed to have their feet washed. This was the ceremony which preceded entrance into the house.

In like manner, the Christian, in order to be admitted to the feast of God’s holiness, must be bathed in the blood of the Lamb... once and for all. Once and for always. But his feet often walk in the paths of sin, and he often is separated from the heart of God through disobedience. So each time we enter the house of His holiness in prayer, we need to have the dirt of our daily walk in this world cleansed. The vessel is I John 1:9. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness.” We do not need to be reborn each time we sin. But we do need to be cleansed of those things which have come between us and our God.

So we must be careful not to play “Simon says” when God wants to serve us by cleansing us. He missed the point of it all. He often did.

Jesus Explains

Simon just didn’t get the picture. But Jesus, as always, was patient He proceeds to explain to him, to the others, and to us as well, just why the Living God would stoop to wash the dirty feet of fallen man.

Here is His explanation. Listen carefully:

12 After He had washed their feet, and had taken His garments, and was set down again, He said unto them, ÔKnow ye what I have done to you?’

13 Ye call Me Master and Lord; and ye say well, for so I am.

14 If I, then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.

15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.

16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent, greater than he that sent him.

God has just illustrated in living color who He is. And He has, parenthetically, defined for us, what we are. He is the Living Creator God. And we are His servants. Afraid that we would confuse our calling and begin to become co-gods with Him, He decided to hand paint on the scrolls of life a picture for us, lest we forget our role.

The word “servant” found in this passage is the Greek word “doulos” (doulos). It literally means “a bondslave”. A household slave was like chattel. He was like a horse or a cow or a dog. He was considered to exist completely for whatever purposes his master deemed necessary. They had only one calling in life... to do their master’s bidding.

There were actually more slaves in the Roman Empire than free men. For this reason, slaves were not allowed to identify themselves by dress or any kind of mark, lest they realize the strength of their numbers and rebel as a group. And while slavery is abominable, and freedom from slavery could not come too soon, in a strictly spiritual sense, these slaves had a head start on the rest of us in understanding the Christian life.

The Christian, you see, is called to be a bondslave of Jesus Christ. Nothing less. And the nature of man is such that this doctrine, apart from the divine intervention of God’s Spirit, is unacceptable to the human mind.

Paul referred to himself again and again as a doulos (a bondslave) of Jesus Christ. Jude, the half-brother of our Lord, referred to himself in Jude 1 as the bondslave of Jesus Christ. Peter does so as well in II Peter 1:1. To understand this concept, we have to turn momentarily to Deuteronomy 15, where the Jewish law explains both the plight and the hope of the Jewish slave.

Often men would find themselves so in debt to a creditor that he could not ever pay off his indebtedness. When this happened, by law, he became the personal property of his creditor. He became bound to him as a household slave. This was not, however, an indefinite slavery. At the end of the seventh year, the bondslaves would become free men, able to enter society once again, and control their own destinies.

There were some, however, who did not want to be free. By then, they had realized that they were far better off and better cared for as slaves than they were before. So the law had a clause in it which allowed these men to become slaves by choice. It’s found in Deuteronomy 15:16:

15:16 And it shall be, if he say unto thee and thine house, because he is well with thee, then thou shalt take an awl, and thrust it through his ear, unto the door, and he shall by thy servant forever.

Reference is made to this choice in Exodus 21 as well. It reads:

And if the slave shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children. I will not go out free; then his master shall bring him to the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post, and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him forever.

What an awesome choice. He would ceremonially, often at the door of the tabernacle, have his ear pierced, and from that moment on, several things changed.

1- He was now recognized as a slave, and not ashamed of it. This hole in his ear told the world that had chosen to belong to another.

2- He served a Master who was so worthy of respect, that He chose to remain his slave rather than be free. It was a gracious testimony of the character of the one he had chosen to serve.

3- The slavery he now preferred was without end. There would be no more choices at the end of seven years. He was yielding to the lordship of another forever, and that lord was accepting the responsibility for this slave forever.

In like manner, you and I were created in the image of God. An image obeys its likeness. We were created slaves of God. But sin separated us; set us free to chart out our own destinies. At Calvary, Jesus gave us the right to become “bondslaves” once and for all. He gave us the right, not become gods, but to become servants. All we need do, then, is choose to go to the door (Jesus Christ) and let Him pierce our hearts with the awl of His forgiveness and mark us once and for all as slaves of the King.

We will be bearing testimony to the character of the one who owns us. We will be attesting to the eternal commitment that is ours; and the eternal commitment that is His. And we will be His forever. But the role we will have willingly chosen is the role of a slave. We would rather be a slave of Jesus Christ than to live our lives apart from Him, which is in essence a life lived in bondage to Satan.

The enemy hates this concept. He does everything in his power to convince us that God is chairman of the board and we are board members. He makes suggestions, calls meetings, and we take a vote. If we don’t like His ideas, we vote against it, chart a different course, and live happily ever after. What a horrible lie.

We are not members of the board. We are not even employees of the Living God. We are bondslaves... servants by choice... servants forever. As such, we give up claim to our futures, to our ambitions, to our reputations, to our destinies. If we are to be the slaves we’ve become, we now need only rest in His care and let Him determine what is best for us. When He calls, we come. When He leads, we follow. When He disciplines, we graciously submit. Ours is not to question His authority or His wisdom. He is Lord! Ours is but to trust and obey. He will care for us. He is taking us to a home He has prepared; a luxurious home. To appreciate that home, we need to walk with Him across some difficult terrain to get there. We don’t know the way. He does. We don’t understand why we must pass through battlefield after battlefield to get there. He does. We don’t even think we can make it. He does. He will see that we get there. He is our Lord.

That is the missing link in the case for discipleship in our age. As men and women have become more and more independent, and as authority has become less and less understood, the Christian man or woman has invoked the codes of society on the claims of Christ. And we so abhor the concept of slavery, that we don’t grasp that we are bondslaves, and ever shall be. Thus we break the heart of our Master, and miss the blessing of letting Him care for us the way He wants to.

But there was an even deeper message here, and the disciples found it even more confusing, and more distasteful. Not only were we to forever be the slaves of God, as such, we were forever called not to be served, but to serve. That meant serving one another. It meant treating the other slaves with the same deference you treat the Master. It’s what Paul was describing in Philippians 2 when he explained Christ’s becoming a servant for us. He said in verse 3:

“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory, but in lowliness of mind, let each esteem others better than themselves.

Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself nothing.

The servant’s calling is to serve. And one way he serves his master, is by serving those his master loves. He doesn’t stand at the door of the master’s house and refuse to wash the dirty feet of his master’s guests. By washing them, he serves him. Don’t you see? “When we have done it unto the least of these, our brethren, we have done it unto Him”.

The missing link is that until we come to see ourselves as slaves of God, we can’t grasp our calling to do what slaves do... serve one another. We’re too busy sitting around waiting to be served. And if it ever hits us and makes a connection in our stubborn minds that we are called to be slaves, and slaves alone, our whole concept of ministry will be changed.

Yes, we will one day reign with Him. Now, we can this day serve with Him. And if we are unwilling to serve, we will be incapable of ruling. The servant is not above his lord. The disciple is not above his master. Jesus, Ruler, King, Saviour, Master, Lord... while He walked this earth demonstrated His spiritual kingship by physically serving those He was ministering to.

These men were to be the leaders of the early church. They were to become the fabric from which the tapestry of the future would be woven. But God’s leadership training seminar did not teach them how to reign, but how to serve. This is to be the heart of the elder... the pastor... the spiritual leader... the father... the husband. Those called upon to lead were to lead girded about with the towel of a servant, not marching about with the cloaks of a king.

The mark of the Christian was to be his deep love for others. “By this would all men know that we are His disciples... by the love we have one for another.” How can they see that love? Not by what we say. By how unselfishly we serve.

If that were truly the mark of the church today, there would not need to be bulletin inserts and announcements from pulpits begging people to give to a needy fund, or bring clothes for the unfortunate in the congregation, or food for the hungry. The problem would be controlling the outpouring of God’s people and channeling it where it belonged.

If God’s body on earth were marked by the quality that marked God when He walked this earth, widows would not have to beg to be transported to church or to the doctor; children without two parents would not have to cry out for love; people with hurting marriages would not have to suffer alone, or be outcasts. The body of Christ would so give of itself to itself that needs would be met and lives would be changed and the world would drink of the water of life out of the overflow.

Visiting the hospital wouldn’t be a chore. Spending a day in a nursing home wouldn’t be drudgery. Working in a children's sunday school class wouldn’t be something somebody just has to do. Taking food to those with troubled lives would be a privilege. We would be running over each other trying to get there. The problem would be organizing it so everybody got their turn to serve.

We wouldn’t be pouting because our group didn’t get recognized. We wouldn’t be struggling to get the best room or the best time or the most exposure for our ministries. All we would be wanting to do is serve. Sweep the floors. Paint the buildings. Clean up the nurseries. We would want to get here first, not to get a front row seat, but to do a back row task. People wouldn’t be knocking each other over so they could sit in the seat they like in the sanctuary. They would be holding the door open, so others could sit in their place, and they could sit in the back or stand in the back if need be. We wouldn’t be fighting over the best parking spaces so we don’t have to walk; we’d be out parking cars for others so they don’t have to walk. In short, the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ would be one great family of servants. Our only thoughts would be serving our Lord, and in His Name, serving one another.

We Respond

I believe the voice of Jesus must have softened some after verse 16. I believe He must have looked down the corridors of human history and seen two thousand years of self-serving, self-righteous believers, and lowering his head added verse 17. It reads:

If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

The Creator of Heaven and earth gave a one sentence dissertation on the difference between knowledge and wisdom. He said, “Now guys, don’t go out of here and start a seminar on serving. Don’t write a paper on the meaning of the Greek word “to serve”. Don’t run out and get into a group discussion on what it means to love. And don’t create some kind of legalistic system of service that takes God out of it, and gives man credit for it. Go out of here and serve!

How much simpler could God have made it? He knew we couldn’t understand through words alone, so He showed us how to be slaves. He washed the dirty feet of those whose job it was to serve Him. And then He simply, quietly, authoritatively, said...”That’s what it looks like; no go do it.” Interestingly enough, Jesus didn’t talk about it, until He had done it. And if all of our seminary professors and preachers and teachers were lost in an ocean of love, serving those about them, the classes and sermons would be incidental. They would only lovingly explain what we have already seen. But it isn’t hard to preach about serving. It isn’t hard to teach about being a slave of God and a servant of man. It isn’t even hard to write books about it.

It’s only hard to do it. Hard, that is, unless we let God do it. You say, “But I don’t know how to serve, that’s not my gift.” Beloved, Christ lives in you, and He knows how. Let Him. Go to Him tomorrow morning, pour your heart out before Him, and say “Dear God, I want to be the servant I am. If you could wash dirty feet, and You live in me, can anything be too menial; too dirty; too unglamorous for me to do today? Dear God, I am your bondslave..by choice.. forever. By your grace, may I this day, be the hands you serve with; the eyes you see hurt with; the ears you hear cries with; the feet you run with to demonstrate what real love is. Dear God. I, your slave, want to serve. Amen.”

Pray like that. And hold on, beloved, “Faithful is He who has called you. He will also do it.” And happy ye will be as He does.

© Russell Kelfer, Discipleship Tapes, 10602 Mossbank, San Antonio, Tx. 78230

A challenge to further study

1- Imagine that you were present with the twelve in that upper room. Picture the grief on The Master’s face as those He called to serve were so caught up in themselves they missed the message. When was the last time you pouted because you didn’t get your way in the church? or in the ministry? or in the family? Have you ever asked God’s forgiveness? If not, do so now.

2- What did John mean when he said, “He loved them to the end?” How can you draw comfort from that verse? (Jn 13:1) Memorize it.

3- Where does temptation come from? (Jn 13:2) Does God ever tempt you? Where does the responsibility lie? (James 1:13-16) Does the devil ever “make you sin”?

4- If you had been at “the last supper”, how would you have reacted when God began to wash your feet? Like Simon Peter? Do you have limits on what God can do for you? Who gave you that right?

5- What does the word “servant” (doulos) really mean? What is a bondslave? Has there been a time in your life when you chose to become God’s slave forever? If so, how faithful have you been in giving your life away?

6- Can you think of times last week when you had an opportunity to meet the needs of another, and you did not do it? Was it because you

     a- Didn’t want to get involved?

     b- Didn’t have the time?

     c- Didn’t see it as your calling?

7- If God had time to wash dirty feet, and was willing to do things that menial, what does that say to you about his calling for your life?

8- Explain John 13:17.

9- Pray the prayer mentioned on page 14, and ask God to serve through you this week. Will it make you happy to give your life away? Can you prove that Scripturally? What are you waiting for?


 
 
 
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