Lenten Devotional from Ed
April 5, 2023
Text: John 13:1-20
13 Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2 The devil had already decided that Judas son of Simon Iscariot would betray Jesus. And during supper 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands and that he had come from God and was going to God, 4 got up from supper, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. 6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” 7 Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” 8 Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” 9 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10 Jesus said to him, “One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you.” 11 For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, “Not all of you are clean.”
12 After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had reclined again, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for that is what I am. 14 So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. 16 Very truly, I tell you, slaves are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. 17 If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. 18 I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But it is to fulfill the scripture, ‘The one who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ 19 I tell you this now, before it occurs, so that when it does occur you may believe that I am he. 20 Very truly, I tell you, whoever receives one whom I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me.”
Devotional: Did you catch that quick transition between verses 2 and 3? In verse 2, John lets us know that Judas would betray Jesus, but then John quickly tells us that Jesus knew he was "going to God." Why did John make a point of telling us this?
Security. Peace. John wanted to remind us of this important point: Jesus "had come from God."
If we truly believe WE came from God, if we truly believe God knows all the hairs on our heads, God knew us in our mother's womb, then maybe these important words from John can offer US comfort, peace, and security as well?
If so, what is causing us to keep from doing the next step in the passage above? Jesus begins to wash the disciples' feet (translation for us: serving his neighbor), which was a full display of humility and obedience.
We are quick to accept the designation of "child of God," but in many cases, we pause before taking the next steps: sacrifice, service. Is John telling us that sacrifice on behalf of our neighbor is an outpouring of faith? Confidence that yes, we came from God, but so did our neighbor?
I realize we will likely not be asked to wash a neighbor's feet this week. However, as we inch closer to Maundy Thursday, a day we remember Jesus bending down in service (and a sacrifice of pride), what can WE do for our neighbor? What can we do for our neighbor with the full confidence, knowledge, and peace that we "came from God?"
Prayer: Holy God, as we remember that night with your disciples, we are reminded that we are all children of God. And with that knowledge, we are reminded of the call to serve you and our neighbor. May we continue to lean into becoming the disciple you call each of us into becoming. Amen.
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