Those of us who love books love our bookends as well. There are SO many different types to choose from. It seems like no matter what your style, you will have a fairly easy time grabbing some bookends to match your decor. But, today, I want to talk about a different type of ‘bookend’.
In reading John 13 where Jesus shows his disciples how to be a servant (washing their feet), I noticed something that I had never before noticed. To me this passage always reflected the servant hood of Christ and His example of humbling Himself to serve others to show us how we, too, can put others before ourselves. That was it. Nothing more did I see . . . that is . . . until today.
Today . . . I noticed a very specific message which was bookended on both sides with a similar phrase. Let’s look at the whole passage, verses 1-18 – I will emphasis the bookends and then explain what the message spoke to me.
“ It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love. The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, 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, “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his 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. I tell you the truth, 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. “I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill the scripture: ‘He who shares my bread has lifted up his heel against me.’ (NIV)
So, as you can see, the bookends were when Jesus let His disciples know that He was fully aware of His betrayer in their midst, and the roll he would be playing in fulfilling Christ’s destiny. The message sandwiched in between this pair of bookends is this: “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” – as I stated before, I always believed that this was His message to us to be willing to humbly serve one another in love and respect. Not to ever think ourselves too high and mighty, too important, too full of prestige to stoop to serving someone else in one capacity or another. While that is a very important lesson for us to absorb and follow, I believe that this other lesson that the Holy Spirit revealed to me today is also one that is quite relevant to our daily faith walk of Kingdom Living.
What exactly did Holy Spirit reveal to me? This – Jesus did NOT treat Judas any differently than his other disciples, even though He KNEW what was ahead. That is the ‘example He set before us that we should follow.”
WOW – this really hit me!
Think about it – people around us say things, do things, back stab, gossip, act rudely, etc. and, how do we respond? Well, if we’re honest, most of us jump right into the flesh – that ‘old man’ skin – and react in various ways – we lash out, we’re hurt, we shun them, sometimes try to get even . . . just to throw out a few examples. Am I right? Have you been there?
Now, think about Jesus and this incredible example He lay out before us. His betrayer was not just causing Him grief and/or a difficult moment . . . no, His betrayer would cost Him his human life’s blood being shed – His human breath to cease. And, even knowing all of this, Judas WAS among the disciples of whom Jesus humbled Himself and washed their feet! He did not skip over Judas – He loved him, He treated him the same as all the others. Does this not speak volumes to us? It sure did to me!
Abba Father, Oh, my gracious, Loving Abba Father, forgive my weaknesses – forgive my acting out of my flesh instead out of the Love of Your Spirit towards those who have wronged me! Help me to adequately portray Your character in all I do. I know it will not be an easy thing, humanly speaking, but I know that You have told us in Your Word to be imitators of You (Ephesians 5:1) and Lord, that is what my heart desires to do. That is who I desire to be – only by Your grace, only through my allowing Your Spirit to empower me to humble myself as You did and walk in pure and holy love towards others as You did. I lay down my own ‘stinking’ flesh and all of its ‘ways’ and laying it down at Your feet, submit myself to learning this lesson that You chose to teach me this day. In Jesus Name, and for His glory, amen.
(c) klh 4Given Ministries