Lesser Servant

Welcome to the Renew blog, a Six Step Bible Study.

We are a united group of Ladies from the UK, who believe in the transforming power of the Word of God for our lives. We meet every Wednesday at Create church, (part of Rising Brook) in Huntington and would love to welcome you to our group, if you live local.

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We are on week 16 of our study in the book of John and we’re continuing with Chapter 13.

Last week we looked at how the grain of wheat that dropped to the ground and dies but reaped a harvest, we discovered that Jesus had never come to judge us and that the lies in life we tell ourselves are holding us back from the abundant and full life He came to gives us.

We talked about reaping harvest for Him in the way in which we live because of this truth and who’s lives we might impact by living in the freedom Jesus intended us to have, and we also asked ourselves what legacy we might leave behind.

As we move on to John chapter 13, we draw closer to the death of Jesus on the cross. I actually went on to type the end of Jesus’ ministry here, but we know that is not the case, His ministry goes on, I then tried to say the end of Jesus’ life but again this is not the case, He is very much alive, and His ministry lives on, that’s the true legacy!

The word minister or ministry derives from the word minus, which means lesser, which in this case would be described as a lesser servant of God, we are each a minister for God ordained by the greatest commandment which we will see later today in the chapter we are studying. In this chapter we see Jesus serving His disciples;

Read

John 13:1-10

Jesus knew that the night before Passover would be his last night on earth before leaving this world to return to the Father’s side. All throughout his time with his disciples, Jesus had demonstrated a deep and tender love for them. And now he longed to show them the full measure of his love.[a]Before their evening meal had begun, the accuser[b] had already planted betrayal[c] into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.

Now Jesus was fully aware that the Father had placed all things under his control, for he had come from God and was about to go back to be with him. So he got up from the meal and took off his outer robe, and took a towel and wrapped it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ dirty feet and dry them with his towel.

But when Jesus got to Simon Peter, he objected and said, “I can’t let you wash my dirty feet—you’re my Lord!”

Jesus replied, “You don’t understand yet the meaning of what I’m doing, but soon it will be clear to you.”[d]

Peter looked at Jesus and said, “You’ll never wash my dirty feet—never!”

“But Peter, if you don’t allow me to wash your feet,” Jesus responded, “then you will not be able to share life with me.”

So Peter said, “Lord, in that case, don’t just wash my feet, wash my hands and my head too!”

10 Jesus said to him, “You are already clean. You’ve been washed completely and you just need your feet to be cleansed—but that can’t be said of all of you.” For Jesus knew which one was about to betray him, 11 and that’s why he told them that not all of them were clean.

The things we’ve witnessed throughout this book are always described as signs by John and the reason he calls them signs is because they always point to something deeper, a fire exit sign points to a door, it’s a sign to say there’s something else here that will help you, that’s why when we look at the word of God it never grows old, there’s always more.

In verse 7 we see Jesus remove their sandals to wash their feet, this is a sign with a deeper meaning. Jesus is granting them a new inheritance, in Hebrew culture the sandal is often used in a covenant of inheritance. So, this sign is that every defilement would be removed so that they could place the sole of their feet upon the new covenant inheritance, where ever their feet may fall. 

I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. – Joshua 1:3

This is also comparable to the moment Moses was ordained by God in to His ministry, God told Moses to remove his sandals (Exodus 3:5), he was about to receive a new inheritance- the holiness of God and the authority that came with it. Considering this we see the ordination of God’s servants, we too are ordained as His servants. 

Is Jesus asking to wash your feet to allow you the inheritance of the holiness of God and authority that comes with it in order to ‘Minister’ to those standing around you? Ask Him to show you and write down what comes to mind.

Read

John chapter 13:12-17

After washing their feet, he put his robe on and returned to his place at the table.[e] “Do you understand what I just did?” Jesus said. 13 “You’ve called me your teacher and lord, and you’re right, for that’s who I am. 14–15 So if I’m your teacher and lord and have just washed your dirty feet, then you should follow the example that I’ve set for you and wash one another’s dirty feet. Now do for each other what I have just done for you. 16 I speak to you timeless truth: a servant is not superior to his master, and an apostle is never greater than the one who sent him. 17 So now put into practice what I have done for you, and you will experience a life of happiness enriched with untold blessings!”

Think here back to that day, there had never been a man of such authority perform such an act of service for those, no nobleman, teacher or King had ever loved his servants as Jesus did! Again, we see a glimpse of His legacy and He instructs them in verse 17 to put into practice what he has done. So here we see an instruction for our lives but also, He reveals what will happen when we follow the instruction! 

Have you ever performed an act of kindness of service that makes you feel warm inside? 

I went on a girl’s weekend away once, we went out to dinner at nice restaurant and had one of the best 3 course meals I’ve ever enjoyed, one of the girls couldn’t finish her food. Before we went into the restaurant, we’d seen a homeless man sitting outside, she decided to get the food put into a take-out bag and give it him, he was so grateful. When she came back, she went on to tell us that this is something she does regularly, she loved the feeling once she’s given away a blessing, she wasn’t a Christian. The point I’m trying to make is that it’s ingrained in us a human to want to bless one another, we are made in His image, whether we know it or not we were created to love on another. The difference with us is that we have a relationship with Jesus and do it for Him and with Him, which gives us purpose, giving without purpose only winds up in pride. We give the glory back to Him. 

Another example I can give of wanting to wash people’s feet is a time I was told that there were some people that felt a bit inferior to me, I remember feeling so upset about it, I didn’t feel I did anything specific to make them feel that way and in actual fact it was really their feeling of inadequacy and not my responsibility but I prayed all the same and asked Jesus to help me to wash their feet, to make myself less so than them. I desperately wanted them to see that I’m just the same as them, I’m no more important than them, I don’t have special treatment, so I deliberately went on to love them all the more in the knowledge that they felt that way about me. Sometimes God asks us to do things that are opposite to how the world would work, and I can honestly say that in those moments of obedience He works wonders! 

Let’s look at the next portion:

John Chapter 13:18-30

“I don’t refer to all of you when I tell you these things, for I know the ones I’ve chosen—to fulfill the Scripture that says, ‘The one who shared supper with me treacherously betrays me.’[f]19 I am telling you this now, before it happens, so that when the prophecy comes to pass you will be convinced that I AM.[g]20 “Listen to this timeless truth: whoever receives the messenger I send receives me, and the one who receives me receives the Father[h]who sent me.”

21 Then Jesus was moved deeply in his spirit.[i] Looking at his disciples, he announced, “I tell you the truth—one of you is about to betray me.”

22 Eyeing each other, his disciples puzzled over which one of them could do such a thing. 23 The disciple that Jesus dearly loved[j] was at the right of him at the table[k] and was leaning his head on Jesus. 24 Peter gestured to this disciple to ask Jesus who it was he was referring to. 25 Then the dearly loved disciple leaned into Jesus’ chest and whispered, “Master, who is it?”

26 “The one I give this piece of bread to after I’ve dipped it in the bowl,” Jesus replied. Then he dipped the piece of bread into the bowl and handed it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.[l]27 And when Judas ate the piece of bread, Satan[m] entered him. Then Jesus looked at Judas and said, “What you are planning to do, go do it now.”28 None of those around the table realized what was happening. 29 Some thought that Judas, their trusted treasurer, was being told to go buy what was needed for the Passover celebration, or perhaps to go give something to the poor. 30 So Judas left quickly and went out into the dark night to betray Jesus.

Despite knowing that Judas would betray Him Jesus washed His feet! He treated him no differently to the rest of them, Judas was just as much part of the plan as the rest of them! We see in verse 21 that he was moved deeply by the potential of his betrayal. There’s a lesson here,

Who is a Judas in our lives? Who is it that continually tries to pull you down? Who are you struggling with at the moment? How could you get down on your knees and wash their feet? 

Now, I’m not saying here that you go to them and physically do something, there may be circumstances that will not enable you to do that, but you can pray for them, you can stand in the gap and ask God to go to work on their behalf, you can ask for wisdom and knowledge surrounding that circumstance and you can ask God to help reframe your thinking to help you to see this from another angle. 

We know that we are given the strength to do this because it was documented here in verse 26, and in the day of the text it was a cultural act of cherished friendship and intimacy to hand over a choice piece of food to a friend. So, knowing that Judas would betray Him Jesus still chose love. When receiving that gift satan entered his heart, and in life sometimes we continue to have people that walk all over us, but Jesus shows us how to respond. Because God is our protection, we need not defend ourselves.

In the next portion we see more prophecy from Jesus and He predicts Peter’s denial;

John Chapter 13:31-38

31 After Judas left the room, Jesus said, “The time has come for the glory of God to surround the Son of Man, and God will be greatly glorified through what happens to me.[n] 32 And very soon God will unveil the glory of the Son of Man.[o]

33 “My dear friends,[p] I only have a brief time left to be with you. And then you will search and long for me. But I tell you what I told the Jewish leaders: you’ll not be able to come where I am.[q]

34 “So I give you now a new[r] commandment: Love each other just as much as I have loved you. 35 For when you demonstrate the same love I have for you by loving one another, everyone will know that you’re my true followers.”

36 Peter interjected, “But, Master, where are you going?”

Jesus replied, “Where I am going you won’t be able to follow, but one day you will follow me there.”

37 Peter[s] said, “What do you mean I’m not able to follow you now? I would sacrifice my life to die for you!”[t]

38 Jesus answered, “Would you really lay down your life for me, Peter? Here’s the absolute truth: Before the rooster crows in the morning, you will say three times that you don’t even know me!”

In verse 34 Jesus reiterates the acts of love He’s just performed, obviously the disciples at the time don’t yet know that He’s shown love to the very man who betrayed Him but we do, we see what we are instructed to do and we see the blessing we are promised as a result. 

When Peter informs Jesus he would give himself as a sacrifice in place of Him we see his resistance to see his weakness. We’re all a bit like that aren’t we, until the time comes we are confident in our fleshly pride we can do something, then in the moment we realise we don’t have the strength in ourselves to follow through.

It’s easy for me to sit here and type these words, to decipher and break down the text and explain it’s meaning to our life, but how easy is it for me to follow through, to love my enemy so much I find strength to pray for them, without bad mouthing them, without replicating their behaviour toward me . I can only do what is asked of me in the strength of the one who gave his life for me, I need to remind myself each day that I can only do this in Him, I must continually give up these woes and worries and allow Jesus to renew my mind.

What are you taking on in your own strength now that you know Jesus wants you to let go of? 

This week’s study scripture

1 Corinthians 13 The Passion Translation (TPT)

13 If I were to speak with eloquence in earth’s many languages, and in the heavenly tongues of angels,[a] yet I didn’t express myself with love,[b] my words would be reduced to the hollow sound of nothing more than a clanging cymbal.

6 R'S

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