Tuesday, June 9, 2015

the behavior of true love (part 2)

It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, 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, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their 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. Very truly I tell you, 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. (John 13:1-17)

Good Morning, Ladies! Did you meditate over these scriptures yesterday? Did you pray for God to prepare your heart as we deliberately endeavor to dissect His holy Word so that we may further understand His deep love for us and know Him more intimately? I hope so.

Today, let's begin to notice the details within the John 13 account. The Bible tells us that the time of the Passover Festival was nearing. As you may or may not know, Passover is the Jewish holy day commemorating the story of Exodus. In it's biblical narrative, we read that God helped the children of Israel escape slavery in Egypt. While held captive under the tyranny of Pharaoh, God caused ten plagues to occur that would ultimately cause His people to be freed. The tenth and worst of the plagues was that the Lord promised to kill every first-born child in Egypt if Pharaoh refused to let God's people go. In order to avoid this horror, the Israelites were instructed to mark the doorposts of their homes with the blood of a spring lamb. Upon seeing this, the spirit of the Lord promised to pass over their homes and spare the life of the first born. Hence the term "Passover".

The celebration of the Passover occurs as a spring festival that lasts about a week. Today, Passover takes place just before Christians celebrate the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ - our Easter holiday. As such, the Jewish and Christian holidays have been entwined since John 13 which occured right before Jesus (God's only Son) encountered His death on the cross. In fact, the word "Pesach" (originally meaning Passover) came to later mean the same as "Easter" to His followers. Anyway, in the days of Christ the intent of the Passover holiday was to remember God's deliverance of ancient Israel's survival from the last plague of death, and ultimately their new found freedom from Egyptian slavery. The theme of Passover was always about Israel's deliverance. It's message focused on the new life promised and delivered by God to His chosen people.

So, here we are at the beginning of John 13 and the upcoming Passover festivals of freedom are soon to begin. Indeed, this is no accident in the Lord's timing of things. Jesus knew He would soon be reuniting with His Father in Heaven. No longer would He walk physically beside his beloved friends and followers, but would instead become a human sacrifice in order to save them from their sinful transgressions. And, "having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end." He loved until His goal was complete... until we could become complete in His Name. Yes, Jesus loved us to the cross! A cross that promises eternal freedom to His people!

I've always found it interesting that when Adam and Eve chose to sin in the Garden of Eden that God did not altogether do away with mankind and condemn us as He had already condemned Satan. Rather than leave us in a hopeless, plagued, sinful state, God orchestrated a Way to save us. Because of Jesus' sacrifice, we are now able to enjoy freedom from sin. Because of Christ's love for us, we can be passed over by death and brought into the Promised Land of our Master. He invites us to enjoy His kingdom and freely dwell in His presence forevermore. What an awesome, loving God, right?

So, here we are - right before the Passover is about to be celebrated... right before we are to remember Israel's deliverance from slavery and know freedom as a people. And Jesus, who loves us to the end, chooses to proclaim His role as our Teacher and Lord. Don't you find that interesting? Furthermore, don't you think it must be extremely noteworthy to consider the topic in which He chose to teach?...

Servanthood. Humility. Cleansing our walk. Pampering ourselves in the capable hands of the King of kings and Lord of lords. Trusting Him to take care of us... to provide for us... to uphold us with His righteous right hand. Why? Because our God loves us. This is what Jesus wanted His disciples to know and share. His lesson plan was about deliverance, and the freedom and life available to those who follow His path. Interestingly enough, His illustration and method returns us right back into looking directly at the uncomfortable position of slavery. However, this lesson is not as expected. Here, Christ teaches us that a God-centered life of slavery is not the same as the tyranic rule of sin over mankind. For slavery to sin is both harmful and destructive. It is plagued with evil and imprisons and kills it's victims. But Godly slavery (slavery to good) is different... it is about choosing to serve in love as holy, righteous mirrors of Christ. It is about kindness and community. It is about adoration and respect. Yes, Godly slavery offers us the foundation of true love while showcasing the perfection of Christ as our Cornerstone. He is the Redeemer who loves to the end... the Savior who would give up everything to become a humble servant to His beloved people.

Why? To save us!

Why? Because He loves us!

Hallelujah... teach us, dear Master! Pass over all death and destruction and, by the power of your sacrificial blood laid over the doorposts of our heart, guide us safely into your eternal freedom and promise! Remain our holy model of humility and cleanse our dirty feet so that we may walk righteously in your Name. Change our human ways of thinking into your higher ways of love so that we might become slaves to holiness. Slaves to good. Slaves to Christ!

Ladies, let's continue to meditate over this passage in John 13 and make a commitment to love Jesus to the end. He is ready to teach us the behavior of true love and begins by showing us a new kind of freedom based in servanthood. So, let us reject the old and become slaves to His NEW. Our Master is ready to wash clean every captive covered in the filth of sin. He invites us to live in love and surrender to His power. So, let's trust the Messiah's proven path to the Promised Land. Let's surrender to His LOVE because He first loved us... to the end!

In the most basic, humbling act, our Teacher has gotten down on both knees to wash our feet. In doing so, He teaches us the most important lesson in life... it all comes down to moving forward in the freedom of Jesus Christ or remaining chained to the bondage of worldly sin. So, let's get out of d'Nile and leave Egypt! For the rules to whom we will serve are quite clear: "No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other." (Matthew 6:24)

Today, let us be devoted women and serve Jesus! Let us surrender our lives completely to our humble Savior and good King! We are so fortunate because our Teacher loves us to the end and has disclosed to us His perfect lesson plan that leads to freedom and wonderful, true LOVE! So, let's learn how to behave holy and follow His example! For how wonderful a Master... how blessed a Friend we have in Jesus!!! All glory and honor are His forever and ever and ever! Amen!

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. (John 15:15)

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.  In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. (Romans 6:8-14)

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:34-36)

Until tomorrow... XOXOXOXO!!!



© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

No comments:

Post a Comment