John 13:3-5

Father, every bit of the person You’d have me to be, I long to be.

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Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under His power and that He had come from God and was returning to God;” (v. 3 NIV)

Jesus knew Himself inside and out, as God’s Son and the human representation of our Creator and Father God. He knew His strength (power), identity, and destiny.
HIS STRENGTH – that the Father had put all things under His power
HIS IDENTITY – that He had come from God
HIS DESTINY – that He would be returning to God
Knowing who He is, fully understanding Himself, He chose to serve others.

Do we know ourselves? Do we know who we are when we are followers of Jesus, when we are “in Christ,” as the Scriptures describe His followers?
OUR STRENGTH – that we can do ALL things through Him who gives us strength (Philippians 4:13) and we can do nothing apart from Him (John 15:5)—through Whom ALL things are possible (Luke 1:37; Matthew 19:26).
OUR IDENTITY – that we are daughters and sons “of God through faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26-27 NIV), upon whom He lavishes His love (1 John 3:1)
OUR DESTINY – that our citizenship is in heaven and we eagerly await our Savior’s return, who will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body (Philippians 3:20-21); that He has given us His Holy Spirit to dwell within us as a deposit to guarantee our inheritance (Ephesians 1:13-14) that can never perish, spoil, or fade—kept in heaven for us who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of His salvation upon His return. (1 Peter 1:3-4)
When we know who we are in Christ, we can set ourselves aside confidently and serve others, following the example of Jesus.

When Jesus demonstrated serving others in the upper room as He washed the disciples’ grimy feet, He went through some basic steps and movements which can be insight for us as we move ourselves toward selfless service to others. (See John 13:4-5.)

GOT UP“so He got up from the meal” (v. 4)
Jesus left His comfortable situation or position at the table. He didn’t just lie back and describe His idea to the group or preach to them as He’d often done in other settings. This time, He chose to set an example for them right before their eyes.
How willing are we to get up from wherever our comfort zone has us?

TOOK OFF“took off His outer clothing” (v 4)
He let go of His image among those around Him. They had been perceiving Him as a Teacher, leader, Messiah, and Son of God. His actions most likely raised a few eyebrows in wonder.
When we’ve been known in one way by those around us, do we have the boldness to step out in ways the more closely reflect our Savior?

WRAPPED“wrapped a towel around His waist” (v. 4)
Jesus chose to reflect the image of a servant in the culture around Him. He never did espouse the image that so many expected the King of Kings to have—not in His lowly birth in a stable to His death on a tree.
Will we conform to this world’s pattern of behavior and expectations or choose to imitate Jesus?

POURED“He poured water into a basin” (v. 5)
He prepared the tools for serving others. Not even waiting around for someone else to do something or hand Him something, Jesus got what He needed and did what was required so that others could be blessed by His genuine humility.
For what are we waiting?

BEGAN TO WASH“began to wash His disciples’ feet” (v. 5)
As Jesus washed the feet of the men who had walked hundreds of miles with Him, He cleansed toes, soles and heels of some who doubted, angered easily, were proud, thought they should have places of honor, and one who would betray. He showed no favoritism as He served those with Him.
When we serve, are we looking for certain recipients or willing to serve any the Lord puts in our path with the resources or means that He provides?

DRYING“drying them with the towel that was wrapped around Him” (v. 5)
Jesus involved Himself fully in completing His service to others. He didn’t ask someone in the room to hand Him a towel or to follow Him and do the drying. He used what He had with Him to complete the service He started. At other times, He did delegate tasks to others in order to serve. In this particular instance, He chose to be the servant, allowing the others to experience the blessing of being served.
How’s our follow through when the Lord prompts us to serve with what He’s equipped or supplied us?

A number of years after our Lord showed us this example of serving others, He used the pen of Paul to exhort us. “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness” (Philippians 2:5-7). In another passage, Paul’s letter to the Ephesians prompts us to “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men” (Eph 6:7).

Jesus took several opportunities, like the one recorded by John, to demonstrate His servant’s heart and to draw us to follow His example. Now, the willingness, boldness, Christ-likeness, initiative, impartiality, and follow-through are traits we can choose to employ … or not. Will we seek to be served or serve like Jesus?

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1 Corinthians 11

Yes, Lord! My life is in YOUR hands.

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“Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ.” (v 1 NIV)

How interesting to think, Lord, that at the time the Corinthians were reading this letter, they couldn’t pick up a copy of one of the gospels and read about the life of Your Son, Jesus.  Paul couldn’t tell them to imitate Jesus, because most knew very little about Him.  Instead, Paul chose to point them to a Christian they had grown to trust, with whom they had built a relationship.

With so much biblical illiteracy in our world today, Paul’s tactic is just as relevant today.  So many folks have never seen an open Bible, let alone read the words found therein, especially the gospel accounts of Your Son’s life and ministry.  What’s that leave?  My life is what they see … My words are what they hear … My attitude is what they pick up on.

As John the Baptist once said, “He must become greater; I must become less” (John 3:30 NIV).  Father, cause there to be more of Jesus evident in my life than me.  Help me to follow Your footsteps in such a way that others become curious, then interested, then captivated until they become connected to You through examples like mine.  Only by Your grace can I become such an example.  Keep making me just like Jesus.  Amen.

1 Corinthians 10

Yes, Lord! My life is in YOUR hands.

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EXAMPLES & EXHORTATIONS

“These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come.” (v 11 NIV).

Father, You highlight in this passage the faltering steps of Your people in the past.  You pointed out through Paul’s reflections that “these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did” (v 6).  Thank You for Your warnings that so evidently stem from Your love for me, not wanting me to fall.

Thank You for the great truths in this: “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.  And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (v 13 NIV).

Thank You for Your faithfulness!  Thank You for Your guidance, protection and provision!

Help me to follow Your Son’s example … even when it’s tough.  Help me to not seek my own good, but the good of others (v 24).  In whatever I eat or drink or whatever I do, help me to do it all for Your glory, Lord.  Help me not to cause anyone to stumble.  Guide me in not seeking my own good, but the good of many, so that they might be saved (v 31-33).

Keep on making me just like Jesus, so that others see more of Him and less of me.  Amen.