March 25, 2013

John 13:3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God.

 

This statement is a prologue to the account of Jesus washing the disciple’s feet, the traditional reading on Maundy Thursday. In certain circles it is vogue to present Jesus as an idealist with a tortuous internal struggle. No doubt the temptations in the wilderness and the prayers in the garden of Gethsemane indicate the stress and strain of Jesus doing what he knew he needed to do, but John at least wants us to see another side of his character, one that is assured that his father will care for him in the future as he has in the past. It is from this self-identity that Jesus can live out a life of service and be the savior of the world according to John even in moments of pain and trauma. I went from delivering a sermon about all this on Sunday morning to sitting at the bedside of a hospice patient Sunday afternoon. He could no longer respond to me. Who knows what he could hear. I had nothing I could add to his situation except in my presence affirming that Jesus who came from God and returned to God could somehow wash our feet, serve us with what we need in that moment. Jesus goes on to say, “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.” Life is primarily about identity. Jesus knew who he was in God and where in God he was going and understood serving in that light. Who are you? Where have you come from, where are you going and who will you serve in-between?

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