Weekly Blog – September 17, 2019
“Serving others is serving Him” – John 13:1-20 (ESV)
Since I began writing my weekly blog about six weeks ago, a pattern has emerged. I generally start with a story (hopefully endearing) and slowly lead you the reader to a Bible verse and an analogy between the story and a moment from Christ’s life in the Bible.
Today I feel drawn by the Spirit to reverse this emerging pattern. This week let’s begin with Bible verses and a story from the Bible you have probably read or heard before, and we’ll leave the analogy and endearing story for later.
In the Gospel of John, chapter 13, beginning with verse one, we find Jesus and His disciples at what has become known as the Last Supper. Jesus and His followers are reclining at the Passover meal table, when Jesus stands up and does a most peculiar thing, at least in the eyes of His disciples.
Jesus Washes the Disciples’ Feet
“Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.”
When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed, are you if you do them. I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”
Jesus washed their feet. Twelve disciples, twenty-four feet, and He washed them. He got down on His knees, on what was probably a filthy floor in the upper room; He wrapped a towel around His waist, which comes in handy when washing twenty-four feet, and then He started working.
This was servant work, not something He should do! He was their leader, He was their teacher, and He was the guest of honor that night at the Passover meal. This scene happened over 2000 years ago in Jerusalem. There weren’t many paved roads back then, so the streets were dusty, and even muddy when it rained. So it was customary for the homeowner or host to provide a slave at the door of the house to wash the feet of the dinner guests as they arrived. If the home couldn’t afford a slave, the responsibility generally fell to one of the early arriving guests. Interestingly enough, none of the disciples volunteered for this lowly task. So we find the upper room filled with proud hearts and dirty feet!
So He, God, who once took a lump of clay and formed a man, washed their feet. The same God who was born in a dirty stable and laid in an animal’s feed trough, the same God who, in just a few minutes would be offering His body and blood to his disciples during the Passover meal, the same God, who, in just a few short hours would be tried, beaten, humiliated, whipped, crucified and buried.
Not just for those twelve disciples, for those twenty-four feet, but for all of us. He washed their feet as a servant because He loved them because He loves us.
On that first Maundy Thursday, Jesus taught His disciples a valuable lesson through experiential learning. By getting down on His knees, taking a basin and a towel, Jesus washed the feet of His disciples as a servant. Jesus lived amongst us as one who served. He modeled the lifestyle He wants us to live every day of our lives. When we selflessly and lovingly reach out to help others, we live as Christ wants us to live.
Jesus used the basin of water and the towel to teach us the essence of service. His Holy Spirit lives within us and calls us to live our faith out loud through serving others.
Whenever the subject of service to others comes up, the questions of who, where, when, and how to serve others comes up too.
So, this is where I’ll begin my story. The who? Bread of Stone, a pop, rock/Christian group. The where? They herald from Sioux City, Iowa. The when? I see them once a year at our Florida/Georgia District (L.C.M.S.), district Middle school Youth Gathering in Lake Yale, Florida. The how? Now that is a bit more detailed, so let me share with you a couple of personal stories about my encounters with Bread of Stone.
Let me begin by saying the band is extraordinary. Most of the band’s music is original. Well written, with lyrics and music that grab your soul (See YouTube https://youtu.be/ymUL3RH532Q.)
But the group is so much more than their ability to share God’s word through their music. This band is about family, caring, sharing and emulating Christ’s spirit of serving others.
Bread of Stone travels as a family, wives, kids, sometimes parents, and others, forming a unique ministry that is different than any I’ve ever seen. The wives and family and friends are anything but behind the scene helpers. They are an intricate part of a group of people that shares the Gospel of Jesus Christ in everything they do. Whether it be one of them on the soundboard, another on lights, or the store that they set-up for each event that definitely has a unique woman’s touch.
Bread of Stone is a team working together to share Jesus Christ, on the stage, and with everyone, the family comes in contact with.
Last year at our Gathering, I asked the lead singers wife, who runs their store with several other wives and helpers at each event, to put a couple of shirts on the side for me so I could bring them home to my wife.
My wife Kathy has M.S. She was unable to make it to the Gathering last year as she was having a lot of problems walking and getting around (which is kind of routine with progressive M.S.). Well, the group knows who my wife is and about her condition and always ask me, “How’s Ms. Kathy doing?” This is a very genuine inquiry, and I know they keep her and our family in their prayers.
The following morning before our closing event for the weekend, I inquired about the shirts and cost, as I took my wallet out of my pocket.
I was then presented with a shopping bag of, approximately 10 shirts and sweatshirts and a few other items as a gift for Ms. Kathy. To say I was shocked or stunned would be an understatement as tears came to my eyes. After a lot of hugging and thank you’s, I accepted the gift.
Now that story in itself is enough to tell you what kind of people this family called “Bread of Stone,” is like. But, the story continued recently.
My wife’s birthday was several weeks ago, and we were unable to celebrate because of my own medical issues, I’m having surgery in two weeks, which caused us to be unable to go out and celebrate as we usually do.
So I looked at Bread of Stone’s online store and found a shirt I knew my wife would love. I ordered it in a large, as well as a unique coffee cup they had for sale, (we collect coffee cups – nerds). To be honest, after I ordered it, and a week went by, I actually forgot I had ordered it at all. Then a few days ago an email came to my inbox from Bread of Stone saying my order had been shipped.
We actually received the delivery from Bread of Stone yesterday. I had not told my wife about the gift as I wanted it to be a surprise. So, I took the box into my office and opened it. I found a large sticky note on top from (Yes when you read this I know who wrote itJ), the group, apologizing for the lateness of the delivery, and for the fact that they had run out or large shirts. So, they sent an extra-large shirt, the cup, plus a couple of bonus items because of the inconvenience, with the promise of sending a large shirt as soon as they got more in.
The note I just mentioned also asked how, Ms. Kathy was doing, as well as inquiring about me. The best part was it was signed, The Bread of Stone Family.
I could go on and on about these beautiful young people. How they always have a smile on their faces, how accommodating they are when plans need to change. They emulate the servant attitude that Christ shared with His disciples at The Last Supper.
I know that their love of Christ and His servant attitude has touched all of our Gathering planners over the years, as well as thousands of students they come into contact with each year. They certainly have touched mine and Kathy’s.
Follow Christ’s example, serving others and making other’s needs, more important than your own. It’s what He taught His disciples, it’s what He expects from us.