Extraordinary Love

John l3: l-l7, 31b-35

As I lay in bed praying, I felt the Lord ask, “Why did I wash the disciple's feet?”
Well, being it was a well known scripture from the Bible, I felt I was to delve deeper into its meaning.

Through the act of simply washing the disciples' feet, Jesus showed significance as He tells us why He did what He did. Using a most ordinary act, Jesus conveyed the most 'extraordinary love' and 'commanded his disciples to do the same'..just as He commands us to do the same today.

Jesus showed us by example.

In the ancient world, people commonly washed their own feet. When guests arrived at someone's home, feet covered with dust from the road, a good host would offer them a basin of water. The host would not do the washing, but would provide the water so that the guests could wash their own feet. In some cases the host would have a slave wash the feet of the guests. But it was understood that no free person would stoop to wash the feet of another free person. Hospitality meant offering water and perhaps the services of a slave.

For a free person...someone with the ability to decide for themselves...to wash someone else's feet meant that he/she was assuming the position of a slave. The only reason someone would do this voluntarily was 'to show complete devotion' to another person out of God's love of agape. That is what Jesus did. He assumes the role of a slave 'to show His depth of love' for His disciples (l3:l). Jesus act of humility does not come out of weakness, but out of strength. John tells us that Jesus has come from God and is going to God, and that God has put all things into His (Jesus') hands. Yet the one who has all things in his hands now uses his hands to wash the feet of another. His power comes to expression in 'self-giving love'...(l3:3-5).

Peter sputtering objection to the foot washing is completely understandable. No self-respecting disciple could allow a teacher to act this way toward his pupils (l3:6). Yet Jesus insists that he must act in this way, because if anyone is to be in relationship with Him, it will come as a gift – the scandalous gift of 'divine love'..(l3:8).

Jesus further shocked Peter by saying, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” also (John l3:8), prompting Peter, whose love for the Savior was genuine, to request a 'complete' washing. Then Jesus explained the true meaning of 'being washed' by Him. Peter had experienced the cleansing of salvation and did not need to be washed again in the spiritual sense. Salvation is a one-time act of justification 'by faith', but the 'lifelong process' of sanctification is one of 'washing from the stain of sin' we experience as we walk through this world. Peter and the disciples – all except Judas, who never belonged to Christ – needed only this temporal cleansing.

This truth is just one of several from this incident that Christians can apply to their own lives. First, when we come to Christ for the washing of our sins, we can be sure that is permanent and complete. No act can cleanse in us further from our sin, as our sin has been exchanged for the perfect righteousness of Christ on the cross (2 Corinthians 5:2l). But...we do need continual cleansing from the effects of living in the flesh in a sin-cursed world. This 'continual washing of sanctification' is done through the power of the Holy Spirit, who lives within us, through the “washing of water by the Word”. (Eph.5:26), given to us to equip us for 'every good work'. (II Timothy 3:l6-l7.

Further, when Jesus washed the disciples' feet, He told them (and us), “I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you” (Jn.l3:l5). As His followers, we are to emulate Him, serving one another in lowliness of heart and mind, seeking to build one another up in humility and through God's deep passionate love. When we seek preeminence through pride and self-glorification, we displease the Lord who promised that true greatness in His kingdom is attained by those with a servant's heart (Mark 9:35). When we have that servant's heart, the Lord promised, we will be greatly blessed. (John l3:l7). So, as we accept this servant's heart, as the Lord promised, by our witness and by showing forth God's love in an unexpected way, the blessing of God's very presence will flow through us by the Holy Spirit and the world will see God's glory shining through our hearts showing God's extraordinary love being poured out to another.. Halleluyah!

The Lord is calling us to peel off the layers of sin like the layers of a smelly onion that the world has put upon us, to wash our hearts and then turn to wash another and allow His true agape love to permeate our souls so it can shine out from us in these Last Days.

It is said that only a 'Remnant' will answer that call. Are you part of that 'Remnant'? Are you so devoted and passionately in love with Christ that you would humble yourself to be completely washed... even to wash the feet of another? Jesus set the example. We simply are to die daily and allow the Holy Spirit to lead and guide our lives in and through His perfect love.

How can we do such a thing when the world is so out of control, perhaps right within our own homes, at work, or even within our own churches, through the heavy burdens we all must share? Only through faith in the living God, My Friends...Only through the power of His Holy Spirit and by living a life of forgiveness can His true love be seen in and through our lives.

The Lord is coming. We are saved by faith and by faith alone. But, we, perhaps, need to understand more fully what sanctification means as we travel through this life and world.

Jesus is alive! He really is! And, when He comes, He wants us to look like Him and act like Him through each day...May He say to us then on that day...”Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” Always remember...'Love is the Key!'