“Power and Humility”
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.
This is a strange verse. John chooses to put together two thoughts; Jesus’ recognition of His power and authority, and His decision to wash the feet of His disciples. There is the sense that the first somehow led to the second. Jesus knew…so He acted. How do we hold these things together? How does the recognition of power and authority engender the motivation to undertake the humblest of service?
We are reminded of the phrase from the second chapter of Philippians, where we are told that Jesus, “being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant.” There it is again; equality with God…humble servant.
How about us? It can be said of us that we are made in the image of God. We are God’s workmanship. We are children of God, heirs of the kingdom. In a real sense, we are royalty in God’s eyes. That is our heritage and it should shape our identity. At the same time, it should, like Jesus, motivate us to humble service. Why? Because we reflect the image of a God who, ‘so loved the world that He gave…’ The nature, the heart, the character of God is love and service. How else can we bear His image in this world but to do what He did? When He considered His own divinity and majesty, it spurred Him to acts of selfless compassion.
Power and humility. Divinity and service. These are inseparable in the Kingdom of God. On this Maundy Thursday, we must hold tight to both. We err just as egregiously when we refuse to praise God for the opportunity to bear His image as we do by failing to take up our towel and wash our neighbor’s feet. Followers of Jesus cannot have one without the other.
In this time of global pandemic, we must let the character of God shine through us as we bear witness to His image and serve our neighbor in humility and love. God’s majesty and His humility, truth and grace, repentance and forgiveness, death and life; for the follower of Jesus this Holy Week, these are held together by the Holy Spirit and comprise our testimony to the world.
- How does the image of God shine through you to be seen by the world?
- What acts of service are you called to do that reflect God’s nature as a servant?
- How can you better let the world see Christ in you in these two ways?
- What specific opportunities lie before you in this time of crisis?
Loving God, Heavenly Father, thank you for the amazing way you have created us. Thank you for redeeming us that we may be called the children of God. Thank you for seeing us as royalty, citizens of your kingdom and heirs of salvation. Help us now to move from this exulted place and take us to our knees in humble service to those around us. Show us, Lord, new ways to love and care for our neighbor and reflect to them that they, too, have been created in your image for relationship with you. May the world see your glory and your love through us in this difficult time. In the powerful and gracious name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.