“If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet,” John 13:14.
Judas paid a premium for the upper room where Jesus and his fellow disciples gathered to celebrate the Passover. According to old manuscripts, landlords charged oversized rents at the times of the great feasts in Jerusalem. The thirteen probably felt grateful that they had such a large and convenient room. Later it would hold 120 as they waited for the Spirit.
But, the landlord did not provide room service. Not that he offered no amenities. Inside the door, he had placed a large pitcher full of water, a basin, and a towel. With no servants waiting on them, the twelve overlooked the niceties of the moment and simply made no use of the water.
Did they remember Mary who had washed Jesus’ feet with her tears? Apparently not. No better than Simon the Pharisee, they did not think of doing a servant’s work.
Within hours, Jesus would promise them the Comforter. If they would ever become the salt of the Earth and the light of the world, they would have to serve one another as the Spirit would soon serve them.
As Jesus moved water and towel from disciple to disciple, He drew them into His humility. In the church, the house that Christ has built, He offers no room service. Brothers go on errands for each other. They serve one another for the glory of the Servant of servants.
Sometimes we talk as if the Spirit will do the work for us. We pray, “Send Your Spirit before us.” The prayer has good in it as long as we do not expect the Spirit to gird Himself and do the work of the servant of Christ. Jesus left that role for us.
Rather than go before or stand and urge, the Spirit draws the diverse parts of the Church into a witnessing oneness. We wash one another’s feet, not alone to show how humble we are, but to affirm that the life of service and witness represents the presence of the Comforter among us.
Because we bend before each other and do the servant’s task, the world may also stretch out its feet to us for cleansing. The servants of the Lord are the world’s servants.
“Those who have communed with Christ in the upper chamber will go forth to minister as He did,” The Desire of Ages, p. 651.
May God give us greater humility, kindness, and forbearance in dealing with backsliders and with one another. Let’s not forget millennials and Generation Zs. Hosts of people are disconnected from the Church, but still consider themselves Seventh-day Adventists. They listen regularly to our Church productions and watch our ministries on television and online. They observe podcasts and religious services on multiple media platforms. They go to Church occasionally, but are unattached to the Church. They wouldn’t belong to a different church for anything, yet they are not united with us. Wow! What an opportunity to reconnect.
I pray, as we sojourn through this COVID-19 dicey terrain of 2021, that God will empower us through humble and surrendered lives to commit to the Christian service of reconnecting with a soul who is questing to get back to this household of faith. –RCS
Southern Union | April 2021