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Wednesday, 31 March 2010

In the Upper Room

Servant, and service, are words that are no longer in vogue. They smack of the Victorian/Edwardian "Upstairs Downstairs" sort of class divisions. Yet, in John 13:1-17, Jesus of Nazareth shows that service is love's royal road to happiness"! It's not how we normally think!

If you take a few moments to read the record of this amazing incident, you'll discover that Jesus was fully aware that His hour had come (v.1). He recognised the urgency of the moment and so, in the very shadow of the cross, He took a towel and wrapped it around His waist. Then He took a basin of water and performed the function that was usually left to the lowliest servant in a middle-eastern household - washing the dust from the feet of the guests.

Of course, there are some people in the life and experience of each one of us whom we would gladly serve. But just think! Among that group whose feet Jesus washed, was the man named Judas Iscariot. Would I be willing to serve someone whom I knew was shortly going to betray me (see v.27)? Would you?! I might wash the feet of those who had my respect - but Judas?! Yet Jesus washed even his feet. He also washed the feet of Peter. Here is a man who is shortly going to deny his Master. Here is a man who is good at letting out the clutch on his mouth, before his brain has engaged gear! Here is a man who can assure Jesus that, whatever the other disciples might do, he would stand by Him. Here is the man who, three times, denied having any knowledge of the Lord! Yet Jesus washed his feet as well.

Perhaps there is an example, here, that each of us might follow! That's certainly what Jesus says (vs.14-15). For the disciple of Jesus, service is not an optional extra. It's an obligation that is placed upon us by the Saviour! And that obligation includes the sharing of the Gospel message - not only by the message on our lips, but also by the manner of our living. The motivation, of course, must be love - love for our Lord, and love for our fellow-man.

I imagine that all of us desire happiness - but how many truly find it? Perhaps the mistake that many make is to expect happiness to be the result of having others serve them, instead of serving others. Many years ago, I obtained a book entitled "The Happiest People on Earth". It's a book about a group of Christian men who have discovered that there is no-one happier than the disciple of Jesus - in the service of the King of kings; serving all men.

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