Editor’s Note: The AMI QT Devotionals from September 5-11 are provided by Pastor Mark Chun of Radiance Christian Church in S. F. Mark, a graduate of University of California, San Diego, and Talbot School of Theology (M.Div.), has been married to Mira for 20 years; they have two children, Jeremiah and Carissa.
Devotional Thought for Today
John 13:1-11 (ESV)
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. 2 During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, 3 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, 4 rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5 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. 6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” 7 Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” 8 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.” 9 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10 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.” 11 For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.”
We know historically, that the washing of feet was the most menial chore reserved for the lowest slave in the house. In fact, it was almost considered a breach of human dignity to force someone to wash the feet of guests; and because of that fact, Jewish servants were exempt from this awful duty. In a city like Jerusalem, it would have been a common thing to dump your refuse on the streets; and so you could just imagine the grime and filth that would have found its way under people’s feet. It was so bad that some of the rabbinic teaching advocated that only Gentile slaves be used to wash feet.
It’s no wonder that Peter reacted the way that he did. Due to the contrast between the exalted position of Jesus and the demeaning nature of foot washing, it makes complete sense that Peter reacted with the statement, “Lord you will never wash my feet.” In all of the ancient literature, there is no other example of someone in such a high position of power taking such a low position of service. It was unheard of and it was unfathomable to Peter that Jesus would take the place of a slave. Peter obviously did not realize that the washing of his feet was a mere symbol of a far deeper spiritual cleansing to which Jesus alludes to when he says, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with me.”
However, the washing of our sin goes beyond our personal relationship with Jesus— it impacts our relationships with other believers. If you have no part with Jesus, then neither can you be a part of the authentic Christian community. A person who has no experience of having their sins washed by the love of God can never fully take part in the depth of relationship that is available for those who have received the forgiveness of their sins.
The thing that keeps us separate from one another, the thing that ensures that there is always a distance between two people is the barrier of sin and the shame that it causes. We see it from the very beginning of human relationships where Adam and Eve see their own nakedness, and then they go about covering themselves so that they no longer have to be transparent before each other. This is the perfect picture of the human dilemma: we want to be known and accepted for who we are, but deep inside we know that who we are is not acceptable. So we hide behind our masks, our facades, and we try to project our areas of strength and hide our weaknesses. We cover ourselves with our degrees, our success, our social status, and our wealth; but all the while, we struggle with the growing sense of loneliness. In washing us through His blood, Christ makes us acceptable before God; and if we are acceptable to God, then surely we are acceptable to one another. In this way, Jesus not only provides a way to the Father, He is also the means by which we can fellowship with one another.
Prayer: Lord, gives us understanding of Your humility, and how You came not to be served but to serve. We pray that Your example of love will be the foundation of our churches and lead to genuine fellowship among brothers and sister who bear Your Name. As You have washed our sins with Your love, teach us how to love one another in a manner that covers a multitude of sin. Amen.
Lunch Break Study
Read 1 Corinthians 6: 5-11: I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, 6 but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers? 7 To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? 8 But you yourselves wrong and defraud—even your own brothers! 9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Questions to Consider:
- What is principally wrong in taking another Christian to court?
- What is the true damage that is done when Christians air their disputes publically?
- How does Paul address the state of the believers in Corinth?
- I don’t believe that Paul’s intent was to completely negate lawsuits between Christians, but the bigger issue was the utter lack of Christian wisdom in the Corinthian church, and their failure to understand their true purpose in God. Sometimes this verse has been used to hide crimes within the church, and that’s should never be the case. However, the civil disputes that inevitably rise among us should be handled with love and mercy.
- When Christians are unable to peaceably resolve their disagreements, our witness to unbelievers become far less credible. This is Paul’s great concern with the Corinthians, that their lifestyles and treatment of one another was tarnishing the reputation of Christ and the church.
- Although Paul reminds the Corinthians of their sinful history, his emphasis is on the fact that they are no longer these things. They have been washed and sanctified by Christ and the Holy Spirit, and therefore they ought to live out this new life and stop acting like their former selves.
Have you sensed Christ’s love for you today? What does it mean for Jesus to serve you and minister to you? Spend some time in prayer, reflecting on the ways God has demonstrated His love for you. Take time to listen for His voice.