If you want to hear a story that’s been told over and over and over and over and over again in circles of the church when it comes to serving one another, it’s definitely the Jesus-washes-the-disciples’-feet story. But what if there was a more practical way to understand it?
In John 13, during the Passover meal, Jesus got up, took off His outer garment, wrapped Himself with a towel, and sat down to wash His disciples’ feet. Immediately, everyone in the room was taken aback. Streets were nasty. Feet were disgusting. Washing feet was the job of the lowliest of servants – not even Jewish servants were expected to wash guests’ feet. Yet here was the rabbi, taking on the worst job these other eleven guys could think of. Continue reading “Washing Feet … Differently”
In John 7, John the Apostle writes about how Jesus secretly went up to Jerusalem to attend the Feast of Booths (a very happy feast in Jewish tradition, which is actually still practiced today). The Jews looked for Him but did not find Him, because He traveled there privately. In the middle of the feast, John records, Jesus walked up into the temple and began teaching. The Jews were amazed at how He taught, and asked each other how Jesus learned what He spoke of, if He was never taught. Jesus answered them:
“My teaching is not Mine, but his who sent Me. If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on My own authority. The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood” (John 7:16-18 ESV).
While this is undoubtedly telling about the identity of Jesus as the Son of God, it is also encouraging to us as believers. Jesus had the Holy Spirit – the same One we have – and spoke confidently and authoritatively. Continue reading “Teaching with Authority”
The story of Jesus and Nicodemus is a popular one. I was raised in a church that taught this story almost every year in Sunday school, so I either heard or taught it until I graduated high school and moved away to attend university. But there are specific nuances in the text that make this story near to my heart.
The story goes that Jesus is stirring up a following early in His ministry, challenging pharisaical legalism and turning heads all around Israel. Nicodemus, a Pharisee (a Jew well-educated in the Law) and ruler of the Jews, came to meet Jesus in the night for clarification. He says that the rest of the leaders recognize that Jesus is a teacher sent from God because of the signs He does, and Jesus responds by telling him that he must be “born again” in order to see the kingdom of God. Continue reading “Nicodemus”
Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. … Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.” (John 5:1-9,14)
We’ve all heard the story of the invalid man whom Jesus heals on the Sabbath. What is important is what few really look hard at – Jesus’ intent behind his words in the last sentence. Continue reading “So That Nothing Worse May Happen”