Day 25 (Wednesday, April 3, 2019)
It was Lord Acton who observed, ‘Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.’ A sad feature of some leaders in every age is their use of power to pursue their own selfish gain. They have no interest in serving the best interests of people they lead.
How different was the life and work of Jesus of Nazareth. He continually used his extraordinary powers, intellect and wisdom, not in the pursuit of his own ends but to serve the best interests of others. His stooping to the lowliest of tasks, washing the street-soiled feet of his disciples, is a graphic illustration of this. “Do you know what I have done to you?” goes to the heart of his mission. Rightly called Teacher and Lord, he nevertheless, at great cost to himself, chose to serve our greatest need by washing away the dirt of guilt and sin in our lives.
12 After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. 14 So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. 16 Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. 17 If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. 18 I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But it is to fulfill the scripture, ‘The one who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ 19 I tell you this now, before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am he. 20 Very truly, I tell you, whoever receives one whom I send receives me; and whoever receives me receives him who sent me.”
Here is an example of Jesus’ expectations of his people. “I have set you an example,” he said, “that you also should do as I have done to you.” The greater is to serve the lesser. It is a principle that flies in the face of every culture – in family life and in government, in society and in the world of powerful corporations.
Living out the principle of service marks out a true follower of Jesus Christ. We see it in the way God’s people treat the person at the checkout and the handyman in their home or building, members of their household and one another at church, the socially unlovely and the less able, the corporate client and the sick and the lonely. “If you know these things,” Jesus said, “you are blessed if you do them.”
Heavenly Father, the giver of all good things, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and grant that by your holy inspiration we may think those things that are good, and by your grace and guidance do them; through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. (BCP, Easter 5 – adapted)
Daily Reading Plan
Read John 13:1-20