Lent Devotional: John 13:1-20
by Jonathan Haefs
John 13:1-20 (click here)
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, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 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.
When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.” (John 13:3-5 and 12-15)
We grasp, scrape, and strive to have and keep whatever we want in life. We come into this life with closed fists and that is how we continue to live.
Yet here is Jesus… who has literally had all things given into his hands by God himself. And it is that very knowledge that motivates Christ not to live close-fisted, but open-handed. The truth that he owns all and is the Son of God over all is the very thing that leads him to kneel and wash the feet of his disciples.
How does that work?
It actually makes perfect sense if you think about it. All things had been given into Jesus’ hand… so he didn’t have to grasp, scrape, and strive for anything… it was all his. He didn’t have to live with closed fists in order to cling and keep what was his… all was secured by God his Father. His inheritance wasn’t going anywhere.
His relationship were secure. God was his Father… he came from him and was returning to him. His future was secure. Knowing this truth leads to complete and total freedom! Christ could live totally and completely sacrificially… with open hands… for he had no need to grasp for anything…
…neither do we.
Through Christ, we have been made sons and daughters of God. All things are ours (1 Corinthians 3:21-23). We don’t have to live grasping, scraping, and striving to gain and keep the things this world has to offer… no… our inheritance is secured by an unshakeable relationship with our Father… the sovereign God over all!
Such knowledge empowers us to live with open hands… sacrificing our lives for others… because in the end it’s not really sacrifice… even death isn’t a sacrifice… it’s gain!
And so, because we know, like Christ, that all things are ours and we will dwell with God our Father forever, Jesus can and does call us to be a community that mirrors his sacrificial love. A community that knees to wash the feet of one another and the world… a cruciform community.