|Douglas Frank Photograph|
The Way up is Down
Last Sunday the triumphal entry with Palms waved in patriotic ovation for a coming King to overthrow the Romans. They did not understand the prophesy from Zechariah 9:9 (John 12:13-14) “Rejoice, Oh daughter of Zion…see your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt the foul of a donkey.” Palm branches were like our patriotic eagle or Canadian maple leaf. This Messianic movement was coming on a donkey! Even the rocks will cry out!
It was now Passover (Lamb blood sacrifice for sins of the world) and Jesus was with the 12 in the Upper Room and knew He was about to leave the world. He was showing the full extent of His love. The evening meal was being served and the devil had already prompted Judas. Jesus got up and washed their feet, half naked and kneeling before them like a slave/servant (Aaron’s Blessing- God kneeling before us to bless us, catching our tears in His hands (Ps 56:7)).
Jesus Christ, Son of God, second person of the Trinity, Lord of the universe, humbled Himself and washed His disciples’ feet. This wasn’t a seminar on foot washing. It was an example of humble service, an acted out parable of intimate humility, against Peter’s and our pride and self-will that required the death of the Savior on the Cross-that they would understand after the Resurrection. I think Jesus knew they were already cleansed because they were at one with Him and His Word of redemption and Love, as if He had been crucified already. Jesus said,“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 (Mandatum), that you also should do just as I have done to you” (John 13:14–15, ESV).
So what does that mean? Let’s not let the applications slip into something retouched and generic. Let’s be specific and consider five, necessary brands of humility—actual things we can do. What are the verbs that should be flowing out of our lives?
1. Choose a difficult obedience. Not run-of-the-mill obedience, actually some difficult sold-out choices that require sacrifice. We obey for Jesus Christ deserves everything, and it should cost us, it must cost us as disciples. What is the difficult obedience right in front of you? Run to it, wrap your arms around it, humble yourself, and obey Jesus. It will be good for your soul. Love difficult People, be patient, be willing to give your life for another.
2. Own it all to reconcile. Generally where there’s friction in relationships, there’s fault on both sides. But maybe you’re in a conflict with someone who can’t see his/her own fault and who won’t listen to you anymore, so you can’t reason with the person. If you want to work that out, humble yourself and own it all. Mother Theresa said, “Do it anyway!” Take everything you want to say, all your rightness and accuracy, and permanently file it under G for garbage, bury it out back. It’s easier said than done. Forego any opportunity to clarify your position. Lay it all down, and humble yourself. “I’m sorry that I hurt you. I never wanted you to feel this way. I know that I have responsibility in this, and I want to own it, tell how sorry I am, and ask for forgiveness. Grace will rush like a river upon you, freeing you from chains. Even if the person refuses you, grace will flow into your life. God loves humility. He loves it. With God, the way up is down. That’s how it is in the family of God.
3. Serve in total secrecy. Find ways to do things no one will know about or knows your name. Example: Rescue Mission preaching on my own sin. It’s good for our souls and others.
4. Lay down a liberty. Too often we think the continuum runs between legalism and liberty. But legalism is a lie, so we don’t need to react against legalism by flaunting our liberty. In Christ, we have freedom and liberty, but when our liberty becomes an obstacle to the gospel, we need to forgo our liberty. We lay down our liberty for the sake of Christ’s kingdom. We don’t glory in our liberties. We don’t fail to love our weaker brothers and sisters. We live in liberty, but we gladly and willingly forsake freedoms for the sake of our influence over others.
5. Refuse to be offended. It’s so easy to take things personally. How dare they treat me that way! Instead refuse to be offended. I’m trying to give it up for lent.
“I’ve asked the Lord to take from me
that robs the soul of joy and peace
and causes fellowship to cease.”
Do nothing when you’re hurt. Hurting people hurt people. If you want to break that cycle, get low. Humble yourself, and refuse to be offended. Jesus gave us an example that we would go do for others as He’s done for us. Which brand of humility do you need to practice today?
6. Last Supper New Commandment-
So, when he (Judas) had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in Him. If God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and glorify Him immediately. Little children, I shall be with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come,’ so now I say to you. A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (John 13:31-34).
So, Go and do it in the name of the Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit! AMEN