JOHN 13:1, 3-5 (RSV) | “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… Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper, laid aside his garments, and girded himself with a towel. Then he poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which he was girded.”
Jesus knew he was the Son of God. He knew the resources of heaven were at his disposal. He was secure.
Yet, just as he laid aside his garments on this final evening with his disciples, much earlier he had set aside his position and power when he came to earth. He girded himself with a towel, wrapping himself in the garb of a servant. He demonstrated (once again) unimaginable humility in washing the feet of his companions on this night before he would enter the most difficult period of his life.
How was Jesus able to do this? I think it was because of his intimacy with the Father. He was continually being saturated with the Father’s deep love and pleasure.
I imagine it is like having a Good Daddy who is attentive and loving, who is always there when you want to talk, who listens and understands. He is never distracted. He is 100% present. This Good Daddy is also extremely wise and knows how to guide and give advice. He does not preach. He never talks down. What he says is relevant, and though not always easy, it builds us up — it makes us want to strive after the best and highest.
When we have that kind of relationship with God, we are willing and able to live humbly, because there is no need to set ourselves above others. We already know how valuable we are. This deep knowing is the foundation for serving as Jesus did. It is a natural overflow of our connection with the Father.
As we look at Jesus’ life — the gentleness with which he spoke, his insights which were spot on, the power he wielded — we see the reflection of his Good Daddy. Jesus spent a lot of time with him, and his life and character reflected his Perfect Father. This union enabled Jesus to do what he did on that fateful night. He had nothing to prove that night other than that he loved like his Father loved.
When thinking about this passage, what also resonates with me is Jesus’ attitude and bearing in the midst of a very difficult life: “He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not” (Isaiah 53:3). Yet because of his focus and unique perspective, he lived a life of joy and love in the midst of constantly being misunderstood and mistreated.
Increasingly, in the last few years, when I find myself worrying over some situation or person, I ask, “Jesus, what is your perspective on this?” It is such a simple question, but I find it is able to break through the murkiness that can hold me captive. Though my circumstances might not change, I begin to see my heart change when I see life from his point of view. His perspective ushers me into a new place and enables me to respond more like Jesus, which, in reality, is what I want most.
QUESTIONS FOR APPLICATION
- Do you view God as a loving Daddy, waiting to hear whatever is on your heart? What practical steps can you take to go deeper in that kind of relationship with him?
- Is there a person or situation in your life right now where you need Jesus’ perspective? If so, simply begin asking for his perspective and expect him to show you. He will.
This reading is a part of our "Small Feet Big Shoes" devotional series. You can also sign up to receive these meditations by email.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patty Metcalf and her husband, Sam, were one of four families that began CRM in 1980. Sam has served as president of CRM since 1985, and Patty is equally involved in ministry with a particular focus on healing prayer and intercession. They live in Southern California and have two children and four grandchildren.