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. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. John 13:12-17
So much misery in the world is the result of people not understanding. We see that happening today as Muslims across the Middle East riot, demonstrate and kill all because they think the United States is to blame for an amateurish video on the internet. They just do not understand the all too American concept of free speech. In their world the governments control what is written and said and they have no concept of how the US society works allowing anyone with a camcorder and an internet connection to make a video.
In today’s verses Jesus wants to make sure the disciples understand what He is trying to teach them. While John does not mention it, we find this in Luke’s Gospel, the disciples have been arguing about which of them is the greatest. One just needs to stop and think a minute to see how absurd this argument is. Here are twelve men who have been following Jesus for about three years, a man they recognize as the Messiah, a man who only days ago was hailed by the crowd as the king if Israel and they want to know which of them is greatest. They stand in the presence of greatness and yet they argue who is greatest.
Jesus had humbled Himself and washed their feet but He also is letting them know that the servant is not greater than the master nor is Jesus greater than God who sent Him. Jesus is trying to get across to the disciples that in the coming days they will need to go out and spread a message which will lead to their deaths. Jesus has been grooming servants/teachers not kings. Their message is there greatness not anything they have or will do.
Too often we want to rank people according to their perceived importance. That person is a pastor so they must be greater than me or that is the soloist look how much greater they are. What we forget is that this greatness only comes if they are delivering the message of the hope that is Christ. If they are moving out of the way and letting the Holy Spirit use them then that is their greatness. You are just as great when you share Christ with someone else. You are just as great when your life is a living testament to the glory that is Christ. We must always understand where true greatness resides; it resides in Christ and Christ alone.
Have a blessed day,