Holy Thursday is a time when we get one of the best glimpses of the true nature of Jesus.
He shows us who he truly is, and also shows us how to live.
Over the past several weeks of devotions we’ve talked a lot about the fact that in order to truly live, we have to die to our human (sinful) nature.
A way to put that in every day terms for us to understand is to think of it this way . . .
You and I should never need to be the smartest person in the room.
In my previous life, I taught sixth grade for three years at a school in Catawba County. I loved teaching, loved the kids . . . but being right out of college, one of the biggest learning curves for me was learning to navigate personalities.
We had grade level teams and the sixth grade team I served on had a bit of dysfunction that in my newness to the profession, I did not know how to navigate.
There was a teacher that had to be the smartest person in the room.
If we were discussing something, he spoke first and longest. Every time.
If we were brainstorming, his answers always trumped everyone else’s.
If test scores were released, bragging would ensue.
If someone shared a personal story about the students, he would always have to trump it with how “he made such a difference in their lives.”
Once he asked me why when he started to talk it seemed like people disengaged. I tried to explain to him he didn’t understand how he came across to other people. That while he thought he was being helpful, many times it came across as he was just trying to be the smartest person in the room.
Jesus shows us that in order to live and love, we don’t have to be the smartest person in the room.
Meaning . . . we have nothing to prove. We don’t need to tell others how great we are, how much we “do.”
In order to truly live as Jesus called and taught us to live, we actually seek and try to become the least in the room.
He did that by kneeling and washing their nasty, dirt-clad feet.
The one who brought the dead to life.
The one who loved the unlovable.
The one who made sure that people did not take advantage of those who found themselves considered “lesser than.”
He knelt and washed feet.
He who had all power, all authority under heaven, never had to be the smartest or best in the room.
On this Holy Thursday, maybe we each explore our own lives.
How do we relate to other people?
How do we act when we are gathered around a table with our peers?
How do we perceive ourselves? Do we think we have knowledge that everyone else has? That we are perhaps “better” than the others?
Jesus showed us, in order to live, we never have to be the smartest or best one in the room.
Washing His Disciples’ Feet
13 1-2 Just before the Passover Feast, Jesus knew that the time had come to leave this world to go to the Father. Having loved his dear companions, he continued to love them right to the end. It was suppertime. The Devil by now had Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, firmly in his grip, all set for the betrayal.
3-6 Jesus knew that the Father had put him in complete charge of everything, that he came from God and was on his way back to God. So he got up from the supper table, set aside his robe, and put on an apron. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with his apron. When he got to Simon Peter, Peter said, “Master, you wash my feet?”
7 Jesus answered, “You don’t understand now what I’m doing, but it will be clear enough to you later.”
8 Peter persisted, “You’re not going to wash my feet—ever!”
Jesus said, “If I don’t wash you, you can’t be part of what I’m doing.”
9 “Master!” said Peter. “Not only my feet, then. Wash my hands! Wash my head!”
10-12 Jesus said, “If you’ve had a bath in the morning, you only need your feet washed now and you’re clean from head to toe. My concern, you understand, is holiness, not hygiene. So now you’re clean. After he had finished washing their feet, he took his robe, put it back on, and went back to his place at the table.
12-17 Then he said, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You address me as ‘Teacher’ and ‘Master,’ and rightly so. That is what I am. So if I, the Master and Teacher, washed your feet, you must now wash each other’s feet. I’ve laid down a pattern for you. What I’ve done, you do. I’m only pointing out the obvious. A servant is not ranked above his master; an employee doesn’t give orders to the employer. If you understand what I’m telling you, act like it—and live a blessed life.