The Love of Holy Week

April 21, 2011 § Leave a comment

A simple action.  Of revolutionary significance.  About extraordinary love.  That is what we find in John 13:1-17.  Jesus washing the feet of his disciples is unexpected, embarrassing, and completely out of the ordinary.  As the New Testament scholar, Craig Koester, explains it so well: “In the ancient world, people commonly washed their own feet. When guests arrived at someone’s home, feet covered with dust from the road, a good host would offer them a basin of water. The host would not do the washing, but would provide the water so that the guests could wash their own feet. In some cases the host would have a slave wash the feet of the guests. But it was understood that no free person would stoop to wash the feet of another free person. Hospitality meant offering water and perhaps the services of a slave. It did not mean doing the washing.”  You have to assume the position of a slave to do what Jesus did.   Peter’s strong objection is understandable.  It is embarrassing to be on the other end of such an unexpected and extraordinary act.  But Jesus did not only do this as a gift to his disciples.  He did it as an example for them to re-enact (13:15).  “Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them” (13:17).  To whom is God sending you to surprise that person with a totally unexpected act of love that is (1) so self-giving and extraordinary that it will be costly, illogical, and embarrassing; (2) so much for the sake of the other that it will be a gift of new life to that person?

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