Its Time to Jump and Get
to the Full Extent
By Bob Slosser
- "He now showed them the full extent of His love," said John
the apostle. Bam! This was something big. Jesus was going all out. But something
was odd. Here He was, ready to leave the world and return to the Father, but
He didnt seem the least bit tense or excited. He had touched everyone He had
come in contact with sick, demon-possessed, suffering, and lonely. He had healed
and delivered them all. Yet, the time had come, He said. What was left?
John, who seemed especially close to the Master throughout that night of
the evening meal together, noted that the devil had already prompted Judas
to betray their leader. And Jesus knew the Father had already put all things
under His power. Everything all power, all creation in heaven and earth,
all authority was His. He had come from God and was returning to God, and
He wanted them all to know the greatness of His love for them and for those
who would come to believe in Him and what difference it would make.
As the meal was being served He got up from the table, removed His outer
clothing and wrapped a towel around His waist. He poured water into a basin
and began to wash His disciples feet, drying them with the towel He had wrapped
around Him. When He gets to Peter we see a sort of mock-humility for a few
moments as Jesus washes his feet: "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?"
Remaining serious, Jesus says, in effect, "You dont understand now,
but you will." Feigning shock, Peter alone objects, "No, you shall
never wash my feet!" Can you imagine it? A blunt "no" to the
Lord. Poor Peter. Sounds like one of us, doesnt it? The Lord rocks him back
on his heels, "Unless I wash you, you have no part with me."
"Whoa, then, Lord, not just my feet but my hands and my head as well."
Do you see it the mixture of humility and pride (as he tried to dictate
to Jesus)? Jesus was looking past the incident to what it symbolizes: Peter
needed a spiritual cleansing; but the external washing was a picture of cleansing
from sin, which Christians also need to restore communion with God that is
interrupted by sin. And do not forget: that interruption is real and costly.
We in the 21st Century church can learn from this. Jesus washes
us with His blood, the Word, and the Spirit. Then as we walk along the path
of rough-and-tumble life and service of the Lord in this crazy world we get
dirty and bruised and hurt. We the body of Christ are to wash the feet of
one another and restore one another, which is an essential function of the
very crucial church. The bruises and cuts, sometimes deep and damaging, dont
require washing all over usually just in those parts that have been dirtied
or hurt. We point to the Cross, for we are dealing often in restoration. And
we love and nurse one another back to health. The church has a major function
in this, beloved, in keeping Gods people going we are co-workers with God,
according to Paul (1 Corinthians 3:9, NIV).
As we press on with the foot-washing episode, we see that Peter, like us,
was slow to grasp the reality, the terrible reality, of the Body of Christ
a lesson in humility, yes, but also a lesson in the important work of the
church, which must be fired up, beloved. These are unfathomably important
days in which we live, with all sorts of conflicts threatening to break open
on many fronts, cultural, religious, political, and the church, believe it
or not, has one of the biggest responsibilities in its history. Almost every
aspect of world life has a central, all-encompassing spiritual dynamic capable
of breaking into all-out, world-wide holy war. Look at the terrorism war
its so much more than Afghanistan, good folks. It has worldwide horror and
bloodshed written all over it.
So, church, theres work to do. We see a fundamental piece of it as we continue
our look at Peter sidetracked into Johns Gospel momentarily. For in Matthew
16, we find Peter at his finest, gigantic best, at least during the Lords
incarnation. The Lord was asking His boys, "Who do the people say the
Son of Man is?" which was important to His first steps to reach the world.
They answered all sorts of things John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or
one of the prophets. "But what about you?" Jesus asked. "Who
do you say I am?"
Peter charged ahead, seemingly pell-mell, but obviously inspired. "You
are the Christ, the Son of the Living God." Bingo. He was right on the
"Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you
by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you, that you are Peter [Rock],
and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome
it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on
earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed
Grab it, church. The rock was the truth, the revelation, spoken by Peter,
foundational to the church across two thousand years and still rolling. We
must be, MUST BE, continuing to make it known throughout the beaten and battered
world. It contains life, real life. Not only must we be proclaiming it, we
must be showing it in all its power, yes, miraculous power and healing, its
wisdom and its love. The church must be seen and felt, brethren. We have everything
we need to assure this. Its up to us to take it and use it.
I will continue to look at Peter and the lessons we learn from him in the
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