Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A New Commandment!

I don't know if this happens to anyone else but sometimes during my personal Bible reading I come across a verse of Scripture I've read many times before but then all of a sudden the words jump off the page because I've seen something new. I usually say something aloud like, "Yikes! Wow, LORD, this is amazing". Then I proceed to get out my concordances and dig deeper. I know it's going to be another devotion for my next book. And I know God wants to teach me something.
It happened this morning while I was engaged in the online  IF: Gathering  devotional study on the book of John. It's a fresh, ongoing study hosted by IF:Gathering Founder/Visionary Sweet Jennie Allen and her adorable peeps. Its home base is Austin, TX, where Jennie lives but everyone everywhere is invited to join in by the way..that's why they're hosting it on the worldwide web! I invite my sisters to check it out!
Now back to the words jumping off the pages and onto me this morning! The passage in today's devotion, John 13:1-20, tells the story of Jesus washing His disciples' feet. And it wasn't just water He poured out on them, He poured out His love! "Having loved His own who were in the world, He now showed them the full extent of His love." (John 13:1)

Such a beautiful picture of humility, self-denial, love and a passion to serve others.The Majestic, Holy King of Glory getting down on His knees to wash His disciples' dirty feet!
He was kind as He taught them. "When He finished He said to them, "Do you understand what I have done for you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If 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." (John 13:12-16)
Jesus wanted His disciples to be eager to serve. He told them "the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:28); "He made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness" (Philippians 2:8).
Boy! Does this concept ever go against the grain of our society! And I believe foot washing isn't just literally, physically doing it, I believe any act of service that puts the needs of others before our own is foot washing: helping an elderly neighbor unload groceries, letting another driver in the long line of traffic, cooking a meal for a needy family, giving a helping hand at a senior citizens' center, writing a kind note, making a phone call to a shut in, and just think of the impact of making time every day to pray for others! Wow. What a concept! Praying for others really  is like washing their feet. Yep. I believe it is! And how beautiful and rewarding it that for everyone!?
I was so caught up in today's passage I kept on reading all of John 13!  It was verse 34, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another" that jumped off the page and jumped on me! Why? First of all, "A new commandment?????" I dug deeply into the ESV Commentary for this nugget: "There is nothing new about the commandment to love, since Leviticus 19:18 teaches to "love your neighbor as yourself." The new element is the change from "neighbor" to "one another" and the change from "as yourself" to "as I have loved you." Christian love has Christ's  sacrificial love as its model and the community of believers as the primary (not exclusive) place in which it is expressed."
Wow. It's still all about love! We are supposed to be loving others as Christ loves us. We say we want to make a difference in this world. We say we want to glorify God with our lives. When we are out in the world washing feet in Jesus' Name, we're loving others as He loved us.
"By this all men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another." (John 13:35).

For the glory of God.
Psalm. 34:3