How often during the day do you think… “I have a right to _______.”
You don’t say it, you just think it. If our kids say it, we call them entitled. If we think it we call it self-care or standing up for yourself.
In today’s reading we see Jesus denying himself all rights. It is time for the passover meal, and Jesus and his disciples gather in a borrowed room to eat together. Someone has prepared this, someone has set the table, but no one is there to wash feet as was customary.
So, notice what Jesus does.
‘Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him.’ John 13:3-5
Obviously everyone had to feel like an idiot. Why didn’t I think of that? In this moment Jesus teaches us that even though he is God in the flesh and he has all authority in his hands, he chooses to use his hands to wash the dirty and filthy feet of these twelve men. Even the one who will deny him. And the one who will betray him.
But notice something else. Notice how John writes this: Jesus knew he had all authority… SO, he got up from the table. I would have written that “Jesus knew he had all authority… BUT, he got up ANYWAY from the table.”
John seems to have noticed something about Jesus at this point. It’s BECAUSE Jesus is God in the flesh… that he serves. God in his very nature is a servant.
We see this in the Trinity – the Father serves the Son… the Son serves the Spirit… the Spirit serves the Father… and around and around it goes. Servanthood is the mark of strong relationships, and this eternal community runs on it.
Jesus does far more than meet a need… or even teach the disciples a lesson about entitlement and rights… but he even teaches us about the nature of God. God is a servant. And he serves you and I daily.
Think about that the next time you demand to get your way.