Bending his knee on the hard, dusty floor, Jesus face creased in deep thought as he grabbed a rough towel. Longing to reach the hearts of his beloved friends, He knelt to touch them, to serve them, to feed them, showing the depths of His love for them through his gentle, intentional gestures.
Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end ...Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God, got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself. Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. ~ John 13:1, 3-5
Jesus' call to His disciples was compelling; a call to lay down their lives, to serve, to experience rejection and even persecution. He was asking them to believe something that would eventually cost each one of their lives--that He, a carpenter from Nazareth, was actually the Messiah.
The darkness of the evening must have matched his heavy heart? And so what did He do ... before breaking bread and pouring wine, before letting Himself be broken?
He washed 120 toes.
What an example for us as we live life with our children!
"Jesus was going to transfer to His disciples the responsibility of taking God's message of redemptive love to the world. But instead of just telling them what to do, harshly commanding their allegiance with orders and threats or guilt and manipulative statements, He chose to tie the cords of His heart to theirs with the strong and unbreakable bond of a loving, serving relationship.
Jesus spent His last night on earth with His disciples in service to them. How powerful their memories of that night must have been--the King of the whole universe touching and rubbing their dusty feet and gently drying them with a towel. Their Lord and Master breaking the loaf of bread and serving each of them for the celebrated feast of Passover.
Jesus' example of servant leadership set Him apart from so many historical religious leaders. He was not a God who lorded it over His followers and demanded they follow Him or coerced their obedience through authoritarianism and fear. Instead, He called them to the excellence of holiness and yet lovingly served them in order to win their hearts and show them the means of reaching others' hearts as well.
Contemplating the hearts of my own children and seeking to teach them about the grace of God, I realize my love and service to them must come before any of my great words, my teaching and training. My time, my attention, my "soft-tickling"--even when I am tired or have other "important" things n my mind--is what builds our relationship and prepares them to listen to what I have to say. Only then, once the wells of their need are filled with the grace of being loved, will my words to them about God's grace finally make sense."
~ from The Ministry of Motherhood
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