Series: Easter: This Changes Everything
Preacher: Japhet De Oliveira
Reflection: Sam Millen
Live Wonder: Bec Reid
Live Adventure: Jess Lee
Live Beyond: Art Preuss
Live Purpose: Don Pate
Editor: Becky De Oliveira
Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: John 13:1-17 in the English Standard Version (ESV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: There was an instance in college when a classmate approached me to confess he didn’t like me one bit and proceeded to apologize for his negative view of me. I had no idea how he felt until then. It was an awkward conversation. So, for anyone reading this who does not like me—you don’t have to tell me. I forgive you! There happens to be a dentist near me with the same unusual surname as mine (no relation). So as I drive by the dental practice, I am reminded of my classmate’s attempt to get disdain for me off his chest. I hope he felt liberated. I’m not sure it was the best approach.
I see the ordinance of footwashing as a chance to make things right with those we may not always get along with. I remember on two separate occasions specifically asking individuals I didn’t admire (who had no idea what I thought of them) if I could wash their feet. One declined my offer, while the other accepted. It was a cathartic experience for me, and I was grateful for the opportunity.
Ellen White makes the following observations:
The ordinance of feet washing most forcibly illustrates the necessity of true humility. While the disciples were contending for the highest place, in the promised kingdom, Christ girded Himself, and performed the office of a servant by washing the feet of those who called Him Lord. Reconciliation one with another is the work for which the ordinance of feet washing was instituted. . . . Whenever it is celebrated, Christ is present by His Holy Spirit. It is this Spirit that brings conviction to hearts. (The Faith I Live By, p. 298)
Recalibrate: What are some ways (other than footwashing) that we can reconcile with people who don’t realize they have hurt us or who irritate us?
Respond: Today, do something nice for someone who has unknowingly irritated you on a regular basis.
Research: Listen to Greg Boyd’s podcast to hear an interview with Dan Kent, the author of a new book on humility.
Remember: “Then He poured water into a bowl and began to wash the followers’ feet. He dried them with the towel that was wrapped around Him” (John 13:5, ICB).
Sam Millen is the pastor at Anacortes Adventist Fellowship in Washington State. He his wife Angie is a schoolteacher on Orcas Island and their three children are really awesome!
Take an opportunity, wherever you can find some quiet time with your little one, and ask them these questions: How do you know I love you? How do you know Jesus loves you? How do you think you can show others love? Wait and see what answers come. Are they what you expected? Enjoy talking to your little one about how you know you are loved.
Have you ever blown up a balloon? With each puff it gets bigger and bigger. Sometimes we can be like a balloon, each time we do something good or someone gives us praise our head (and pride) gets a little bigger. Sometimes we think we are fantastic! Maybe because we got an A on a test, or we scored a goal in soccer. Each time we do something good and get some praise our head gets a little bigger, however, sooner or later something will happen to burst our balloon head. The Bible teaches us that if we are humble like Jesus taught us to be, we can do great things through His strength. How could we be more humble this weekend?
The reality is that while Jesus was washing the disciple’s feet it appears as if none of the disciples understood what Jesus was doing. After telling Peter that he doesn’t understand, Jesus makes a direct statement: “Not all of you are clean.” This is a statement directed at Judas because he had already made arrangements for Jesus’ arrest. Even knowing what was about to take place, knowing that Judas had betrayed Him, knowing Judas did not understand what Jesus’ mission here on Earth meant, Jesus still washed Judas’ feet. Jesus didn’t give up on Judas.
Let’s get real: How do you behave with those that have caused you harm? Notice how Jesus still “loved” Judas, despite his actions. Have you ever betrayed Jesus with your actions, your thoughts, your words? Jesus is still willing to forgive as long as you ask!
We tend to condemn the disciples because they abandoned Jesus—they ran to hide “for fear of the Jews”—but three didn’t. We know that John hung in there until the very end. We also know that two more men who had never publicly stepped up to show their loyalty to Jesus up that point did so at the time of highest risk. Two men, extremely rich men, stood up to say, “You may think He was public enemy number one but I proclaim Him to be my Lord!” Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus stepped forward when the others ran away. Both the Bible and other early Jewish sources say these men were fabulously wealthy but that didn’t keep them from taking a stand for Jesus at the time when doing so was the riskiest choice they could make. May the memory of each of them be honored!
Bec Reid is a real estate agent within her family business. She lives in Sydney, Australia, and is a part of the Wahroonga Adventist Church community.
Jess Lee is an education consultant for the New South Wales Adventist education system. She lives in Sydney, Australia, and attends Kellyville Church.
Art Preuss pastors in Massachusetts at the Springfield, Florence, and Warren Adventist churches and serves in the U. S. Air Force Reserve as a chaplain.
Don Pate is “retired” in Tennessee after decades of teaching and pastoring but is still active in speaking and creating for the Kingdom.