Lux et Veritas
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There are lots of people talking about kneeling right now – and it is important!

It was Passover evening. A very, very long time ago. It was not just any Passover, but a very special Passover. In addition to the traditional "Seder" meal, the events of this evening had been carefully planned in the mind and heart of the Host. Jesus had gathered His “family” of disciples around the table to share the beginning of what turned out to be an extended and final teaching. Among this group was the disciple named John, who through the Holy Spirit has written what we know as John’s Gospel, and who referred to himself as “the disciple who Jesus loved.” We smile at this description because we know Jesus loved all the disciples; but it is true that John was very close to the heart of Jesus, and his words show us the heart of the Jesus he knew. The heart that wanted to encourage and strengthen them for the days ahead. The days prior to the Cross. This is his description of that Passover evening, taken from John 13.

Who were the 12 guests? How much did they know? How much did they understand? In addition to John, Peter was there; so were Andrew, James, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James (son of Alphaeus), Thaddaeus, and Simon (the zealot). They were all there.  Even Judas. But these were more than just 12 disciples. They were people just like you and me.  They all had names, and each one was known in depth to Jesus. Just like you and me. 

Maybe there was laughter and great fellowship among them as each one entered the room. I wonder if He watched, carefully observing each one, remembering something special about their times together. He might have gently approached the added reason for their time together this special Passover night with warm greetings and casual conversation. But, knowing what lay ahead, I believe He couldn't have ignored the heaviness of His heart. His time drew close. So, He eased them to their places at the table, and at that time the mood of the evening must have changed.

Because then it happened. The thing that made this Passover one they would have to remember forever. Without warning, Jesus rose from His place at the table, laid aside His garments, and taking a towel He girded Himself. Then stooping down, He began to wash the disciples feet, each one, beginning with Peter. In unbelief at what they were seeing, the disciples probably began to whisper among themselves, “What is He doing? He is taking the place of the servant. He is not a servant! He is our Master! Why is He doing this?”

Scripture says He continued through each disciple, and when He had finished, He took His garments and found His place at the table again. Then, He spoke these words of explanation to them: “Know you what I have done to you? You call me Master and Lord and you say well; for so I am. If I then your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you ought also to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example…”

What was the example? He spoke many things to them that evening, but this particular lesson He chose to teach them in a way that He knew they would not forget. Jesus stooped down from His place as Master to become their servant. The word “stooping” is not used specifically in this verse, but the posture needed to wash feet suggests it. It is used by John the Baptist in Mark 1:7 when he said, “There comes one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.” The meaning in the original language is to bow down or crouch. It is a posture of humility. Jesus took the place of a servant to demonstrate His humility.

“Being humble means recognizing and acknowledging who we really are—and who God is. It is freely admitting our vast inadequacies before One who is thoroughly adequate to meet our every need.” (A Prayer That Moves Heaven, Ron Mehl)

Humility comes from something inside and it surfaces as a surrender of our will and a love for those He loves. It comes to us just as it would have come to the disciples, through His example and their relationship with Jesus Christ. We see a lot of people “stooping down” and kneeling in these difficult and confusing times in which we are living. All of them have their reasons, and many of them desire do so to bring about change.

I also believe kneeling can bring about change. Coupled with humility as Jesus showed, kneeling to me suggests a position of prayer. Would it not be great if all the stooping we are doing as a nation now were grounded in prayer and humility? (II Chron 7:14) Would it not be great if, instead of kneeling so we can affect change, we were kneeling asking Him to affect change?

It starts with each of us. Have we “stooped” lately before the One Who humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even the most humble death of all, the death on a Cross?

And the most humbling thing of all is that He did it for you and for me.



 
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There are lots of people talking about kneeling right now – and it is important!


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