Today’s Reading: John 13
I know in mathematics 4 always follows 3. But I have to tell you that there is one place in the Bible that 4 should not follow 3. And it’s only because it does not make sense. Or let me say it another way, my 4 and Jesus’ 4 are totally different.
In today’s reading, we come upon two verses that seem disconnected to the human mind, but not to Jesus. Listen to how powerful John 13:3 is: “Jesus knew that the Father had put him in complete charge of everything, that he came from God and was on his way back to God” (MSG).
Listen to the sure facts in this verse that Jesus knew:
• “The father had put him in complete charge of everything”
• “He came from God”
• “He was on his way back to God.”
These are three big statements. So what should follow these incredible words? If I were in complete charge of everything, my 4 would look something like this . . . “lightning bolts came out of Him.” Or maybe Jesus levitating off the ground and saying, “I told you I was God. I am in charge now!”
That’s what 4 should look like. That’s what I would have done. Not Jesus.
Here is what happens next. Here is Jesus’ 4:
He got up from the supper table, set aside his robe, and put on an apron. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with his apron. (John 13:4-5, MSG)
The transition does not even make sense in my mind. In my selfish, prideful heart, I don’t understand how this 4 follows the previous three. But when you know what Jesus knows, you do something spectacular, something that blows our minds. Guess what? That’s exactly what He did.
Jesus washed the disciples’ feet. His knowledge, His position, and His relationship with the Father in heaven made Him the ultimate servant and greatest example of humility. This has to be the greatest model for us: that the more we know, the more secure we become. And the more secure we become, the more we serve.
The insecure won’t serve. They are busy proving to others what they should know about them. They are in charge, they are the boss, they are the parent, they are the supervisor, they are the pastor. Those who keep telling you what to know don’t really know themselves.
I probably would have taken those three “knowing” statements from verse 3 and not served but gotten servants. But Jesus served. That is how messed up my thinking is.
Let me throw one more crazy transition in this whole mix. He took that whole teaching moment and said to them in verse 14, “If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash . . .” Fill in the blank. Think of what is normal, or since we are dealing with Jesus, what is abnormal to our way of thinking?
Here is what makes sense to me: “If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet . . . you ought to wash My feet.”
That is not what Jesus said. He said, “If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.”
This is another crazy 4 after 3 conundrum.
He wasn’t washing feet to get His feet washed. I know there are times that I have done stuff for others hoping to get the same back from them. Not Jesus.
I invited you over for dinner, therefore you should invite me over. I let you borrow my car; therefore you should let me borrow your car. I complimented your hair, you should compliment mine. I invited you to speak at my church, you should invite me to speak at your church.
Do you see how unlike Jesus this is? He washed feet to get them to wash others’ feet not His.
Jesus is amazing. I have such a long way to go. My 4 after 3 and Jesus’ 4 after 3 are so far apart. I need to learn more about Jesus’ 4. You too?