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Monday, March 23, 2009

Getting Dirty

Kristian hates feet. He hates sandals because he thinks feet should be covered up. He thought the worst part of working in an ER was not dealing with blood and guts, but dealing with people’s feet. Maybe that is why he was able to pick up on something I am only now starting to grasp in the story of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. In my previous post on John 13, I highlighted the humble and sacrificial love of Jesus in washing the feet of the disciples.

Yes, this is absolutely what Jesus is calling us to do. However, there is another aspect we learn about living as the Body of Christ through the story of Jesus washing the feet of His disciples. Jesus is calling us to know our brothers and sisters and to be known by them. He is calling us to humbly expose ourselves by revealing our dirty, calloused, unattractive feet (think about it—in Biblical times, feet were especially unappealing—people walked everywhere on dusty muddy roads in footwear far less protective than ours.) More than this, Jesus is telling us what to do when our brother exposes His ugly feet to us. We are not called to turn away in disgust or to shun our brother because of his ugliness. We are called to stoop down to our brother’s feet, pick up that dirty foot, and scrub.

Jesus not only did this for the disciples in John 13, but He did that for me when I came to Him in faith for the first time, recognizing that I have fallen desperately short of the glory of God on so many levels and realizing that I need a Savior. Since that day, He still does this for me everyday, as I realize (everyday) that my heart is far uglier than I ever imagined it was—particularly in contrast to His Righteousness and Beauty which He shows me in greater measure everyday. Still, my Savior continues to make me clean as I confess my sin to Him daily. This is truly is good news (gospel) for me!

We get to participate in displaying this gospel love in the way that we interact with our brothers and sisters. In our humble confession, we get to acknowledge that we are nothing apart from the power of God and we get to receive the help of God through His Body. In the way we respond when our sister reveals her dirty feet to us, we get to show the sacrificial, pursuing, steadfast, loyal, true, and merciful love of Jesus.

Are we humble enough to walk in the light? Do we believe in the unseen (the hope of the glory of God) enough to expose our weakness in this world?

Have we tasted the scandalous love of Christ so that it flows through us in sacrificial, pursuing, steadfast, loyal, true and merciful love for our brother and sister? Are we willing to do the painful, not at all glamourous, hard work of real love?

Are we willing to love Christ in the way that we interact with those in His Body? John 13:20 "Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”

Do we really believe that the gospel works?

James 5:13-20

13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. 18 Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit. 19 My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, 20 let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

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