Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Night Jesus Left Dinner With Dirty Feet and a Broken Heart

It is a widely known fact that women love jewelry. Some more than others, but as a whole, they can't get enough jewelry. Whether it be earrings, necklaces, bracelets, or rings, women just love jewelry. The rule of thumb is the shinier, the better. But have you ever considered the process a diamond goes through in order to become that beautiful, flawless stone that attracts so many women's attention?

I wonder what the first person to find a diamond must have thought about it. After all, before a diamond is a gorgeous, flawless stone it is a dirty, deformed, dull rock. The reason it is called a "diamond in the rough" is pretty self explanatory, after all. So I can't help but be curious how the first person to find one knew the full worth of the stone. How did they know that with some cleaning, cutting, and polishing their find would be priceless?

Much like the first person to ever find a diamond, Jesus did some sifting and polishing of His own "diamonds in the rough". However, the priceless objects He worked with were not stone, and were far more valuable than any gem ever could be. His objects were made of clay, formed from dirt of the Earth and the very breathe of God Himself. When He found them, they were mere men among many, but when He finished His labors of shaping and polishing, He had formed Apostles. 

However, Jesus had His work cut out for Him. The road from men to apostles was not a smooth one. The pot holes and bumps along the way came in many forms. Some of them were innocent enough, but some had hurtful consequences. Take for example the night of the passover feast when Jesus washed His disciple's feet. 

John 13 records the scene beautifully. Jesus went into dinner knowing that the end of His life was nearing an end, and that He would soon be departing His disciples, whom verse 1 says "..He loved to no end." Jesus knew that as His life was coming to an end, so too with it His chances to put the finishing touches on polishing His disciples. So He stood up from dinner and wrapped a towel around Himself, and began to wash their feet.

Anyone who has studied the culture of Jesus' day know the significance of this act. Traditionally it was the job of a slave or the least of a company to wash the dust and dirt from the feet of everyone else in the dinner party before the meal. But notice when Jesus stood up. John 13:4 says Jesus stood up at the end of the meal to wash the feet of His disciples. I can't help but wonder what Jesus was thinking throughout the dinner. Luke 22:24 tells us that the apostles had been arguing about who was the greatest amongst them. This dispute had obviously spilled over non-verbally into dinner that night. But true to His ways, Jesus (and by default, God) used the opportunity to do a little teaching. John 13:12-17 says, "So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

Something I want to point out is that nowhere in this passage do you read of anyone washing Jesus's feet. Even after the lesson He taught them, nobody stood up and washed The Master's feet. Sure, Peter gave a verbal objection to Christ washing his feet, but did he stand up and wash Jesus's feet?

Nope.

That night Jesus left dinner with dirty feet, and a broken heart. He received lip service from His apostles regarding their level of commitment to Him, but no one stood up to wash His feet. Is this where the saying, "Actions speak louder than words" originated from? I seriously doubt it. But is it screaming through my mind as an adequate enough description for this passage? Absolutely. Self confidence is a good thing. It does have a purpose. However, without humility it is a deadly poison that kills the soul of the person who ingests it. The damage doesn't end there, though. Often, when our self confidence becomes narcissism, as in the case of the apostles arguing over who among them is greatest, it has a negative ripple that hurts those we hold closest to us. 

The good news is, we have a Savior who is patient. We have a Savior who knows our flaws, but sees the diamond underneath. We have a Savior who is wiling to polish us until we shine.

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