The example we must practice

Before observing the last Passover of his life, Jesus put a towel around his waist and began washing his disciples’ feet. After finishing the task, Jesus asked his disciples, “Do you know what I have done to you?” Never was there a more penetrating question.

Here was Peter: first to confess Jesus in Matthew 16, prominent in so many instances in the gospels, initially refused to allow Jesus to wash his feet. Possibly the look of astonishment and wonder was still on his face as Jesus asked this question. Then, there were James and John, who vied to sit on Jesus’ left and right hand (Matthew 20:20ff). Judas, the betrayer, would soon make his exit to go to the chief priests and receive his 30 pieces of silver.

In life, the disciples had called Jesus “teacher” and “Lord.” And he told them they were correct to do so (John 13:13). If Jesus, their Lord, washed their feet, then what would be their proper duty? They should love and serve each other. Jesus would shortly teach the 12 his commandment to love each other (John 13:34). For them to love one another, they would need to humble themselves and learn to serve.

David Lipe wrote, “Because of his love, he humbled himself and became the despised servant for others. The same love that makes it possible for people to be cleansed is the love that the community of believers is to have for one another.”[1]

In his instruction of the Christians in Philippi, the apostle Paul related the same attitude. “Each of you should be concerned not only about your own interests but about the interests of others as well. You should have the same attitude toward one another that Jesus had, who though he existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped” (Philippians 2:4-6 NET).

Jesus gave his life to save humanity. To do so, he voluntarily gave himself to die the death of the despicable though he was not guilty of anything. He gave himself up for our sins freely, willingly that we might gain salvation and ultimately eternal life.

This example is one all of us must learn and practice if we are God’s children.

  [1] “John 13-21 Truth-for-Today Commentary by Dr. David Lipe, Resource Publications, Searcy, Arkansas, page 15.

Jesus: The Word

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).

We focus on the sayings of Jesus in this column. But, by His word…

  • He brought all things into existence (Gen. 1:1; John 1:1).
  • He sustains all things (Heb. 1:1).
  • He gives life to men who are dead in sin (John 6:63).
  • Will be the standard of judgment (John 12:48; 25:31-46).

Jesus is The Word.

John referred to Jesus as ho logos (the Word). This phrase existed among the Greeks before Jesus came. It meant various things to them, like insight, or reason, or the regulating power or principle of the world.

All these describe Jesus. The Holy Spirit “borrowed” the Greek phrase, and filled it with richness.

Though there are three Divine persons, there is only one Logos: Jesus.

  • The Logos inhabited a body and partook of the human nature (Php. 2:5-9; Psa. 40:6-8; Heb. 10:5-7). Neither the Father nor the Spirit did this.
  • The Logos did not pray to himself, but the Father (John 17).
  • The Spirit was not crucified, but The Logos.

The Logos is also the mediator. The role of Logos is both to communicate God to man, and to communicate man to God (Heb. 7:25).

Philosophically, the Greek logos varied in nature, and was impersonal.

But the true logos is both divine and human.

The true logos, Jesus, is the beginning, center and end of all things.

“Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever” (Revelation 5:12-13)

Nearsighted fools

“This I command you, that you love one another” (John 15:17)

How many times have you heard it?

  • “If I had known this was the last time I would ever see her…”
  • “If I knew then what I know now…”
  • “I’d give anything if he could walk through that door…”

We live nearsighted lives. We feel like there will always be time to fix, to remedy, to make right. But sometimes, we are wrong.

Jesus’ disciples were also nearsighted at times. On the night of his betrayal, Jesus told his disciples, “This I command you, that you love one another” (John 15:17). What did they do? They argued about who was the greatest (Luke 22:24). They were nearsighted.

In a matter of hours, Jesus would be crucified. Just weeks after his resurrection, one of them would be dead– a martyr for the faith (Acts 12:1-2). In the coming months, they would face persistent persecution (Acts 8:1).

How silly their petty attitudes and arguments must have seemed to them in retrospect.

We leave unsaid and undone the things that should be said and done because we are nearsighted. We bicker because we assume there will be time, later. Paul called this foolishness, sleepwalking through life (Eph. 5:14-16).

Jesus valued time perfectly. He understood life’s brevity. He lived without regret.

What about us? Will it take a tragedy to get us to slow down? To mend a wound? To love and cherish the people around us?

Better Homes and Gardens

With the jumbled mess in the side yard that used to be a somewhat neat portable shed, this is not the garden in which you will want to take pictures this week. Other messes include buckets filled with weeds, headed for the compost and various tools scattered around the yard.

A few weeks ago, some friends of mine began posting pictures on social media of their not-so-perfect spots in their yards. Did I participate? Well, no; I had too many to list! Besides, I’ve done that on a few occasions.

Our gardens are never like the ones in the pictures in the magazines, with everything blooming at once. How do they get that to happen? And what does that same garden look like a month later? Or a month earlier? Continue reading “Better Homes and Gardens”

Doing our level best

Purple on purple. There’s no better color combination, in my purple-loving mind! The pansies planted in the fall are a nice complement to the spring-blooming Ruby Giant crocus, which are decidedly NOT ruby-colored.

The Yard Boy spotted the first bloom, and so it seemed like it would be a good time to clean up that bed — for two reasons. First, It’s more fun to work in an area that is about to bust out in luscious color; and second, it’s a smart idea to have it tidied up before full blooms are in danger of damage by garden tools. Continue reading “Doing our level best”

Give our best

There is a principle found throughout the Bible concerning our giving to the Lord. The principle is very simple: you must give your best. When it came to animals that were sacrificed, here are the instructions God gave the Israelites.

“You shall not offer anything that has a blemish, for it will not be acceptable for you. And when anyone offers a sacrifice of peace offerings to the LORD to fulfill a vow or as a freewill offering from the herd or from the flock, to be accepted it must be perfect; there shall be no blemish in it. Animals blind or disabled or mutilated or having a discharge or an itch or scabs you shall not offer to the Lord or give them to the Lord as a food offering on the altar” (Leviticus 22:20-22 ESV). Continue reading “Give our best”

Active ingredients

“And again he said, ‘To what should I compare the kingdom of God? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened'” (Luke 13:20-21 NRS).

Societies, like recipes, are a blend of various ingredients. One does not bake bread from meal or flour alone. Neither does any nation consist of completely identical citizens. There is diversity of race, age, gender, education, economic status, religious commitment, and cultural development, to mention only a few of the vast differences which distinguish individuals. Continue reading “Active ingredients”

Devoted

Rather than going to worship, young people often use the term “devotional.” I actually like what that term implies. It comes from the word “devoted,” and refers to an act that is completely committed to some cause or person. In these sessions, our young people devote themselves thoroughly to the Lord.

The reason I mention this is because so many, so often, enter into times of worship with apparently little intention of devoting themselves to anything that is said and done. Rather than devoted, they are disinterested. Continue reading “Devoted”

His lovingkindness is everlasting

After Jesus and his disciples observed the Passover, they sang a hymn and went out toward the Mount of Olives and Gethsemane.

One commentator said the hymn Jesus and his disciples sung was probably “The Hillel” or Psalm 136. Though it has 26 verses, it is a fairly easily memorized Psalm because each verse ends with the same last words: “For his lovingkindness is everlasting.”

Do you think the disciples understood what they were singing with Jesus? Continue reading “His lovingkindness is everlasting”