Thursday, August 25, 2022

 Do You Know What I Have Done?

Gordon Crook, Pastor
Grace Assembly, Wichita, Kansas

“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.” John 13:12-17

This is a very important passage that tends to get little attention in the modern church. It is very contrary to what our culture teaches us and presses for us to conform to. We are encouraged to seek and take a place of prominence whenever we can. Power and authority are important things to be captured in our lives.

Most of what Jesus teaches us is so very contrary to what we learn from our culture today. When we understand and remember that we are God’s children, with the life of Christ in us, we should expect that we would be very different from the world. Not in some weird way of appearance, but our attitude should align with that life of Christ as we yield to Him. 

So much of what Jesus taught while He was in this world, has to do with attitude, and not some religious activity. Religious activity is driven by some expectation of some person or persons, but when we are yielding to Jesus Christ, He is changing our attitudes to be like Him.

In Matthew 20:26, Jesus makes a similar statement to His disciples. He reminds them that they will not be like the other people around them. The difference in John is that Jesus shows them by example. This is very powerful, because His point is very simple. If Jesus, their Lord, would stoop to wash their feet (something usually reserved for the servants), then they could not say it was beneath them.

Paul reminds us that Jesus became poor so that we might be rich - 2 Corinthians 8:9. The degree of Jesus’ condescension is hard for us to understand. He was not just “their” Lord and Master, He was God, who created all things, Lord over all and He came down to serve humanity. Why would we think we are above that?

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” - Philippians 2:5-8.

The question Jesus asks of His disciples is, “Do you know what I have done to you?” The intent of the question is to see if they understood what He had done. They knew the mechanics of what He had done, but understanding is different. We can often look at the letter of what we read or consider the mechanics of what was done, but understanding what Jesus is teaching requires the Holy Spirit to reveal the depth of the instruction.

Paul says, “Let this mind be in you.” He is speaking about us having the same mind of Christ, the same attitude that Jesus had. This can only happen by the work of the Holy Spirit. When we read a passage like this, and then decide that we are going to be just like that, we are destined to fail. Only the Holy Spirit, working through God’s Word, can actually change our attitudes and our hearts. Not just a forcing of our will to do something a certain way, but a true attitude of heart that causes us to desire that action.

“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another” - Galatians 5:13.

Our culture in the United States is one of thinking we have great freedom, and we get angry when we feel someone has limited or breached our freedom. This is an attitude of “me first” and it is contrary to God’s Word. Paul speaks of a liberty that is greater than even our freedom we have in this country, but he reminds us that we are not to use that as an occasion to our flesh (our personal desires) over the attitude of serving others.

We should be very careful about allowing the world (even the “Christian” world) to set our attitudes. God wants to change our attitudes to be more like our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Let (allow, yield to) this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.