Tales From The Trail: #3 Lead With The Towel

Scripture Reading: John 13:1-17
Prayer: Easter Prayer 

It is one thing to ride a humble donkey, but this, this is too much for most of us to comprehend.  We have our own 21st century ideas of what a leader looks like.  Confident.  Bold.  Standing over.  Not kneeling before.

Jesus came into the world, don’t ever doubt that.  Jesus understood the world on every level.  He surmises how societies have developed status.  He comprehends the culture different groups of humans have curated.  Most importantly, as a full portion of the creating Trinity, Jesus knew that for which we were made, and he modeled that kind of humanity.

Our Savior didn’t ride a white horse, or sit in a white house.  Our Lord isn’t the kind to rule over but to walk with us.  This simple act of washing feet, something anybody could do, but on that night filled with the anticipation of glory, it was a courtesy that nobody had provided.

I hope that you clicked on the link at the beginning and read the full story from John 13.  Even so, let’s read these words again.  Meditate on them.  Imagine in your mind what this looked like as during the evening meal Jesus washed the feet of his followers.

 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God;  so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist.  After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.  John 13:3-5

If you didn’t already know the Gospel of John tells the story of Jesus from a different perspective than the others.  John does not take the time to institute the Lord’s Supper (or Communion or the Eucharist as you may call it.)  Instead, John chooses to emphasize this part of the evening meal.  He even include these words of “institution”:

Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.  I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.  John 13:14-15

For some groups of Christians, some of my neighbors and yours, special congregational foot washing services are typically held this week.  They are mourning the loss of this powerful, annual tradition just like our church family is missing out on the Passover and Resurrection Trail.

My friend Mark had the bright idea of taking Jesus at His word once when we were leading a huddle group of teenagers.  We had a super cool group of high school juniors.  They were smart, athletic, musical, and occasionally “too cool for school.”  One Wednesday night Mark and I came to class with buckets of water and towels.  We told the boys to take off their shoes and socks as they sat in a circle of the same couches you see in the picture above.  As one of us read scriptures about humility and service the other began washing the first set of feet.  At first, they were a little resistant, but by the end there was weeping in the room.  It was the most meaningful night I ever experienced in ministry with teens.  A night I still remember almost two decades later.

Parents, let me encourage you tonight to take Jesus at His word.  Make your dinner a meal to remember.  Share this passage with your children and bring a bucket of water and a towel to the table.  I think you can figure it out from there.  Remind your children of your love for them, and of the one thing even greater than that.  They are always…

In Him,
Wes

Click Here to see the original post with pictures from past Resurrection Trail and Passover events.





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