blessing in the doing | John 13.12-17
12 When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. 16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
John 13:12-17 | ESV
So he finishes washing their feet, puts his clothes back on, and retakes his place at the table.
“Do you have any clue as to what I just did to you?” he asks to blank stares.
“You call me, ‘Rabbi/Teacher’ and ‘Lord/Master’ – and, yeah, you’ve got that one right, because that’s what I am. So if I wash your feet – your Master, your Rabbi – then the same applies to you, doesn’t it: you should be falling over yourselves to wash each other’s feet, yes? I didn’t just perform a ritual, I gave you a paradigm to fully parse in your lives, so that what I have done for you you also would do for each other. Let me spell this out for you in BIG BOLD LETTERS: the servant doesn’t outrank the master, nor does the secretary dictate orders to the boss who sends her with a message. Do you get it? Because if you do, the real blessing comes not in the knowing but in the doing.” MAV
How we echo them.
We thrive on information.
We are data junkies.
And what a temptation it is to reduce the Good News of Christ to that lowest common denominator: compiled information. And how we can fight over the content of that information.
What is the correct information?
What is the incorrect information?
When doctrine is reduced to a mere body of information stated and stored correctly, we haven’t just missed it. We have fallen into the very thing we have dreaded most – that horror of all horrors: false doctrine. Healthy doctrine is always in the doing. Healthy doctrine is not found in bits of correctly stored and accumulated holy information; it’s found in the baby steps of doing, of walking as he walked, of taking up the basin and the towel.
How easy to choose megabytes of information over simple basins and towels with which we wash the feet of heretics that others would burn for their heresies – even as Jesus washed the feet of his own Judas.
How easy to recite the great commandment, how wondrous to truly know what it is – and what is the “second like unto it.”
But how blessed are those whose recitation is found not on their lips in pulpits but in the silent movement of their hands as they reach for – and use – the basin and the towel “for the least of these.”
What is the “doing” of love that God is calling you to this day? Where will you start?
Abba, make me more than a talker, a regurgitator of holy canonized tidbits; make me a doer of your Word, a doer of love, a bearer of the basin and the towel. Through Christ.