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The Most High on His Knees: Learning Humility from the Last Supper

What ideas raced by means of the angels’ minds as they beheld their Creator stoop down to scrub human toes? How a lot these burning seraphim will need to have puzzled. They themselves blushed to show such creatureliness earlier than their King — worshiping the Son across the throne with toes wing-covered (Isaiah 6:2). What did they suppose now to observe the Holy One take water and clear these calloused, sweaty, unbeautiful toes?

Did they sing with the psalmist, “What’s man that you’re conscious of him, and the son of man that you take care of him?” (Psalm 8:4). Did they sympathize with Peter’s astonished “Lord, do you wash my toes?” Did they see one thing proper in Peter’s insistent “You shall by no means wash my toes” (John 13:6, 8)?

From heaven’s view, this second will need to have outstripped Jesus’s many indicators and wonders so far. The angels had stood by when the Son created the world, when “the morning stars sang collectively and all of the sons of God shouted for pleasure” (Job 38:7). What was multiplying bread in comparison with talking the land and wheat into existence? The calming of a storm to the very creation of seas and wind and waves with a mere phrase? They already knew their God had energy to boost the lifeless; they knew him because the God of all life.

However this sight was totally different. The King of kings performed the a part of slave of slaves. Had their eyes seen something prefer it since he took on human flesh? Armies of angels watched their Captain — the everlasting God from the Father’s proper hand — bend earlier than his creatures to scrub their toes, hours earlier than these toes fled in concern. Right here bowed an act past omnipotence, an act Matthew Henry named a “miracle in humility.” Former wonders proved he was God; this proved what sort of God he was.

Psychology of Service

Oh, to see this act as angels did. Or higher, to see this act as God does. Fortunately, the Holy Spirit moved John’s pen to seize it. Contained inside his account are two completely profound, God-revealed particulars that I too usually have learn previous.

For years, that is how I (and maybe you) recalled the spectacle:

Jesus . . . rose from supper. He laid apart his outer clothes, and taking a towel, tied it round his waist. Then he poured water right into a basin and commenced to scrub the disciples’ toes and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped round him. (John 13:3–5)

We keep in mind merely the exterior act. Jesus washed toes, and so ought to we. However how a lot better is the Bible’s telling than our remembering. Two discreet phrases get omitted:

Throughout supper, when the satan had already put it into the guts of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, Jesus, figuring out that the Father had given all issues into his palms, and that he had come from God and was going again to God, rose from supper . . . and commenced to scrub his disciples’ toes. (John 13:2–5)

The Holy Spirit, who searches even the thoughts of God (1 Corinthians 2:10), provides John perception into the very ideas of Christ simply earlier than he bent low to serve. We get an open window into Jesus’s meditations of soul. These can’t be irrelevant particulars. John is not going to permit Jesus’s palms to scrub till we all know what sceptered him for service. The Spirit presents us with the psychology of Jesus’s heavenly servanthood as he foreshadowed the approaching cross.

So allow us to suppose after his two ideas earlier than he rose from dinner. And will what we see animate a lifetime of lowly service.

1. I’m wealthy in God.

Jesus, figuring out that the Father had given all issues into his palms . . . rose from supper . . . and commenced to scrub the disciple’s toes. (John 13:3–5)

That the Father had positioned “all issues” into Christ’s palms was no new thought for him. He felt the fullness from the start of his ministry: “The Father loves the Son and has given all issues into his hand” (John 3:35).

Christ’s service, right here and from the start, was not an impoverished service. He didn’t think about that he had nothing in his palms, or had nothing higher to fill them with than human toes. He by no means wanted from his disciples; thus, he may give richly to his disciples. A wealthy King condescended.

By the Spirit, John makes recognized that Jesus once more deliberates upon all that God had given him. He felt the treasures over in his thoughts and coronary heart. What golden cash did he really feel?

He felt the work, to this point achieved, that the Father gave him to do (John 17:4) — the teachings, the proper acts of righteousness, the mighty works {that a} world filled with books couldn’t include (John 21:25) — with the chief jewel now earlier than him. Maybe he felt the life surging in himself or contemplated his authority over all flesh (John 5:25–27; 17:2). Little question he felt the diamonds and rubies of the glory given him and the glory to be his once more, now to be exalted because the God-man, within the Father’s presence (John 17:5). However most frequently in John, Jesus speaks of the Father having given him a individuals (John 6:35–40; 10:28–29; 17:1–3, 6–9, 11–15, 22–25).

That evening he prays “for these whom you will have given me” (John 17:9):

I’m now not on the planet, however they’re on the planet, and I’m coming to you. Holy Father, preserve them in your title, which you will have given me, that they might be one, whilst we’re one. Whereas I used to be with them, I stored them in your title, which you will have given me. I’ve guarded them, and never one in all them has been misplaced besides the son of destruction, that the Scripture is likely to be fulfilled. (John 17:11–12)

“Jesus went low to his knees to scrub his Bride’s toes — and down into the depths to boost her to himself.”

The Father had given him a individuals. Later that night, he steps in entrance of them at his arrest to meet his promise: “Of these whom you gave me I’ve misplaced not one” (John 18:9). Dying, Devil’s accusations, the Father’s simply wrath pursued them. He was no employed hand — he laid down his life for his sheep. He needed to, if they’d be saved. He went low to his knees to scrub his Bride’s toes — and down into the depths to boost her to himself and to the Father in heaven. “Having beloved his personal who had been on the planet, he beloved them to the top” (John 13:1).

2. I’m going dwelling to my Father.

Jesus, figuring out that . . . he had come from God and was going again to God . . . started to scrub the disciples’ toes. (John 13:3, 5)

We aren’t from the Father in the identical manner Jesus was. He’s the Son, totally God, eternally existent “to start with” with God, to start with as God (John 1:1–2). The Father despatched the Son from eternity previous (John 7:29). The Son took on flesh and tabernacled amongst us (John 1:14); God entered his personal story.

Jesus knew this. He incensed the Jews by claiming that earlier than Abraham existed, he was (John 8:58). He would pray that night, “Father, glorify me in your personal presence with the glory that I had with you earlier than the world existed” (John 17:5). Jesus, in whom the fullness of God was happy to dwell, got here from the Father into the world to save lots of his individuals from their sins.

Throughout dinner, Jesus’s ideas fed upon his future together with his Father. A couple of verses earlier, John summarizes the entire brutal cross with a most lovely phrase: “Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father” (John 13:1). Jesus considered his coming loss of life, even essentially the most horrific, shameful loss of life, because the ferry to convey him dwelling to his Father.

The enjoyment outweighed the anguish: for the enjoyment set earlier than him he endured the cross, despising the disgrace. For him (and for all his individuals), loss of life doesn’t submerge into the abyss; it carries the soul to the God it calls “Father.” Past the feet-washing and past the cross and past even his individuals and glory on the opposite facet, Jesus mirrored upon the one to whom he went: the Abba his soul beloved.

No Service Too Low

The Grasp’s foot-washing foretold of his cleaning cross-work. And with it, he left us an instance.

I’ve given you an instance, that you just additionally ought to just do as I’ve finished to you. Really, really, I say to you, a servant will not be larger than his grasp, neither is a messenger larger than the one who despatched him. If you realize this stuff, blessed are you in case you do them. (John 13:15–17)

Christ, our nice Grasp and filth-washer, has left us an instance — not simply in his actions, however in his issues. Within the psychology of the God-man’s service, he exhibits us that we too should serve from figuring out our fullness and our future in him.

“Born of God, our future is to be with God, endlessly. What service is just too low when you think about a future so excessive?”

We frequently don’t serve as a result of we expect ourselves wanting. To serve others, we consider, will increase our deficits. But think about that in Christ, all issues are yours. Take away your outer gown, and you haven’t eliminated God’s favor. Tie the servant’s towel round your waist, and you haven’t forfeited your room in your Father’s home. Absorb your palms the mud-stained, smelly, unlovely toes of fellow saints and sinners, and also you shall nonetheless grasp your home subsequent to the Son to reign. What can separate us from the love of Christ? Whilst you and I are enveloped in such blessing — the least of which is skilled now — whose toes can we not wash?

Or think about that, like Christ, you sail upon a vessel heading to the Father. Jesus made it so. He went to Calvary to arrange a spot for us in his Father’s home (John 14:2–3). Peter writes of the cross, “Christ additionally suffered as soon as for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he would possibly convey us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). Born of God, our future is to be with God, endlessly. What service is just too low when you think about a future so excessive?

You’re wealthy in God now, and richer nonetheless as you head to God, your full inheritance. Whom can we not serve alongside the street to such a glory? The angels noticed the Son wash human toes: might they see such lovely service replicated by his individuals all through this egocentric world. Could they see our satisfaction in God carried out in our service of others.


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