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Do As I Have Done

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"Do As I Have Done," by Dr. K.P. Yohannan

1. Read John 13:1-15

 John 13:1-15 (HCSB)
1 Before the Passover Festival, Jesus knew that His hour had come to depart from this world to the Father. Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.
2 Now by the time of supper, the Devil had already put it into the heart of Judas, Simon Iscariot’s son, to betray Him.
3 Jesus knew that the Father had given everything into His hands, that He had come from God, and that He was going back to God.
4 So He got up from supper, laid aside His robe, took a towel, and tied it around Himself.
5 Next, He poured water into a basin and began to wash His disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel tied around Him.
6 He came to Simon Peter, who asked Him, “Lord, are You going to wash my feet?”
7 Jesus answered him, “What I’m doing you don’t understand now, but afterwards you will know.”
8 “You will never wash my feet—ever!” Peter said. Jesus replied, “If I don’t wash you, you have no part with Me.”
9 Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.”
10 “One who has bathed,” Jesus told him, “doesn’t need to wash anything except his feet, but he is completely clean. You are clean, but not all of you.”
11 For He knew who would betray Him. This is why He said, “You are not all clean.”
12 When Jesus had washed their feet and put on His robe, He reclined again and said to them, “Do you know what I have done for you?
13 You call Me Teacher and Lord. This is well said, for I am.
14 So if I, 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 for you.

2. Read devotional text:

Here we see the beautiful place of humility the Son of God took before His own disciples.

In the Asian culture, it is difficult to even grasp this kind of event taking place! A master stooping down to wash his servants’ feet?! Only slaves do that! Yet here we see the Creator of the universe, the Lord of lords and the King of kings who became the Son of Man, bending down to wash the dusty feet of His disciples.

Everywhere you travel across this world, you will find people driven to exalt themselves, some in a blatant manner and some in subtle ways, but all somehow driven to be recognized and known. But in John 13, we see the exact opposite happening. The One who, above all else, should be exalted, here is stooping low.

And not low before powerful kings and rulers, but before ordinary men— His own disciples—men rough around the edges, feet worn and dusty from days of travel. All for one reason: “I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you” (John 13:15, emphasis mine).

In the early years of my serving the Lord, I struggled with this inner desire to be recognized and esteemed, as I’m sure many of us do, even in Christian service. However, this should really have no place in the life of the child of God. When we behold Christ and realize the example He has given us, our lives and our pride should immediately bow—not just because of what was done, but because of who did it! If the Son of God could humble Himself before His disciples, how can I not humble myself in dealing with my brothers and sisters?

Every situation that comes in our lives in which we feel that inner urge to fight for our way needs to be seen as an instrument of God to shape us into a humble servant. As we choose to bow low, just like Jesus, we begin to mirror Him. And each day  becomes more and more, “He must increase . . . I must decrease” (John 3:30).

Consider the position that 1 Peter 5:5–6 (NIV) tells us to take: “All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” Oftentimes when we read this verse, we think the part that says, “He will lift you up” automatically means positions, titles, degrees or recognition. But this is far from what Christ meant. Humility cannot be used as a stepping stone to personal promotion. It is a dangerous thing for those in the Lord’s service to live with the secret desire to be recognized, feel important, “climb the ladder” or be esteemed and rewarded by men.

Humility allows Christ’s life to be perfected in us. But pride, the opposite of humility, works death in us. To be exalted, honored and recognized was the desire of Lucifer. He was not content with what God had chosen for him so he decided to exalt himself: “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God” (Isaiah 14: 13). Because of this Lucifer fell, rejected by God because of the pride in his heart. All sin originated in pride and self-exaltation. But our salvation originated in Christ humbling Himself by His death on the cross.

Philippians 2:3–4 tells us, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” How does that translate into our lives? We can say with our lips, “I am small,” but in our minds we are big. We have our education, our position and our possessions. We can look at someone and say, “This person is more important than I am” all we want. But we must live that out, demonstrating humility, if we are to be changed. In dealing with others, it helps if we realize that we could be in another’s situation. If it weren’t for the grace of God, that beggar on the street could be me.

In the late 1960s when I was in Rajasthan, we would hire three-wheel rickshaw taxis to get us around. The passengers would sit on the back seat with their luggage, while the rickshaw driver would sit on the front seat and peddle. For two hours of peddling, a driver would commonly receive about 10 rupees (equivalent to about 20 U.S. cents).

One day, I was riding in a rickshaw on my way to a meeting. It was the middle of summer, and the heat was overwhelming. As I sat in the back seat of the rickshaw, I watched my driver. He was an old man, all skin and bones, the veins in his neck bulging from the strain and the heat. He had no shirt on, and sweat poured down his body. “This is terrible!” I thought to myself. Here was this old man peddling so hard to get me up this huge hill, in the middle of the summer heat. Certainly I had much more strength than he. I said to myself, “If it were not for the grace of God, I would be doing this job.”

So I told the driver to stop the rickshaw. He quit peddling and, concerned he had done something wrong, asked, “What happened?” I said, “Nothing is wrong. I just want you to give me the handlebars and you go and sit on the back.” He couldn’t believe it! I got on the front seat of that rickshaw and peddled the rest of the way. When I got to my destination, I gave him a Gospel tract and paid him more money than he deserved. The man was blown away by what he had witnessed and experienced.

Truth is, I never could have done something like that if I thought I was better than that man. It is only in seeing Christ’s humility and esteeming others better than myself that I am able to love my fellow man and walk humbly with him. As we embrace these opportunities, the sweet love of Jesus flows out of our lives, drawing all men to Him.

Again and again, as the disciples traveled with Jesus, they saw His humility, His tears and His gentleness. Anyone could approach Him; there was no high-mindedness in His response to anyone. From the worst in the society to the most refined in the community, all could approach Him. He who knew their every sin and flaw still embraced them. Each was treated with dignity and compassion. This is the humility of Christ. And He did this so that we might do as He has done.

(Christianity.com Weekly Update – August 21, 2008)

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