The Servant’s Heart

John 13:1-17… These few verses talks about a servant’s heart. Jesus said in verses 16-17“How true it is that a servant is not greater than the master. Nor are messengers more important than the one who sends him. You know these things–now do them! That is the path of blessing” (NLT). Christians must have this understanding, that we are not greater than the Lord Jesus Christ. He is Lord; we are servants. It’s too bad, but many make themselves lord, and Jesus servant. From Luke’s account (22:24), the disciples were arguing as to who was going to be the greatest. It seems people always want to lord it over someone else. Jesus told the disciples that this is a heathenish spirit. Jesus said to His disciples (John 13:10), “Ye are clean, but not all” (KJV). Let’s follow the lesson and pick up a few thoughts.

Verse 2… Judas was drinking in a suggestion that the devil had put into his mind (to betray Jesus). But he wasn’t the only one who was dirty in the group. Often we see someone else’s dirt and not our own.

Verses 3-5… Jesus took a towel. It was after the supper (the blessing) that He began to serve. He began to wash the disciples’ feet. There is no Christian that can say, “I am an absolutely clean Christian.” If Jesus isn’t touching some ugly area in your life, you need to find out why.

Jesus comes to Peter. Peter said, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” (verse 6, NIV). Peter was asking, “Lord, I’m not dirty, am I?” Peter was one of the best-loved apostles. Jesus said in verse 7“You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” Many times Christians see the actions of God’s dealing, but not the purpose for it. Peter said in verse 8, “You shall never wash my feet.” Peter was blocking the very lesson Jesus was teaching. Peter was resisting the workings of Jesus Christ because the purpose was not visible right then. Even today, many Christians take the attitude, “Lord, I love you dearly, but you will not get me to submit to that, and You’ll never get me to believe that!” Jesus said, “If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me” (verse 8, KJV). In other words, “Peter, you have nothing in common with Me.” If you have no interest in what Jesus wants to do, you have no part with Him, no further relationship. Your growth stops right there; you have gone as far as you can. There is no extra anointing for disobedience.

Peter, realizing that he could go no farther with Jesus said in verse 9, “Lord, not my feet [walk] only, but also my hands [work] and my head [vision]” (KJV). Peter saw that his spiritual growth and apostleship depended upon his submission to Jesus. He is Lord; you are the servant. If Jesus is dealing with something in your heart and you resist, your growth stops. Jesus was implying that you can’t minister to anybody until you let Jesus minister to you. Peter saw the danger of a lost fellowship with Jesus. Many people have been freed from sin by the blood of Jesus only to come into a bondage of another kind by lording it over others or having jealousies over another’s ministry.

Jesus then gives the reason for His foot-washing lesson. “I have shown you the importance of a servant’s heart” (vv. 12-16). A servant of Jesus Christ submits to Jesus Christ, whether it makes sense right then or not. Disobedience will mean a loss. Jesus wants each one of us to have a servant’s heart. Attitude is involved. Jesus said in Luke 9:23“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow me” (KJV). The cross is something that you die on. The cross leads to a hill, to a kill. Won’t you die to your own desires? That’s what a servant’s heart is all about. We need to pray about serving. If you pray for power or for authority to rule somebody or something you are on the wrong track. An obedient servant has authority and power to do the Master’s will. Many people want to start with power and authority, but Jesus taught that the way to that is with a servant’s heart.

Pastor George Belobaba

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