John: Power

John 13:1–38

Do you understand what I have done to you?

Such a penetrating statement from Jesus. What does he mean?

Because maybe he’s talking to Peter about this foot-washing. That’s a weird thing to do after all. Not so much to have your feet washed at dinner, in Peter’s place and time, but that Jesus would do it. Jesus, the rabbi, the leader, the one who keeps equating himself with God. Like your boss at work grabbing the toilet bowl cleaner. There are certain jobs certain people don’t do, right?

Or maybe Jesus has been talking about whole journey of discipleship that started way back, and from the water-into-wine all the way to Lazarus walking out of the grave.

Peter, do you get it?

Touching people’s feet. Man, that’s getting personal. That’s personal space, right there.

When you are the leader, there is honor. There is prestige. There is pomp and circumstance. When you are in charge and people are listening to you, they serve you.

John shows us a Jesus for whom power and influence look very different. Radically different from the Jewish religious leaders. Radically different from the Roman military.

According to Jesus, power and influence serve. According to Jesus, power and influence get low. According to Jesus, power and influence involve personal human contact.

Do we get it? Servant leadership sounds like one of those churchy cliches that has no bite. But I wonder if it should bite us. Deep.

It’s one of those questions I wonder if Jesus is always speaking to me. Maybe at the end of each day: Do you understand what I have done to you?

No, Jesus, I really don’t. Just what is it that you’ve done to me? Will you show me?

Who can I serve today?

What about you? What do you see?


About peterjwhite

I am a pastor to college students in Tulsa, OK.
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