Love Like Jesus

Luke 22 & John 13

John 13 is the only chapter in the four gospels that record Jesus washing his disciples’ feet. In John 13.34 Jesus teaches “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love another”. What is the newness of this commandment Jesus gives his disciples and to us? I believe it is the phrase “even as I have loved you”. The way believers are to love each other is no longer patterned after how we would want to be loved (Lev.19.18) but there is a new way to love each other. The new pattern of love is Jesus himself. 

What does it mean to love other Christians like Jesus? This is a very tall order! Where do we start?! I believe the washing of the disciples feet provides a framework for what Jesus had in mind when he said love each other as I have loved you. 

There are two lessons/principles we can learn from Jesus in this account that we can emulate in our lives towards other believers. The first one can be read in John 13.4-5,12-15. Jesus illustrates humility. Jesus as Lord and teacher took the position of a common house servant when he got on his hands and knees and girded himself with a towel to wash feet. If anyone’s feet should have been washed it was Jesus yet the holy selfless Lord and teacher put aside his rightful privileges to serve his students. Jesus humbled himself. Likewise we as Christians are called to humble ourselves before each other and seek out the interest of others before ourself (Eph. 4.2, 5.21, Phil. 2.3-5). 

The second lesson we can learn form Jesus is that to love each other involves humbling ourselves before each other and serving one another in practical ways. The act of washing feet in antiquity served a very practical purpose. Most people wore open-toed shoes or sandals and people walked everywhere. The result was people’s feet would easily become dirty, rough, and caked with filth. No one would want to track the dirt through someone’s home so either the homeowner or a servant would wash the guests feet as they came in. It was practical for the guest and the homeowner. 

What is involved in loving other Christians as Jesus loved us? Looking at the real life illustration of Jesus washing his students’ feet, we learn to love one another involves humbling ourselves before others and serving them in practical ways. 

-Jacob Rohrer

Today’s Bible passages can be read or listened to at BibleGateway here – Luke 22 & John 13

Tomorrow we will read John 14-17.

Joseph Reveals Himself

Genesis 43-45

Genesis 45 7 NIV

I think that after one day you understand how this set of devotions will work. They are casual, informal and straight to the point. With that, let’s pick up where we left off.

 

It is interesting in verse 8, that Judah is the one to bear responsibility for retrieving food. Reuben is the first-born of Israel and would be the de facto leader of the brothers, yet it is Judah who shoulders the burden of protecting his half-brother Benjamin on the journey back to Egypt. In times when it seems like someone is meant to be a leader, there is actually a gap to be filled. There are times when a gap is created when a leader fails to step up. Men fail. That is what we do. But there is always someone to fill that gap, even if that person never thought they were suited for that position. Where can I fill the gaps?

 

The steward who greets the sons of Israel is only a side character in this story, yet he is performing the duties that Jesus later commanded all of us to take on. In verse 24, it says that the steward provided water to wash their feet. Jesus took it a step further and washed feet himself. This side character was more powerful than a servant, yet he still performed some duties of the servant. Jesus has more authority even than this steward, and yet he lowered himself even further than the steward. This is true humility. We need to be willing to serve and be the side character.

 

Joseph is really quite crafty. First he develops this plot that will ensure that he is able to see his younger brother. He accuses the sons of Israel of spying on the land and learns of his younger brothers existence and then threatens the brothers so that they must bring Benjamin with them if they ever return. Yet Joseph knows that they must return. Joseph controls all of the grain in the region. The brothers must return. He even returns their money to guarantee two things. One is that they will have the money to purchase more grain in the future. The other is to entrap them in another of his schemes, that he might pay them back for their injustice to him or that he might force them to leave Benjamin with him. This idea comes up again at the end of chapter 44. When his brothers do return, he treats them to a feast to the brothers great confusion (see verse 33). They thought they were under suspicion of being spies, yet here they are being treated to a feast by the man who is second only to the Pharaoh of the most powerful civilization on the planet. That is quite a turn of events. But Joseph is not done playing with them yet. He plants his personal belongings in Benjamin’s bag. This is starting to look like the diabolical plot of an evil mastermind. In doing this, he will be able to reduce his brothers to groveling at his feet and will have also created a scenario where his only brother Benjamin must stay in Egypt.

 

Fortunately, Joseph is not an evil mastermind. He is just a cunning brother who longs to be with his family. Verse 1 of chapter 45 reveals this. In the end, all of his scheming only resulted in prolonging his isolation from his family. If he had revealed himself the first time that his brothers had come for food, he may have experienced the same outcome where his father’s entire household would move to Goshen and live with him. But then again, Joseph must have been afraid when he first saw his brothers. Remember, the last time he saw them, they were busy throwing him into pits (don’t worry, there wasn’t any water in it) and selling him into slavery. If you were in Joseph’s situation and were half as cunning as him, would you have acted the same?

 

Nathaniel Johnson

 

Today’s Bible reading can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+43-45&version=NIV

 

Tomorrow’s reading will be Genesis 46-47 as we continue on the 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan

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