Preaching & Teaching

Freed to Serve

After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. John 13:5 (NIV)

The night before He was crucified, Jesus gathered with the disciples for the Last Supper. In the next few hours, Judas would betray Him, His friends would desert Him, and Peter would deny Him. He would be arrested, tried, and crucified.

Jesus knew what was coming. Can you imagine the pressure? If ever there was a moment for the disciples to minister to Jesus this was it. And they blew it completely.

When the disciples gathered, there was tension in the air because they had been arguing about who was the greatest. They were totally insensitive to His struggle. Has that ever happened to you? The moment when you needed other people to minister to you, and they missed it.

Despite His own pain, Christ was able to serve an ungrateful group of people. Jesus got up from the table, put a towel around His waist, and washed His disciples’ feet! How did He do that?

John tells us: “Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist [and washed] his disciples’ feet” (John 13:3-5).

Jesus knew that He had come from God and that He was returning to God. He was secure in the Father’s love. So instead of being crushed by the disciples’ failure, He was able to minister to them. The gospel liberates us from hanging on the approval of others. It sets us free to serve.

Are you free to serve? Have you been liberated from the approval of others? If not, ask God to make you more secure in His love.

Colin Smith is senior pastor of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church, a multi-campus church located in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, and president of Unlocking the...

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