Authority and Towels

Towels and Servanthood

“Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything

and that he had come from God …” JOHN 13:3 New Living Translation


Give some people a little power and it instantly reveals the person they are on the inside. Power corrupts, we’re told, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.


But it doesn’t need to be.


In one of the most emotionally charged atmospheres in the New Testament, Jesus is sitting with his closest friends for one last meal before his world turns on him and He is led to a cross. But He still has one vital lesson to illustrate for them.


These twelve men had become his dearest associates … family really. They had acknowledged him as their leader and their Lord. He was far greater than anyone or anything they had found in life. All but one would eventually give his life for this man and his message.


It makes what happens next almost beyond their comprehension. Jesus is about to wash their feet. It is an act that the lowliest servant isn’t often asked to do for guests. It’s dirty and repulsive. This One who created them and the very world they lived in was about to show them something about hierarchy in his Kingdom by telling them that it didn’t exist!


Can I give my own spin to the verse above? “Jesus knew that He was the top dog on the org chart and that the Father had given him a blank check to do with as He wished, so He …”


So much power … so many to use it on! So easy to take advantage of and move your agenda forward on the backs of those under you. That kind of unrestricted power and permission to use it is pretty heady stuff.


But not to Jesus … He coupled that immense power with the true heart of a servant, removed his outer robe, tied a towel around his waist, picked up a basin and began washing his disciples’ feet.


Pilate picked up a basin and put himself first. Jesus picked up a basin and put others first. This is your week to stop and stoop … to survey then serve … to come in second by putting someone else first. God’s Kingdom moves forward on this obedient and mature behavior.



May you find joy on your journey!

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