A Servant’s Heart

John 13:12-14 WEB

So when he had washed their feet, put his outer garment back on, and sat down again, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? [13] You call me, ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord.’ You say so correctly, for so I am. [14] If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.


Washing feet was a servant’s task. Religious and civic leaders did not wash their own feet. A servant washed their feet when they gathered. So, it was almost an offense to the 12 for Jesus to wash their feet. When he is done washing their feet, he puts his outer wrap back on and tells them to go and do likewise. This was probably an offense as well. The 12 thought they were going to rule the 12 tribes of Israel in eternity (Mt 19:28). It would not have been natural for them to take up feet washing. But that is what Jesus asked them to do. During Jesus’ ministry, he showed the example of servanthood. He was on a mission for His Father, and it required humility and service. Jesus did not mind.

Jesus wants us, his disciples, to feel the same way. We are to be mission-minded as we become servants to one another. Things are not so different today. When people imagine themselves having a large ministry, it is not natural to think about feet washing. But that is what Christians are called to do. We must bow our hearts before the Father in humility and willingness to serve as He served. That may mean washing feet, or it may mean taking that poor family to the food bank. There are many ways to serve.

Jesus served. He was the disciples’ Lord and Teacher. He is also our Lord and Teacher. We must not look at Jesus and say, “He was God, of course he could.” We must not use his Godhood as an excuse not to imitate Him. Rather we must say to ourselves, “the Lord and Teacher served both the lost and the saved. I must also serve.” When we serve, we are opening avenues to plead with others to be reconciled to God through Jesus. To the lost, that is salvation from eternity without God. To believers, it is encouragement in the Lord as we refresh one another.


Lord, please give me a heart for service. Help me recognize opportunities throughout my day to serve. Help me lay down my own interests and care for another’s interests. Help me trust you with myself and with others. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Humility Amid Greatness

John 13:1,3-5 WEB

Now before the feast of the Passover, Jesus, knowing that his time had come that he would depart from this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. [3] Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he came from God, and was going to God, [4] arose from supper, and laid aside his outer garments. He took a towel, and wrapped a towel around his waist. [5] Then he poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.


Jesus knew he was going to die. The Father had come to him with Moses and Elijah and encouraged him regarding the upcoming events (Mt 17:1-9). So, Jesus knew. Yet, despite the personal trial he was experiencing, he did not stop and start focusing on himself. He did not seek pity or attention. Nor did he seek praise for his willingness and surrender. Instead, Jesus wrapped a towel around his waist and washed the disciples’ feet (John 13:1-17).

During Jesus’ time on earth, feet washing was a courtesy. It was bestowed upon guests when they went into another’s home (Luke 7:37-38). Thus, the Lord was treating the disciples like his own guests. It was Jesus’ final Passover and he spent the time ministering to his disciples. At the same time, Jesus’ need was great. Only a short time later do we find him praying for deliverance from the upcoming events (Mt 26:39). Yet in all these things Jesus humbled himself in the sight of the Father.

If anyone has ever had bragging rights it was Jesus. He was the only begotten son of God (John 3:16). He was also a miracle worker (Mt 8:23-27). He could feed thousands with mere scraps (John 6:1-15) and his following was growing. He had something to boast about. Yet he didn’t. He never felt entitled. Rather he humbled himself in the sight of God and the disciples. He showed us how to act amid greatness.


Lord, please help me grow in humility. Take boasting out of my mouth and help me become a servant to others. Thank you for interceding on my behalf, Lord. Help me behave more like You. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Walking in the Light

John 12:35-37 WEB

Jesus therefore said to them, “Yet a little while the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, that darkness doesn’t overtake you. He who walks in the darkness doesn’t know where he is going. [36] While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become children of light.” Jesus said these things, and he departed and hid himself from them. [37] But though he had done so many signs before them, yet they didn’t believe in him,


What does it mean to walk in the light? It means a person who believes in Jesus and walks according to his teachings. The deeds of the light are mercy, justice, and humility (Micah 6:8). That is what walking in the light meant 2000 years ago and it still means the same thing today. Believers today must still walk in the light. When a person is walking in the light, they are obedient to the Bible. People walking in the light are convinced that all sin is darkness.

There are several sin lists in the New Testament. Romans 1:29-30 is one of those lists. Some of the things on this list might be a surprise. For example, gossip is grouped with murder. Also, from the same verses boasting and arrogance are also compared to murder. When we walk in these sins and have no urgent desire to stop sinning, we are walking in the dark. When we walk in the light, our sin is a great burden. When we walk in the dark it sounds foolish to repent of sin and walk in the light (Cor 1:18).

An urgent desire to stop sinning is apparent in the life of a person walking in the light. The deeds of walking in the light are different than the deeds of darkness. In the light people visit orphans and widows (James 1:27). They guard their hearts and mouths turning away from evil speaking and evil deeds (John 17:15). People in the light are healed and delivered from sin (Romans 12:2). And righteousness is their heart’s desire (John 2:29).


Lord, give me the grace to recognize and turn away from sin. Please help me read the Bible and give me an understanding of the Bible. I long to walk in your commandments, Lord. Please help me to embrace righteousness and walk in the light.

Abundant Life

John 10:7-10 WEB

Jesus therefore said to them again, “Most certainly, I tell you, I am the sheep’s door. [8] All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep didn’t listen to them. [9] I am the door. If anyone enters in by me, he will be saved, and will go in and go out, and will find pasture. [10] The thief only comes to steal, kill, and destroy. I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.


The Lord did not die with the hope we would be born, live, and die, then go to the grave after a life of misery. He died to impart abundant life. He did not die to give us abundant wealth (Luke 12:15). Nor did he die to leave us suffering always (Ps 27:13). He died to give us life, and so much overflow of life that it is described as abundant (John 7:38).

Abundant life does not mean riches, glory, or honor (Mt 13:22). An abundant life is one submitted to Jesus (James 4:7). In submission, we have godliness with contentment (1 Tim 6:6). Furthermore, we have an abundance of salvation which destroys the works of Satan (Acts 26:18). We also have abundant grace which leads to a victorious life (Rom 5:17).

In a victorious life the schemes of Satan are destroyed (Luke 10:19). The victorious life is one in which sin has been mastered (Rom 6:14). Life after death is assured because you have taken ahold of Christ (Philippians 3:12). He is the victory, and he is the giver of abundant life (1 Cor 15:57). Eat of the Lord and drink of the Lord; make him your King and be rich in the knowledge of his word. In eating and drinking of the Lord, we partake of his abundance (John 6:56).


Lord, thank you for giving me an abundant life. Thank you for saving me. Teach me the knowledge of your word so that I am rich in you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

God’s Audible Voice

John 10:1-6 WEB

“Most certainly, I tell you, one who doesn’t enter by the door into the sheep fold, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. [2] But one who enters in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. [3] The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name, and leads them out. [4] Whenever he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. [5] They will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him; for they don’t know the voice of strangers.” [6] Jesus spoke this parable to them, but they didn’t understand what he was telling them.


Have you ever heard God speaking audibly? No one can hear the audible voice of God.  So, how can we recognize Jesus’ voice? In part, we listen to the small still whisper in our hearts. Yet, this is problematic because if Satan is deceiving us, we may hear our own sin-sick longings and think it is God. The Bible says the heart is desperately wicked, no man can know it.

Even So, God has always spoken to his people in a variety of ways. He sent angels to Abraham and prophets to kings. He speaks to our hearts with his gentle voice; a voice we must learn to trust without becoming excessively confident. This is because all these methods can be perverted by sin. Only in the Bible do we have full confidence.

The only thing in which we can be entirely confident is the Bible. The Bible says Jesus is the word. This gives us our answer; the only way we can have full confidence is to know God’s word. The Bible is speaking, audibly, for God.


Lord, teach me to take everything I believe you are telling me and compare it to the teaching of the Bible. Help me trust without becoming excessively confident so that I will rely on your word and give no opportunity to Satan. Teach me discernment and humility as I press into hearing from you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

What Jesus Heard

John 8:25-27 WEB

They said therefore to him, “Who are you?” Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been saying to you from the beginning. [26] I have many things to speak and to judge concerning you. However he who sent me is true; and the things which I heard from him, these I say to the world.” [27] They didn’t understand that he spoke to them about the Father.


Even Jesus had to hold his tongue. He was constrained by the voice of the Father. If Jesus heard it, he was faithful to say it. If he only had his own opinion, he remained silent.  However, the Jews wanted to know more about Jesus. They pressed him for an answer. The only answer Jesus had for the Jews was that he was who and what he said he was from the beginning. Jesus assumes they have heard him previously and he judges them based on what they should know.

But that judgment is implied at this point. Jesus tells them he is going to judge them and say things about them. Yet, it wasn’t the right time. In his humility, Jesus remains silent. He gives the Jews enough information they can intuit his meaning. But he did not say anything outright. Instead, he would wait to hear from his Father and then speak.

Jesus implies another judgment. He has judged the Father as trustworthy. Jesus clearly believed he could hear the Father’s voice, he believed the Father was trustworthy, and these two things together meant the Jews were responsible to accept his testimony. Jesus felt his testimony was valid because he only spoke what the Father said, and the Father always speaks the truth.  


Lord Jesus, train my ear to hear you. Protect me as I stretch out my faith and act upon your voice. Give me the wisdom to go slow. Teach me humility and discernment so I will be silent when all I have is my opinion. In Jesus’ name, amen.

The First to See

John 8:13-14 WEB

The Pharisees therefore said to him, “You testify about yourself. Your testimony is not valid.” [14] Jesus answered them, “Even if I testify about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from, and where I am going; but you don’t know where I came from, or where I am going.


Jesus came from the Father and was returning to the Father. It was simple for Jesus. He regularly cultivated his relationship with the Father, he knew how to hear his voice (Mark 1:35). Jesus knew scripture. Jesus knew who he was, and he knew what it meant (John 8:22).

The Pharisees could not even properly discern where Jesus was born, let alone anything else about him (John 7:52). Jesus rebuked the Pharisees because of their blindness (Mat 23:26). Jesus did not make excuses for their ignorance. They were the experts in scripture. The Pharisees should have been the first ones to realize Jesus was the Messiah.

Now, we are close to the end of the age. Jesus is coming back. Will we recognize him when he returns? With the modern-day push for all believers to know scripture, the church will be without excuse. However, with all believers educated in the Bible, we should be the first ones to recognize the Messiah.


Lord Jesus, please help me discern you in the world. If you return in my life, help me recognize you. Protect me from being deceived by the antichrist. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

On Throwing Stones

John 8:7-11 WEB

But when they continued asking him, he looked up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw the first stone at her.” [8] Again he stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground. [9] They, when they heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning from the oldest, even to the last. Jesus was left alone with the woman where she was, in the middle. [10] Jesus, standing up, saw her and said, “Woman, where are your accusers? Did no one condemn you?” [11] She said, “No one, Lord.” Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way. From now on, sin no more.”


Jesus explained the Old Testament and the New Testament in one act. He found a way of escape for this woman who was about to be stoned. He said those with no sin should throw their stones. Yet, in the entire crowd, not one stood up and claimed to be qualified to throw stones.

Jesus could have thrown a stone. He did not. In fact, he didn’t even look at her for most of the exchange. Instead, he was stooped down with his head to the ground drawing in the sand. He deliberately took a posture of humility when he stooped to the ground. Likewise, when he stood, he made the woman equal to himself. She was not abased further by Jesus. She was given mercy and grace and then told not to sin.

Jesus gives this ravished soul what it needs, validation. Jesus stood up and made himself equal to the woman. Now, she could hold her head up, for Jesus was talking to her.  He was not talking about her or down to her. No, he was talking to her with respect and courtesy. He validated her worth by treating her decently.

And at the very end. Not the beginning, not the middle, the end, Jesus tells her to stop sinning. I feel quite certain that is what she did. Jesus develops a relationship with her and then boldly tells her to stop sinning.


Lord Jesus, please help me grow in courtesy and kindness so that I may win some for you. Help me grow in courtesy so that my relationships will be blessed. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Slow, like Jesus

John 8:1-8 WEB

but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. [2] Now very early in the morning, he came again into the temple, and all the people came to him. He sat down, and taught them. [3] The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman taken in adultery. Having set her in the middle, [4] they told him, “Teacher, we found this woman in adultery, in the very act. [5] Now in our law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. What then do you say about her?” [6] They said this testing him, that they might have something to accuse him of. But Jesus stooped down, and wrote on the ground with his finger. [7] But when they continued asking him, he looked up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw the first stone at her.” [8] Again he stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground.


Jesus is humble. We cannot know what Jesus wrote in the dirt. What is significant is he took the time to hear from God before he answered. Jesus had enough humility to slow down and listen before he blurted out the first thing that came to mind. I wonder though, why did Jesus take time here when in other places he does not? The answer is probably simple, a human’s life was on the line. This time there was more at stake than Jesus’ reputation. Another human’s life is in his hands. So, he slows down. He doesn’t presume upon his anointing.

He had the humility to pray for an answer. After he answered the Pharisees, he stoops down again. This is the one that intrigues me. I can understand why he took time to answer, but why is he taking time now? I suspect it was to say thanks to the Father. If I were in that situation, I would be profoundly grateful to the Father for giving me wisdom. And despite his divinity, Jesus is also human. That means he had human frailties.

If Jesus was bound to human frailties, how much more are we? I see Jesus taking extra time when another human beings’ welfare is on the line. It makes me realize, I need to slow down when I am giving answers that impact others. I used to drive the church van. While working with the van ministry I watched people fall away if any word of direction was given to them on the bus. For example, if someone brought an open container, we would have to tell them they could not bring it on the van.

People would get offended, and we would not see them again. Then one day, a woman with 3 rowdy children held the bus for 20 minutes before they were all on board. I did not want to lose this family. So, instead of saying something I went home and fasted for two weeks. I asked the Father to go before me and help me say what I needed to say to keep the van running smoothly.

When I brought the subject up, she was receptive to what I said. She did not get upset and fall away. Instead, she changed her behavior and started being ready on time to go to church. It was a profound experience for me because it highlighted how precious every person is to God. It taught me to go slow when I am interacting with others. More, it taught me to take time to first hear from the Father.


Lord Jesus, please help me grow in humility that I would always go slow and wait for you, especially when another’s welfare is involved. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

Missing the Mark

John 7:40-43 WEB

Many of the multitude therefore, when they heard these words, said, “This is truly the prophet.” [41] Others said, “This is the Christ.” But some said, “What, does the Christ come out of Galilee? [42] Hasn’t the Scripture said that the Christ comes of the offspring of David, and from Bethlehem, the village where David was?” [43] So there arose a division in the multitude because of him.


The Pharisees did not reject Jesus because of where he was born. The Pharisees rejected Jesus because of prejudice in their hearts. They rejected him because he was a Galilean. Practically all Pharisees came from Judea. The idea of being associated with a Galilean was revolting to Judeans. So, the Pharisees did not take the time to find out more. There were people right there with Jesus who knew where he was born.

If the Pharisees had honestly inquired, they would have learned Jesus was born in Bethlehem. But instead, they assumed their prejudice was true. For this reason, they did not even inquire. So profound was their hate they would not even consider Jesus might be the Messiah. The Pharisees knew so much about the word of God and so little about true godliness.

Godliness is not being perfect. It is having a heart that seeks God’s ways. Take meekness for example. Meekness is not strictly a New Testament addition to the faith. In Numbers 12:3 the bible says Moses was meek above all men. So, the value of meekness was revealed in the Old Testament. Yet the Pharisees, with their hundreds of rules for serving God, did not have enough meekness to consider the possibility that Jesus was the Messiah. They lost touch with the personal God and turned the living God into an idol.

The Pharisees saw riff-raff when they looked at Jesus. However, if the Pharisees curried meekness the way they curried wealth and influence, they may have realized the truth about Jesus. The truth was Jesus fulfilled all the prophecies of the Old Testament. Yet because of prejudice, the most devoted of God’s followers did not see the Messiah.


Lord Jesus, please open my understanding that I can discern the things of God. Remove any blinders from my spiritual eyes and lead me into repentance if prejudice lives in my heart. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.