Did you ever wonder who has a grip on you? Do we stop to think about who we think about most and want to please? Do we think what grip our work has on us? Do we wonder if the grip of our family and friends is so tight, we can’t move forward—grow up and mature? Does the grip of our old destructive habits keep us from grabbing hold to a new life without those hinderances?
Does the grip of self, wanting our own way, in our own time, so fierce that it is strangling at times? Is the grip of desire to please others we feel are more important than we are so demanding that it overwhelms to the point of pleasing no one? Who has a hold on me? I ask myself this question often. We must ponder this for it is a matter of loving or hating, serving or demanding—of life or death.
Who has a grip on me? Right now, at this moment, we ask ourselves.
Pause to allow the Holy Spirit speak to our hearts.
The following passage in Jesus’ journey to fulfill his mission from God culminates with the ultimate expression of the love of God. Jesus washes his disciples’ feet to show the “full extent of his love” as some translations say. He shows his beloved followers one more final act of loving service to them before going to the cross to pay the debt of their sins, our sins, all the sins of the world.
Judas’s feet were washed right along with the other dirty feet. Jesus loves the sinner. Jesus knew Judas’ heart and knew Judas was in Satan’s grip. Judas had previously betrayed Jesus and “sold him out” to the priests for a small bag of coins—yet Jesus still washed his feet. What kind of love is this? God’s love that has no bounds, limitless, reckless, and unconditional. Judas lost his grip on his Savior, Teacher and Master and allowed the grip of Satan to take hold of him.
John 13:1-17, The Message
Washing His Disciples’ Feet
1-2 Just before the Passover Feast, Jesus knew that the time had come to leave this world to go to the Father. Having loved his dear companions, he continued to love them right to the end. It was suppertime. The Devil by now had Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, firmly in his grip, all set for the betrayal.
3-6 Jesus knew that the Father had put him in complete charge of everything, that he came from God and was on his way back to God. So he got up from the supper table, set aside his robe, and put on an apron. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with his apron. When he got to Simon Peter, Peter said, “Master, you wash my feet?”
7 Jesus answered, “You don’t understand now what I’m doing, but it will be clear enough to you later.”
8 Peter persisted, “You’re not going to wash my feet—ever!”
Jesus said, “If I don’t wash you, you can’t be part of what I’m doing.”
9 “Master!” said Peter. “Not only my feet, then. Wash my hands! Wash my head!”
10-12 Jesus said, “If you’ve had a bath in the morning, you only need your feet washed now and you’re clean from head to toe. My concern, you understand, is holiness, not hygiene. So now you’re clean. But not every one of you.” (He knew who was betraying him. That’s why he said, “Not every one of you.”) After he had finished washing their feet, he took his robe, put it back on, and went back to his place at the table.
12-17 Then he said, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You address me as ‘Teacher’ and ‘Master,’ and rightly so. That is what I am. So if I, the Master and Teacher, washed your feet, you must now wash each other’s feet. I’ve laid down a pattern for you. What I’ve done, you do. I’m only pointing out the obvious. A servant is not ranked above his master; an employee doesn’t give orders to the employer. If you understand what I’m telling you, act like it—and live a blessed life.
THINK ABOUT IT…
Jesus lays down his robe of distinction signifying who He is as head of the Table for Passover and puts on the apron of a servant. We are reminded of what he told his disciples many times, “I came to serve, not to be served.” (Mark 10:45) Jesus served because of the grip God had on Him. He only thought, said and did what His Father told him. They were one in mission, service, love, mercy and grace. Now he will SHOW them what that means by his actions.
I love the phrase by Peterson’s paraphrase, “My concern, you understand, is holiness, not hygiene.” We do a lot in this world to look good, when God is concerned with what is good and holy on the inside.
Jesus bends down to wash the feet of his betrayer. Who does that? Jesus, the One and Only who died for our sins. When God has a grip on us, we take actions that are “not of this world” as we live in hope for the eternal world with Him.
When Jesus finished the last pair of feet, he simply put back on his robe and continued the meal. It was easy for Jesus to go from leading to serving and back to leading. Wow. Ponder that thought. Servant leading is the Jesus way of life that He shows by this example.
“What I’ve done, you do. I’m only pointing out the obvious. A servant is not ranked above his master; an employee doesn’t give orders to the employer. If you understand what I’m telling you, act like it—and live a blessed life.” –Jesus
Lord and Savior,
We are your servants but we also serve the world that you created. I want to be in the solid grip of all you have to offer. Don’t let me go and I won’t let go of my grip on you! Not letting go of your grip is your promise to us. So, there is no reason for me to let go of you! Thank you for this supreme example of loving service. Help me to wash feet, even those feet who are deemed not worthy by the world, for we are all not worthy. Thank you for paying the debt of my sins and all the sins of the world. Thank you for loving me the way you do–so unconditionally. Yes, help me to love like that always. We humbled by this act of service, the full extent of who you are.
In Jesus Name, Amen