Christ’s Example of Service


John 13:14-15

14 If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.

I can remember when I was a child trying to walk in my father shoes to be like him. And when I became a father my children would try to walk in my shoes. As followers of Jesus, we are called to walk in his footsteps and follow him, to be like him.

On this Maundy Thursday let us consider this command and follow our Lord’s example and walk in his shoes as a servant who serves others.  Brueggemann encourages us to pick up our towels and follow him in the following ways.  “1-Replicate the truth that you have come from God; you are not your own. 2-Replicate the truth that you will go to God; your future has been assured. 3-Replicate that the space between you and others is filled with a towel.  4-Replicate that as you travel with towel and basin, you will be safe in vulnerability, treasured in obedience, and free from anxiety.” 

As we have seen in our journey this Lenten season, the way of Jesus is counter cultural to any other model that the world, including the disciples had ever seen or experienced.  Jesus breaks from the model of control, as was the case with the ruling powers. He broke away from religious groups that restricted access to him or put people in categories of isolation. 

Galatians 3:27-29 

27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.

Brueggemann calls us to break free from all human models of success and greatness and invites us to follow in Jesus’ footsteps.  “In his great act of humility and washing, he broke with all the models of humanity that are visible in our own time and place: the rat race of productivity, the fear for our survival, the frenzy of accumulation, and the deathly sense of self-sufficiency.” 

He then moves them in that moment, and for us today in the way of servanthood and humility as those who are true followers and disciples. 

John 13:34-35

34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.

Today as we look at the world around us seemingly out of control, with everyone and every group vying for power, control and independence.  Jesus is calling us to an alternative way of living.  He is inviting us to be a community that serves and celebrates one another.  A community that surrenders the need to be first. 

Matthew 6:33

33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

A community that does not reach for popularity, success or greatness, as defined by the world.  But a community of towel wearing servants that serve each other and the world as our Lord has done.  

On this Maundy Thursday as children of our heavenly Father lets us put on his shoes and walk in his footsteps—following his example to love and serve one another, free of fear, anxiety and loss, but a life filled with love and hope.    

“In Jesus and his way of life, you have given us an example to replicate—an example that is in sharp contrast to the ways of the world.  In the grace and power of your Spirit, may we be that community that refuses anxiety because of its sure confidence in you and so is empowered to reach out in compassion and love. Amen.”  Brueggemann 

Brueggemann, Walter. A Way Other Than Our Own: Devotions for Lent. Kentucky: Westminster John Know Press, 2017.



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