Congratulations! Today marks our half-way point through our Red Letter Summer!
Four weeks ago we sat down and watched the curtain raise on the most radical love story ever written. For those of you who have been with us from the opening scene, wouldn’t you all agree that even though you may have taken in the Gospel of John a hundred times, His Word is falling fresh this summer, yes? The words of Jesus are breathing new life on us. We know Him better, and as a result, we are different and we are transformed.
Maybe you’re a bit behind in your reading, or maybe you’re just now finding us. Maybe you’ve realized in panic that summer is half way over and you haven’t cracked your Bible open for… well, a while now. Do not let any sort of worry, panic or guilt keep you watching the rest of this story unfold with us. Join us, right now, from wherever you are, late start or not, and let’s commit together to finishing our summer strong.
As you will quickly realize, our story is about to take a dramatic turn, as John devotes one-third of his book to the last 24-hour period Jesus spent on earth. Up to now, we have seen Jesus speak of Who He is, and watched the commitment as well as the confusion of His followers and the Pharisees. However, the next four chapters (13-16) chronicles a very personal conversation between Jesus and His disciples that is unlike any other gospel account. It is the night of the Passover, and Jesus alone knows that He will soon take on the sin of all humanity, take up His cross, and be crucified. The weight of this knowledge must have been so painful. But because He so loved His disciples, He takes this last evening to deliberately tell and prepare them for what is to come.
Take note of the uniqueness of John’s gospel over the others. John does not focus on the elements of the Last Supper, but rather the foot washing. He includes very specific information about the pending arrival of the Holy Spirit. And he reveals incredible and powerful “I am” statements spoken by Jesus on the night in which He was betrayed. Jesus is not speaking in parables or mysteries, but to His dearest friends, revealing His heart for them and what must be accomplished in the hours to come.
This week we hear from our newest here at Foothills, Karissa Bullis. She is the real deal, and we are so thankful she is here. You are going to be encouraged by her honesty and her commitment to passionately seek after Jesus in her daily life. Take some time today to sink into her study…
This Week’s Reading: John, Chapters 13-14
I finally carved out some time to sit down and unpack what Jesus is saying to us in this week’s reading from John. I’ve had a chaotic week, followed by one of those wretched mornings where nothing seems to go as planned, and I started the day feeling tired and cranky. We’ve all had those, I’m sure. And I have to admit that when I finally chose to spend some time with Jesus, I didn’t even get through the first verse before I was weeping. As I immersed myself in His word this morning, Jesus washed my feet. His words were humbling and encouraging, like a balm on my weary soul.
So thank you for joining me today! I’m so glad we’re focusing on the words of Jesus this summer. Even the unbelieving temple guards knew that He was somehow different. Earlier in John, they said to the Jewish leaders in wonder, “No one ever spoke the way this man does.” (John 7:36) Bravo to you for diving into this Red Letter study, and making time to sit at the feet of Jesus. And a big thank you to Julie for coordinating it all! So grab a cup of coffee (or an iced tea, if you’re experiencing the same Colorado heat wave that I am!), and let’s sit down together and hear from Jesus. I’m so happy to be here, sharing with you.
WHAT DID JESUS SAY?
1. “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” John 13:14-15 NIV
I’m sure this is a very familiar story to many of us. It’s an incredible picture: Jesus, humbling Himself, ignoring what was culturally acceptable, to illustrate a living parable and wash the grime from His disciple’s feet.
First, though, I want to back up to the very beginning of the chapter and read verse 1. “It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.”
As opposed to the early chapters of John, in which Jesus has been a very public figure, chapters 13 & 14 give us an intimate view into the inner circle. Jesus is now taking time out of his broader ministry to focus on “his own”, and give them his full attention, so that he can love them by helping to prepare them for what is coming.
It’s also important to notice the sequence here. First, Jesus washes the feet of His disciples; then He urges them to do likewise. We know that Jesus shouldn’t have been washing anyone’s feet. He was modeling humility by taking on this job belonging to a servant. Jesus was also reminding His disciples how much they need Him. At first Peter protested, and didn’t want to allow Jesus to do this lowly job. But Jesus said, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” (John 13:8) He wanted to remind them of their incompleteness without Him, and their need for redemption– “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
2. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this, all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34
The word “love” appears much more frequently in these chapters than in the rest of the book. And this particular verse sums up Jesus’ message of love here on earth. All that He has done and will do, even dying on the cross, is because of His redeeming love for us. And this is also what He has been preparing His disciples for – to carry on this message of radical love after He has gone back to the Father.
3. “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” John 14:16
Jesus is encouraging His disciples that they won’t be alone. He knows how desperate and confused they will feel soon, when He is no longer walking with them on the earth. So before they even know that they need it, He promises to send a helper to indwell and encourage them.
WHAT IS JESUS SAYING TO US?
1. Sometimes we’re called to focus on loving “our own”. Jesus is taking time to care for those closest to him – His followers and best friends – even the ones who will betray and deny Him. Who are “your own”? For me, right now, my focus is my two young boys and my husband. My life is completely consumed with diapers & pacifiers, superheroes & race cars, laundry & meal planning. Your season may be very different. Who is God placing in your path? It might be a friend who is hurting, those whom you supervise, an elderly parent, or your small group.
And secondly, how do we show our love to these people? Sometimes it’s easy for me to go through the motions. Yes, I am spending nearly every waking moment caring for the needs of my family. However, am I just getting things checked off my list? Or am I really showing my family the love of Jesus?
2. Before we can wash other’s feet, we must let Jesus wash our feet. I think the lesson to be gleaned here is two-fold. Yes, we need to be like Jesus, and serve those around us. However, I am not encouraging you to attempt to be Super Woman… to give, and give, and give until you are empty and weary. We also learn in this passage that we need to first let Jesus wash our feet. Jesus makes this clear in His exchange with Peter, telling him in verse 8, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
Especially as women, I think we can neglect this part of Jesus’ message. We can forget to be Mary, who chose to take time to simply be with Jesus, when we are so busy being Martha, getting our many tasks done. But Jesus said, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41)
My week has already turned around since I’ve spent some time with Jesus. And when my arguing pre-schooler and fussy, teething toddler make me want to walk out the door, I’m attempting to take a deep breath and ask the Helper that resides within me to love them well.
This week, take time to be filled up so that you have something to give to “your own”, those God has put in your life. Don’t allow yourself to be so busy that you fail to let Jesus minister to you. How do you do that? Find some alone time (as difficult as that may be!) and sit with Him. Take a Red Letter verse that has impacted you and write it down. Then take some extended time to allow those words to wash over you. Listen to what Jesus may be speaking to your heart through His words. Sit with Jesus and let Him wash your feet so that you can go out and love like Him.
I am so excited to be joining the Foothills Team – my husband has only been on staff as the Artisan Pastor for a few weeks, so we are just getting to know this wonderful community. We celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary a few weeks ago, and after struggles with infertility, we’ve been blessed with two spirited boys (Finley, 4 and Emerson, 16 months) who are currently my full-time job. If I get a moment to myself, you’ll find me tackling a project around our 100 year old bungalow – I love all thing design & DIY! You can read about some of my adventures in my little corner of blog land – Lincoln Street Lovely. Other things I love: traveling, Pinterest, coffee with friends & the Broncos. If you attend Foothills, please come introduce yourself – I’d love to meet you!