How Many Times?

The setting is solemn; it’s before Passover and Jesus has humbled Himself before his disciples and humbled His disciples all with one act.  He pulls a towel around his waste and takes the basin of water.  The teacher is going to teach through his actions this lesson that will never be forgotten.  Jesus begins to wash the dirty dusty feet of His disciples as they recline at the table.  He is working; they are not.  He is doing what they should have done for him.

We aren’t told how many feet of His disciples had been washed before one of them interrupts their Master.  Peter, recognizing that this is all backwards, questions Jesus.  In essence he is telling Jesus not to wash his feet.  This is one of those acts that I refer to as inverted pride, when pride masks itself in a form of humility but, in reality, is only trying to hide it’s self.  However, Peter’s pride isn’t able to hide from Jesus.

Jesus simply replied to Peter, “You don’t understand yet what I’m doing, but you’ll know afterwards.”  Of course Peter tries to save himself with some more foolish comments, to which Jesus simply takes him to school and gently puts this disciple in his place.  I would love to think that Peter got it right after all this, but the truth is, later in the same chapter, we find this same disciple at it again.  This time it’s even worse …. just read the chapter and connect the lines of thought.

Now here is the thing that really penetrated me so deeply as I read these words this morning.  How many times am I just like Peter?  I observe the actions of my Lord and object to them because I realize that I got it wrong.  He is working when I should be working.  He is doing for me what I should be doing for Him.  And instead of being humbled by it all, pride wells up in some inverted way within me and tries to fool the teacher.  And when called out, in such a gentle way, pride rears its head, fully exposed, and goes for the whole enchilada.

People are funny this way.  When others around them get this whole loving one another thing correct that person’s pride keeps them from really learning.  Rather than simply being humbled by the loving actions of another and receiving the lesson from them, they allow pride to block the beauty of the moment.  Everyone loses when love gets interrupted.

Of course, this is never about you or me; it’s always another person who struggles with such things.  Maybe we can share it on our newsfeed or retweet it so the rest of the world can see it.  As for you and me, we would be more like John or Andrew who must have gotten it right the first time, because they aren’t the ones being talked about … Peter is.

Today I am humbled by the thoughts of times in my life when Jesus tried to help me stop sinning with my mouth, actions, or spirit by saying, “You don’t understand yet what I’m doing, but you’ll know afterwards.”  Think I will just stop talking now to listen and watch.  Peace.

Image(The above thoughts are based on the Gospel of John 13.)

* The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author at the time of writing.  They do not reflect in any way those of the organizations to which they belong to or affiliated with.