Theme: How to Serve Others: Restoring
This week’s lessons remind us that true discipleship is marked by selfless service to others, because that is how Christ treated us.
Scripture: John 13:1-17
We now come to the last way we are to serve other people as Jesus did.
6. We must restore one another. Speaking the truth in love, which includes the exposure of sin and the pronouncement of forgiveness for the one who repents of it and turns to Christ, has as its object the complete restoration of the other person. In aiding in this we perform what is perhaps our greatest form of service. Here we get closest to what Christ’s example of foot washing was all about. For in His explanation of His actions to Peter we learn that what Jesus chiefly had in mind was cleansing from the defilement of sin followed by the restoration of the one sinning. When Jesus told Peter, “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you,” it was evident that He was not thinking about physical dirt but about sin and the way to be cleansed from it through justification and a subsequent growth in grace. He was telling Peter that he was a justified person and therefore needed only to be cleansed from the contaminating effects of sin and not from sin’s penalty.
The image involved is of an oriental who would bathe completely before going to another person’s home for dinner. On the way, because he would be shod in sandals and because the streets were dirty, his feet would become contaminated. When he arrived at his friend’s home his feet would need to be washed, but not his whole body. In a parallel way, those who are Christ’s are justified men and women, but they do need constant cleaning from their repeated defilement by sin in order that the fellowship they have with the Father and Son might not be broken. It was Jesus’ washing of His disciples’ feet, not their heads or entire body, that Jesus commended to us by His example. If we carry this out in spiritual terms, as we must, it means that we must seek to restore others from sin’s defilement.
What is the theological or spiritual significance behind Jesus’ washing of the disciples’ feet?
Review the six practical ways to serve others. Which ones do you feel you need to work on the most?
For Further Study: To learn how Paul teaches the need for service in Romans 12:1, download for free and listen to James Boice’s message “Service That Makes Sense.” (Discount will be applied at checkout.)