I go to sit at Jesus‘s feet. He is not sitting high up on a golden throne – he is sitting on my level on a cushion. As I sit at his feet my eyes are taken up by those feet – scuffed and bruised from contact with the world, but washed by the host.
“ I did not invite you here to wash my feet, I came to wash your feet – your feet represent that part of you which comes physically and actually in contact with the world. Your feet become stained by the world and its ways. Your feet also take you on the way you go, yes which path you follow. But your feet do not have a mind of their own – they represent what your heart’s desires are. So that is why I wash your feet – representing that part of you which is most easily contaminated. I wash your feet so that you can take up your cross and follow me rather than go your own way into the world. My washing is powerful because I wash with my own blood and dry your feet with my grace – come, follow me today and every day and I will cleanse your feet and give you the direction you should go”.
At the end of the Sermon On The Mount Matthew tells us Jesus looked at the crowds and was deeply moved. The word translated ‘compassion’ does not fully bring out the full depth of His sorrow at the state of the world. His gut is moved deeply. The message, the gospel, He has just preached, is the only answer to that awful state. So the logical conclusion to this is that it must be taken out and shared that as many people as possible may hear it. Taken into the world to those who are ready to hear it and respond – ‘the harvest’. What are you and I to do in response to this? Well firstly pray for workers to take this message out in the world. Then secondly, be the bearers of the message yourself as you go out. That is the example he gives of the 12 being sent out. Some are chosen for a special assignment, but everyone of us should also feel that urgency as we move around.
Jesus gives various instructions and warnings to the 12. But I want to focus on 10:26 – 31. Three times Jesus says to them, “Do not fear“. I suppose that is the logical response to the warning of the reality of persecution which he had just told disciples they faced. But what about us? Of course many Christians do face the reality of persecution today, but what about you and I? Jesus gives a stark choice. Either, “Fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul or fear Him who is able to destroy both body and soul in hell”.
I had to search myself deeply. How does this message affect my motivation to speak out the message of the hope of the gospel in hostile situations? Where that message may be sneered at or you stand the chance of being mocked and rejected. The answer lies in a little word in v31. The word “value” or “worth”.. I have been told that the greatest need of every person is to be valued. Mankind is driven by this need. Yet here we see that in Jesus we find the greatest value. Our real value. So valuable that He died for us. If therefore, Matthew writes, we have this great value will not Jesus protect us because he values us so much. After all if He died for you and I, is it not just a small thing in comparison to show this love and protection as we speak out on His behalf. Do you want to live out this value?
If fact the very motivation for us to speak out lies in this realization of our value in His eyes. And so Jesus goes on to remind us, “That if we are ashamed of Him before men, well… He will be ashamed of us before the Father in heaven“. v 33. So expect rejection, even and especially in the close relationship of families. It is not necessary to seek that, but often there is a choice we must make, to stand up for Him and be counted or to keep quiet and go with the flow.
That friends, is one of the things that is a very real part of living a life where you take up your cross daily as you follow Him.v38 You demonstrate your worth, especially when you show your appreciation as you follow Him and stand up and be counted on His behalf.
So who are you afraid of? The word here is phobos from which we get the word phobia. Is your overwhelming awe and wonder for the unseen One who created you and the world you live in and has saved you, stronger than the fear you have for those in the world who stand before you physically?
What a message we have in or hands!. A pearl of great price, meant to be shown and shared with as many people as possible in our daily lives.