Others Devotional, volume 2

What Is Your Answer? by Larry Baker

Scripture: Jesus poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. … When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. He asked them, “Do you understand what I have done for you? … I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”   John 13: 5, 12, 15

Several weeks ago, I sat on a small stool and, with a wash cloth, pan of water, and towel, washed Jacob de Jong’s feet. The setting was HS chapel and I was illustrating what Jesus did for his disciples in the upper room. When Jesus had made his way around the room and washed every pair of feet, he took his seat at the table and asked the group of twelve this question: “Do you understand what I have done for you?”

As I mentioned in chapel, I believe there are questions Jesus asked certain people that he could very well be asking us today. “Do you truly love me?” is a question Jesus asked Peter; he would like to know our answer to that question. The disciples must have been exhibiting some anxiety to generate the rhetorical question, “Who of you by worrying can add a single day onto your life?”  Do you worry? Does it help? Jesus poses the same question to the worriers among us.

The question Jesus asked in the upper room is another example of a question he is still asking today. It is deeply penetrating and demands an answer, “Do you understand? Do you understand what I have done for you?”

The Apostle Paul knew the answer. He understood what Jesus had done for him. Paul understood that the example Jesus gave of washing feet exemplified his entire reason for becoming human and living among us. Jesus came to serve. He came to put others first. He came to demonstrate humility. He came to save. There was no other way for us to be made right with God than for Jesus to sacrifice himself.  There is no better picture of putting the needs of others first than the picture of Jesus dying on the cross. If Jesus were inclined toward selfish ambition or vain conceit; if he had a habit of putting his own interests ahead of the others; if, with pride, Jesus had valued himself first, there is no way he would have made it all the way to the cross. That is why Paul urges his friends and us to have that same mindset – the mindset of Christ.

The question comes to you. It’s a question Jesus asked his disciples with pleading eyes in that upper room. We need to feel that same penetrating gaze from our Lord. “Do you understand? Do you? Do you understand what I have done for you?”

If you do, it changes everything. Your answer affects every part of life – even life on this campus.

Why do some students look around to make sure no one is eating lunch completely alone? Because they value others above themselves.

Why does the injured quarterback congratulate his replacement on a great game?  Because in this life there is no room for selfish ambition.

Why does a teacher offer to come early or stay late when her contract doesn’t require those hours? Because she is not looking to her own interests, but to the interests of others.

Why would a student, running through the parking lot, already in jeopardy of being late to first period, stop to do the janitor’s job and pick up a pile of trash left over from the previous night’s game? Because in his heart there is no vain conceit.

Why would a brave 7th grade girl, with one articulate grace-filled text, dare to put an abrupt end to a string of vile and damaging messages aimed at an unpopular classmate? Because in her relationships, she has developed the mature and self-sacrificing mindset of Christ Jesus.

“Do you understand what I have done for you?”  Jesus asks each of us that question. The injured quarterback, the 7th grade texter and the tireless teacher know the answer.  Do you?

Prayer: Heavenly Father – You loved us so much that you sent your one and only Son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.  We all know in our heads, dear Lord, what you did. Help us to believe, in our hearts, that you did it for us. You loved us. Help us to love you in return. Equip us with your Spirit; help us to live our lives humbly valuing others above ourselves, having the mindset of Christ Jesus.   In his name we pray. Amen.

About the Author: Mr. Baker is the superintendent of CVC. He probably goes to bed earlier and gets up earlier than anyone else on the MS and HS campuses. His personal parking space is located in the HS copy room.

Originally published on September 16, 2016

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