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TAKE UP THE BASIN AND TOWEL (GOSPEL TRANSFORMATION: LENT 2015)

Hilda was an aerobics instructor at the Y, known for how strict she was. We were all a little afraid of her! But Lori, a believer, has reached out to her, and now Hilda is coming to our study. A few weeks ago Hilda said, “Buddha and Allah and Jesus are all the same god.” I was so proud of the women in our group for they simply listened to her with hearing ears. (I don’t think it was because they were afraid of her, but because they wanted to see her again next week, knowing that if she keeps coming, it is likely she will discover the truth herself!)

She was back the next week and the discussion turned to the main problem we have: selfishness. We talked about how all the world religions agree that selfishness is the main problem in the world. But they disagree on the solution. Allah and Buddah tell man to overcome selfishness by his own effort. Buddha died with the words, “Keep striving.”

“And what about Jesus?” Hilda asked.

“Jesus gives us a power,” one of the women said, “that we do not have. He lived the life we could not live, showing us the way, but then also, leaving His Spirit to empower us. As we respond to His Spirit, we are transformed.”

Hilda is taking it in. Gospel transformation is so different than “striving.”

HE ILLUMINES

Here we are, at John 13, and the disciples are still arguing about who will be the greatest. Jesus takes up the towel and basin and gives them a commandment that is old, but is about to become new, for they aren’t going to just hear it, but for the next few days, they are going to see it lived out before them. I believe the Spirit opened their eyes to what He was doing, shocking them, and changing their paradigm from being the greatest to being the servant of all.

11. Christ Washing Peter's Feet
FORD MADOX BROWN: 1856

 

From Michael Card:

HE EMPOWERS

The commandment is also new because “the True Light” has come. It is also new because the disciples were going to have a new power when Jesus left. The Spirit, instead of coming and going, was going to live inside of them. If they resisted the Spirit, they could quench Him, but if they submitted to the Spirit, they could experience more of His power.

John elaborates on this “new commandment” in his 1st letter, and John Stott, in a quote I’ve never forgotten, puts it like this:

Our love and our hatred not only reveal whether we are in the light or the darkness,

but actually contribute toward the light or the darkness in which we already are.

 

WHY?

Because when we walk in the darkness, we quench His Spirit.

When we walk in the light, we welcome His Spirit with open arms.

Let’s not deceive ourselves about our love!

ilovemankind

We must love every individual in our path,

No matter how hard,

No matter how seemingly insignificant.

No matter how sure we are that the problem is with them.

For when we walk in the light and

when we love,

we find ourselves moving into more light and more love.

out-of-darkness3

Last month, at a time when tourists flee the frozen tundra of our peninsula, Christy flew out to see me.

Christy, my former administrative assistant whom I manipulated.

Christyandme2015Though we had hoped to cross-country ski, it was simply too cold and blustery. Yet Christy still saw the beauty and said she was “so glad to be with me.” We sat by the fire and talked, watched the deer,and worked together on my video presentations for this spring.

DEER

And Christy “took up the basin and towel.” I’ve gone through printers and no one has been able to fix my problem so that I have a working printer. Christy was determined, found out it was a bug in my computer, and after many hours, had demolished the bug.  Here is what amazes me. Christy is a wonderful godly servant — but my control idol blocked the light, and I thought the problem was with her. Christy hasn’t changed, except to become even more Christ-like. It is I who have changed, I who have repented, and I who was blind. Christy now is the administrative assistant for Heart to Heart, an organization that brings medical relief in disaster torn countries. She is so passionate about what she is doing. One of the core beliefs of heart to heart is that as we serve, God transforms us. So Gary Morsch, the director, is passionate about getting Christians to volunteer. He knows they will be changed as they “take up the basin and towel.”

grandma-and-child1
The ministry of Heart to Heart, caring around the world.

 

THE MORE WE WALK IN THE LIGHT.

THE MORE WE LOVE,

THE MORE OUR HEARTS ARE MELTED,

TRANSFORMED BY A POWER THAT IS NOT OUR OWN.

heart

SUNDAY ICEBREAKER:

1. What stood out to you from the above and why?

2. Comment on the Michael Card video/song or the painting by Ford Madox Brown of Jesus washing Peter’s feet.

 

MONDAY-WEDNESDAY BIBLE STUDY

3. Read John 13:1-11

A. What did Jesus know and so what did He do according to verse 1?

B. What do we learn about Judas according to verse 2?

C. Describe what Jesus did and how Peter responded in verses 3-9.

4. Read John 13:12-20 and explain the main point of this living illustration.

5. How in your life might you “wash feet?”

6. Read John 13:21-30.

A. What did the disciples fear? How does this show a growing understanding into their own hearts?

B. Ponder verses 26 and 27 and show how Jesus still gives Judas a chance to repent, and what happens when he does not. How does this illustrate the John Stott quote in red above?

In the sermon you will listen to this week, Keller likens the above to playing chess with a child whom you love. You see he is about to make a bad move, and out of love, you ask, “Do you really want to make that move?”

chess7. Read John 13:31-35. What is the “new” commandment that is also old. What is it and why do you think it is new? (See also 1 John 2:7-11)

8. Reflect on the John Stott quote and share how you have experienced:

A. Darkness and hatred increasing as you walk in the dark.

B. Light and love increasing as you walk in light.

9. Work with the above truth today and record tomorrow you experience.

 

Thursday-Friday Sermon: The Lord’s Supper

http://www.gospelinlife.com/the-lord-s-supper-5234.html

10. Share your comments on the sermon.

Saturday

11. What is your take-a-way and why?

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151 comments

  1. 2. Comments on the painting
     
    The disciples had had many experiences with Jesus…traveling around, speaking, healing, sharing meals, but this last meal with Him was different. There is no expression of joy on anyone’s face in this painting. Many of the expressions are downright pained, troubled, remorseful. As if they are being led in a direction they don’t really want to go, at least not yet. I think it is Peter who is having his feet washed, and his brow is furrowed. It seems that painful things are going on in their hearts? Perhaps seeing their own sinfulness while confronted with the undeserved love of Christ.

  2. 3. Read John 13:1-11
     
    A. What did Jesus know and so what did He do according to verse 1?
     
    Jesus knew that His hour had come, the time for Him to leave this world and return to the Father. He now wanted to show His disciples, whom He loved, the full extent or measure of His love. I also think it important to note that in verse 3, it says that Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under His power, and that He had come from God and was going back to God. In other words, Jesus knew His identity, He was secure in His Father. From that secure identity, He served, He washed feet. I think that is important because what may keep me from “washing feet” is not living out my identity in Christ. I may, for example, not want to serve someone because I am angry at them for hurting me. I would rather withdraw and be cold toward them. But then, I am not living securely in His love and forgiveness and His love and approval of me, which would enable me to reach out though I’ve been hurt. Or, I may feel unqualified, inadequate, or stupid. I am believing lies about myself instead of the truth that He loves me and I have every resource I need through His Spirit to help me know what to do.
     
    B. What do we learn about Judas according to verse 2?
     
    Judas was present at this meal, so he would also be having his feet washed by Jesus. He came to this meal already having a plan (prompted by Satan) to betray Jesus. Wow. I can’t imagine inviting someone to my home for dinner, and they would come and sit at my table and eat with me and my family, all the while knowing they were planning to harm me.
     
    C. Describe what Jesus did and how Peter responded in verses 3-9.
     
    Jesus got up from the meal. I thought foot washing was supposed to be done before the meal, so no one had spoken up or offered to do this. It was overlooked. But Jesus got up while they were being served, and took off His outer clothing, wrapped a towel around His waist, poured water into a basin and started to wash the disciples feet and dry them with the towel. When He came to Peter, Peter said, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” But I think Peter meant it like “You’re not going to wash my feet!” Jesus tells Peter that one day, he will understand what is being done for him. So this is more than a foot washing; Jesus is teaching him something. At first, Peter refuses, but Jesus tells Peter that if he doesn’t have Jesus wash his feet, then he doesn’t belong to Jesus (you have no part with me). At that, Peter decides it would be much better to have Jesus wash all of him (my hands and head as well!)

  3. 5. How in your life might you “wash feet?”
     As a Manager, my workplace is now what I call the place He calls me to wash feet. There are some ways God is moving with an employee that I am unable to mention here-as Elizabeth so beautifully said, He has had me enter into her suffering. I need His wisdom with timing. I want to have a Bible study at work and invite her but it would have to be before work starts..like 6:00 in the morning. I am thinking about using Dee and Steve’s “Examining The Claims of Christ” or we could go through the book of John but I have to wait for “Examining” to come in for we are out of stock. I want to invite her and her husband over for dinner also. Pray..I want to ask her if she would be interested in doing a study with me. I think dinner may be first. 
     

    1. Rebecca, you have such a heart for those you work with! I do like your thinking that dinner may be first…there’s something about sharing a meal and good conversation that is non-threatening.

      1. Susan, you are ALWAYS SO ENCOURAGING..You are right-but I can’t take credit for honestly I would have left a long time ago. :/ He has given me this heart for them and I think that is why God wants me to stay for now even though it is uncomfortable for me at times and I want to leave.  My comfort idol cries out a lot.

        I have been battling with this since I First started this year, for I have been told not to form friendships with my employees for it is dangerous..they usually will back stab you and take advantage of you in this environment..but I do love that I am not here for me or my ‘rights’ but that I am here for Him. That is freeing! :)) I have heard our pastor say that the cry of the human heart is to be loved and God put that in us. So He wants me to love everyone at work and show them His Love-His mercy and Grace. This means I enter into their lives as He leads and as they allow.  He wants to use these difficult situations to transform me too and cause me to adore Him even more-more light gives more light..believe me these friendships can be difficult and He is even more glorified through difficulty in friendships than easy friendships..at least that is what I am experiencing so far but he can be glorified in both too. 🙂

        1. I love your reply even more…I am not here for me or my ‘rights’ but that I am here for Him. That is freeing!”

        2. Rebecca–His truth just “oozes” from you so beautufully–“He wants to use these difficult situations to transform me too and cause me to adore Him even more-more light gives more light”

    2. Great idea Rebecca! I like dinner first as well. My first thought though was is she a Christian too? Will she be open to the study? Does it have to be just her? Could you include hubby’s and do dinner once a week (pot luck?). Just wondering so you don’t have to commit to 6am (!) yikes!

      1. I agree with you both on this..Dinner first. Thank you!! Laura, Yes you are right, 6 a.m. won’t work out..lol. She isn’t a believer..I am not sure she is open to Bible study but I will pray and He will help me but it is sweet because if God is drawing her, He will do the work.  🙂

  4. 5. How in your life might you “wash feet?”      Oh, I’ve been struggling with this question all week.  (And the Michael Card song just keeps running through my head, day after day)    I think the biggest lesson I see in Jesus’ example, is His amazing humility.  And as Philippians tells us to have this same attitude, I keep looking at myself and asking if true humility is in my actions.   I had thought maybe, for me, recently, it’s been spending time with others who are needy and/or hurting, even when the relationship is not reciprocal.(and in some cases, somewhat irritating to me).  I’ve been trying to be faithful to three different  people in this way in the past months, (one has been over several years, another is very ongoing, but goes in bursts).  But I still find myself in the category of doing this as an obligation or because it’s ‘hanging over my head’  rather than being driven by faithful, consistent love and compassion.  From time to time, I jump on an opportunity where I have felt it’s been much closer to true feet washing (though it is far short of Jesus’ example) but at other times, I’m really fighting the ‘I should’ and ‘I have to’ attitude in serving others.  And then I wonder if I should be doing it at all?  Or if I should keep using it to discipline myself and pray for gospel transformation in my heart to do it more willingly.  

    1. Wanda, I saw your post and straightened up my back to attention and you drew me in. This is so good..thoughts and convictions that resonate with me! Obligation with the ‘Hilda’s’ vs. yielding to Him and genuinely loving them with His love flowing out. I too have been there and am there.
      As you said, I TOO NEED HIM EVERY DAY TO DO A MIGHTY WORK OF GOSPEL TRANSFORMATION IN MY HEART… He has given me a heart for Prodigals so for me that isn’t as hard as loving older brothers..I can relate to the prodigal and the older brother and when I think of His Grace and love poured out on me despite me..wow..that tends to extinguish my critical thoughts and HIs compassion can flow..HOWEVER  my current struggle is being around judgmental overly older brother Christians..who are all about head knowledge thinking they are mature because of that and they are right and everyone else is wrong…Honestly I can’t stand being around them…even though I can be an older brother too…Oh so grateful He loves me furiously even in my mess and I am a mess!!! God has more work to do in me.  I think God wants me to love them too.. I too can move out of obligation-in my flesh and not truly in humility and love like Jesus..I just want more and more to love like Him..I am with you sister..I am praying for more Gospel Transformation in my heart too..that my response would be more and more yielding to Him and Him moving me with compassion and love toward everyone.

      1. Oh, I so struggle with the ‘older brothers’ too Rebecca.  So much easier to love those who wander than those who sit in an ivory tower in judgement.  That’s another area where I also need to be brought to a place of real compassion vs. obligation to love them. 

  5. 8. Reflect on the John Stott quote and share how you have experienced:
    A. Darkness and hatred increasing as you walk in the dark.
     
    I have been thinking about this question all week. The best example I can give is when my second oldest son was on his own path of destruction a few years ago. He was running around, into drugs and the music scene, and I couldn’t get him to stop for 1 second to listen to us. He was out of control, but so was I 🙁 when he was 16 he disappeared for a week. I was pretty frantic. When he finally returned he said, “I was just in Maine with my friends…” I couldn’t believe his nonchalant attitude! My husband and I decided to go to the court and have him put under house arrest. The court did, and he was required to be with one of us at all times if he went out of the house. When it came time to relieve the court order (6 months), it was February. I knew in my heart he would go back to the way things were and potentially not complete school. Even though I was a Christian who knew God, I didn’t have complete faith in Him; I didn’t know Him as I do now. The court was going to release him! It was a very dark time for me. I remember yelling at a social worker (truly screaming) that they didn’t know what they were doing and asking him if he had even gone to college?! It was probably one of the lowest/darkest things I have ever done. I was walking with my son in the dark for sure. I knew this because everything I did backfired. I was trying to control the situation fully. I needed a way to the light….
     
    In stepped Aly, a young friend/colleague who mentioned Nancy Leigh Demoss’ podcasts to me, and I thought, “I’ll take help from anyone!” I began listening, and that day, my perspective was changed. Nancy was talking to me! She asked, is there something in your life you just can’t let go of?” I couldn’t believe it! God was talking to me through Nancy!
     
    I thank The Lord for putting Aly into my life. She and her young family are missionaries in the Comoros islands. I pray for them; their safety, often. She helped me find the light. I gave in to the court, and my son ended up quitting school (took the GED and passed the day after he drooped out of school). I trusted God and learned a HUGE lesson. It took him a few years, but he is graduating from culinary school in June. He has not taken the path I wanted him to, but he is a good hearted man who I pray will find his way back to Jesus.
     
    B. Light and love increasing as you walk in light.
     
    I suppose the above story is a good example of finally good coming when I began walking in the light. I am in a very tough situation with Sarah right now and am trying to do this very thing. I can’t speak of it yet, but I will say I am experiencing God with me daily. He is my strength now, I’m not in control. He is making all things good and new in our lives; His (right!) hand is on us. We will not be afraid. Thank You Jesus, for being with me always.
     
    “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” (‭Isaiah‬ ‭41‬:‭13‬ NIV)
     
     
     

    1. Laura, that is a very powerful testimony you share about what you went through with your son. Wow. It must have been so incredibly hard to let go of trying to control it all and entrust your son to God. That he was into drugs would have been so frightening. I am glad for the outcome…wonderful that he is graduating this June-you must be so proud of him. Yes, I join you in praying that Jesus will draw him back!

    2. Laura I agree that this is powerful. You have revealed God’s glory through your trust in Him. 

    3. That was amazing to read, Laura.  The Lord has brought you through a lot and He is being glorified as You walk in the Light of His love!  Remarkable story and testimony of His faithfulness.  

  6. 4. Read John 13:12-20 and explain the main point of this living illustration.
     
    Jesus points out that the disciples are right to call Him “Lord” and “Teacher”, because that is who He is. He is their Lord, and greater than they are. So if He, their Lord, gets down on His knees and serves them, then they should also serve one another. Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.” I am wondering if Jesus means His relationship with the Father? Is this what He is saying and showing them, how He willingly submits to His Father, though in truth, He is equal with the Father? The Father sent Him to love and to serve and to die. We love (in action) by serving. We are like Him when we serve. We show others who He is when we serve.
     
    5. How in your life might you “wash feet”?
     
    I truly think the possibilities are endless! There are so many ways to serve. Elizabeth touched on one…being willing to enter into someone else’s pain. Recently, with all the flu and bronchitis and various other respiratory illness going around my family, I “washed feet” by providing meals for family members who were too sick to cook. Another way I can “wash feet” is to listen patiently, and with interest, when my mom, who has Alzheimer’s, tells me the same stories over and over again, often in the same conversation, or she asks me the same questions again and again. And I pray about this often, because I can start feeling exasperated, or want to say, “Mom, I just told you…” I don’t want to have that kind of heart toward her that is impatient.
     
    And  Wanda brings out something else in her post above, our motives for serving…I should or I have to. And serving without expecting a thank-you or some other kind of affirmation. I know I’ve served, wanting praise and approval. Yet I don’t think that God wants us to wait to serve until our motives are pure – we might never serve, then, at all! We can go to Him and confess our messed-up motives and He can still use our serving to show others His love.

    1. Susan–I have been so touched and ministered to by the way you have “washed” your Mom’s feet with her illness. I too have been blessed by your gift of listening so well, your heart of compassion, your patience. When I think of how God knew what Virginia would struggle with, and that He ordained a daughter like you for her–it makes me teary at His love and providence. You are a gift, to her, your family, us. Thankful for your example. 

  7. My take away:
    Jesus knew He was headed for Calvary and wanted to leave behind a legacy of servanthood. How often I think of my own comfort first before I serve. Is it convenient? Will I get any praise? Is the person deserving? I don’t think Jesus struggled with these thoughts. He loved all of the disciples and washed even Judas’ feet. Susan’s words here about not waiting till our motives are pure resonate with me. I need not wait to serve till my motives are pure because by the time I may feel that they are, my opportunity to serve may not be there anymore! Praise God that He can turn any seemingly measly service I give into one that will serve His purposes. The glory always belongs to Him.

  8. 6. Read John 13:21-30
     
    A. What did the disciples fear? How does this show a growing understanding into their own hearts?
     
    Ok-I cheated a bit here; I read others’ comments for insight because I didn’t see “fear” mentioned in the passage! But now, with the help of those of you who already answered this…I see the shock and fear where it says that after Jesus said, “One of you is going to betray me” the disciples “stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant.” I am sure the word “betray” just hung in the air like a thick cloud. Perhaps they looked at each other with new eyes – eyes of distrust, suspicion? They thought they really knew each other well; they were a close-knit group, and now this. I wonder if a fear was also growing that Jesus was going to be taken away from them, that things were going to get ugly. Their ideas of what the kingdom was all about were being eaten away; this was not what they had in mind, not what they wanted. And if Jesus was betrayed, what was going to happen to them? Perhaps the growing understanding in their hearts was that God was calling them to follow in Jesus’ footsteps…to serve, maybe to lay down their lives, too?

  9. B. Ponder verses 26 and 27, and show how Jesus still gives Judas a chance to repent, and what happens when he does not. How does this illustrate the John Stott quote in red above?
     
    As Jesus tears off a piece of bread and dips it in the dish, Judas has a little time to think about what he plans to do. I can imagine Jesus turning to Judas, holding the piece of bread out to him. In that moment, Judas could have put his hand on Jesus’ hand and turned it aside, saying no, I don’t want to take it. I think as Jesus held the bread out to him, He was (silently) saying, “Choose”. Judas took the bread. He was offered a chance to turn from the darkness and move toward the light (after all, the True Light was right before his eyes). Instead, when he took the bread, he turned his back on the light and moved further into the darkness. His choice at that moment only contributed to the darkness that was already in him, and the one who is in the darkness, Satan, then entered into him. I imagine any light that was left in Judas was extinguished when Satan took control.

  10. This is mostly about the Idol Lies Event in Ashland, OH April 18th
    I don’t want to take up a lot of space with this because I really don’t like using this venue to share personal issues, but I know that some (like me!) don’t do FaceBook so I just wanted to say thank you to everyone for your cards and prayers and the book (Jackie)! ☺ I have not been on the blog lately because I have had a really rough couple of weeks with pretty bad pain in my neck and right shoulder.  Turns out this appears to NOT be cancer-related at all (praise God!) but related to numerous issues with stenosis of my cervical spine that apparently just reached the unbearable point in the past few weeks.  Now I will be consulting with a neurosurgeon.  That said, I DO still plan to TRY to attend the Idol Lies event, which Dee will be speaking at in Ashland, OH.  Dee, you definitely do not need to rearrange or change any of your plans to just for me.  If I get there and if I’m able to get to you to meet you at some point, that will be wonderful but if it does not workout, then maybe one day?  I live in a suburb of Columbus, so if I’m good enough that day to make the drive up there and back I’ll definitely try to do that.  I’m going to print off the flyer about the event today and get my check sent in the mail.  I really would love to meet anyone else on this blog who seriously thinks she may be able to go as well!  
    I’m going to try to participate more with the blog study this coming week. ☺ 
     

    1. Mary, I’m sorry to hear about the pain you’ve been suffering in your neck and shoulder…thankful it is not cancer-related, but oh…you continue to deal with so much. I am planning to attend the retreat in Ashland, and so is Chris, Laura, Nanci, Dawn, and Julie. I think Cyndi might also be coming. I will keep praying for you and hope you will be there!

      1. Susan, WOW!  That many of us at this upcoming event!!!  Oh it would be great if we could meet at the book table early that morning and then maybe be able to sit in the same area!!  If they do name tags we could each write “BLOG” after our names!!!  Now I am really excited! =)

        1. Yes Mary! Many are going 🙂 Julie and I are rooming together and need another roomie. Are you interested for Friday or Saturday night? I am staying Friday night, but I have to leave Saturday afternoon. Can’t wait to meet everyone! So glad the pain isn’t cancer related Mary….God is good.

        2. Mary, some of us are staying in a B&B nearby, the plan is to have dinner together on Saturday evening after the conference. My email is 7swansmom@gmail.com, email me and we can continue communication that way.Praying for wisdom for the neurosurgeon and for peace that passes understanding for you Mary.

        3. I’m just an hour and a half drive away (I think) so I was just going to drive up and return home the same day but…I’ll pray about this option of spending the night.  Would definitely love to do dinner with you all afterward, in any case!  Oh this is so exciting!  Does Dee know we are planning this?  The thing with me right now is that I am the most comfortable in my own bed but they are managing my pain fairly well right now so I might be able to do this. There is a deadline on paying for this..I think the first week of April is the deadline, just so everyone knows.  
          Jackie, Oh I would love to meet you and everyone!  Elizabeth, come on up from SC. 😀  

    2. Mary – My emotions at reading your post were all over the place!  How wonderful to see you posting, first of all…..then how awful that your neck and shoulder hurt so much, but wonderful that it is not the cancer.  I will sure be praying about Dee’s upcoming Ashland conference…..I think the group of women from this blog who will be there would be just overwhelmed with God’s joy to put their arms around you, sister!  I am thinking about attending too…..:)  though I likely won’t know til the last minute either.  THANK YOU for the update.

    3. Mary, so sorry about the pain and so thankful that it’s not the cancer (although cervical stenosis isn’t exactly fun).  Praying for you, including Ashland travel.

    4. Mary–PRAISE that the shoulder pain is not cancerous, but oh to hear how much pain you have on top of what you’ve already been bearing still breaks me. Covering you dear sister with prayers, so thankful for each time your face appears here 🙂

    5. Also, so glad to hear from you today, Mary.  Praying about that pain and so glad it’s not cancer related, but oh, how you need some good relief.  I won’t be in Ohio for the event (maybe 13 hours away or more?  and I may be going to Oklahoma to help when our new grandbaby comes, which could mean about that time.)  But, I am excited just hearing about all the women who may be able to meet each other.  You better take some great photos and share on facebook!  Or here!  🙂  

      1. Well you will be missed, Wanda!

  11. 7. Read John 13:31-35. What is the “new” commandment that is also old. What is it and why do you think it is new? (See also 1 John 2:7-11)
     
    The “new” commandment that is also old is this: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must also love one another. I am tying all this together, using Dee’s words from this lesson, and 1 John…I think it is “new” because it is a new way to think about love. In 1 John, John compares this new command to love with being in the light or in the darkness. Jesus, the True Light, illumines, or shows us plainly, what this love for one another looks like. He took up the basin and towel, giving a living example of what it means to love one another as He has loved us. Next, He does away with the idea of striving to do this, because He empowers us by His Spirit. We have the True Light living on the inside of us, as 1 John verse 8 says, “Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in Him and in you”. We saw it in Jesus and it can be seen in us as we let Him live His life through us. When we listen to someone and enter into their pain, Jesus is listening and entering into their pain through us. It is not our love that we have manufactured, it is His love through us.
     
    I also think it is a new command because the old commands, like the Ten Commandments, were impossible to obey. And no one ever knew or saw anybody who could perfectly obey those commandments, until Jesus. The commands only showed us how sinful and incapable we were to obey them; they put us under the yoke of the law. Jesus didn’t come to give us another impossible command to try and try to obey. Another impossible command that would only end up condemning us. The Holy Spirit is a real Person who lives within us and is so willing to enable us if we will only let Him. He isn’t a heartless taskmaster, He is our Helper and Friend. We have the True Light within us; this is a new way to live.

  12. 11. What is your take-a-way and why?
    My mind keeps going to the woman who washed Jesus feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. She knew she had been forgiven much. She was unconcerned with worldly things in that moment, the cost of the perfume, what the other people there thought about her and what she was doing. She seems to have understood some of the things Christ was saying about his death that others seemed to be dull to. She LOVED Him.
    As Susan brought out, no one had washed feet at the meal with the disciples before Jesus took that role. I wonder if there had been no servant as perhaps was usual, and Christ taking this task up highlighted the fact that no of them looked upon themselves as a servant. And as Cyndi said, that was a shift in thinking for them, that they had thought they were to get good spots in the kingdom when the ruling and reigning began, not that they were to be bondservants of Christ and therefore each other and other sinners.
    Then the sermon, do I accept Him as LORD? Am I willing to go where he sends me and do as he tells me too? The main problem of selfishness, even as I wrote the sentence of surrender above something still cries out against being completely surrendered…I still really do want a say in what happens to me. I don’t want to be humiliated, I don’t want more pain…I do fear it. Fear over what will be asked of me, doubt about how trustworthy God is, bids me to step in to the darkness of my own wisdom, away from Christ.
    But the Light :)! He keeps drawing me back, giving me tastes of goodness that make me thirsty for more than I know this world will ever provide. Hope secures me to Him, that I have an identity no hardship here can take away. He has at infinite cost to Himself,written my name on his hand.
    Walking in  that light, preaching the gospel to myself daily, and especially when I begin to cave in on myself, I do sometimes take up the towel in a way I can see he has orchestrated. I want to reflect his goodness more than I do, to multiply light and not darkness, to be unconcerned about what anyone but Jesus thinks of me. 
    I want to love people more truly. I want Gospel Transformation, I want to decrease so that Christ may increase. 
     
     I may have to remind myself of this 1,000 times before the day ends.

    1. Chris, this is a thoughtful post. I can relate to that “something still cries out against being completely surrendered…I still really do want a say in what happens to me.” That is, as Keller said, the determination of every one’s heart to be independent of God.

    2. oh Chris, I think it’s time you write a book, love this “He keeps drawing me back, giving me tastes of goodness that make me thirsty for more than I know this world will ever provide. Hope secures me to Him, that I have an identity no hardship here can take away. He has at infinite cost to Himself,written my name on his hand.”

    3. Chris, I was scrolling through looking for sermon notes 🙂 when I saw Susan’s comment on your post.  This jumped out at me:

      Then the sermon, do I accept Him as LORD? Am I willing to go where he sends me and do as he tells me too? The main problem of selfishness, even as I wrote the sentence of surrender above something still cries out against being completely surrendered…I still really do want a say in what happens to me. I don’t want to be humiliated, I don’t want more pain…

      Though I don’t remember the words, I can almost visualize the page of the study when Dee asked if we were willing to go where He sends, do as He asks.  And it hit me that going where He sends may mean STAYING.  “Lord, send me” really means “God get me outta here.”  Even before the events of the last few days, I started looking at townhouses and condos online — in another city, looking for options.  This week was hard, and I see Him using the challenges to change me.  I see that God is faithful, that His mercies are new every morning (and now He is reminding me to lament, rather than to withdraw or to complain.)  Maybe what is making some parts of my life more painful is that I want to deny, fix or prevent pain and wrong doing rather than letting Him bear it.  He has promised that his yoke is easy and his burden light.  Wow — this shows me that my pain WILL substantially increase if I jump in a yoke that doesn’t fit or with someone going in the opposite direction.  I want to let those going in the wrong direction know that I AM going in the right direction!!  But God is simply calling me to walk with him in the light.  The ONLY way to counteract darkness (that I can think of anyway) is some form of light.  I dunno — it almost seems as if walking with Him in the light, learning to trust Him more deeply, even redeems some of the pain and very similar darkness experiences from the past.  (I hate being lied to and extreme, intentional versions of manipulation — and I think God is teaching me that not only has He been with me recently, but He walked through my deepest pains from the past with me.  If I can learn that, maybe staying (ha! for a little while) is worth it. Not fully convinced, but it’s a possibility!

      1. Maybe what is making some parts of my life more painful is that I want to deny, fix or prevent pain and wrong doing rather than letting Him bear it.  He has promised that his yoke is easy and his burden light.  Wow — this shows me that my pain WILL substantially increase if I jump in a yoke that doesn’t fit or with someone going in the opposite direction.

         
        That thought is really amazing to think on, Renee.   I’ve never really understood how Christ’s yoke is ‘easy’.  But seeing how we can take on a yoke that doesn’t fit or that we shouldn’t even be wearing, helps me see the truth here.  Really good.  

  13. 11. What is your take-a-way and why?
    This post has been the perfect follow up to the 21 day event I recently participated in. It was completely focused on naming sin in our lives. The altar was open as the Lord had specifically spoken to the leaders about from the beginning. As we neared the final days there was no room at the altar and we filled the isles. 
     
    The deep and unyielding bent of my heart is to deny sin so that I may feel good about myself. This is so calling darkness light because there is no feeling good until it is named, repented of and forgiven.
     
    The most disturbing thing to me about the painting this week is Jesus looking so intently at the feet as He is washing. Our feet symbolize sin, they pick up the dirt as we walk. I don’t want people looking closely at them or smelling them. I want the image of cleanliness and beauty, and that is possible, God’s way. How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news. I always connected that verse with witnessing and I think that is the outcome of this cleansing, but we must first allow Jesus to go deep with His gaze.
     
    Remember this Twila Paris song? How Beautiful http://youtu.be/kJM0hFvz_64
    i think it is in the becoming like Christ that we bring the good news. No matter how well we speak or how much we know it is the pure love of Christ that brings the good news. That can’t be seen through a dirty lense.

    1. love this post Anne, and that’s one of my favorite Twila songs–so good to hold on to!

    2. Oh I agree with Elizabeth…one of my very favorite Twila songs!  

    3. Anne…..that is a very thought provoking comment about the ‘how beautiful are the feet’ verse. I like it!  

  14. Mary, it is so good to see your post. I will continue to pray for the difficult pain issue you have been dealing with. I do pray that you will be able to go and hear Dee. It was a joy for me to hear her when she came to Massachusetts. And I am glad many of you will be able to attend.
    The importance of serving impacts me. My heart needs transforming,too, that I may do it without judging the response. To have love for those I serve and to do it to honor our Lord, and bring glory to him. That is my desire.
    The sermon, The Lord’s Supper, was also very helpful to me.Jesus was trying to “melt the hearts  of his betrayers”. Yes, Tim Keller pointed out that Judas could accept Jesus as teacher, but probably could not accept him as Lord. We take him into our lives, but need to turn our whole life over to him. I see this point clearly as he gave the example of an elderly lady who couldn’t afford to live in her home or take care of it, and took in a young couple to help her who rented a room from her. After many years a relative confronted her, saying to her that she had taken advantage of their help and did not share more than 1 room even after they had 2 children. She finally realized and gave them the deed to her home and said, “I only need one room. You have the whole house.” How easy it is to compartmentalize our faith and not give God full control of our lives as well.
    This passage of scripture will mean so much to me now that I have looked at it through these questions. Walk in the light and let the light shine on our Savior. And may he continue to work on changing my heart!

  15. Ever since my laptop crashed 2 weeks ago, I haven’t been keeping up with the sermons.  Haven’t figured out where I’m going to download them since the laptop that crashed is where I was storing them.  (It didn’t totally crash but the keyboard quit so it now is a very inconvenient desk top and doesn’t work well overall)  That and the fact that my daughter has been home half of this week, on Spring break, has kind of changed my whole week.  I didn’t finish the lesson or hear the sermon.  Feeling a little discouraged about this, but always so glad to know that a new week, a new day is dawning.  
     
    Takeaway:   The phrase ‘the Impoverished Power that sets the soul free’ from Michael Card.  That Jesus voluntarily laid aside all of the glory of heaven, just as He laid aside all of his power and dignity to wash his disciples’ feet all out of pure, unadulterated, unconditional love.  And this is what has power to set my soul free.  His love.  His purity.  His sacrifice.  I think of the hymn I learned as a little girl.  “Jesus was rich.  He became poor.  Love filled his heart divine”….  (can’t remember all the words and couldn’t find them but I think the stanza ended with ‘He filled this soul of mine”…    I keep thinking of that.  His love.  Filling my soul.  And all because He gave up His glory and the fellowship of His Father on the cross, so that I could experience these.  So that my soul could be filled with His perfect love.    I’ve known this truth practically my whole life, and it still seems brand new sometimes.  I guess that is what it means to walk in the light.  Yesterday’s light can’t carry us through today’s darkness.  We constantly need the source of Light to be living within us.  

  16. 8. Reflect on the John Stott quote and share how you have experienced:
     
    A. Darkness and hatred increasing as you walk in the dark.
     
    This isn’t a pleasant thing to contemplate or to admit. But it happened to me today, WHILE I was delving into the question about the “new” commandment, which is to love. While the emotions/attitudes were not hatred, in the back of my mind, I was feeling things like jealousy, insecurity and a bit of resentment toward a person – all unloving attitudes. My first reaction (and it is often my reaction) was to deal with it later…after all, I’m working on my Bible study! I have a tendency to do this; I will feel a conviction about something, and instead of stopping what I’m doing and going to the Lord with it, I’ll put it off, thinking “I’ll pray about it later”, but the later never comes. Sin is left undealt with. I think it was Jill who said there was a difference between recognizing sin and actually repenting of it. So I believe that sin, if not dealt with, contributes to the darkness. Thankfully, I felt led to do the right thing this morning; stop and go to God about my feelings and admitting it and asking Him to change my heart.
     
    B. Light and love increasing as you walk in the light.
     
    As I said above, when I talked to God about it, I was able to pray for this person. While I know these attitudes will most likely surface again, I believe that honestly confessing without being defensive gives me more light, and hopefully, more genuine love for others.