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.”
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.
From Michael Card:
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.
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!
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.
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.
Though 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.
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.”
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.
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?”
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
10. Share your comments on the sermon.
11. What is your take-a-way and why?