How to Serve Humbly (John 13:3-5)

John 13:3-5


3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4 rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.


            Jesus served.  Strange to think, isn’t it?  The Lord over all creation, the one through whom all things were made, he served.  God in flesh knelt down and washed the feet of his disciples.  How could he do this?  How could he humble himself so greatly?


            Notice in verses 3-4, that Jesus knew something quite well.  As Jesus got up from the table and took off his outer garment, he knew it.  As Jesus played the role of a servant, he was completely aware of it.  Jesus knew who he was.  That knowledge allowed him to serve with no problem.


            Think about times in your life when you have been unwilling to humble yourself.  Isn’t it true that your lack of humility usually stems from wanting another to understand your worth?  You think to yourself, “If I lower myself before this jerk, he will think I’m worthless.  I’ll show him.”  We insist on proving, in our own way, our own value.  In doing so, we refuse to allow another to see us as beneath them.


            But Jesus, who knew exactly who he was, had no problem putting himself beneath his often silly and childish disciples.  Why?  Jesus knew that his rank could not be compromised by serving.  Jesus knew that his identity could lose none of its splendor.  Jesus is God in flesh.  His deity is not changed by his kindness.  His place on the throne of the universe is not risked by his clothing himself in humility.


            Christians, if we will remember who we are, we will serve much better.  No, we are not kings and queens of the universe, at least not yet in our lives.  We are sinners saved by grace.  We could never lower ourselves to the lowly state that we should actually occupy because of our sin.  At the same time, we are children of God, princes and princesses of the universe.  God has adopted us into his family and made us part of his household.  We can lose none of that identity by serving.  So, at one and the same time, we cannot lower ourselves to a lowly enough state and we cannot lose our glorious and lofty rank. 


            So, the next time that you want to put yourself forward, remember Jesus.  You do not have to show off your rank.  God has already seated you with Christ in the heavenly places.  That seat cannot be lost by your humility on earth.  But, if you will humble yourself and serve graciously, you shine a light of glory on your Master, your Lord, your Savior himself.  Jesus served, and if you will remember who you were, who you are, and whose you are, you will be able to serve humbly and joyfully too.