I remember a time when President Bush Jr flew to Iraq in 2003 and served the troops Thanksgiving Dinner. How much media coverage was there? Not much. We could always talk about the why politically, but the fact remains President Bush was actually taking the lesson in John 13:8. He knew that serving his people was just vital to leadership. He made this trip absent the normal media entourage. President Bush did it for the troops, not for him, not for his image, but for them. Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines know this. Our first duties on our first duty stations include this type of work. On ships, all newly arriving E-1-E-3 are normally required to work 90 days in the mess decks regardless of rate. Very few are exempted from this and only under extreme operational circumstances.
Still, these examples of service and humble recognition pale in comparison to Jesus washing the feet of His disciples. And while the lessons in our world teach us that there is great reward and respect in the greatest among us serving the least, we cannot provide salvation, purification or preparation for heavenly entrance.
Jesus is teaching through object lessons. Those lessons are important. Those whom might rebuff personal lessons probably struggle from the pride Peter felt and exhibited. They certainly struggle to understand.
Christian, we always expose challenges in peoples spirit when we exemplify Christ. President Bush was ridiculed by the media for his action. To this day, they do not want to recognize his selfless act of service. The disciples were confronted with their spiritual challenges at the last supper. From Peter’s pride to Judas’ betrayal, all the disciples had to face challenges in their hearts. Though we see the extremes, we find others later such as Thomas’ doubts and the disciples escaping to Emmaus.
The truth is that we all have to face the weak points in our testimony. If we look at them critically, every one of them points to in inappropriate focus. Peter could not lower himself. Thomas had to be convinced personally. Others cannot believe unless all the questions are answered, even ones they themselves cannot contemplate.
Regardless the circumstances, where we place our wants, thoughts, needs or person first, we always have something to learn. Where we elevate others, we take on Christ.