40 Days of Discipline

40 Days of Discipline:  Day 37 – Passion Week


12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. (John 13:12 – 17)

Theme:  The Local Church


Thanks for the comments on yesterday’s post. There were some great exchanges! 

So far, we have considered lessons the local church can learn from Jesus’ passion for people and God’s mission. Today we will consider Jesus’ passion for servant leadership, and the implications for the local church.         

In most human institutions there are levels of authority.  Typically, those with higher rank and power enjoy prestige and superior privileges.  In today’s lesson we examine how Jesus discharged his legitimate authority as teacher and lord, and the implications for the local church.

Bible Passage

Our passage today is from John 13:12 – 17 (presented above).  In a powerful object lesson, Jesus teaches his disciples how authority should be exercised.  He doesn’t present a false utopia where there is no hierarchy.  He acknowledges his position of teacher and lord.  However, he elects a posture that has him positioned physically lower than the disciples to perform a humble act of service.   This object lesson would be somewhat hollow if it wasn’t consistent with how Jesus lived every day, but we realize with awe that despite all the power Jesus had at his disposal, his passion was always service, and his posture was always humble.

The clear message to local churches is that positions of authority should not be used to wield self-promoting power.  In a parallel passage in Luke 22, Jesus said, “the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.”  There is a popular quote which says, “power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.”  Jesus has demonstrated that this does not have to be the case. 

Please prayerfully read the passage above and answer the question below.


Whether you are in church leadership or not, how can you encourage a commitment to humble service in your local church?    

4 thoughts on “40 Days of Discipline:  Day 37 – Passion Week

  1. Two come to mind taking time to cherish, spend time with older lonely people. I see their longing to be seen at time. Most might see them as having nothing to contribute, or nothing to advance their agenda and in turn focus their time elsewhere.
    Serving sections of society that have lost favour with the majority like those incarcerated or homeless. Serving them is an act of worship.

  2. Volunteer time, and while you’re at it, volunteer for the task that most people might avoid, find demeaning, or don’t think is rewarding enough.

    Bridget touched on this. Make a conscious effort to seek out the person(s) in an environment that look like they’re uncomfortable, lonely, look different, etc., and make them feel like part of the “family”.

    I can recall an incident, where I went to a meeting that had hundreds of people. As I’m trying to find a seat I noticed that every body would pass by this one area and not sit down. Although there was an empty seat next to a lady, no one would sit there. She was extremely overweight, and the way she sat and made an effort to almost make herself small so as not to block the people by her, made me feel really bad for her. I took the seat next to her, introduced myself, and started a conversation. The smile on her face made it obvious that she was relieved that somebody finally sat down next to her.

    When we notice a new face in our church, make them feel welcomed. Ask them if they enjoyed the service.

    When you notice the person with the raggedy shoes is wearing a color shirt that looks good on them, tell them. (Be sincere).

    Treat people like Jesus would, even when their behavior makes it difficult. This can be a tough one.

  3. To be encouraged and committed to serve God through local church will not be easy if your heart is not right with God. The washing of the feet mentioned in the scripture for our study for today is a metaphor for humility. A follower of Christ can truly serve others at church if he is aligned with God’s will and chose to obey His word and direction. If you have experienced in your life a moment where you were on your knees asking God for forgiveness, or for example, you’re going through such a challenging period, and as you pray, you realize the only one who could rescue you in that very poor condition of your heart ( it could be you’re sick, angry, feeling tired or engaging in sin and chose not to obey God) is the key to humility. It will transform you and will prompt you to serve God, through church or through the people you encounter daily. Unless you had this humbling experience of feeling like you don’t deserve all the privileges God has given you, and feeling so “little “ in front of God, serving others will not come as easy. It all goes back to confessing our sins and restoring fellowship with God , and then enjoy the relationship with the Lord and having fellowship with Him constantly would enable us to serve others willingly and with great joy and contentment. From my experience, because I know God has given me so much especially his gift of salvation, I am happy to serve and share my blessings to others especially with the body of Christ. There should be no room for selfishness when you serve God. The constant joy is there knowing that you do everything for God’s kingdom and glory, no feeling of being dragged or forced to serve at church. As long as the focused is on God’s glory, you will be motivated to serve others at church, in the community or in ay kind of work God has placed you.

  4. These seeming simple questions make me think deeply about the church. To be more purposeful in how to serve. As simple as greeting those who come to church seem to be. A genuine smile and ensuring that a welcoming environment is felt, is one way I can serve. A phone call to follow up on how they are. I am grateful for the comments from everyone, which gives clarification in some important areas. Thanks also for the candor.

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