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Its Time to Jump and Get to the Full Extent

By Bob Slosser Columnist - "He now showed them the full extent of His love," said John the apostle. Bam! This was something big. Jesus was going all out. But something was odd. Here He was, ready to leave the world and return to the Father, but He didnt seem the least bit tense or excited. He had touched everyone He had come in contact with sick, demon-possessed, suffering, and lonely. He had healed and delivered them all. Yet, the time had come, He said. What was left?

John, who seemed especially close to the Master throughout that night of the evening meal together, noted that the devil had already prompted Judas to betray their leader. And Jesus knew the Father had already put all things under His power. Everything all power, all creation in heaven and earth, all authority was His. He had come from God and was returning to God, and He wanted them all to know the greatness of His love for them and for those who would come to believe in Him and what difference it would make.

As the meal was being served He got up from the table, removed His outer clothing and wrapped a towel around His waist. He poured water into a basin and began to wash His disciples feet, drying them with the towel He had wrapped around Him. When He gets to Peter we see a sort of mock-humility for a few moments as Jesus washes his feet: "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?" Remaining serious, Jesus says, in effect, "You dont understand now, but you will." Feigning shock, Peter alone objects, "No, you shall never wash my feet!" Can you imagine it? A blunt "no" to the Lord. Poor Peter. Sounds like one of us, doesnt it? The Lord rocks him back on his heels, "Unless I wash you, you have no part with me."

"Whoa, then, Lord, not just my feet but my hands and my head as well." Do you see it the mixture of humility and pride (as he tried to dictate to Jesus)? Jesus was looking past the incident to what it symbolizes: Peter needed a spiritual cleansing; but the external washing was a picture of cleansing from sin, which Christians also need to restore communion with God that is interrupted by sin. And do not forget: that interruption is real and costly.

We in the 21st Century church can learn from this. Jesus washes us with His blood, the Word, and the Spirit. Then as we walk along the path of rough-and-tumble life and service of the Lord in this crazy world we get dirty and bruised and hurt. We the body of Christ are to wash the feet of one another and restore one another, which is an essential function of the very crucial church. The bruises and cuts, sometimes deep and damaging, dont require washing all over usually just in those parts that have been dirtied or hurt. We point to the Cross, for we are dealing often in restoration. And we love and nurse one another back to health. The church has a major function in this, beloved, in keeping Gods people going we are co-workers with God, according to Paul (1 Corinthians 3:9, NIV).

As we press on with the foot-washing episode, we see that Peter, like us, was slow to grasp the reality, the terrible reality, of the Body of Christ a lesson in humility, yes, but also a lesson in the important work of the church, which must be fired up, beloved. These are unfathomably important days in which we live, with all sorts of conflicts threatening to break open on many fronts, cultural, religious, political, and the church, believe it or not, has one of the biggest responsibilities in its history. Almost every aspect of world life has a central, all-encompassing spiritual dynamic capable of breaking into all-out, world-wide holy war. Look at the terrorism war its so much more than Afghanistan, good folks. It has worldwide horror and bloodshed written all over it.

So, church, theres work to do. We see a fundamental piece of it as we continue our look at Peter sidetracked into Johns Gospel momentarily. For in Matthew 16, we find Peter at his finest, gigantic best, at least during the Lords incarnation. The Lord was asking His boys, "Who do the people say the Son of Man is?" which was important to His first steps to reach the world. They answered all sorts of things John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. "But what about you?" Jesus asked. "Who do you say I am?"

Peter charged ahead, seemingly pell-mell, but obviously inspired. "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God." Bingo. He was right on the money.

"Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you, that you are Peter [Rock], and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."

Grab it, church. The rock was the truth, the revelation, spoken by Peter, foundational to the church across two thousand years and still rolling. We must be, MUST BE, continuing to make it known throughout the beaten and battered world. It contains life, real life. Not only must we be proclaiming it, we must be showing it in all its power, yes, miraculous power and healing, its wisdom and its love. The church must be seen and felt, brethren. We have everything we need to assure this. Its up to us to take it and use it.

I will continue to look at Peter and the lessons we learn from him in the days ahead.

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