Monday, March 02, 2009

You Will Be Blessed

"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. "You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them." ~ John 13


We can argue until the cows are extinct about whether Jesus was talking about literally or figuratively washing each other's feet, and my best guess is that if our answer is only one or the other, we're wrong.

But let's just ignore that little quibble for a moment and go to the last verse in the citation: "... you will be blessed if you do them."

What Paul tells the Ephesians is the "first commandment with a promise" is also one that Jesus cites at least twice in scripture (Matthew 15:4 / Mark 7:10; Matthew 19:19 / Mark 10:19): "Honor your father and mother." The promise? " ... so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you."

In fact, these are not the only two instructions which are connected with blessing. Paul said "first commandment." Around the table of that last supper, Jesus mentioned, "these things" and "do them," plural. When a woman interrupted His teaching about the war between good and evil to say, "Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you," He responded, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it" (Luke 11:28).

Do we really believe that?

Do we have a sense for why words expressing "blessing" outnumber words expressing "cursing" in scripture about two to one; "salvation" outpacing "condemnation" about five to one?

Do we understand why the longest chapter in the Bible - Psalm 119 (and almost at the center of it) - is a paean of praise for God's instructions; an expression of delight in meditating on them; a thanksgiving for the blessing of having them?

Because they're not just good, they're good for us.

Do we take Jesus at His word when He says, in effect, "You will be blessed if you just do it!"?

8 comments:

laymond said...

Lk:14:26: If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

Mk:7:10: For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death:

which one ?

Keith Brenton said...

Obviously, we must honor parents AND hate them.

: )

laymond, you're a rabble-rouser!

Frank Bellizzi said...

Insightful and practical. Thanks, Keith.

laymond said...

Keith, WRONG !! I am rabble, I rouse no one :)

David U said...

My two cents is this.........no, we don't believe that, because we don't do it.

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.......for now! :)

DU

ben overby said...

How can I be blessed? That's one of the central questions of life. Advertisers sell all sorts of things because they will give the consumer a blessed life. We don't get blessing by complying with commandments; we get death. We get blessing by faith in Jesus. If we trust Him we'll do what He says. It's not logical to suppose if one does what He says, he therefore trusts Him. We can keep commandments without the slightest bit of faith in Him; but with all sorts of faith in the self. We're blessed by relationship, not regulations. If the Bible is our book of regulations, we will die. If the bible is a window into God's reality, and if we let the light of Jesus into or lives, and if we learn to trust Him, the word becomes a means to that end. But the word can become an end in itself, creating monsters---legalists who live on the self-justifying, intoxicating potion of works righteousness. We aren't cursed because we disobey. We're cursed because we fail to trut Jesus. If we trust Him we'll obey. If we obey it should be the natural, organic outflow of a life connnected by faith to kingdom power. We can't get the cart before the horse without crippling our ability to complete the journey.

Dad and Linda said...

some churches have a "foot washing" regularly as a sacrament...couldn't hurt, could it?

Keith Brenton said...

Dad and Linda, you just gave me an excuse to post a link to one of my favorite New Wineskins articles ever: My Feet Were Washed Last Sunday.