“You will receive power when Holy Spirit comes on you TO BE My representative…” Acts 1:8a
When you think of Jesus was He a man of power or humility?
The answer to the question posed is, “Jesus was both”. The story of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet in the Upper Room is remembered as a story of humility. But the story is more than about “relinquishing power” as if power were the opposite of humility. The foot washing experience is saturated with messages about power.
Jesus often spoke of Himself as being Rabbi and Lord. Titles used for two powerful roles in the disciples’ world – Jewish teachers and Caesar as lord. Jesus claims them both in the Upper Room. He was clearly comfortable with power – personal, positional and spiritual. Andy Crouch comments on Jesus view of power, “What He is entirely indifferent to, indeed adverse to, are the privilege, status, and prerequisites that preoccupy people who have forgotten what power is for.” (from
Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power).
The foot washing story speaks of power as vulnerability and giving voice to truth. Having seen the refusal of the disciples’ to humble themselves in taking up the towel and basin, Jesus did what a Jewish Rabbi would never do. Then, after all feet were washed, Jesus put on His robe, sat down, and began to speak the truth about power, “I have set you an example… now that you know these things you will be blessed if you do IT.” (John 13:15-17).
Giving voice to truth calls for the indifference Crouch spoke of above; AND it calls for seeing humility, ensconced in vulnerability, as power in disguise.
Lord Jesus, I fear my ego needs get in the way too often, driving me off the path of humility and the right expression of my personal power. Help me Lord! Teach me Rabbi! Help me to understand the IT you gave voice to with your attitude, words and behaviors; and to just do IT! Amen.
Prepared by Kervin Raugust
The Inside Out Journey