Daily refreshment under the mighty hand of God. Authentic Ministry, Part 2

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3Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

6He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” 7Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” 8Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” 9Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet,but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” 11For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.”  John 13:3-11

Peter was watching Jesus. He saw him get up, take off his outer garments, prepare the water, and then begin washing feet. If it had been at the door. If it had been the lowliest servant. Peter probably would not have minded. He would have welcomed the moment his feet were cleansed. But now to receive this service from his Rabbi, his master, his Lord was too humiliating. Peter refused Jesus.

But Jesus makes it clear. “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” Its a harsh answer that clearly pains Peter. So Peter goes all in, “Then, give me a bath!”

Jesus raises the conversation from feet to hearts. The person who has  received Jesus as Lord for the forgiveness of sin is cleansed; such a person only requires refreshment and relief from the daily press of life in a broken world. Yet, it is essential. Summoned into the communion of God, followers of Jesus  need daily refreshment from Him. We need the Holy Spirit to renew us daily for the life and work of Jesus’ kingdom. Peter had to humble himself in order to receive from Jesus.

Later Peter would express what its like to humble yourself under the hand of God as a person in a ministry community. Peter wanted the church to know what’s required in our hearts in order to receive from God. “Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:5-7

Will you reframe what’s its like to be “under the mighty hand of God?” Can  you imagine being still, being quiet, being real, being honest before Jesus Christ our Lord as He washes your feet?”

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Washroom Graffiti, Bones, and the Spirit of God

1 The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. 2And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry. 3And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” 4Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. 5Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. 6And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord.” Ezekiel 37:1-6

 

Holy Spirit renewal dynamics begin with a question from God. “Son of man, can these bones live?”

 

Ezekiel’s answer leans back into God. “O Lord God, you know.”

 

Recently I read these words on the washroom wall, “Life on earth is just a death sentence.” That’s a hopeless, desperate sentence.

 

I have a friend who has lived on the edge of violence and semi-functional drunkenness in leather and jewellery always reminding him of death: skulls and wings. I tell him his skulls remind me of Jesus’ Lordship over death and His question, “Son of man, can these bones live.” My friend laughs.  And then I tell him, his wings remind me of the Spirit of God who truly brings life even to the most desperate sack of bones through faith in Christ Jesus. My friend hesitates.

 

That day God reminded Ezekiel of His power in a dramatic vision. I am hearing the question and even asking it of the Lord, “Can these bones live?”

 

Of this I am sure. God is changing lives through the Gospel of Jesus. The Word of God can accomplish the renewal of our souls for we shall hear, we shall be caused to live, and we shall know that He is the Lord.