That is quite a title, isn’t it? Blaise Pascal once wrote in a letter, “I have made this letter longer than usual, only because I have not had the time to make it shorter.” It’s hard to articulate big important concepts in small concise sentences.
Pastor Bill Johnson obviously took the time, invested the thought and captured the experience of Christianity in three short sentences. Here is what he says. Royalty is your identity. Servanthood is your assignment. Intimacy with God is your source. In my opinion, that could not have been worded better. Let’s use John 13:1-17 to explore this idea.
First of all, let’s explore royalty is your identity. “Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God, and was going back to God.” John 13:3. There was no doubt where Jesus came from, where He was to return, and that all things on this earth had been given to Him. Jesus didn’t’ search for significance. He knew He was sent by God for a particular purpose. He knew Who He was because He knew Whose He was. He was free to do whatever God wanted because His identity and future was secure.
The same way that Jesus came from God, you came from God. You are going back to God if you have received Christ. Because you are in God’s family, whatever is God’s is yours. You are a son or daughter of God, adopted into His family. As Romans 5:17 says that “you will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” That’s royalty.
Secondly, servanthood is your assignment. Because Jesus was secure in His identity, He served others. It didn’t have to be about Him. The Bible says, “He rose from supper and laid aside His garments, and taking a towel, girded Himself about. Then He poured water in a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which he was girded.” John 13:4-5.
Jesus was showing them a picture of His ministry and ours too. “He rose from supper,” points to Jesus leaving the Father’s table and His place in heaven. “He laid aside His garments,” points to Jesus changing His heavenly form to become a man. Then Jesus came to earth and pitched His tent in earth’s neighborhood. He participated in order to show humankind what God is like.
“Taking a towel He girded Himself about,” means rather than be served, He came to serve humankind. He chose the towel first rather than the throne first. “He poured water into a basin, took the towel and washed the disciples’ feet.” He served us by washing us clean from sin and the effects of sin. He served us by putting us right with God.
The Bible finishes the story. “So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments, and reclined at the table again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you?” Jn. 13:12. This points us to His resurrection. After He finished what God sent Him to do, He took up His heavenly garments again and went back to heaven. He is in heaven at the right hand of the Father.
Do you know what Jesus has done for you? Jesus just demonstrated to us our earthly ministry. We have come from God. He planned us from our mother’s womb. We are going back to God after our ministry on earth is finished. He has given us everything that we need. We, like Jesus, serve first, reign later. We take the servant’s towel. We serve God by serving others. Then we, like Jesus, will put on our heavenly garments and go to the Father’s table too.
Where does the power come to serve others from a pure heart? Intimacy with God is your source. God puts into us what God wants out of us.
Church-Community Connection is published weekly in 10 newspapers all over the world. Most of these newspapers are local paid subscription newspapers. The goal of these 450 word articles is to build a bridge to the community through humor, wisdom and changing mental perceptions that the community has of the church.