“Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him. When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.” “No,” Peter protested, “you will never ever wash my feet!” Jesus replied, “Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me.”” (John 13:3-8).
Notice the sequence, Jesus knew that the Father has given him authority and then he began to wash his disciples feets. You see, authority is for service. In Christ authority in not for dominating people, it is not for bossing people around, and it is definitely not for ruling over people. Authority compels you to serve, it brings you to wash the feets of others. In Christ authority does not make you lord over a fellow brethren, rather it brings you under service to a fellow brethren. While Jesus was washing his disciples feets, Peter objected to this, because he is still carrying the mentality of the world. That mentality that the masses must serve those with authority, is a thing of the world. We need to be resocialized into the reality in Christ. Just because someone has authority doesn’t mean we should bow down and start licking his feet. Authority in Christ is service, and we must come to understand this truth in Christ.
“And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.” (Rev 5:10).
In Christ we are all kings reigning together, this means we are all given authority. And if we all have authority then we are all called to service. We are called to wash each other’s feets, for this is true authority. When Christ was given authority, his whole body was given authority. When you placed a crown on the head of a person his whole body has become king, the whole now has authority. When you touch the person’s hand you are touching the king, when you touch his shoulder you are touching the king, and wherever part of the body you are touching, you are touching the king. The rest of the body are drawing from the authority placed on the head, this is the reality of Christ. Because Christ, the head, has been given authority, the whole body now has authority. When one died all died (2Cor 5:14), so also, when one is given authority all is given authority (it is the principle of the body). But each part of the body is different from the other.
The hands has authority as an hand, the nose as authority to be a nose, the eyes has authority as the eyes, and each part has authority in that which they are. Each member of the body of Christ has authority in what they are in Christ. If you are a teacher, you have authority to teach, if you are a help giver you have authority in that area, if you have the gift to give wise advice then you have authority in that, and so on. A measure of the riches of Christ has been placed inside every one of us — since Christ has been given authority — we have authority in that measure of the riches of Christ placed inside of us.
We must recognize our authority and come into the service of that authority. We must serve each other; each one of us with different authority and different services, serving each other. In the opening verse Jesus was carrying out a service but Peter protested. We refused to submit his feet to be washed by Jesus. If you want somebody to serve you, then you will have to submit to that person. For example when you get to a saloon to cut your hair, although the barber is serving you but you have to submit to him. You have to submit yourself and give your hair to him. You have to move your head however he wants you to, you must do what he wants or else he will not be able to carry out his service. If you refuse to yield to him then he would do a nasty job and you won’t be happy with yourself. To submit does not mean that you are lesser, rather it means that you will be greater than you use to be.
“Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.” (Eph 4:11-13).
Christ has pour out all these gifts and all these service to the Church so that we can serve each other and build each other until we are all mature, measuring up to the fullness of Christ. The hand must submit to the service of the eyes to see, it must trust in the service the eyes is rendering and yield itself to be guided by it. The leg cannot say the ear is too small and as such will not submit to its service, but it must yield itself to whatever the ear is earing and allow the head to direct it on what to do about it. Each one of us are a unique part of Christ, carrying authority in that area, and requires submission to effectively carry out the service for the benefit of the whole body.
Our Lord wants all to be filled with him and this would be possible through the many services. That is why he told Peter that, “Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me.” To paraphrase Jesus’s words for the sake of our topic we would say, “unless you allow me serve you you will not be filled with the fullness of me”. The Lord wants to serve you through each member of his body. But you must submit to his service through that member and allow the Lord wash your feet. You must see the Lord in that member whoever that person may be. It is the Lord trying to serve you in other to get you filled with his fullness. It’s sad that Christians don’t like to submit to each other. You are so full of yourselves, you think that you are the only one that God has given authority. The authority was given to Christ, and it is for the whole body.
You must stop focusing on yourself and start focusing on Christ, you must learn to see the Lord in each member of the body demanding that you submit to him so that he can serve you and bring you into fullness. You must be able to see the Lord in that person no matter who the person is as long as he is a member of the body. You must see the service that the Lord is trying to carry out through that person and submit yourself to that. The person may be younger than you, he may not be educated as you, he may not have the status that you have, but he is a member of Christ and you must be able to see the Lord in that person, and you submit yourself. It is not the person you are submitting to, but it is the Lord in that person. If only we can be like this; being able to see the Lord in each member, recognizing his authority in each member and submitting to his service through each member, then we would grow in all ways into the fullness of God
“to comprehend together with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Eph 3:18-19).
You can’t do it alone, you alone cannot enter into the width and length and depth and height of Christ, and grow into the fullness of God. You need the whole member of the body, only with the whole member would you be able to apprehend the width and length and depth and height of Christ. Together with all the members we would grow into the fullness of God. We are all kings, we all have authority, we are all in service to one another. We are to mutually submit to one another and serve one another. We are a body, and as they say, one hand cannot wash itself. The first hand needs the second hand to help get it washed, but it must also learn to submit to the second hand, and stay still so that the other hand can carry out this service. And when the second hand is through it must now submit to the first hand too so that it can help it get washed. It is a mutual submission, and a mutual service. This is the life of the body, and it is the way to fullness.
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