Thursday, March 28, 2013

Welcome to My House-A Maundy Thursday Reflection

And the Lord appeared to [Abraham] by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day. He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing in front of him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth and said, “O Lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant. Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree, while I bring a morsel of bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on—since you have come to your servant.” So they said, “Do as you have said.” And Abraham went quickly into the tent to Sarah and said, “Quick! Three seahs of fine flour! Knead it, and make cakes.” And Abraham ran to the herd and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to a young man, who prepared it quickly. Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them. And he stood by them under the tree while they ate. (Gn. 18:1-8)

Foot washing was a common custom of hospitality in the Ancient Near East. Most often it was performed by servants. To receive someone into your house, you washed their feet! And then you feed them. In the above text we have The Triune God Himself appear to Abraham. Abraham, the Father of Nations, beckons THE LORD to stay with him. And so he offers to wash their feet. In order to wash feet one needs to stoop down. It is a servile position. Feet are sore and dirty from long travels. And so it is that Abraham understood his relationship to God who elected him to be our Patriarch. He will serve HIM!

Jesus turns all of this upside down. Jesus, Gad incarnate, receives us into His house. The irony is that when He washed His disciples feet, He was in someone else's house, a borrowed place for the Last Supper! Jesus, the only-begotten Son of God, stoops down to clean the dirty feet of these Galilean fishermen. Simon protests knowing this was backwards. Jesus rebukes him saying, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” (Jn. 13:8) Peter consents. In order for us to have a share in Christ's household, we must allow Him to serve us! (Mk. 10:45)

But Jesus did not come to serve our self-centered needs but to die for us so that we can enter into the household of God. Our selfish desires keeps us from fellowship with God the Father! (Lk. 15:11-14) We exclude ourselves from living in God's house! But Jesus turns all that around. Not us, but Him! He is serving us in order that we may be reconciled to the Father so that in the here and now and the future to come we can abide with The Most Holy God! We are dirty from our travels. He will wash us for the banquet table in His Father's house! For only in Jesus, can we find favor in God's sight! (Gn. 18:3)