I encourage you to review John 13:12-17 as a cross-reference to Philippians 2:5-11. What was Jesus thinking on earth when He fulfilled God's eternal plan for man's salvation? What were His thoughts and motives about all of His power and privileges He enjoyed in eternity past? Let us be willing to change our thinking, motives, and attitudes as we learn about how He thought.
From Sunday's message, remember that Christ thought He was, is, and will be the All-Powerful God. He never was our door-mat to be used for our goals and dreams. He also decided to be our Pattern for humble service. Finally, He is to be praised now and forever because of what He accomplished in His death, burial, and resurrection. In summary, He was thinking in other words, "I am God, the Son, who alone can meet mankind at the point of His greatest need(s). I will lay aside some of my eternal powers and privileges temporarily, take on servanthood and manhood, to meet man's needs that no one else could ever meet. I will take on that temporary role for the eternal results that can be accomplished."
According to John 13:12-17, Jesus promised that His followers would be blessed if they "wash one another's feet... just as I have done for you." Was He thinking that He needed to establish a religious "feet-washing" ordinance or ceremony? No. He said, "I have given you an example to follow, meaning a pattern of humble service to help meet the real, practical needs of others. Lowly servants in His culture would wash the feet of those entering a home from the dusty roads and pathways. Great disciples of Christ would see and meet needs. Jesus was teaching this to His disciples who were debating about who would be the greatest in God's kingdom. Two answers are obvious. Jesus is the greatest, and servant-hearted people are greater than the selfish who want others to serve them. When we refuse to use our person, power, and privileges to serve Christ and others, we are acting like we think we are better than "the Master."
Now let us meditate on what Jesus was thinking according to Paul's letter to the Philippians 2.
A paraphrase of His thoughts while on earth could sound like this:
1. I will release my heavenly privileges that I have been enjoying for all eternity, and I will grab human life by the horns. I will temporarily take on an existence with limited privileges, and experience life as I have never before in order to meet mankind's eternal need for salvation. Sinners need cleansing, forgiveness, spiritual life, peace with God, purpose on earth, and a place forever in heaven.
Do you ever think, "how can I use my privileges, or lay aside some of them to help others?"
What are the privileges and blessings that I enjoy as a believer or an American that I am only
using for me?
2. I will use my person, as God the Son, to meet needs that no one else can meet. There is none righteous besides Me, and no one else is worthy to be "the Lamb that was slain." I am the only person God has called to do this for these people. If I do not do it, it won't get done.
Do you ever think, "Who can I help today that God has called only me to help. What person
am I helping that relates well to my person(ality), with whom I can have effective
service? Is it possible that I am the last person from God with a divine appointment with
a given person in my pathway today?"
3. I will use my more limited (set of) powers today because they are all that I need for my temporary role on earth. I will release some powers not needed in order to give power and life to powerless, sinful people. I hold on to all the powers needed for these 33 years to live as a man, heal some people, and save eternal souls.
Do you ever think, "I have all of the power and authority I need to do what God called me to do. As a believer, I will set aside my rights (as a citizen of heaven) in order to meet needs here until Christ calls me home. Do I fight for my rights and power more than for opportunities to serve God and mankind?"
Let this mind be you which was also in Christ Jesus.