21st April 2011

The Serving Class!

“…After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciple’s feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.”
John 13:5 (KJV)

There is a great deal of interest in past ages and how things were done socially and in a class distinction.  You may remember John Cleese and the two Ronnies performing ‘their class’ act, where John says, “I am the upper class”, Ronnie Barker says, “I am the middle class” and Ronnie Corbitt says, “I know my place”, and on it went.

In the Edwardian era, these class distinctions were present as brought to light with the recent BBC series, Downton Abbey.  Also the revivial of the Upstairs, Downstairs series, where the butler reigns supreme over the downstairs servants.  He is able to be upstairs, as well as downstairs, as long as he is polite and courteous to his Masters.

Then there are the housekeeper, cook, driver, maids and men servants, where some would dress like their masters upstairs.  Then on a different level there were the nannies and personal servants who were all trained to serve their masters directly.

John 13:3-4 says, “Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God; He riseth from Supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.”

At the Lord’s Supper, the feet of the disciples had to be washed, and in their haste to hire the room for the Passover meal they had neglected to hire a servant to do the job when they arrived.  The common foot covering of the Middle East was sandals.  On the roads it was hot and dusty during the dry season and muddy in the rainy season.  It was a necessary custom to see that the feet were washed on entering a house.  None of the disciples thought to take on the lowly task of a servant.  It was our Saviour himself who, to give them an example of humility and service, washed their feet.

John 13:15-16 invites, “For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.” (That is to be a servant to others.) And in verse 16, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.”  Then Christ went on to say that He gave his life for us; the least we can do is be of service to others.  In Galatians 5:13 we are told, “…by love serve one another.”

The world is full of troubles of every kind because of ‘self’ service, serving one’s self, instead of serving others above self.

The Bible is filled with stories of servants and slaves, and service to others.  Indeed, today, although not obvious, service to others still goes on, and is advertised in special agencies, but therein lies another story, or two.

Lord, help us to see that your love is selfless. Express your love through us to all those around us and help us to have a serving attitude.

Study by Mark Reynard

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