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What is God Like (Part 3)

In the last two articles we have been exploring one of life’s greatest questions ‘What is God like?’ by looking at John’s Gospel.  This month we come to the final part in this mini-series considering how the events of Easter help us answer this question.  Previously we’ve considered that Jesus is God, so to know what God is like we need to look at Jesus.  The first century eyewitnesses who ‘saw’ (knew) Jesus describe Him as being full of grace and truth, terms which mean full of devoted love and faithfulness.  We now turn to later in John’s Gospel to see what this actually means. 

The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus.  Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel round his waist.  After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped round him. (John 13:2-5)

Jesus is not ignorant of who He is, or of what will happen – see v.11.  Jesus knows that He will be abandoned and betrayed by His friends and face the horror of crucifixion.  I wonder how we might act in that situation, our response in moments of great pressure often reveals our heart.  How does Jesus respond? He gets up from the meal, wraps a towel around His waist and washes His disciples’ feet.  In those days foot washing was essential, given that people wore sandals and that the roads were dirty and dusty.  Usually, it was the servant of lowest status who had the job of washing feet; but Jesus, in full knowledge of His Divine power and authority, knowing that His disciples will abandon and betray Him, gets up, dresses as a servant and willingly washes their feet!  Jesus does not sit there and demand they wash the dirt off their own feet and serve Him, rather He gets up from the meal and serves them.  This is God’s heart revealed.

Sometimes we view God as harsh and distant, a God who demands we sort our life out first and then perhaps He’ll turn His attention to us.  But when we look at Jesus, we see what God is really like, the God who freely humbles Himself and lovingly serves, even when we’re unlovely.  But this ‘foot washing’ was just the beginning. Shortly after this Jesus is arrested and sentenced to be crucified.  Yet Jesus knew what was going to happen and willingly went to the cross in order to wash, not our feet, but our lives clean. 

If we’re honest we’re not the people we want to be, let alone the people God created us to be.  Often, we run and try and hide from God as though He is an angry judge out to condemn us.  Perhaps we try and clean ourselves up and put on a good show as though God is a headmaster we need to impress.  But when we see Jesus, we see what God is really like. One who moves toward us in all the mess and failure of our lives, who willingly lays down His life so that all the wrong we’ve ever thought, said or done might be wiped away forever, so that we might freely come to Him. 

Isn’t this a God worth knowing?    


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