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Dirty Jobs

July 03 2017
July 03 2017

I love the show “Dirty Jobs”. What fascinates me about it is not just how gross some of these jobs are – it’s the fact that some of these jobs even exist (Every thing from maggot farmer, road-kill cleaner, shark suit tester, to worm-grunting). “Dirty Jobs” is a show about hundreds of menial jobs that require you to get dirty, and because of that, most people view these sort of dirty jobs as beneath them.

Christianity is a Dirty Job that requires hundreds of menial, obscure jobs that people are willing to stoop down to do in order to lift others up. But it is not an easy job. In fact, it is so hard that our Lord had to do it FOR US so that we could learn how to do it for one another.

It’s hard for us to receive grace, isn’t it? We struggle when people do things for us, because we feel like we have to repay them somehow. Sadly, I think many Christians live their lives believing that they have to repay Jesus for the sacrifice He made for them. They think that they have to be worthy to receive God’s love.

Jesus’ “Dirty Job” of washing His disciples’ feet in John 13 stretches our understanding of grace by showing us just how far Jesus will stoop in order to publicly display how much He loves us.

In Jesus’ day, no Jew would eat a special meal without having their feet washed. This job was reserved for the lowest Gentile servant of the house. On the night before Jesus was to be killed, He is celebrating the Passover meal with His disciples in a rented room, where there was no servant to wash their feet.

Luke tells us in ch. 22 that while making preparations for the meal, the disciples get into an argument over which one of them was the greatest. They’re all jockeying for position and power, only concerned about themselves and their status. All the while, every one of them can see the jar of water sitting on the table, but none of them will take up the role of servant.

John tells us in 13:4-5 – During supper Jesus “rises from His reclining position at the table. He lays aside His clothing, and strips down to his loincloth. He girds Himself with a towel, pours the water into the basin and begins to wash His disciples feet and then He wipes their feet with the towel.”

After Jesus had finished in v.12, He says – “Do you understand what I have done to you?” Jesus stooping down to wash His disciples’ feet is more than an example for us to follow, because it signifies the cleansing of our sin that His death would provide.

It is when Jesus comes to Peter in vv.6-8, and the way Peter responds that we see the meaning of this foot-washing. “Lord, do YOU wash MY feet? What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand. You will never, ever, wash my feet! Peter, if I do not wash you, you have no part with me

Peter is struggling with receiving the Lord’s grace, because he still thinks he has to earn it, or that he has to be worthy to receive it. Peter doesn’t understand Jesus’ grace at this point, but afterward he will.

After what will Peter understand? After Peter utterly fails his Lord. After he lives with the guilt and shame of his denial. After he watches Jesus suffer and die for him. After Jesus rises from the grave – THEN Peter will understand his need for the dirty cleansing job that Jesus humbly performs for him.

Do you understand what He has done for you? Jesus humbly lays aside His rights as God and humbly takes on the form of a servant who stoops beneath you to serve you by dying in your place, in order to wash away the filth of your sin. Why does Jesus do this? Why does the One who has been given all authority over all things, rise from supper, lay aside his garments, strip Himself, and then gird Himself with a towel where He proceeds to stoop down to wash His disciples dirty, sweaty, smelly, feet?

At the end of v.1, we find our answer – “Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the uttermost.” I don’t think there is a more beautiful or more powerful passage in all the Bible.

Jesus knew that Phillip would misunderstand Him, that Thomas would doubt Him, that Judas would betray Him, that Peter would deny Him. He knew that all of them would desert Him and forsake Him, and YET He loved them to the uttermost!

He loves us to the end of His strength and beyond. He loves us unto the end of ALL of our failures, wanderings, backsliding, selfishness, unworthiness, and ALL of our sin. Jesus washing His disciples feet shows us that His love for His people has no limits.

It is only when you understand your need for His cleansing and that His love for you has no limits that you will be able to do the dirty jobs of loving others. And there are hundreds of dirty jobs that need to be done. Because He loves you to the uttermost end, won’t you gird yourself with the servant’s towel and stoop down in order to lift others up?


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