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    "God is pursuing with omnipotent passion a worldwide purpose of gathering joyful worshipers for Himself from every tribe and tongue and people and nation…Therefore let us bring our affections into line with His, and, for the sake of His name, let us renounce the quest for worldly comforts and join His global purpose."
    -- John Piper

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  • James 2:14-17

    What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?

    In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

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Fiction

 The Servant and a Traitor

 

I remember the day well. It was one of those beautiful, clear sky days that mark the season in Jerusalem. I can’t help but re-live that day over and over in my mind. I can still taste the dust that was raised by the streams of people and animals. It left your eyes gritty and your mouth dry. I see the Roman soldiers on every corner and the hucksters desperately trying to sell items for the feast. Mostly I remember the air. The air that day had a feeling like I’ve never felt again in my life. It was vibrant and alive yet frightening and eerie at the same time.I hope you can get a glimpse of what that Passover night was like for me. A night filled with emotion and joy. A night darkened by confusion and mystery. This was the night I met the Lord.

It came to pass that we would be having guests for the celebration. As dusk settled upon the city and the activity in the streets died away, the men arrived at our house. As the men entered, I took great care to wash each of their feet. I knelt before them at the door with a fresh towel tied to my waste and another gathered on the floor to catch any water that might spill. The same choking dust that clouded my eyes and dried my tongue covered their feet. At times in my life as a servant I had been humiliated while I performed this task, but on that night I took such pride in my job. I labored over each pair of feet as if they would be the only feet to walk the floors of the house. I took such joy in being able to serve these great men. I took delight in knowing that I would be able to serve the Lord. I was going to was the feet of the Messiah.
I couldn’t believe that Jesus was going to celebrate the Passover here with me. Would he talk with me? What would I learn from him about the Father? I couldn’t fathom sitting in the same room with Jesus, let alone the same table. I was lost in my thoughts when he stepped before me. I knew it was Jesus, though. Without looking up I took his left foot with my trembling hand. I rinsed his foot, gently washing away the clay and dust he had collected from the city street. I dried the Lord’s foot with a fresh towel and moved to the other. I never looked up to see his expression. Had I done a good job? Did I miss a spot of dirt where the strap of his sandal laid across his foot? Doubt ran through my mind like never before. And then, as he began to walk away, he placed his hand on my head. He never said a word, yet I know he was pleased.
When I finished with Phillip, I set the basin and towel by the doorway and I brought the men to the room where they would celebrate. I had such joy and excitement in my heart. As the final items were being brought to the table, the men wondered allowed who would take over for Jesus. I heard talk about who would be the greatest and who would be able to perform miracles of healing and giving. I didn’t understand much of the talk at the time, but I was captivated to hear the stories they told. As they talked further though, I sensed jealousy and contempt among the disciples. They seemed to be arguing among themselves.

What scares me, even now, is that we were so intent on the status of the disciples that not one of us saw Jesus get up from his seat at the end of the table; least of all me. I should have seen him though; because what I though he was about to do was a job I had done a number of times in my life. A job Jesus had no business doing!

During the heated debate, Jesus got up and took the basin I had used when the men arrived. He wrapped the very same towel I had tied around my waist to his own waist. I was so confused, nervous, and startled. Did I forget someone? Did I miss some sand or dirt on one of the disciple’s feet; on Jesus’ feet? What had I done? I jumped from my place to take the towel and basin from the Lord, but before I could take two steps toward Jesus, he raised the very hand he had placed on my head only moments before as if to say “you did fine…you did exactly what you were supposed to do.” I stood there with tears in my eyes feeling ashamed and alone.

By the time Jesus raised his hand, nearly everyone noticed his new attire. Phillip looked at me through angry eyes and a furrowed brow. I felt more embarrassed with each passing moment. I thought I was going to be sick when he bent down and began to wash the feet of Phillip. Phillip continued to angrily stare at me over Jesus’ head.

After Jesus finished with Phillip, he moved on to Nathanael and on around the table until he reached me. He took my left foot with a firm grip. No trembling hand. No hesitation. In fact, he took more time with my feet that I did with his. His eyes met mine as he finished. I saw love in his eyes as he touched my shoulder and moved on to Peter. Peter asked the Lord as he knelt before him: “Lord, are you going to was my feet?” Jesus responded: “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

You know, we don’t often look at Jesus as a servant, but we need to look at him that way. Take a moment to reflect on Jesus’ lesson that night. He commanded us to live a life of humble service to each other.

Do you want to know how I know that? He washed the feet of Judas, too. He knew that Judas was the traitor. From the beginning of time He knew that Judas was going to betray him. It was part of the plan. It would have been so easy to pass by Judas with the towel and basin. It would have been so simple to send him away out into the street. But your Savior washed the feet of Judas to show us by example that servant-hood within the extraordinary circumstances the world will continue to give you is the servant-hood that most resembles His.

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Forgiveness

 

 

 

Do you hear the shouts?  Listen closely to the shouts of rage and hatred by a crowd whose unified voice mirrors your own!  Are you leading the chorus or merely following?  Do you feel the adrenaline coursing through you?  

 

Do you hear His cries?  Do you hear your name as He prays for you while He walks this road by himself?  Can you deny that you heard Him say your name?  Is it the crowd that drowns out his anguish?  Is it the roar of the crowd that covers His sorrow?  Or, is it your own sin?  Why are you here?  Are you excited now, or terrified? 

 

Why are you here?  Do you know why you here?  LOOK AT ME AND ANSWER THE QUESTION!  Do you know WHY YOU ARE HERE?  Do you know why He is here?  SHOULD IT BE YOU?  Why do you keep following Him along this dusty road?   Look at your feet.  Go ahead, look at them!  LOOK!  Your dusty feet are walking in His very footsteps.  Your sandals are covered in His blood.  Can you hear your heart beating?  Can you feel your heart beginning to pound deep in your chest?  You don’t know why, do you? 

 

Do you hear the clang as the hammer first hits the spike?  Do you hear the crunch as it pierces His skin and shatters bone?  Do you hear Him scream as the nail is driven deep into the wood? Watch as they stretch him before the second spike is driven through his arm.  Do you hear it when His shoulder separates?  Did you notice that He no longer cries out in pain?  Do you wonder why?  Look at your tunic.  Touch your face.  His blood is on you….splatter from the spike driven firmly into the timber.  Are you nauseous, yet? 

 

Do you see the timber?  Can you even look at the course, uneven, violent timber that tears at the wounds on his back?  Do you see the splinters and shards like small spears running the full length of the rough sawn wood?  Wood soaked with blood and sweat and spit.  Is that your spit?  Do you see the broken pieces of wood embedded in His flesh?  Can you watch as drop after drop of blood trickles down each splinter and falls to the ground?   How can you still be here?  Why don’t you look away?   Are you ready to vomit?   As your own sweat mixes with His blood what are you thinking?

 

As the cross drops violently into the hole where it now stands, do you hear bone break and flesh rip as the weight of his broken body pulls against his arms and feet?  As He struggles for life, pushing up with His legs for each ragged breath, do you see the timber open each wound on his back?  Can you see each splinter dig further into his flesh? 

 

Do you see the hole in the ground?  Can you even look at the hole in the ground where the timber stands?  Take a look!  You’ve come this far, so take a long look.  Study it!  As the blood trickles down the wood, do you see how begins to pool in the hole.  Look how it mixes with the dust, and forms a paste that ties the cross to the Earth.   Don’t hang your head now!  This is about you, not Him.

 

Don’t look at me like that!  You knew!  You knew back when you heard him pray for you BY NAME!  This is about you.  This is about your sin.

 

“I Thirst”

 

Take the sponge!  I said take it!   Now bring it to him.  Look at yourself.  Your own sweat mixed with His blood; covered in your own vomit.  How can you even approach him?    He’s thirsty.  Send it up to Him.  What are you waiting for? 

 

Did you see him look at you?  What did you see in His eyes?  Did you see condemnation or do you see……..

 

“Father, into your hands I commit my Spirit”

 

Will you ever know what you saw in His eyes?  Or, is it too late?  Will you ever understand exactly what He did for you here?  Can you ever comprehend the price that was paid for you on that cross? 

 

How long are you going to sit here in the dark?  It’s been days!    It’s over!  What are you waiting for?

 

My friend, pick up your head.  Your sin is gone!  The blood that covers you – His blood—took your sin and washed it away.  Trust me.  Trust me.  Forget me……Trust HIM!  You are forgiven.   You’re not sure, are you?

 

Come on!  We need to get somewhere else!  Hurry!    Hurry, you’ve got to run!

 

There!  See the tomb?  Watch.  Watch carefully!

 

There! There it is!  Look at the light coming from around the stone.  Do you see it?  Now watch.

 

Look, did you see the stone move?  Can you see him in the tomb?  Look closer!  Go on up there if you have to.  Look!

 

What? What did you see?    

 

Oh, I know He’s not there!  But you had to see it for yourself. 

 

So, what exactly did you see in His eyes back on the cross? 

 

That’s right.  I think you understand now.

 

 

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