“Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. He had loved his disciples during his ministry on earth, and now he loved them to the very end. It was time for supper, and the devil had already prompted Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. ” John 13: 1-3
Jesus controlled every step of his journey to the cross. There wasn’t a moment he didn’t choose and execute according to his will. He desired an easier road but seeing none he still chose the one marked out for him! That is an amazing thought! For love of me he chose the road to Calvary!
The Bible in John 13 tells us Jesus knew what was upon him. He wasn’t surprised by his demise. He also wasn’t powerless to stop it. John 13:3 says that God had given him power over everything. Everything includes the situation he was in! He could have stopped it. He was filled with enough power and greatness to put an end to it all right there.
The old song says, “He could have called ten thousand angels
To destroy the world and set Him free.” Ten Thousand Angels, Ray Overholtz
It’s true he could have, but he didn’t. Instead “he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him. ” John 13:4,5
What prompted Jesus to serve when he should have fled? What caused him to stoop even before Judas when he should have struck back? He had the power. He had the authority. He even had the right. Why didn’t he fight?
He didn’t rise to protect himself with his greatness specifically because he had greatness. Greatness by its very definition comes with a purpose attached. It is not raw power instilled for the gratification of the weilder; It is power under the influence of purpose. Jesus’ greatness spurred him to save mankind. He was stooped under the power of his greatness and served by choice the ends demanded. To do less would not have been great.
So he bent and washed the disciples feet. In that moment something more powerful than the summoning of angels took place. By his one act of meekness (greatness channelled) Jesus created a mindset which has rippled throughout the 2,000 years of Christian history.
“You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. ” John 13:13-15
Sacrificial service has done more to advance this kingdom than force of arms ever could. It was greatness stooped that caused Paul to persevere and prosper through the tortures of his ministry. It was greatness stooped that caused an aged Polycarp to give up his life to the flames for the Christ he loved. It was greatness stooped that caused Elizabeth Elliot to march into the jungle to bring Christ to the very tribes who had murdered her husband. Finally it will be greatness stooped which will cause us to march in these latter days towards whatever cross that is set before us.
Do you feel the greatness of God in you yet?