laying aside the garment...taking up the towel

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A couple of nights ago, I woke up from my sleep. I was praying and asked the Father a question regarding ministry and service. He responded, "John 13:4". Wow! I was so excited. Here was a specific verse that would answer my question. I couldn't look up the verse at that time, because Grace (who has been sick) was sleeping in our room and I didn't want to wake her. The next morning, however, I quickly got out my Bible and looked up the verse: (Jesus) "rose from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself about."

I slowly let out my breath. Could this be right? This wasn't really an answer to my question, was it? I admit, I was disappointed. If He had said "John 13:5" that would have made more sense. Washing the disciples feet--now that's something. I must have heard Him wrong...or so I thought.

Today, the Lord took me back to John 13:4. He told me that He truly had given me this verse. "Oh Lord," I repented...I would look at it again: (Jesus) "rose from supper, and laid aside His garments: and taking a towel, He girded Himself about."

It still didn't make sense to me. I needed some help. Here's what I found:

  • Riseth from supper, and layeth aside his garments; and he took a towel, and girded himself. John narrates in detail each of these acts. To him they seem as so many successive steps leading down to the depth of humility. The whole formed a striking but wholesome contrast to the self-seeking and ambitious spirit which the disciples had just manifested (Luke 22:24).
  • Laid aside his garments. His outer garment. This was his mantle or robe, which is said to have been without seam. It was customary to lay this aside when they worked in rain, or in the heat of summer. Took a towel and girded himself. This was the manner of a servant or slave.
  • He ‘rose from the table,’ as He rose from His place in ‘the bosom of the Father.’ He disturbed the meal as He broke the festivities of the heavens. He divested Himself of His garments, as ‘He thought not equality with God a thing to be worn eagerly’; and ‘He girded Himself with the towel,’ as He put on the weakness of flesh.

Oh, my sweet Jesus, will I ever learn? My own pride kept me from searching further for the truth of this verse. And the truth is, He put on humility. Our beautiful Lord put on humility and when I asked Him the question about ministry and service, His answer to me was to become humble, as He is humble. Where I was concerned about doing something for Him, He was concerned about what kind of person I am. He could have given me another verse about humility that would have been more obvious. But, my own level of mistrust and questioning made me very aware of my pride even in this. Clearly, I do need this humility. Thank you, Jesus, for your patient and pursuing love. Thank you for your humility. May I learn from You and trust You in this--laying aside my garment and taking up the towel.

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Anonymous said...

Thanks for listening to Him Sarah....that was beautiful. And did show humility. :o)

Naomi said...

You have no idea how much this has just spoken to me at this time during our ministry here in England!!

I am going to go and share this with my husband!!!

Thank you!

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