Pleasing God, Making Disciples of Jesus Christ

Keep The Goal Before Us

JOHN 13:1-7 – Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.”

THEME OF THE DAY. KEEP THE GOAL BEFORE US. Peter didn’t get it. And since he was the leader of the disciples, they didn’t get it either. Here they sit on the floor watching Jesus, without words, get up, lay aside His garments, grab a basin and towel, and one by one starts to wash the dirty feet of the disciples. Imagine what was racing through their minds. A lot of confusion for sure, even an uneasiness as the Savior goes from one disciple to another. Put yourself on the floor. Jesus is coming close to you, to me. Without a word, He picks up one of our feet and gently, but thoroughly, washes our feet. He looks up at us and our eyes lock. He doesn’t talk. Neither do we. What could we have said? But then comes Peter’s turn, and he never lacked words. He looks at Jesus and basically says, “Lord, what are you doing?” And Jesus responds, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.”

Friends, this statement of Jesus to Peter will be “spoken by the Lord” to us many times over in our walks with Him. In fact, we will hear this all the way to heaven. Why? Because we often, more than often, don’t understand God’s ways of dealing with us. The familiar words of the prophet Isaiah will be upfront and personal when life gets hard, the path seems dark, and circumstances overwhelming – For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9).

So, when the words of Jesus are whispered by His Spirit to our confused and hurting hearts, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand”, how do we allow this to calm our fears and remove the anxiety in trying times? A couple of things. First, resolve to wait upon the Lord. Jesus gives a promise; we will understand, maybe not at the moment, but when what He is doing in our lives is accomplished. Then, we will look back with praise for what we did not understand is now made clear. Another thing to do to make hard times learning times is keep before us the goal of God’s work in us. Every event, circumstance, situation, trial, and relationship in the lives of God’s children is orchestrated by Him for one goal – conformity to the image of the Lord Jesus. The Apostle writes, And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers (Romans 8:28-29). Don’t try to figure what God is doing. This will only lead to confusion and even increased anxiety and stress. Instead, by faith, see everything through the lens of God’s goal – making us like Jesus. In doing this we will rejoice, not complain, during dark and trying times in our lives.

Yes, God’s work is mysterious but His goal behind His work is not. By faith focus on what He is doing in our lives, not how. It will allow us to live above tough circumstances.

PRAYER: “Father, help me to trust You even when the path I am walking seems dark and not clear.”

QUOTE: “Faith rests in what God says, regardless of the path God is taking us to make us like Jesus.”