“Yes!” Han-el’s voice had become a lament. “Even now he (Adam) could not stop himself from bending away from God toward power and dominion. He named her (Eve) ‘weak and fragile’— the truth about his own being, of which he is ashamed. So he will try to separate himself from truth and choose aloneness as his strength, as if he could be like God apart from God.”
~WM Paul Young
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.” Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” For He knew who was to betray Him; that was why He said, “Not all of you are clean.”
~ Jesus, King of The Universe, in John 13
Oh beloved, it is true.
Each moment of each day we are helping others towards an astounding destiny. CS Lewis talks about this in his monumental work, “The Weight of Glory.” We are to become the gods that Jesus Himself said we were. Oh yes, The Infinite will always outstrip us. The Theosis is something that we are being drawn up into. We will never achieve it ourselves. And even when do achieve it, we will forever and always be an ‘image’ of The One Who made us.
However, what does G_d look like? This is one of the most beautiful things about Jesus. He was the exact representation of The Father. And, throughout Scripture we see Him as being absolutely in charge. He is most surely the King of The Universe. But, this same King definitely dispenses His Power in ways that are foreign to us.
Instead of acting like some mafia-boss mono-god, He is acting like SomeOne who simply wants to be our – will we dare to say it? – Friend. Oh no, neither is He reaching out to us in some sort of manipulative play for us, because He really needs for us to fill some hole in the puzzle of His Being.
Can we see it?
Jesus already held all the cards. He had already been given everything by The Father. He was, quite simply, sitting pretty the night that He gave His new covenant (read: eternal promise from a Being Who does not change and cannot lie). He could have played it quite differently. He could have looked at the fools around the table and told them to take a hike. And then, He could have rightly (and quite justifiably) gone and nuked quite a few people, before He spit on the dust of the earth He would soon destroy.
No. He took a completely otherworldly route. He laid it all aside, all the way down to His clothing. And in his near nakedness, whose shame was only tempered by a towel around His waist, He knelt before his disciples and began washing that same earth’s dust off their feet. He desired something else. He desired to help these fools (and i write only as a fool myself) to get into a state of mind that was off-center, because His coming promise was going to knock them completely for a loop for the rest of their lives.
And so, as they went off into the Great Commission, sharing the Great News of The Great New Promise of G_d, they remembered that it had been delivered by their Friend. It had been delivered by the Guy Who showed friendship at the end of a very hard few years (and before His own excruciatingly difficult few days ahead), by doing what only slaves were generally allowed to do in servile work for their masters.
Hopefully, we see it in our own lives. Are we going to use the weapons of power on those around us? Or, are we going to help our friend become more like the god they are becoming, by edifying them in growing an ever deeper relationship? Or, will we use our power of anger and fear and doubt and contempt to manipulate and abuse the person into a supposed step-stool, that we might take our own imaginary step up in our own sense of selfish-esteem.
The question, though, is are we comfortable yet, within our newly-created skin? We must also be convinced of just how powerful we are, in order to pursue true relationships.
A friend of mine just said, “When we go off on our emotional path of irrational insanity, it feels good, but it sacrifices reason on the altar of rage. The destruction of relationship is deemed worth the price to gain control.” But, the same Jesus Who is The Truth shows us that the insanity of our fear and rage and manipulation is just that: Insane.
Tonight in your night to choose: Relationship or Power? With the latter you will lose both. With the former, you will gain both. Choose well.
Relationship is the final stuff of reality.
~ Larry Crabb