March 27, 2012

The Towel

Luke 9:28-36

[Jesus] wrapped a towel around his waist … . and began to wash his disciples’ feet.
—John 13:4-5


When Jesus was transfigured, Peter wanted to build three shelters. Luke comments, “He did not know what he was saying.” Though the disciples spent time with Jesus, witnessed many miracles, and heard his amazing teaching, they often did not grasp what it meant to follow him. Later in that same chapter, for example, Luke writes, “They did not understand” (9:45).

Humanly speaking, Jesus would have had good reason to impatiently “throw in the towel” as he worked with these disciples. Throughout his entire teaching and preaching ministry they often showed that they had barely learned anything.

But it’s a cynic who throws in the towel, not a servant.

The Savior, on the night before his death, wrapped a towel around his waist and proceeded to show his disciples that life in the kingdom of God is about humbly serving others.

“I have set you an example,” Jesus says (John 13:15). Shall we follow it?

Serving others in Jesus’ name can be uncomfortable, humbling, and even painful. It can be costly. Bringing glory to God can be inglorious to ourselves. Will we “throw in the towel” or use the resources we have to serve others? To serve God?

Lent is a good time to lay down our pride and serve others for Jesus’ sake.

Jesus, humble us with your humility and move us with your servanthood. In your name we hope. Amen.

About the author — Dale Vander Veen

Dale Vander Veen is a retired Christian Reformed pastor who with his wife, Edith, has ministered in California, Washington, and Michigan. They have three married children and six grandchildren. He currently writes a daily e-mail series of devotions.

Start your day with quick daily devotions.

See God's love, power, presence, and purpose in your life every day!