Preaching the Gospel, Preparing a People

Letter From William Bradford - March 25, 2022

Letter From William Bradford

March 25, 2022

But you will know after this 

The Apostle John included in his gospel account of Jesus washing his disciples' feet at Passover.      

And supper being ended, the devil having 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 to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, "Lord, are You washing my feet?"  Jesus answered and said to him, "What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this."  (John 13:2-7, NKJV)  

What would they understand in times to come regarding Jesus having washed their feet? Do we understand now, what they would come to understand in the ensuing years?  Throughout his ministry, Jesus had taught the disciples about the Kingdom of God.  He had also shared some details about the role that these disciples would be given in that kingdom.    

Then Peter answered and said to Him, "See, we have left all and followed You. Therefore what shall we have?" So Jesus said to them, "Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.  (Matthew 19:27-29, NKJV)   

When the disciples heard this, they naturally formed pictures in their minds of what that future might be like.  The paradigms they used would have been influenced by the world in which they lived. Their view of the leadership and authority that would accompany these thrones would have been strongly informed by the rulership styles of the day. 

However, as they came to find out over time, that perspective was not aligned to Jesus Christ's vision of leadership in the Kingdom of God. Jesus wanted His future leaders to eventually understand that selfless service would be at the heart of all leadership in the Kingdom.    

The gospel of Luke records Jesus' instruction to his disciples on the night of the Passover about this key principle of leadership in the Kingdom of God.  

Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest. And He said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called 'benefactors.' But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves. For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves. "But you are those who have continued with Me in My trials. And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me, that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel."  (Luke 22:24-30, NKJV)  

After the foot washing, Jesus told his disciples that they didn't understand what he was doing at that time, but that they would understand in the future.  Later, they would later look back on this amazing example and understand His foot washing act had shown them, in a very practical way, how rulership would function in the Kingdom of God.  

We all pray for the Kingdom of God to come to this earth.  When it comes, the leaders God will provide at that time will not reflect the authoritarian approaches and harsh rulership styles we see today.  Instead, the leaders God chooses in that day will be those who have learned, while living in this current selfish and sometimes brutal age, how to selflessly serve others with a genuine attitude of respect, concern, and righteousness. We have the next twenty-four hours available to us to spend some time studying further this topic of selfless service, Godly leadership, and righteous governance, what a blessing! 

Have a peaceful Sabbath and as Paul wrote in 2 Thessalonians 3:16, "may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way" in the coming week. 

-Bill Bradford