The One Year New Testament
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12 When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. 16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. 18 I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ 19 I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he. 20 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”
Jesus is our substitute before he is our example. Our ability to serve one another requires that we first be washed by the grace of Christ. It is important to wash one another’s feet (that is, be servants of one another), but we must do so as those who are inspired to love others because of the life-changing grace we have received from our Savior. If our obedience is not flowing from a heart that freely offers love to others as a response to God’s amazing grace to us, then even our good intentions are ultimately subtle forms of self-righteousness.
Jesus is the servant of the Lord (cf. Isa. 52:13–53:12) who did for us what we could never do for ourselves. Through our union with Christ by faith, we are set free from the need to secure God’s favor through our obedience. The encouragement of his gracious love now motivates us to honor one another above ourselves, and to serve one another in humility (Phil. 2:1–11).
18 For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest 19 and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. 20 For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” 21 Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.” 22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, 23 and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
Those who are in Christ by faith “have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem” (Heb. 12:22). This unspeakably wonderful and mysterious insight tells us that there is some sense in which Christians are already participating in the heavenly community of God’s kingdom together with angels, “the assembly” of believers throughout time, God the Father, and our Savior Jesus (vv. 22–24; cf. Eph. 1:3; Col. 3:1, 3).
Though this profound spiritual reality exists for all genuine believers from their first moment of faith, the invisible nature of this heavenly fellowship makes it difficult to fully appreciate. While we are here on earth, there is no greater experience of this heavenly gathering than when we gather with other believers in our local churches to worship Christ, hear the preaching of the gospel in God’s Word, and partake of the Lord’s Supper. The weekly gathering of Christ’s church is the clearest picture of heaven on earth.
Lord and greatly to be praised
in the city of our God!
His holy mountain, 2 beautiful in elevation,
is the joy of all the earth,
Mount Zion, in the far north,
the city of the great King.
Thoughts For Prayer
Pray for your local church body and ask God to allow your Christian community to grow in their love for the worship gathering. Pray that God would use your gatherings to powerfully accomplish and fuel the disciple-making mission.
Missions Prayer Requests More
September 19, 2019
Supported Workers: Indigenous Church-Planting Training in Arab and Muslim Countries
Mark is their most recent missionary to the field. He has a great passion to see Muslims come to know Christ as their Savior. He spent a month with another missionary team leading Bible studies but, Mark has now settled in a challenging area that is hostile to Christians. Pray for wisdom and grace for him as he seeks opportunities to share his faith. Pray as he is learning challenging languages, for friends to help alleviate loneliness, for the finances required to live there and furnish his apartment and for comfort and peace for his parents.
Zambia (Africa). Leadership training is an urgent need, the natural outworking of sustained church growth. This is a massive priority in a land where nominalism and syncretism are common. There are many more colleges and Bible schools, representing every major denominational expression. Pray for spiritually and educationally qualified leaders to be prepared through these institutions. In-service and modular trainings for both the ordained and laity are essential, especially since most church planting is actually done by lay workers.
From Operation World DVD-ROM 2010, www.operationworld.org
The One Year New Testament Copyright Tyndale House Publishers, used by Permission. NIV Bible copyright International Bible Society.