Mercedes Schneider: Getting Ahead on Easter
Evangelical Christianity in the political sphere is not pretty sight.
The world has watched the hardness, harshness, and hypocrisy of self-righteousness on display in the name of some desired political end (not the least of which has been gaining and remaining in power), all of which bespeaks a lack of understanding about Jesus Himself.
I won’t pretend to address the entire off-putting issue here, but I will offer just a smidge– and a critical one, at that– of how the Jesus handled ultimate power over others– including over one of His own who He knew would within hours betray Him.
The setting is the Passover feast, which happened to be the night before Jesus would die (by His own choice; see Matthew 26: 53-54).
Here’s how John records the situation in John:13:3-5:
Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him.
Knowing He had untlimited power, Jesus chose to serve. To serve. Not to make sure others knew how powerful He was, or to use His power to serve Himself or to unleash wrath upon His enemies. No self-gratulation; no putting an agenda before the welfare of a world that frankly had no idea what He was up to. His primary enemies were very religious (sound familiar?) and saw Jesus as a threat to their political and financial well being (too close for comfort?)
Jesus was not here to make Himself into the ruler of an earthly kingdom– a point that His disciples seemed to be missing as on more than one occasion they argued with one another about which of them was the greatest (see Mark 9:33-34 and Luke 22:24), with James and John even asking Jesus directly for two top positions in Jesus’ kingdom, a request that made the other ten disciples “indignant” (Mark 10:35-41).
So, these guys could certainly use a reminder that the way to advance in His kingdom was to become the lowest of servants. And so can we.
Jesus turns the rules of getting ahead upside down.
Want to succeed as a Christian? Make it your chief ambition to serve in ways that clearly reveal Jesus’ respect for human dignity, period, with no ulterior, corner-cutting, other-exploiting, self-deceiving motive to get ahead. This rule applies to all of life, political arena included.