Jesus Method of Changing the Imperfect


Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. John 13:1

A Reflection for Maundy Thursday - Worker Justice Wisconsin

In the amazing story of Jesus washing His disciples feet – we behold the Perfect Lord serving the imperfect disciples. The disciples were the beginning of the church of Jesus.

When I study this passage, I get a view inside Jesus’ method of change.

Did the disciples need to be changed? You bet. So, how did Jesus go about changing them?

If we answer this, I believe that we can learn how to deal with a church that is not perfect.

First, we see the phrase we read above:

Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.

Jesus loved them to the end. Here’s His word regarding His disciples:

Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.” John 6:70 English Standard Version

When you read this story, you see two things:

First, God chose the disciples in all their imperfections. Two, God chose one of them knowing he was motivated by the devil.

7 Ways Satan Tries to Destroy a Church — Charisma News

Think on this: God chose an imperfect church. Even the devil has his role to play in the journey.

And, His method of change for this imperfect church was to love them to the end.

The Greek word used here to describe “to the end” is the word:

Telos: a) He loved them through each stage until all is fulfilled. b) He was willing to pay whatever cost to reveal His love

This is the word from which we get our word “telescope”. Being able to see the end while knowing where you are.

Church, Here's Why People Are Leaving You. Part 3

A popular method of change today when dealing with the imperfect church is to “abandon ship”. Leaving for another opportunity or experience was not Jesus’ method of changing the disciples/His church.

Can you imagine how much “stuff” Jesus has put up with in His relationship with you?

Jesus’ method of change involved:

Love rather than judgment

Presence rather than abandonment

After washing His disciple’s feet, Jesus said:

If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.

Here, Jesus introduced one more method of change:

Sharing rather than withholding

How many of our methods of bringing change to an imperfect church are simply not in line with Jesus’?

I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him.

We are not to exalt our methods above His.

Jesus told His disciples that they would have a hard time understanding His methods.

What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.

Why would we understand later?

We would have His example empowered by His Spirit.

I hear someone asking, “what do we do about the devils among us? Boy, we’ve got some in the church!

Jesus knows who the devils are and will root out betrayal.

This requires trust in the Head of the Church. How does the Perfect effect change in the Imperfect? He serves it. How are we supposed to respond to the imperfect church? The same as Jesus.

Why Don't We Wash Others' Feet? - God In All Things

If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.

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