3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4 rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist.
This is an oft taught lesson on being a servant to others. It is a great example to us about service, but there’s more. While it might make sense, from a practical view, for Jesus to remove his outer garments to serve the disciples, there’s nuance in this act. Jesus knew he had power available, demonstrating his authority. He knew where he came from, giving him his identity. And, He knew where he was going, defining his destiny. In removing his outer garment in the presence of his disciples, Jesus was able to present a vulnerability displaying his confidence in his identity. This confidence gave him freedom to serve the common folk that made up his disciples. He undressed to serve all twelve disciples, even the betrayer.
We’re able to have this same confidence. How’s that possible? If we know who we are, brothers and sisters of Christ’s, sons and daughters of God, then there’s no need to prove anything to anyone. We’re set in our identity, and that identity is in Christ. Having this confidence in our foundation gives us the ability to follow Christ’s example and serve those around us, especially those who might do us harm.
Your vulnerability can be demonstrated in many ways. One might be to have that difficult conversation you’ve been needing for a while. Using your authority, based on the Spirit of the living God within you, your identity as a child of the most high God and co-heir with Jesus, and your destiny of being with Christ for eternity, you can press into that difficult conversation by being vulnerable. Remember, there’s no need to worry about what that person thinks of you because of your foundation in Christ. Lack of action based on what others think of us inhibits our ability to truly love and serve others. How would Jesus’ truth about you change the way you have that difficult conversation?
One of my favorite prayers is Charles de Foucauld’s ‘Prayer of Abandonment to God’. I have included it below. As you prepare yourself, perhaps reading through this prayer will help set your heart aright.
Prayer of Abandonment to God
Father, I abandon myself
into Your hands.
Do with me what You will,
whatever You do, I will thank You,
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only Your will be done in me,
as in all Your creatures,
and I’ll ask nothing else, my Lord.
Into Your hands I commend my spirit;
I give it to You
with all the love of my heart,
for I love You, Lord
and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into Your hands
with a trust beyond all measure,
because You are my Father.
Charles de Foucauld
By Rich Obrecht