Sunday, 30 March 2014

Lent day 24 - dirty jobs with Jesus of Nazareth

John's take on the Passover meal (13:1-17) is quite different, recording something the Synoptics don't include. Mike Rowe has a show entitled Dirty Jobs which delights in bad smells and awkward moments.

In the ancient world, foot washing was something that slaves would perform. It was degrading. Feet smelled bad when people walked everywhere in sandals. So for Jesus to do this, their teacher, leader, and worker of wonders, this was so demeaning. If Judas wasn't already disgusted by the way Jesus went about being a Messiah, he would have been after this, and Jesus makes it clear he knows not all is well.

Peter shoots his mouth of as usual - not wanting Jesus to just watch his feet if he is going to wash him all. You have to feel for Peter, always the one to speak out, always the one to be put in his place.

Jesus knew what he was doing (verses 12-17). He was totally inverting what it means to be in leadership. To lead is to serve, and service is leadership, even if that service is viewed as degrading.

This contrasts so strongly with much of what we see in leadership: celebrity pastors, covering up for pedophile priests, and general arrogance and self importance. Yet I've often seen the exact opposite in the form of sincere pastoral care, deep and profound preaching and tight communities. Pastors and church leaders are just men and women, saved sinners in the process of sanctification. That said, much is expected of them, and indeed of all of us. Time to roll up our sleeves and do those dirty jobs.

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