Act Out Of Identity

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, rose from supper.

– John 13:3-4

In chapter 13 of John, we find Jesus and his disciples at the Feast of the Passover, and Jesus is about to model for them one of the greatest examples of a servant leader. He is going to wash their dirty, sticky, and nasty feet.

1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2 During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him, 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. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. – John 13:1-5

As I read through this passage recently, something really struck me that I hadn't seen before. I love when that happens! It is like God sitting next to you, reading along, and whispers, "Hey, check that out! Don't miss that!" The phrase was in verse 3 and 4:

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, rose from supper.

So here is Jesus, fully aware of who he is and that God the Father had given him ALL things. Everything. It all belongs to Jesus. Then, the way this sentence is structured, I have to believe that it was out of this understanding from Jesus that he chose to rise up and serve these crusty footed men.

In this passage, I was struck again by the power of identity. When we as believers get a firm grip on who we are in Christ, that our identity has changed, we can serve like this. Jesus had nothing to prove to these men. He had all things! He had no reason to need anything from them.

When the reality that you have all you need in Christ, you have true freedom to serve with true humility. You don't fear being seen as a servant, you don't fear what someone will think of you, that they will devalue you in their minds, because every ounce of value you have comes from having everything in Christ. You can stop living for the praise of this world, and start living for the well done good and faithful servant from God.

So what is your identity in? A career, relationship, possessions, hobbies, social circles, security and comfort, peoples perceptions of you?

Let that all fall down, as you remember that all the validation and praise found from your accomplishments and the accolades of men will never be able to free you. You will never get enough from them to satisfy you.

You cannot love your neighbor as yourself when you are looking for them to meet the needs of your identity. It is when Christ is everything to you, that you are able to truly love them without expectation of anything in return, and in that, you are free!

So for the Christian, just as Christ did, know who you are in Jesus so that you can rise up and with joy serve those around you!


Sunday Reflections are short articles that share thoughts from weekly Bible reading, devotions, sermons, or times of worship. You can find more of them here.