11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. — 1 Peter 2:11,12 NIV
As sons, daughters and heirs of God, we should act accordingly. Jesus gave up all of His glory in heaven, came to earth and lived as a human and an exile here. He did this so that He might become the first born of the new covenant and the head of the church.
18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. — Col. 1:18-20 NIV
As the first born, He is our example to follow. He lived a sinless life. We, as humans, cannot obtain perfection as long as we live in these fleshly tents. We are in a daily battle to overcome our fleshly desires. It should be our hearts’ desire to get as close to that goal as we can. Not only are we foreigners and exiles, but we are amassadors of God and our home country, heaven. Our thoughts, words and actions should reflect the character of the leaders of that country. If we strive to do that on a daily basis, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, God will be glorified. When we do this with humility and love, it will cause others to want what we have. As souls are added to the Kingdom, God will receive more and more glory. When a soul is saved, it is as if God has visited us because there is a little more of heaven on earth.
20 “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. 21 I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.–John 17:20, 21 (NLT)
As we continue to listen in on this prayer, we find that all the things that Jesus asked our Father to do for the disciples, He asks Him to do for us as well. It is the very heart of Jesus that we be holy and that we full of peace and joy. Earlier, He had told us that He would send another to replace Himself. 26 “But I will send you the Advocate—the Spirit of truth. He will come to you from the Father and will testify all about me.—John 15:26 (NLT)
This Advocate, this Counselor, Comforter, Teacher, Encourager guides us into all truth. Jesus was God in the flesh and as such, He could not physically enter into us, but this Advocate is God in Spirit. He could, would, and does dwell inside each believer reminding us of what Jesus did and said. He is our internal guidance system, installation charges prepaid by our Big Brother, no monthly fees, no interruptions and worldwide coverage with no breaks. Maybe that is why we say those that don’t have it are lost. It is our duty to tell the lost about this free guidance service. And like any good plan, you get a reward when they allow it to be installed! You get a blessing here and now! But, wait, there’s more! You get a reward when you get to heaven!
13 “Now I am coming to you. I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with my joy. 14 I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 15 I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. 16 They do not belong to this world any more than I do. 17 Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. 18 Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. 19 And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth.—John 17:13-19 (NLT)
We have the privilege of listening into a personal conversation between Jesus and our Father. As we read through the prayer that Jesus is praying for His disciples, we get a little glimpse of His love and compassion for them. Jesus is not asking God to remove all the bumps, He is asking Him to keep them safe as they travel the rocky road. He is also asking our Father to teach them the truth. Jesus, as the oldest of all God’s children, is taking the responsibility of being sure that the family is being taken care of while He is separated from them. Of course, He knows that our Father is going to take good care of the disciples, but His compassion demands that He set the example for them to ask. Not only that, but He is paying in advance for their care by giving His life on the cross. Jesus is the perfect example of a servant, a brother, a friend and a Redeemer.
4 So during the meal Jesus stood up and took off his outer clothing. Taking a towel, he wrapped it around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into a bowl and began to wash the followers’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. 6 Jesus came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” 7 Jesus answered, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but you will understand later.” 8 Peter said, “No, you will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “If I don’t wash your feet, you are not one of my people.” 9 Simon Peter answered, “Lord, then wash not only my feet, but wash my hands and my head, too!”—John 13:4-9 (NCV)
Jesus showed us example after example of His humbleness. From the time He laid aside His glory in heaven to come to earth clothed in the flesh of a lowly human. Jesus was the perfect example of supreme power under control. He could have lashed out at any time and wiped out village after village. But He chose to be a servant to the people. Serving them by teaching and healing every disease. Now, Jesus was preparing to perform an act that in that time and place was performed only by servants. To wash another person’s feet showed complete meekness and humbleness. The disciples knew that and that is why Peter said “No, you will never wash my feet”. Peter could not imagine Jesus, His Lord and Master, stooping so low as to do that. But when Jesus explained to Peter that He could not be one of His disciples if Peter didn’t allow Him to wash his feet, Peter said “”Lord, then wash not only my feet, but wash my hands and my head, too!” Peter would later understand that Jesus was doing this as an example of how humble we, as Christians, must be. Maybe we all need to participate in a good old fashioned foot washing ceremony. Would we be willing to do that for our brothers and sisters?
38 Again feeling very upset, Jesus came to the tomb. It was a cave with a large stone covering the entrance. 39 Jesus said, “Move the stone away.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said, “But, Lord, it has been four days since he died. There will be a bad smell.” 40 Then Jesus said to her, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” 41 So they moved the stone away from the entrance. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you heard me. 42 I know that you always hear me, but I said these things because of the people here around me. I want them to believe that you sent me.” 43 After Jesus said this, he cried out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with pieces of cloth, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take the cloth off of him and let him go.”
—John 11:38-44 (NCV)
Just imagine this scene! A crowd standing at a tomb, which was a cave covered by a large stone. Some were crying, some were doubting, all of them, I am sure, wondering what Jesus was going to do next. Is it any wonder that Jesus had cried earlier? He was surrounded by a sea of unbelief. It would have been particularly hurtful because the ones who knew Him and He loved so much were also doubting. But, thank God, Lazarus didn’t have to depend on the faith of all those people or he would never have come out of that grave. Picture the look on their faces when Jesus said “Lazarus, come forth!’ Their attitude went from one of doubt to amazement! Some of them were even convinced that Jesus was really who He said He was. “Let Him go!” There must have been some rejoicing there that day in Bethany! STOP! Now, picture yourself in that same crowd that same day. In which group do you see yourself? Do you come there as a believer or a doubter? Do you leave there as a believer or a doubter? Fast forward to “now”. In which group are we now? Are we fully persuaded?