Mar 10

Session 3 Recap: Zaspel, “Serving as He Served” – John 13:1-17

2012 | by Tim Ragsdale | Category: Clarus 12

Editor’s Note: Tim Ragsdale is Pastor for Local Missions at Desert Springs Church in Albuquerque, NM. This post is a summary of Fred G. Zaspel’s message from Saturday morning, March 10, “Serving as He Served,” from John 13:1-17.


Dr. Fred Zaspel’s message “Serving as He Served” was on John 13:1-17. In chapter 13, the focus of John’s gospel has changed as Jesus’ hour approaches, and Jesus is addresses his disciples. Jesus’ departure was near and his focus and concern was upon his disciples who would remain after his departure.

Surrounded by disciples with a propensity to argue among themselves as to who is the greatest who jockey for privileged seats in glory, Jesus puts on a spectacular demonstration of his own glory – no, he doesn’t. Instead he takes on the servant role of the lowest of the low in the culture. He lays aside his outer garments (note: “lays aside” is not the typical language for simply changing clothes, but more closely parallels Christ’s humbling of himself in Philippians 2 where he lays aside his own glory taking on the form of a servant) and humbly washes his disciples’ feet.

Jesus is clearly demonstrating a lesson on servant leadership, but did they really understand all that his symbolic gestures represented? The disciples did not yet have the Cross to reflect upon, though later they would understand (v.7). As the disciples did not completely grasp all of the symbolism of Jesus’ actions, they do see humble servant leadership in action. When we see Jesus’ command for us to love one another as he has loved us, he has not left us without an example.  Though we shouldn’t read too much into it – Jesus even washed the feet of Judas Iscariot.

When we listen to our ugly pride and see ourselves above humble (and “lowly”) service, do we see what that means? Though we’d never say it, our attitudes and actions reveal that we think we are better than our Master. Now that we know these things, may we be blessed as faithful doers. Let us pray for appropriate humility – after all, we have so much to be humble about.