Practicing Servant Leadership
Today, I’m reflecting on the Gospel, specifically the meaning behind the passage itself, which is the Gospel of John chapter 13, verses 16 to 20.
I struggled with this a little bit. It took me some time to get it. I had to go read the previous verses so I could follow the sequence of events.
The phrase that caught my attention is the one in verse 16 where it says, “When Jesus had washed the disciples’ feet, he said to them: “Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him.”
What confused me about this was Jesus mentioning the positional structure of society. In a way, there are similarities to it in today’s world. We tend to think hierarchies and titles have certain privileges. We think that those with a lesser level would serve the ones above them.
I wondered why would Jesus bring this up after he did something completely opposite.
I struggle with it. Then, it hit me, “Ah! that’s exactly where he was trying to point to.” He reminds the disciples of the culture of the day and affirms the positional hierarchy of the day with the intent to contrast it with what He just did for them.
He’s considered the master, he has the highest honor of the group, and he decided to serve them. He chose to wash their feet. Now, he’s reminding them of what is the status.
The message I got from it is Jesus saying, “Hey, if you are going to follow me, we are going to do this differently. We are not going to follow the rules of society. We are going to do it out of service. Those that are at a higher place will be servants of those that are below them.”
It becomes kinda like a foundation for what today I know as servant leadership. Where those at a higher level serve those that are below them, who serve those that are below them, and so on.
There are other things Jesus talks about in the gospel but I focused on the contrast between how the world works and how he wants us to operate.