This week in the office here at the Hub, we have been discussing on and off what it means to honor one another. Honor is a word that is often dismissed in this culture and even inside the church.
I remember learning the definition of honor in the third grade when I was going through the AWANA program at my church. Honor means respect. Now when you are 10 years old respect meant to pay attention when your teacher talked to you. Even though that is not that far off from what it truly means, over time I have learned that honor is something that this world would be transformed by if we truly walked with it.
The definition of honor is ‘to make one heavy’.
Honor in Gods eyes looks the same all the way around. It may look different to us. Honoring those you love is not difficult, but honoring someone who may rub you the wrong way, or maybe has done something to you in the past to offend you, is a totally different story. Honoring someone is placing the full value of being made in the image of God on someone.
Honoring takes an action of your whole being. It is personally giving up your own interest, but considering others above yourself.
Philippians 2:3 - Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
When I was searching through the Bible for scripture about honor, I realized that the words 'brotherly love' and 'honor' are used interchangeably. Now that gives us a different perspective, doesn't it?
To honor someone is to consider them a part of family. Your family. That may not mean that they are a part of Gods family, maybe it does. But they were born into this thing that we were all born into. A family. When you look at someone as made in the image of God, as being worth the sacrifice of the perfect lamb of God, when you see them the way God sees them, your inclination will be to honor them. To make them heavy.
Romans 12:10 - Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Outdo yourselves in honoring one another.
Jesus showed honor the same way he received honor from His Father. One of my all-time favorite stories from the life of Jesus was when He washed the disciple's feet. The ultimate display of the Father heart of God.
John 13:1-17 -
Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.
And [a]supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, “Lord, are You washing my feet?”
Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.”
Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet!”
Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.”
Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!”
Jesus said to him, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.” For He knew who would betray Him; therefore He said, “You are not all clean.” So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you [b]know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
One thing that I learned in school a few years ago is the position the head takes when you bow. Bowing in prayer or worship is positioning your head lower than your heart. It is the exposing of the back, making one vulnerable. To bow before someone in any religion is a sign of showing that person honor. Jesus bowed before his disciples as He washed their feet. Taking on the very nature of a servant. Though the disciples were fully capable of washing their own feet or a servant could have done it, Jesus chose to.
I was asking God why foot washing was so important. Maundy Thursday is celebrated because of the act of Jesus washing the feet of the disciples, and there are so many other scriptures and historical references. It was something that a host would provide to the guests in their home upon arrival. They would usually have their servants wash the guest's feet or the host, out of honor, would personally wash the guest's feet.
God showed me a picture of a baby. He showed the baby right when he was born, all slimy and dirty, he showed how to nurse would clean the baby to then swaddle it and give it to the mom. He then showed me how it might be the case that the mom would personally have to clean and swaddle the baby.
Washing feet may not seem like that big of a deal, but it is in the kingdom of God. The act of washing the grime off of someone else, and drying their feet is what a mature believer should be doing. They should become as a father or a mother and out of responsibility to their family, they should serve one another and honor them.
It says, Jesus, at this time had received all authority from the Father and with His authority as a Father, washed the feet of His sons, leaving them an example that they should follow in his steps. He took them into His home, fed them, fathered them and taught them that you need someone to Father you, to respect and honor you, and in turn, you have to do the same to those around you.
Jesus did not wash Simon Peters head and hands, but His feet only. He said he didn’t need to do that because He is responsible for bathing himself and that it is unnecessary for Him to do that for him. Our everyday walk with God is something that we are personally responsible for. We cannot expect the church or our pastors to read the Bible to us and love/honor the people around us. That is our responsibly.
I believe that this story is not just about being a servant, but it is about honoring one another. It is a picture of someone of authority or rank, not being above serving those with less status, but taking the load off their back and just letting them be a family together. It is also a picture of letting someone do that for you.
Jesus told Peter that if he didn’t let him wash his feet that He would have no part with Him.