devos from the hill

The Garment of Grace

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God has blessed Mars Hill with an incredible team of men and women who love Jesus – the risen, reigning, and returning King. Together, we passionately pursue Him as we work to see the Great Commission fulfilled. Together, we study the Scriptures. We embrace and celebrate the mystery of faith and the magnificence of our AWESOME God. And we long for our Savior’s return, when we will know fully as we are fully known.

The Holy Spirit has breathed unique wisdom, discernment and gifts for service into each member of our staff. That said, we are delighted to commence a new series of devotionals, in which each member of our staff will be sharing insights from their inimitable journey with our Father.

We hope that God’s redemptive work in our lives will resonate with what He’s doing in yours.

Today’s Devotional is from team member, Ryan Renfrow.
Ryan is a new addition to Mars Hill, serving as one of our Ministry Partnering Directors.

The primary scriptures for this devotional are John 13:1-20 and Isaiah 52.

True discipleship takes place when believers stop wearing a mask… the mask of “I’m fine, thanks” or the mask of “No. No prayer requests at this time.” My life has been full of changes lately and the nature of change is dealing with adjustments. Those aren’t always easy, and sometimes we think we have a grip on a situation just to be thrown another curve ball and find ourselves taken off course. Charles Spurgeon said, “I’ve learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages”. I’ve hit wave after wave in my personal life lately and this week I was brought to John 13.

John 13 begins what is known as the Upper Room discourse, the final teachings of Jesus to his disciples, hours before the events of the crucifixion. Think of these passages as Jesus’ final rallying speech, preparing the troops for what was to lie ahead. Here was Christ, the image of the Invisible God, our Lord and Savior who holds all things together, literally taking the role of a servant. He got up from where he was reclining at the table and began to use his own garment to wash the feet of his disciples. One by one, he went to them, took their feet in his hands, and washed them clean. Simon Peter didn’t understand what he was doing, he couldn’t have been the only one. This led Jesus to reply “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand ” (13:7). The disciples still did not know what was about to take place as Jesus would love them to the ultimate end – the laying down of his life. The image of him washing their feet was a visible representation of what was about to take place on a much larger scale.

But Jesus didn’t just wash his disciples’ feet to give them an object lesson, he washed their feet in example – just as he served his disciples they were in turn to serve one another. Imagine Jesus, kneeling at the disciples feet, knowing that one was going to betray him, another disown him, the rest would leave him deserted and yet he took them in his hands and removed the dirt and dust from their feet. I’m thinking of those in my life who have hurt me the deepest, those who have disappointed me, and I stop to consider if I would have the humility to wash their feet and serve them in such a way. Could I look in the eyes of those I knew would hurt me and still love them the same and with such humility? Because I’m much more like Ryan than Jesus, I have to say probably not – I will find ways to make myself feel better sometimes at the expense of those who have hurt me. But then I stop and remember, it’s awfully hard to look down on someone when you’re supposed to be washing their feet. 

Everything that Jesus did while on Earth was rooted in his role as Messiah, the promised Son of David who would take away the sins of Israel and restore God’s people. Isaiah 52 spoke of this coming salvation. The Lord spoke through the prophet Isaiah and said “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news…” (Isaiah 52:7). Jesus knew this passage, as any Jew would. Washing the disciples’ feet wasn’t simply an example and an object lesson, but a commissioning. Despite their unfaithfulness, despite their fear, knowing they would abandon him, Jesus washed the disciples’ feet because they would be sent out to spread the good news. He saw past their failures and flaws and knew they had a greater purpose. After the Resurrection, Jesus would appear to his disciples, and they would be sent out into all the world with the declaration that Jesus was the Risen Lord. He was making beautiful the feet of them who would bring good news. In the same way, the Lord looks past our failures, seeing our flaws, knowing our disappointments, knowing full well at times we will choose other things over Him, and still commissions us. Calls us. Chooses us.

At Mars Hill, we have the opportunity to play a role in bringing the good news to those unreached by the gospel. We get the privilege to help spread that good news to the far reaches of the globe. He has called us and desires to use us. Simon Peter, not knowing what the Lord was doing asked the Lord not only to wash his feet but his hands and his whole body. Jesus replied “the one who bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet” (13:10). Believer, you and I have been washed and cleansed by the saving grace of Jesus and his sacrifice. We stand before God in the righteousness of his Son, free of our sin – past, present, and future. Yet in a fallen world, our feet are bound to get messy. In the weaknesses of our flesh we so quickly fall back into the muck the Lord has saved us from – because it is familiar, it’s comfortable, and we like it. And yet today there is the offering of repentance, the renewal of a declaration of obedience to the Lord Jesus and his Will. This world will dirty our feet and before we know it sin collects and can become callous deep in our hearts. And yet time and time again we can approach Jesus, our Savior, who with the garment of his grace will wipe clean our feet and even more so, our hearts.

How beautiful a savior, to purify us of all unrighteousness. Create in us a clean heart oh God, and renew a right spirit within us. Make our feet beautiful as we bring your good news to those whom you have called to yourself.

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