Our Washer and Redeemer

Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. John 13:3-5

This is my Jesus. This is my God. He’s the spotless one who has no problem bending down with a towel and washing my dirty, smelly feet because He loves me and wants to make me clean like Him.

He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”

Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” John 13:6-8

Tristan, one of my K-life kids, put it this way: “It’s saying unless we let Jesus clean us, we’re screwed.”

If Jesus is our example, humility is paramount. If we believe in a God who gets down on his knees and washes feet, nothing is more important than humbly recognizing our need for a savior. Our hearts are dirty. Our hearts need to be washed and that’s what He does. 

“Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” John 13:6-8

Wash all of us God.

Wash our feet so we can GO.

Wash our hands. Free them to serve whoever we can wherever we are.

Wash our heads. Focus our thoughts on our Washer and Redeemer.

Mission Mondays: Numbers

Mission Mondays is a weekly series of reflections written as I learn more about my city, the poor, and the Kingdom of God.

His face hasn’t been shaved in weeks and he wears a raggedy red stocking cap and an old denim jacket. “I’m Vince,” I say, shaking his calloused hand. That’s one of the last things I said.

I sat with Arliss and he did all the talking. About halfway through, I took out my I-phone and asked him if he minded me taking notes. His story was so incredible I didn’t want to forget of the little details. My mind was still a little hazy from a short night of sleep out in my hammock.

He’s some sort of a legend around Friday Morning Breakfast. He greets the volunteers with a hug and a smile and then shows them this little piece of paper he keeps folded in his stocking cap. Roy, the man who runs Friday Morning Breakfast for Mission Waco, comes over and asks to see the piece of paper. Arliss enthusiastically pulls it out and they look at it. They start fist-bumping and hugging and grinning like their team just won the super bowl. Arliss has just shown Roy his numbers.

“Numbers” refers to a little sheet of paper that former addicts keep track of how many days they’ve been free from their addiction. Arliss showed me his. It was a number in the 1800s.

“You’ve been free for this long?” I asked. “By the grace of God,” he replied. “Arliss, tell me your story.” Arliss was a product of the streets. In and out of jail nearly his whole life, he was hooked to the bottle. He spent New Years in jail three years in a row. He would get so intoxicated that a man would literally beat him to unconsciousness because he was “irritating to have around, always annoying everybody.” Arliss began to wake up when his friends started dying. Drug addictions, gang involvement, various causes, but they started dying and it scared Arliss. The final straw came in a bank parking lot. Extremely drunk, Arliss tripped and broke his head open. He lay there for five hours until he was able to stagger back into his apartment and call the ambulance.

That was a turning point. He didn’t go to rehab. He said he has nothing to point to but the power of God. He’s seen six super bowls since his last drink. “God’s been so good.” Arliss repeats this refrain nearly a dozen times throughout the conversation. He thanks the Lord every day for his sobriety.

“Arliss, what’s life like now?”

“Man, it’s like heaven on Earth.”

It’s a sad thing when we think the kingdom of God is a distant thing. He is here now. He calls us and then He sets us free and we can walk with Him in that freedom. Arliss and I, we’re going to rejoice in our numbers. We’re going to rejoice in the days we’ve been able to walk in the saving grace of a Savior who has covered us and freed us. Join us.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1