1. Center Down
Our breath prayer for today: As you inhale, whisper, “O Lord, You have welcomed us…” As you exhale, whisper, “…like family.”
2. Slowly read aloud the following Scripture
Before the Passover festival began, Jesus was keenly aware that His hour had come to depart from this world and to return to the Father. From beginning to end, Jesus’ days were marked by His love for His people. Before Jesus and His disciples gathered for dinner, the adversary filled Judas Iscariot’s heart with plans of deceit and betrayal. Jesus, knowing that He had come from God and was going away to God, stood up from dinner and removed His outer garments. He then wrapped Himself in a towel, poured water in a basin, and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with His towel.
Simon Peter (as Jesus approaches): Lord, are You going to wash my feet?
Jesus: Peter, you don’t realize what I am doing, but you will understand later.
Peter: You will not wash my feet, now or ever!
Jesus: If I don’t wash you, you will have nothing to do with Me.
Peter: Then wash me but don’t stop with my feet. Cleanse my hands and head as well.
Jesus: Listen, anyone who has bathed is clean all over except for the feet. But I tell you this, not all of you are clean.
(He knew the one with plans of betraying Him, which is why He said, “not all of you are clean.”) After washing their feet and picking up His garments, He reclined at the table again.
Jesus: Do you understand what I have done to you?
You call Me Teacher and Lord, and truly, that is who I am. So if your Lord and Teacher washes your feet, then you should wash one another’s feet. I am your example; keep doing what I do. I tell you the truth: a servant is not greater than the master. Those who are sent are not greater than the one who sends them. If you know these things, and if you put them into practice, you will find happiness. (John 13:1-17, VOICE)
For further exploration:
3. Kingdom Prayer
Heavenly Father, we thank You for the gift of salvation. Thank You for desiring fellowship with us. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for atoning for the sins of the entire world. Holy Spirit, we thank You for empowering us to be effective witnesses here on earth. Lord, You are great and deserving of praise. All the nations of the world will recognize You as Lord. You We come to give You the glory You deserve. We worship You in all Your holy splendor and the earth trembles before You. We proclaim to all the world, the Lord reigns! The heavens proclaim Your righteousness and every nation sees Your glory.
Righteous Father, You loved the world so much that You gave Your one and only Son so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. You did not send Jesus into the world to judge it, but to save the world through Him. Father, we declare that Your Word will move swiftly through the earth and save the lost. Lord, You are not slow concerning Your promises as some people think, but You are patient for humanity’s sake, not willing that any should perish, but all should come to repentance. We are Your masterpiece, created anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things You planned for us long ago. We declare, by faith, that (say aloud the names of nonbelievers) will confess with their mouths, the Lord Jesus, and believe in their hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead and we expect that they will be saved. Father, we decree that they will know the truth, and the truth will set them free.
Glorious Father, we know that the unsaved cannot come to You unless they are drawn, so we ask that You would circumcise the hearts of every man, woman, boy, and girl and draw them. During these perilous times, we specifically make intercession on behalf of all world leaders and those around the world who do not acknowledge Your Son, Jesus Christ. Lord, surround them with the counsel of the Godly so that they may be washed in the water of Your Word − putting away the old nature and putting on the new. Father, we ask You to save the unsaved. Remove the darkness in their hearts so they may see Your light.
Holy Spirit, show me those people who are in my circle of influence that I can share the Good News with:
Redeeming Father, forgive the unsaved for not acknowledging You or Your Son. Forgive them for disobedience, hatred, rebellion, murder, idolatry, sexual immorality, greed, racism, injustice, violence, and rejection of Your Gospel. Lord, forgive me for (list any sins that you have committed).
Holy Spirit, remind us all of those we need to forgive and help us to be quick to forgive. As for me, Holy Spirit, bring to my remembrance those I need to forgive. (Take a moment and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal names or faces of people that you may need to forgive. As He reveals them say, “I forgive name of person(s).” Now, trust the Lord to heal any wounds in your soul caused by unforgiveness.)
Holy Spirit, help us all to not yield to temptation but deliver us from the evil one.
Holy, holy, holy, are You, the Lord God Almighty. You are worthy, to receive glory, honor and power. To You the blessed, and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, Who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light; to You be honor and everlasting power. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
4. Concepts to Consider
In the foot-washing scene above from the Gospel of John, we see Jesus acts as both the One Who welcomes and the One Who is welcomed. When we practice Christian hospitality we are acting in continuity with the character of Jesus. When we welcome one another we are also welcoming Jesus.
In the Judean cultural context of John’s Passover scene washing the feet of those who entered your house was an ordinary act of hospitality. Jesus, of course, took the ordinary and made it extraordinary as He insisted that His followers take on the posture of servant hospitality as a way of ministering to each other and as a means of welcoming persons into His Presence, even when they “don’t deserve it,” like Judas.
Throughout Scripture, we see God exhibiting hospitality toward humanity, even in our rebellion and brokenness. Sabbath, the Biblical feasts, and the Eucharist (“The Lord’s Supper”) are all examples of God’s ongoing hospitality. Think about it. As we discussed in our study on Sabbath a few weeks ago, it is a time God has provided for us to reset and realign that opens our being to the hospitality of God Himself. Why do you think all of the festivals, and even Eucharist, involve food, pausing, worship, and prayer? These are living demonstrations of God’s call to “come home” to Him. Remember, Jesus said, “in my Father’s house there are many rooms” (John 14:2), and this is a hospitable invitation to “dwell in the House of Lord forever!” (Psalm 23:6)
At its core then, the Good News of Jesus is all about making room. God has made room for us, and through the enlivening action of grace, we make room for Him in our lives and our communities.
5. Reflection Questions
- Personal Reflection. Can you think of other examples in the Bible when God shows hospitality? If so, give an example:
- Kingdom Hospitality is foundational to Biblical Christian faith. How do we see God’s hospitality exhibited in the formation and continuation of the Church?
Optional Time of Centering/Soaking:
If possible, take some time, perhaps 5 to 15 minutes, to get into a comfortable position and simply allow the Lord to minister to you at a deep level (Psalm 42:7). Turn off or put down all distractions. Close your eyes. Hold in your thoughts a meaningful word, phrase, or image from the Scripture you read today. Release all other thoughts and concerns into the Presence of the Lord. If your thoughts wander, that’s okay, just gently return to your Scriptural word, phrase, or image.
You may want to set a timer.