Know and Do

Wise and Otherwise is one of my favorite board games. It’s similar to the “dictionary game” (you’re given an obscure word, then you make up a definition that you think others will vote for), except instead of being given a word, you’re given the first half of an ancient proverb from a different country. Then you invent the rest of the proverb, hoping others will vote for yours.

An example:

There’s an old Spanish saying:
If every fool carried a stick . . .

During the game, people might come up with endings like:

. . . every wise man would carry a pen.

. . . the town would be in chaos.

. . . they would need dogs to fetch them.

The real ending is:

. . . firewood would be scarce.

(Often in this game, the real ending gets no votes because it is so unexpected.)

When I began reading John 13 several months ago, I read the first four verses and hit a wall. The words and the scene overwhelmed me, and I couldn’t go on.

Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God…

(John 13:1-3)

What if I stopped reading at the end of verse 3? What if, like in a game of Wise and Otherwise, I only had this first part and guessed what might come next?

Jesus knows a lot in verses 1-3. He knows His hour to leave the world had come. He knows He loved His own and loved them to the end. He knows He will be betrayed by Judas. He knows all things are in His hands, given to Him by the Father. He knows where He came from (“He had come forth from God”) and where he was going (“back to God”).

Knowing all these things, Jesus did something next. What’s my guess? Preach more wisdom to the disciples? Give certain commands about advancing the Kingdom? Leave immediately? Tell one last hurrah of a parable?

The real ending is, knowing these things, Jesus . . .

. . . got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself.

(John 13:4)

After that comes one of the most beautiful scenes in history: “Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded” (John 13:5).

This is what Jesus chose to do when He knew He would not have time to do much else. He washed their feet.

The three-verse preface to the foot-washing fascinates and floors me. Jesus’ knowledge motivated Jesus’ actions. The knowing led to the doing. Core principles should lead to the right, corresponding actions.

I want to follow Jesus’ example. I will gain knowledge as I study these chapters. But then, what will I do next?

Father, teach me—and may the knowing lead to doing. Show me how better to walk in Your ways.

(Linking with Ann Voskamp today. Click on the Holy Experience badge below to read more posts on living a Christ-centric life:)

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