If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.
Exploring Bible Verses
An exploration of Bible citations from the Christian Science Quarterly® Bible Lessons
“. . . a lesson on which the prosperity of Christian Science largely depends."—Mary Baker Eddy
from the Golden Text
My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
“Little children” is an affectionate phrase used repeatedly by the writer—a clear expression of the love he is urging upon his fellow Christians. “No one can look at Christ and then claim not to know what the Christian life is,” writes a commentator. “Fine words will never take the place of fine deeds; and no amount of talk of Christian love will take the place of a kindly action to someone in need.”
from the Responsive Reading
Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit.
Believers, baptized with the spirit of Christ, were considered cleansed of sin. Like guests who bathed before attending a feast but picked up dust from the road, they needed only their feet washed—an act symbolic of removing the smaller stains that came from daily contact with the world.
from Section 1
3 | Matthew 4:17, 19
Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.… Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
Kēryssō, the Greek word translated preach, describes a herald’s proclamation. One researcher notes that just as a herald speaks with the certainty and authority of his king, Jesus speaks with the certainty and authority of God. This divine authority must have made an otherwise simple invitation—“Follow me”—irresistible to the humble fishermen.
“Fishers of men” may allude to Jeremiah’s prophecy: “Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the Lord, and they shall fish [the children of Israel]” (Jeremiah 16:16). The qualities necessary for fishing—patience, perseverance, and courage—were also necessary for the missionary work.
from Section 2
8 | Matthew 26:31
Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night.
Offend (Greek, skandalizō) means to place a snare in someone’s way. Most translations convey the sense of the disciples abandoning, rejecting, or turning against their Savior. And though Peter immediately protests, all of them do indeed initially forsake him (see v. 56).
9 | Luke 22:31, 32
And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
Although Jesus’ words are addressed to Simon Peter, the word you (Greek, hymeis)is plural. The disciples will all be “sifted,” a term understood to mean tested(probably a reference to Amos 9:9). The Master then singles Peter out, foretelling his recovery of faith and leadership of his fellow disciples.
from Section 3
12 | Matthew 26:47
While he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people.
While Judas likely has no control over the crowd of attackers, the fact that they are armed manifests his disregard of Jesus’ teaching about loving one’s enemies (see Luke 6:27–31). The irony of this violence against the preeminent teacher of nonviolence is expressed in Jesus’ question “Be ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and staves?” (Luke 22:52).
Christ Jesus, however, accepts the unfolding events as integral to God’s plan of salvation for humanity. He replaces retaliation with healing (see Luke 22:51) and says, “The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?” (John 18:11).
staves (Cit. 12, Matthew 26:47). Weapons of wood, such as cudgels or clubs.
13 | Mark 14:71
[Peter] began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not this man of whom ye speak.
Peter’s first denial of Jesus claims total ignorance of what his accuser was talking about (see v. 68). The second denies membership in the group of Jesus’ followers (see vv. 69, 70). The third disclaims any relationship with Jesus.
The apostle’s curses are intended to show his honesty—he invites a curse on himself if he is not telling the truth.
In Luke’s account, Jesus turns and looks directly at Peter after the third denial. Recalling the Master’s prediction, “Peter went out, and wept bitterly” (see Luke 22:61, 62).
from Section 4
I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day.
Scholars cite Isaiah 53 as Paul’s reference that Jesus “died for our sins according to the scriptures.” The prophecy reads in part, “He was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken” (v. 8).
As Jewish tradition included parts of days in counting time, the “third day” alluded to Sunday morning (following Friday afternoon and all of Saturday).
To learn more about the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lessons, go to biblelesson.com.
Resources quoted in this issue
GT: Barclay, William. The New Daily Study Bible: The Letters of John and Jude. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2001–04.
Cit. 3: Barclay, William. The New Daily Study Bible: The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 2. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2001.
Related Healing Ideas
A call to serve
Everyone has a calling. We might describe our calling as our job, an interest that inspires us, or a special skill that makes us valuable to others. Maybe we don’t know what our calling is, other than to get up and face the day!
Whatever we do for work or pleasure, each of us is called to serve God and our fellow man. This calling is lifelong. No one can take our place or do it for us.
It is inevitable and natural for us to love and serve God, because we are His creation. When we feel the stirring to do God’s will and to give more of ourselves to others, we are really coming into our own—getting to know our true spiritual nature.
Serving divine Principle, Love, is not so much a choice as a fact of life. God needs man to express His allness. Divine Love must have its expression in loving lives.
Christ Jesus was truly the servant of God because he embodied the Christ, the godliness that carried out the will of his heavenly Father to bless humanity. The Christ is present forever as the message of Truth and Love to each human consciousness. The Christ makes it possible for you and me to see where we can use our talents under God’s direction.
God puts it in our hearts to do His will, and the highest service is to be of use to others. Serving others is what Christ Jesus taught. He told his disciples, who were arguing about who should be the greatest, “I am among you as he that serveth” (Luke 22:27).
That must have stopped the disciples in their tracks. They called Jesus “Master,” but he described himself as a servant. When Jesus washed the disciples’ feet at the last supper, he said: “Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet” (John 13:13, 14). With the power of his example to animate them, Jesus’ disciples went on to serve the young Christian Church.
Because Jesus lived so unselfishly, we have his teaching, his healings, and his resurrection and ascension to guide us today. Through our experiences and spiritual growth, we mature beyond just helping ourselves. We start to ask God how best to use our hours and days in His service.
If we are praying, this is service—the best kind, in fact. We can always pray unselfishly for the welfare of our nation or world. And most essentially, serving is at the heart of the work of a Christian Science practitioner or Christian Science nurse. A life of service has love and healing at its core, the kind of love that gives up self-interest for a willingness to do whatever God asks of us.
The notion that we can’t serve is like saying that God has taken away our opportunities, that we have no place, no time, or no ability to give of ourselves. Yet unlimited giving is the nature of God, and He expresses it through man. We can begin proving this by taking our little or big opportunities to serve as they come day by day.
As we grow in love for God and man, helping others will take a larger part in our lives. God leads us to the opportunity to serve. You have a calling, and it is just for you to fulfill.
To read the entire article, which has been shortened to fit this page, go to jsh.christianscience.com/a-call-to-serve.
© 2019 The Christian Science Publishing Society. The design of the Cross and Crown is a trademark owned by the Christian Science Board of Directors and is used by permission. Bible Lens and Christian Science Quarterly are trademarks owned by The Christian Science Publishing Society. Unless otherwise indicated, all scriptural quotations are taken from the King James Version of the Holy Bible.
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