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Humble Hero

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    Why Christ Instituted This Religious Service

    After Christ had washed the disciples’ feet, He said, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him.”HH 303.6

    So that His people might not be misled by the selfishness that lives in the natural heart, Christ Himself set the example of humility. He Himself, equal with God, acted as a servant to His disciples. He to whom every knee shall bow bowed down to wash the feet of those who called Him Lord. He washed the feet of His betrayer.HH 304.1

    God does not live for Himself. He is constantly meeting the needs of others. Jesus was given to stand at the head of humanity so that by His example He could teach what it means to minister. He served all, ministered to all. In this way He lived the law of God and showed by His example how we are to obey it.HH 304.2

    Having washed the disciples’ feet, Jesus said, “I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.” In these words Christ was establishing a religious service. The act of our Lord made this humbling ceremony a holy ordinance. The disciples were to observe it, so that they would always keep in mind His lessons of humility and service.HH 304.3

    This ordinance is Christ’s appointed preparation for the Communion service. While we cherish pride, divisiveness, and strife for supremacy, we are not prepared to receive the communion of His body and His blood. Therefore Jesus appointed the memorial of His humiliation for us to observe first.HH 304.4

    In the human heart there is a disposition to think of ourselves more highly than our brother, to work for self, to seek the highest place. Often this results in evil suspicions and bitterness. The service preceding the Lord’s Supper is to bring us out of our selfishness, down from self-exaltation to the humility of heart that will lead us to serve our brother or sister. The Holy Watcher from heaven is present to make this occasion a time of heart searching, conviction of sin, and the assurance of sins forgiven. Christ is there to change the flow of thoughts that have been running in selfish channels.HH 304.5

    As we remember the Savior’s humiliation for us, a chain of memories comes to mind, memories of God’s goodness and of the attentions and tenderness of earthly friends. We recall blessings forgotten and kindnesses ignored. Defects of character, neglect of duties, ingratitude, coldness, all come to remembrance. The mind is energized to break down every barrier that has caused division. Sins are confessed; they are forgiven. The subduing grace of Christ draws hearts together. We begin to desire a higher spiritual life. The soul will be uplifted. We can partake of the Communion with the sunshine of Christ’s righteousness filling the temple of the heart.HH 304.6

    To those who receive the spirit of this service, it can never become merely ceremonial. Whenever the children of God celebrate this ordinance correctly, they pledge themselves to give their lives to unselfish ministry for one another. The world is full of people who need our ministry. Those who have fellowshiped with Christ in the upper chamber will go out to minister as He did.HH 304.7

    “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”HH 304.8

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