We left Paul declaring that he was the least of all saints. We compared him with the disciples seated around the Lord’s Passover or last supper who were debating over which of them was the greatest.
Although Jesus had taught them the lesson many times, this time He would emphasize it through words and action. He would impress upon them in a way they could not mistake or ever forget that the least of them was the greatest, that the servant among them was the best. He was telling them that none of them were worthy or great and they were all the least it would be soon that they would have to live in that way if they were to fulfill the ministry that He was going to give them.
Jesus strips us of our worth and still gives us wonderful blessing.
For any one of them to take up the water basin and start washing feet would be, in their current mindset, to admit inferiority and acknowledge the superiority of the others.
Jesus then stripped Himself of His outer garment, wrapped Himself in a servant’s apron, got down on His knees, and washed each disciple’s feet, even Judas Iscariot’s.
Jesus shows us where He got His security, and emptying Himself of the expression of deity, He got it from the Father.
Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He should depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. 2 And during supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him, 3 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, 4 rose from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself about. 5 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.
The Son of God could not be insecure, and yet He washed their feet. We can be tempted to insecurity since we are somewhere down in the valley of the “least of all saints”, yet; we have been gifted by God and called by God. God has given all things, all the spiritual blessings of the heavenlies, into our hands.
Jesus, knowing that the Father had put everything under His control and that He had come from God and was going to God, arose from the meal and began to serve His disciples. He alone could serve because He was secure in His position in the scheme of things. He knew His origin and destiny, and with that, His morality and meaning came naturally and confidently.
Without this eternal perspective of assured destiny, human life and endeavor is pointless.
We believers have eternal life. If we look at our lives as a whole, including eternity, then we see that we will only be around the destitute, the poor, the weak, the immoral, the ignorant, the lost for only a short time. Our opportunity to serve them as our Lord did, looking at them as not the enemy, but as prisoners of the enemy, is actually a small window. It is fruitful to ask why the Lord, the perfect God/Man was such a servant of the destitute sinner.
EPH 3:1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles —
EPH 3:2 if indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace which was given to me for you;
EPH 3:3 that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief.
EPH 3:4 And by referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ,
The mystery: the revelation of the person and work of Christ, the new humanity in Christ and Christ in them, and the body of Christ as a perfect brotherhood united in love.
EPH 3:5 which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit;
EPH 3:6 to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel,
EPH 3:7 of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of God's grace which was given to me according to the working of His power.
EPH 3:8 To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ,
EPH 3:9 and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God, who created all things;
The mystery is the reality of God in man, revealed by the God/Man, and given to mankind as a gift so that man may live as God desires him.
EPH 3:10 in order that the manifold [many varied] wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.
The purpose fulfilled in the church, the new humanity under the New Covenant to both Jew and Gentile, is the purpose of creation itself.
EPH 3:11 This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord,
EPH 3:12 in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him [prayer].
Paul’s commission was to make a public demonstration of the mystery of Christ. The mystery, hidden for long ages in past prophecy and revelation, would now be brought to the light. It would be a great tragedy if God had brought about the fulfillment of His New Covenant promise and no one knew of it. Therefore, on top of doing the work of sacrifice and substitutionary atonement, God has to find a way to get mankind to understand the truth of it so that man may participate in it.
God used teachers and the Holy Spirit to overcome the problem of our ignorance.
But when He who had set me apart, even from my mother's womb, and called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles,
For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.