Sunday, July 10, 2022

A Towel or A Throne?

By Al Behel


    Competition for first place has always been a problem for man. We like to win. We like for others to honor us and hold us up. We don’t like second place, let alone being last. The struggle for greatness has toppled nations and destroyed countless people.

    The disciples of Jesus were no different. The Passover Feast was before them and they were arguing over who would be greatest in the Kingdom. Sitting on the right or left hand of the King, whom they believed was about to re store the kingdom to Israel, would certainly insure a position of power and hon or. Their desire for greatness blinded them to the mystery of the Savior.

    Gathered in the Upper Room the soon-to-be Sacrificial Lamb arose from the table, took a towel and basin of water, and began to wash the disputing disciples’ feet. “What is he doing? Isn’t he the Master? How can he wash our feet?” Peter verbalized it, “Lord, you are NOT going to wash my feet!” “Peter,” he said, “If I don’t wash you then you will have no part or lot with me.” Still not understanding the significance of those words, Peter responded, “Then don’t stop with my feet. Wash my whole body!” (John 13:9).

    When I see the Son of God on his knees before that ragged band of followers I am moved to shame. We want a throne, not a towel. We would rather be served than to serve. We don’t like getting our hands dirty...especially not with the dirt from someone else. After all, who really wants to be a servant?

    Jesus made his point clear. He shows us a side of God that brings us to our knees. He is the God of the towel. Jesus said, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, 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 also should do as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him.” (John 13:12-16). Without the towel there is no throne.

- Al Behel served the Great Smoky Mountains Church of Christ in Pigeon Forge, TN, for many years prior to this death in April 2022. The congregation may be contacted through their website -

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