The Promised Seed Of The Woman
It might perhaps be helpful to see what exactly Christ has done for us…
One of the issues we might want to consider is the rulership of men over women, of which God forewarned the woman in Genesis 3:16. Sadly, we have seen this happen throughout history and we still see it happening today. Yet in the midst of this sad picture there has come a glimmer of hope in the form of a Cross with the broken body of a man hanging on it. Who was this Man? It was the Man/God, Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world. He died so that men and women might have life as the Apostle John expressed it in John 10:10
I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.
Through Christ’s death on the Cross, the effects of the Fall were reversed. What had been lost - the relationship with God and the relationship with one another on equal terms, have now been restored. Furthermore, both men and women, who are in Christ, have been given authority. Please understand that this authority is a delegated authority for it is based on Christ’s authority given by His Father, as we can read in Matthew 28:18-20
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. And teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
We need to understand though, that this authority, which has been given to both men and women who are in Christ, does not give anyone the right to lord it over another, to rule another, for Christ did not come to be served but to serve, as Jesus said in Matthew 20:25-28
“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave - just as the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Therefore, Christ’s followers, be they men or women, have only been given the authority to serve others. Christ must have found this a particularly important subject since He stressed this point at the Last Supper, which we can read about in John 13:1-17
It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for Him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved His own who were in the world, He now showed them the full extent of His love.The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under His power, and that He had come from God, and was returning to God, so He got up from the meal, took off His outer clothing, and wrapped a towel round His waist.
After that He poured water into a basin and began to wash His disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped round Him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to Him: “Lord, are You going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied: “You do not realise now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
“No”, said Peter, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with Me.” “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet, but my hands and my head as well.” Jesus answered, “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean. Though not every one of you.” For He knew who was going to betray Him and that was why He said not everyone was clean. When He had finished washing their feet, He put on His clothes and returned to His place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” He asked them. “You call Me “Teacher” and “Lord” and rightly so for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you should also wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed, if you do them.”
We find Jesus having a final meal with His disciples before His Crucifixion. And what was on His mind? What was to Him the most important issue He needed to stress while there was still time? Was it to make sure these men knew how to preach a good sermon, or how to heal a sick person, or even how to deliver someone from an evil spirit? No, none of these things. The text simply says that that He, their Lord and Teacher, got up from the table, took off His outer clothing, wrapped a towel around His waist, filled a basin with water and began to wash their feet. This was the most menial task in any household, and here Jesus was performing it. Now don’t for a moment think that it was only Peter who had a problem with the fact that Jesus was doing something they all knew was for the lowliest of servants to do. No, they were all embarrassed that the Lord was performing this task for them. It is just that Peter had always been very vocal in expressing his opinions and the others might just have waited for him to say what they were thinking, which is exactly what happened. Anyway, Jesus washed all of their feet and then sat down. It was only then that He began to explain to them what this was all about. This had not just been an act of kindness on His part, but a teaching exercise. He wanted to show them in a very practical way that even they, who had been given authority in Christ and who were to become the founding Apostles of the Church which was about to be born, had only been given this authority to serve others.
What has brought women a glimmer of hope while suffering under the rulership of men?
What effects of the Fall have been reversed?
What kind of authority has been restored to women and men?
Does this authority give women or men the right to rule others?
Who has given us the greatest example of servanthood?
What story in the Gospel of John teaches us on servanthood?
Who were present at that teaching?