Remember what you were… Part of applying the grace and love of God in our lives and following Jesus is remembering where we were. Just like Israel was always pointed back to remember Egypt, we have been rescued from our enslavement to a better way…
10 When you make a loan of any kind to your neighbor, do not go into their house to get what is offered to you as a pledge. 11 Stay outside and let the neighbor to whom you are making the loan bring the pledge out to you. 12 If the neighbor is poor, do not go to sleep with their pledge in your possession. 13 Return their cloak by sunset so that your neighbor may sleep in it. Then they will thank you, and it will be regarded as a righteous act in the sight of the Lord your God.
17 Do not deprive the foreigner or the fatherless of justice, or take the cloak of the widow as a pledge. 18 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you from there. That is why I command you to do this.
Deuteronomy 24:10-13, 17-18
12 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. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.
It is important, when reading the law of Moses, to consider the underlying themes of God’s teaching. We are not under Mosaic Law. We serve God under grace. Therefore, we have to look deeper in reading law to see how these teachings relate to our Christian experience. Some of the ceremonial laws of Moses’ time are difficult to relate. Today’s verses are kind of like that, yet there is a truth underneath which we can grab.
We are typically not taking people’s cloaks as collateral on loans. That’s not our point today. What I notice underneath God’s teaching to Israel is that Israel is to remember that they were slaves in Egypt and that God redeemed them from there. Israel was to express mercy and grace toward each other in the same manner they had received from God.
Ahh… that almost sounds like do unto others. Except it’s do unto others as God has done unto you. Not as you would have people do unto you. God has done it. God has shown us more mercy than we could imagine or deserve. Jesus is our amazing grace from the Father. Pass it on.
As your feet have been washed by the Lord whose sandals we are not worthy to tie or untie, pass it on. Wash the feet of others. Serve those around you. I see the nodding. You get it.
The trouble is that we don’t want to apply this teaching toward people whom we judge as not being worthy in our eyes. We don’t want to wash the feet of the ungrateful. Or the poor stewards. Or the deceitful. That’s taking things a bit far.
As we apply God’s truth in our lives – as we embrace the convictions of the Holy Spirit in leading us to the path of light and grace, be inspired by the Lord Jesus. Jesus, while washing the feet of his followers, washed the feet of Judas, his betrayer. Drops the mic…
God has shown us mercy beyond what we deserve. Jesus has washed the feet of his betrayer. We can follow his example. Pass on grace. Live a life of love toward others.
Remember what you were…