I love that as He begins to wash Peter's feet, Peter feels, out of a lack of fully understanding the lesson behind all of this, that the task of washing his feet was below Christ and he, out of love for him, tells Him, "Thou shalt never wash my feet" (vs. 8).
Christ then teaches a powerful lesson by replying, "If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me." (vs. 8) To which Peter responds, "Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head." (vs 9).
Certainly Peter couldn't fully understand the magnitude of what was about to happen to Jesus, but after the Atonement and Resurrection, I can only imagine how his reflection back to this moment impacted him.
This made me think a bit about my own life. I remember councel I was given once about accepting the Savior and His Atonement in my life. I certainly thought I had, at that point. However, the man that taught me this lesson helped me to understand the importance of learning about the Atonement AND THEN learning about how the Atonement applied to me personally. I made that a goal of mine. I wanted to make it personal. I wanted my relationship with my Savior to be real and personal to me. Through this experience I felt His love for me so profoundly. I learned that I was indeed on His mind in the Garden of Gethsemane. In order for the Atonement to be on my behalf He had to experience my pain, my sorrow, my guilt....all of it. The Atonement is not a blanket policy. It is an individual one. Isn't that amazing to think about?!
This helps me understand what Peter felt at this moment. Knowing who Christ was, our Lord and Master, the Son of God, and that we could be a part of him....Peter's sentiments express his complete love for Christ. He loved Christ with his whole soul. I love Peters passion for Christ. That is what strikes me most about Him throughout all of the New Testament.
The second part of this story is so profound.
Jesus said, "Ye call me Master and Lord; and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one anothers feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto, The servant is not greater than his lord; niether he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them."
"If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them."
I have had a bit of an obsession with learning about service lately. As I have said before, it is not something that is second nature to me. I wish it was, and I believe that it can be, but this is something that I am required to work at. I have so much respect for those that serve selflessly. My friend Carrie N. is one of these. She will deny it....you are denying it, aren't you Carrie?....but she is wrong! :) I met her about 6 years ago. From the first moment I met her I was struck by her ability to see others needs and fill them. Her eyes and heart always seem open to the needs of those around her. She has set a great example for me. I love her so much for teaching me, without even knowing she was doing it, how to serve with your whole heart.
For me, it may not be second nature, but I am learning that by setting goals and praying for the Lords help to see the needs of others around me and ways I can fill them, I am learning that service is TRULY the way to feel a deep feeling of happiness and contentment. I think it has everything to do with aligning our will with our Father in Heavens will. He wants us to serve others. Why? Because He knows that by doing this we learn to be more grateful in our own lives. We learn to hold back judgement. We learn patience and humility. And most importantly we learn to love deeply. We learn to have an unconditional love for others, the sort of deep and consuming love He has for each one of us. If we can feel that sort of love for other people, than we can begin to imagine how He must feel for us, individually. Which, I believe, is vital.
There is enough in this world that makes us feel like we are not enough, falling short, or that we feel can rob us of our happiness. However, Christ gives us the secret to happiness right there! "If ye know these things, HAPPY are ye if ye do them"! I LOVE THAT!
I just want to add one more thought to that, and then I would love to hear your thoughts on this.
In my experience, I have learned that serving those that are sometimes harder to love, for whatever reason, whether it is because of a personality trait that clashes with mine, hurt they may have caused in my life, something they do that just makes them a little harder to love, or anything at all that causes stress in our relationship, ALWAYS ends up being the most rewarding. Relationships are healed. It is the sort of salve that only the Savior and His Atonement can apply to the wounds in our hearts. By serving in these situations especially, we are cleaning the bitterness out of these wounds so that when the Savior heals them there are no scars left. Relationships are healed, faith is increased and joy replaces old feelings of sadness or depression.
THAT is the miracle of service! I LOVE when this happens!
Honestly, if you would like to share your thoughts on this, I ALWAYS love to hear them! Through comments or your sweet emails, I just love to hear from you all! :)