How do you respond to invitations? Sometimes receiving an invitation can be less than joy-filled. We often turn them down by silently not attending or not even acknowledging them. Why do some of us take up a guarded position, assuming that the person inviting us only wants to summon us, sell us something, or even yet, bless us for no darn good reason? What about the invitations we send out? We pray they are received well. We hope that our friends will respond to an opportunity to just be connected. How do you treat an invitation to a save the date, a wedding, a pampered chef party or a girl’s night? Do you thoughtfully respond with a RSVP or quick message explaining your availability doesn’t coincide? Do you ignore it, interested only if it appeals to you? Do you respond with delight and excitement? Something as simple as a response to an invitation can say a lot about the condition of our hearts.
Let’s look at the way one of my favorite biblical characters, Peter responds to invitations that Jesus gives him. I love his pure, naïve and sometimes comical interactions. I see myself standing on the sidelines cheering him on, wishing with all my heart; that our endearing Peter would get it, understand which ever message Jesus was teaching in that moment. There are other times when I feel like I process things exactly like he does. Peter is kind of extreme. He uses a lot of “always and never” statements, spouts out what is exactly on his mind with no fore thought or filter. As I read through God’s Word, it seems like my spiritual lessons flow like skipping on lily pads always landing on Peter’s responses to Jesus.
I’ve learned so much while observing Peter. In Matthew 14, Peter boldly asked Jesus to prove He was the Lord by empowering him to walk on water. When Jesus commanded Peter to come, Peter walked on water! That is until he took his eyes off Jesus and he started to sink. In that story I learned through Peter’s eyes about courage, bravery, trusting God and understanding that Jesus is the source of empowerment in my life. Oh gosh, then there are lessons learned from observing the time Peter cut off someone’s ear (John 18) when Jesus was surrendering himself to the will of God, or how about the time when Jesus took him up to the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17) and he spoiled the mood by wanted to build an alter? I miss most spiritual messages too until God reveals them to me a more specific and personal way. So although Peter’s naivety is entertaining to me, I have to admit I am just like him.
The pseudo lily pad I’m standing on today has me observing Peter’s response to Jesus approaching him to wash his feet at the last supper. Keep in mind that Jesus knows this is the last time he will sit and have fellowship over a meal with his disciples. He knows that everything will be different in a matter of a day or two. I’m pretty sure that the out pouring of Jesus’ heart was to make sure his disciples knew his love and commitment to them. Just as he approached Peter to wash his feet, this was Peter’s reaction.
John 13:8 NKJ Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet!”
Drop the mic! Here I am wobbling on a lily pad, waiting with baited breath for what unfolds next. In fact, I have to stop reading the text momentarily because the sound of the mic dropping has me paralyzed. Could it be that Peter thinks so highly of Jesus and so lowly of himself that he can’t fathom the King of Kings stooping to wash his feet? Did he really get stuck there and miss the spiritual lessons for the last 3 years? I mean, this is it. It’s the very last supper! Peter! For God’s sake, let Him just wash your feet! Tune in buddy the time is ticking. Maybe Peter just spoke out loud what the other disciples were thinking. How about you? What are you thinking? Is Jesus so big and powerful that you can’t bear the thought that He would humble himself for you?
John 13:8 NKJ “… Jesus answered him, “if I do not wash you; you have no part with me.”
Wait…what? What is Jesus saying here? Once again, I become Peter in the story line. Do you know what Jesus means here? Why must he wash the disciple’s feet? The spiritual message that Peter and I often miss is simple; unless God cleanses us we can have no part with him. Yes, God stooped and humbled himself so that he could be part of us. Oh my goodness, get the tissues! God himself, the creator of the universe humbled himself to wash our feet, cleanse us just so he could have a relationship with us. He did that for you because you are amazing, beautiful, worthy and perfect in every single way. He did it because he loves you. God right now adores you from within your own heart! You, my dear girlfriends, are adored. Let him in! Respond to his invitation. Put yourself in the upper room. It is the last supper and God wants to commune with you!
John 13:9 NKJ “Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!””
Oh my goodness Peter…. You are so extreme! You are so like me. Smirk. I have been stubborn about accepting invitations. I tend to ignore the importance of being invited into a relationship. You know what; it takes humility to receive an invitation, to receive love. God is always ready to pour his love over your feet and to scour the filth out of your life. Consider the next invitation you get. How will you respond? Can you follow Jesus’ example of humility and receive the relationship that is being offered to you?
Sheri Page is one of our Refres bloggers. She has been married to her husband for 10 years and cherishes their blended family of 6 adult children and 9 grandchildren. Sheri has worked in and alongside ministries for over 30 years. She has served many roles within the walls of a church including, a Women’s Ministry director and assistant to a Care Pastor where she served people who were walking through Baptism, Celebrate Recovery, Divorce Care and benevolence. Sheri loves to share her curiosity and unique understanding of life with Jesus by her side. She is a 5-year breast cancer survivor and considers that experience to be one of the greatest gifts God has given her. More writings from Sheri can be found on her blog: https://thelordsdwellingplace.com/