As mentioned in my previous post, this topic has hit me like a ton of bricks. Legacy: something that is received from someone who has died. The definition is simple, but the reality is huge. For people striving for more than just getting through life, the legacy you leave is something that can motivate and define you as a person. When most people are asked about the greatest gifts they could leave their children or family, a majority will say money, a homestead, college fund, and other material things. When I stumbled upon a sermon from John MacCarthur titled The Legacy of Jesus, it was clear to me what the greatest inheritance of all really is. Going through John:13-16 is a great experience revolving around the Legacy of Christ.
Most of us have received some sort of inheritance through our parents, grandparents, or other family members. My grandfather, Ken Gray, one of the greatest offensive lineman in the history of the NFL, has trailer loads of things that he will pass down to his family. Guns, knives, football memorabilia, I could go on and on. As he has gotten older, he has started to pass along a few of those things. I keep on telling him that his house is about to be bare and that he ain’t dead yet!! As a kid, I grew up idolizing his football accomplishments, and immersed myself into his history as a pro. The amount of money I have spent on eBay, purchasing things from his playing days…. My wife puts it as “sickening”. One item in particular that I always loved looking at was his AFC Championship ring he won as the Offensive Line Coach of the Denver Broncos. That thing was so cool!! I remember as a young kid wearing it to church, family get-togethers, etc. and was proud that my last name was on the side of that thing. He recently gave it to me, and I was extremely grateful and humbled to receive it. When I wear it, it reminds me that if a hog farmer from a small po-dunk town in Texas can get to the Super Bowl, then my dreams too are 100% obtainable. This Super Bowl losers ring (as he would call it J), the gold, the diamonds in the shape of a football, the Lombardi Trophy on one side and my favorite teams logo on the other, my last name engraved into the side… what an awesome inheritance!!! However, nowhere remotely close to what Christ has left us. Doesn’t even hold a candle to it!
Looking into the heart of Jesus, hours before his crucifixion while spending time with his disciples in the upper room, feels very similar to being beside a family member in the hospital, knowing what the outcome is about to be. Christ has announced His death and his disciples are having a hard time believing it. Their leader, friend, and their rock is saying that He is going away, and that they can’t come. At least physically, right now. “People, I’m leaving – and I’m leaving in a little while, and you will seek Me, but you will not find Me, and you can’t come where I’m going.” What’s going on here?!?! That’d be my reaction. I just devoted my whole life to following you, and now you are saying you’re leaving us? And I can’t come? That’d be a hard pill to swallow now… You and the boys are hanging out, and the leader of your group, the man you look up to and model yourself after, is about to be long gone. While you’re breaking bread and drinking wine, just as you have many times before, you’re thinking it is just another dinner, and you are eager and ready to hear the next lesson that your teacher is about to preach. Not this time… The disciples had to be extremely disheartened and fearful. Not Jesus… rather than Him worrying about what was going to happen in the next few hours, He was more worried about them, than He was about Himself. So hours before His crucifixion, Jesus explains what he will leave them with… the greatest inheritance of all… His Legacy..
MacArthur identifies 10 things that Christ left to those that follow and trust in him. Below are the first 2:
- Proof of His Love
- Have you ever washed someone’s feet? I haven’t either. Can you imagine how awkward it would be? The humility and humbleness, especially in Jesus’ days, to take someone’s sandals off, filled with dirt, and sand, and dust from walking all day and start washing their feet with your hands… My daughter sometimes escapes the house on occasion and doesn’t bother to wear socks with her cozy, shin high, fluffy and comfy on the inside, boots. When it’s time for a bath, she kicks her boots off and the paint on the walls of the bathroom begins to peel!! All the bubbles, soap, air freshener, nothing can cover up the stench of this girls feet sometimes!! I could only imagine a grown man, no soap, just a basin of water and dirty, dusty, stinky feet from walking around Jerusalem all day. The humility that it takes to do that…. Wow.
- In John:13, Jesus wrapped a towel around his waist and poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of his disciples. When he got to Peter, Peter refused and said “you shall never wash my feet”. Jesus replied, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” “Then Lord,” Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well.” This is great. Jesus, about to wash Peter’s feet, Peter says no, and Jesus says… ok then Peter, but you will have nothing to do with me. Peter then wises up and says Bring it on Lord! Please!
- As He went through each disciple, the washing and drying of feet had to be humbling to the disciples. Getting their own feet washed, and watching Him wash everyone else’s. Even more crazy, put yourself in Christ’s shoes, or sandals I guess, when it got around to washing the feet of Judas. Jesus, knowing that Judas had agreed to betray Him, did the same for Judas that he did for the others. How about knowing that your good friend had stabbed you in the back, and you still kneel down and wash and dry his fleet clean? An unbelievable proof of love.
- What better way to lead by example. If I try to prove to my wife that I love her, there has to be an action that follows. A simple “I love you” isn’t good enough. Jesus, one by one through His disciples, proves His love, through an act of humility, even to the one that is about to stab Him in the back! He shows us this as an example. “Look, that’s how I showed My love to you. That’s how I expect you to show your love to each other, by humble service; by stopping to the place of meekness. I love you.”
- However, the ultimate proof of his love is yet to come. In the next few hours, Jesus will be tortured and hung on a cross as a display. Mocked with a crown of thorns and treated as a prisoner, Jesus lays down his life for us. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” This is not a feel good verse in the bible, a good line in a sermon. This is Jesus saying, see! This is how much I love. I’ll lay down my life for you. This is PROOF!!
- Hope of Heaven
- So his disciples are feeling like crud. Jesus is leaving and they don’t even get an invitation. But wait, Jesus says. “Stop letting your heart be troubled.” “Don’t be sad. I’m not going to leave you.” As Aaron Rodgers put it this past post-season.. R-E-L-A-X! “Trust in God, trust also in me.” He is saying that if you believe in God, well then this is the same trust. Listen to what I am about to tell you. The he starts to explain the hope… the hope of Heaven.
- “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.” This is not some 4 bedroom house with a nice size living room. In Revelation:21, it describes this place, the New Jerusalem, as being 1,500 cubic miles. This is the house of the Father’s, this is Heaven, and Jesus is giving us this hope. “You know the way to the place I am going.” He is telling us that yes, he is leaving, but that we know the way to the place he is going, and that he is getting it ready for us.
- Heaven is called different things in the Bible because of its massiveness, population, structure, beauty, and order. It’s called a country, a city, a kingdom, and paradise. The most meaningful is Heaven being called My Father’s House. This excites me! I tell my wife, the greatest vacation is sitting on a back porch watching a sunset, but it doesn’t get any better than being with the Lord at His house!
I hope these first 2 things that Christ left us impacted you as much as they did me. What an inheritance!! Beats the heck out of even a Super Bowl “losers ring”! Proof of his love and the hope of heaven… these things are given to us, not because we are worthy by any means, but because of the grace and humility of Jesus Christ. If you ever think of the Legacy that you are trying leave, start here. Shoot for these things. Forget the things that will rot out over time, get lost, or sold. These things are sustainable and can be passed down from generation to generation…