Applying the Attributes of Jesus our Laver
So, based on our previous postings regarding the Laver, we have uncovered a number of key attributes of Christ Jesus. Our intention is to use them as the model of perfection of what we are called to be. As we progress in this section, we plan on using these key attributes to help us better understand how our own actions and decisions compare to the pure light of Jesus’ life, hoping that they will reveal our hidden faults. As with any scripture that teaches us about Jesus, we have the opportunity to meditate on these stories and ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten us to the truth. When we find similar circumstances in our own life we should ask ourselves, “What actions did I take (or not take) and what needs to change for me to be more like Jesus?”
As mentioned in our previous posts, cleansing at the Brazen Laver was a prerequisite for entering into the Holy place of God. In addition, the Holy place of God is a place of enlightenment, relationship with the Father and success in spiritual warfare. Therefore, it is necessary for us to focus on Jesus our Laver, for the purification necessary achieve a closer relationship with God. A loving relationship that will enlighten our pathway and empower us in the ministry He has chosen for us. This purification can come only through Christ Jesus because He is the one living Tabernacle that came down from heaven[i].
In our last posting we spent quite a bit of time looking at the scripture that documents Jesus washing the feet of His disciples. It may be a good idea to review this posting prior to proceeding as it is referenced substantially in this document.
So now we can proceed with our list of the attributes of Jesus that have been introduced in our section entitled “Jesus the Brazen Laver”. I hope that you will be able to use this list to better understand who Jesus is, so that you can apply the model of Jesus the Laver to your life.
Be of Service to Others
One of the strongest messages from the material presented so far is that disciples must possess a servant’s heart and that true greatness comes only from serving others in ministry. This message was forgotten by Jesus’ disciples, who had been contending with each other over who would be the greatest after Jesus was gone. Apparently, Jesus’ prior teaching on service to others had not changed their hearts or their behavior. It is for this reason that Jesus had to address this flaw with them again. The following scripture is Jesus’ teaching on the subject:
But they kept silent, for on the road they had disputed among themselves who would be the greatest. And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” (Mark 9:34-35)
Do what ever it takes
A second key point is to do whatever it takes to get the message across. In the case of Jesus washing the feet of His disciples, Jesus gets their attention by performing an activity (the washing of feet) that was assigned to the lowest of servants in their culture[ii]. The message here is to disregard social norms concerning status in society when serving God. With Jesus, God leveled the social status playing field.
Lead by Example
Another teaching is to do more than just preach the Word, but rather, lead by example in the things that the word instructs as well[iii]. Jesus spoke to His disciples about who would be the greatest with no apparent effect. Therefore, it took a personal demonstration to drive home the point (in washing their feet). His disciples must have been humbled by how radically He lowered Himself to serve them. They must have been personally touched as He personally ministered to each and every one of them. Just think about what they must have been thinking while He washed their feet. They would have had to realize at that moment, just how far they had fallen short of the will of God in their behavior. The message from Jesus is clear, He did not come to be served but to serve83, and He wants His disciples to do the same. His actions demonstrated the will of God. He spoke the truth and He did what He told others He would do. He came to serve others, which was exemplified not only in the washing of feet but in His ultimate sacrifice on the cross as well.
Become a Model of Jesus for Others
Jesus was a model for His disciples and for each and every one of us as well. Should we not be the same for others as well? This means that our lives are to be a Godly example for others. The things we do and say must demonstrate the love of Jesus to others. We cannot hide our God given light under a basket, but rather place it in the center of the house where all can see, as adequately communicated by Jesus in the following passage:
Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lamp stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:15 – 16)
Be Careful with Whom You Walk in Ministry
My belief is that one of the reasons that Jesus washed the feet of the disciples could have been that they had walked in ministry with Judas who betrayed Jesus. In washing their feet they were once again cleansed for the ministry of Christ Jesus.
Also note that Jesus did not join the ministries of the Pharisees, Sadducees or any other sect of their religion. He knew that they loved the status and power that their positions brought much more than they loved doing the will of God. One must consider that if evil had entered into the leadership positions of the church during the time of Jesus, then why would we believe that it cannot happen today? It is precisely for this reason that we must seek to have an even closer relationship with God than can be achieved in the Outer Courtyard of the Tabernacle (relationship of grace) alone. We must move into the Holy Place of God (relationship of empowerment) where our pathway will be illuminated, we eat the Bread of Life and we will enter into spiritual warfare to defeat the enemies of God and of our ministry. All of this starts with cleansing at the Brazen Alter that is life of Jesus. We must have discernment about others that we walk with in ministry.
Disregard Status, Rank and Position
Peter did not want Jesus to wash His feet because he believed that it was beneath the dignity of His Lord and Savior to perform the task of the lowest of slaves. But this is precisely the reason that the message was delivered! Jesus is teaching them that they should disregard status, rank and position in service to one another. These things are things of the world and unimportant in the kingdom of God. Therefore, the leader of a ministry is a servant to the workers and followers of that ministry. A Pastor is a servant to the congregation. An evangelist is a servant to the newly converted to Christ. A teacher of God’s Word is a servant to the pupils who seek to do the will of God. And, while each of these positions come with some level of status or rank in the world, the true Christian abandons rank, status and position in favor of service in ministry to others. We all should serve our brothers and sisters in the Lord. This means that if we are members of a ministry that we also need to serve our pastors and ministers that God has given to us as they in turn serve us. In addition, we need to do all things as a service unto the Lord:
…and said to them, “Whoever receives this little child in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me. For he who is least among you all will be great.” (Luke 9:48)
Personally Touch People
In washing His disciple’s feet, Jesus touched each disciple. In fact, the disciples were being touched continuously by the teaching and demonstration of spiritual truth in the ministry of Jesus. They were with Him constantly as He ministered to others. They listened as He taught others, and they witnessed the miracles He performed. In addition, they received the benefit of His personal explanations, teachings, and warnings regarding the Scribes and the Pharisees. They witnessed Jesus’ special relationship with the Father in the Transfiguration on the mountain and in the ascension of Jesus into Heaven. The disciples had to be touched by these events as they witnessed the glory of God demonstrated on earth.
The Bible asks us to follow in Jesus’ foot steps. We must touch people personally. Not just in the laying on of hands, but in stepping out in faith and expecting to witness the glory of God demonstrated by the power of the Holy Spirit right here on earth. There should be healing of the sick, the resurrection of the dead, miraculous provisions for the poor, and miracles of all kinds demonstrated for all to see God’s love for His people. God’s heartfelt desire is to wipe away every tear and provide every good thing for His people. After all, the Father gave His own Son. Why would He spare anything else from those who love Him130?
Jesus used His own life as an ideal demonstration of how we are to act. Jesus did not have a home. He did not build a church of stone. He did not study as a Scribe or Pharisee but, rather, challenged the religious leaders of His day with the truth. In doing so, He was subjected to their scorn and the persecution that followed.
Jesus asked those who were healed not to identify Him as their healer. He did not come to brag about what He could do. His concern was for the people.
Be ready and willing to take on any task you are led toward by the power of the Holy Spirit. Disregard how you will appear to others, what they may think or even your own level of dignity. God wants to see how much you are willing to give up of this world to do His will. He wants to see how much you love Him.
Eliminate Worldly Desire
Jesus had a desire for us to know the truth and spiritually return to the loving arms of the Father. He had no desire for anything of this earth. He had no desire for honor, dignity, riches or glory. He only did the things that He saw the Father do62. Therefore, we also must eliminate all desire for worldly honor, dignity, riches and glory. The disciples contended with each other over who got the most glory and honor. This type of behavior, if left unchecked, could have destroyed the foundation of the church. It is the same principle today as it was 2000 years ago. Disagreement between the leaders of a ministry can destroy the foundation of that ministry. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Seek Him with all of your heart, mind and soul.
Self-exaltation is a specific demonstration of worldly desire and is an indication of our old nature to seek worldly gratification. This human tendency means that we should examine our motives for doing everything. We must continuously ask ourselves; am I doing this for myself, or am I doing this for the Lord? Am I looking for power, control or recognition by taking these actions? Self-exaltation has no place among Christians. We must eliminate it from our behavior. We must avoid the spirit of domination of others and of seeking personal glory.
Be Baptized in Water and Spirit
John baptized in water to make straight the pathway[iv] for the Lord’s ministry. Jesus was also baptized in water, and as a result received the baptism of the Holy Spirit in the process. The disciples of Jesus baptized others as a part of their ministry. In addition, Jesus commanded them to baptize others in the grand commission. Be baptized and repent of your sins. Seek the baptism of the Holy Spirit and make the baptism of others a part of you ministry.
Know That You Will Be Tested
Immediately after receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit, Jesus was led into the wilderness and tested by Satan for forty days. Satan tempted Jesus with everything that he had in an effort to get Him to deny his purpose and his ministry. In denying the temptations of Satan, Jesus proved that He was a worthy of ministry. He defeated Satan by resisting all of the temptations of this world and remaining true to His Father’s mission for Him. He successfully resisted the temptations of the flesh, of power, of riches and fame. He chose the path of the Spirit of God in favor of the path of the spirit of this world.
Know the Scriptures
Get an understanding of what Jesus did, what He valued, what He said, what He prophesied, and who He proclaimed Himself to be. Memorize the words of Jesus that you find uplifting. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand the scriptures so that Jesus is revealed to you.
Take Time to Meditate and Reflect
Reflect on the state of your heart and your life. Bring to mind the actions and words of Jesus and ask how does this compare to the actions of my own life? How could I have done things differently?
Ask the Holy Spirit for Help
We need God’s help to achieve the kind of change we are looking for. We simply cannot achieve this kind of change on our own. Seek the Holy Spirit and bring the issues you are dealing with to Him. Pray for positive change in the name of Jesus.
It is at the laver where we take the time necessary to reflect upon our shortcomings and the things that we must do to become more like our Savior. One thing is certain and it is that we are not likely to achieve the perfection that Jesus did on this earth, and yet, the reality is that God wants us to become like Him[v]. As we follow the lead of the Holy Spirit, and choose to change at His leading, we become more like Jesus, one step at a time. Slowly we are transformed back toward the image and likeness of God, knowing that one day we will be united with Jesus and shine as brightly as He demonstrated in the transfiguration. Here is the truth according to Mathew:
Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light and behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid. But Jesus came and touched them and said, “Arise, and do not be afraid.” When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only. Now as they came down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, “Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man is risen from the dead.” (Matthew 17:1-9)
So, when Jesus claimed to be the Way, He used His own life as example of what we can become. In the example above Jesus gives us a glimpse into the bright and shining spiritual being that we can become. Certainly, the reflection at the Laver calls us to examine the state of our lives in comparison to the perfect model which is Jesus. In addition, we have to ask the question; are we ready to move into a closer and more intimate relationship with God or is there something that is holding us back?
Being able to answer this question requires an in-depth understanding of Jesus, and we often find ourselves studying Bible to get that understanding. In understanding the words and actions of Jesus we are much better prepared to identify our improvement areas. In addition, as in all things, we seek the help of the Holy Spirit in identifying and achieving change. Jesus is, “The Way” to effective change because when we become more like Him, we do the things that He did, we speak the words that He spoke, we conform our heart to His compassion level and we earnestly seek to please the Father in all that we do, just like He did.
Based on the life of Jesus we chose to change to be like Him. We read the scripture like the, “Washing of feet” passage above, and we are convicted in our hearts by our own sad life style. We seek the Holy Spirit to help us change our lives such that we serve other Christians and cast aside any focus we may have on our own importance or self interests. In implementing these changes we move closer to God. We become more like Jesus, the Son of God, continuously seeking to conform to the perfect image of Jesus. After all, we are the Bride of Christ46.
“The Way” is a name that is sometimes used for the gate that leads to the Tabernacles Outer Court where a relationship of grace is established with God. It is here in the Outer Court that the Holy Spirit leads us to repentance and compels us to ask for forgiveness of our sins.
We are led to the Outer Court when we become so desperate for help that all we can do is give up and search for God for an answer. We call out to Him and He draws us in. He enables us to reflect upon who we are, how we have failed, and most importantly, how He is the only Way. Eventually, we break down, repent and ask forgiveness.
As we dwell in the Outer Court, we are also persuaded to look at Jesus, His life and His deeds. By looking at Him, we can see in our hidden imperfections in the pure light of God. We are led to reexamine our actions and life choices based upon the purity of His. We are humbled by our discoveries and know that we owe a debit that we cannot pay. Fortunately, the shed blood of Jesus, the Lamb, has already earned our forgiveness and His body has been burned upon the Alter of God in payment. It is in the Outer Court that He took the punishment that we deserved for our sin upon Himself, therein, setting us free from sin. The result is that our nature is changed. Our hearts and minds are conformed to the heart and mind of Jesus.
In the Outer Court we enter into a cycle of reflection, self discovery, repentance and forgiveness that continues until God determines that we are ready to enter into an even closer relationship with Him. A relationship that requires that we pass through the passageway called, “The Truth” and enter into His Holy Place which is the topic of our next major section.
[i] Revelation 21:3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.
[ii] Spirit Filled Life Bible, p 1600, note 13-5
[iii] James 1:23 – 24 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.
[iv] John 1:23 He said: “I am ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Make straight the way of the LORD,” ‘ as the prophet Isaiah said.
[v] Mat 5:48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.