It was Tuesday of Holy Week, the days between Palm Sunday and Easter, and Jesus is in the Temple precincts speaking. These will be some of His last earthly words. Poignant and pointed. Previously, we referred to the tassels Israelites wear on their garments. Four tassels, with a blue cord woven-in, were worn on the 4 corners of a man’s garment. Reminders to remember… and to obey the Lord( Numbers 15).
In Matthew, we witness Jesus warning against pride and arrogance that can rear their ugly heads. He mentions pious folks who brag, comparing how long their tassels are, grabbing the best seats in the house, longing to be looked over and not overlooked. Called highfalutin’ names with noses high in the air.
In 2010 Sue and I took a wonderful Holy Land tour with friends from the Cannon Beach Christian Conference Center. One of the archeological sites we visited was from the time of the Prophet Abraham, near the modern city of Beersheba in southern Israel. In this 4000 year old site there was an area of raised earth with seats formed out of the clay walls where people could sit. This was where the judges would gather, hearing cases brought before them. Some of our group were asked to sit up there. They really couldn’t wait to step up ‘high and mighty’! I was the one on trial for some trumped up charge, of course! There they were, big-shots one-and-all, seated many feet above poor railroaded me. Cross-examining poorer me. Passing poorest judgement on wrecked me! All for fun… but a point was made.
They were above me. It was intimidating. I felt totally at their mercy, of which I received none as it turned out! The Lord warns us about getting too much into ourselves, too much above it all. Jesus must having been thinking about how much He gave up coming to this earth. He showed the way.
We easily get lost in ourselves. Jesus wants us to shy away from inflated titles, excessive pandering for applause. Tussling over the tassel! So, move aside… and take a towel. A somewhat non-descript one. Wrap it around your waist. Wash and then dry each other’s feet. Maybe not literally. Deferring to others as Jesus did in leaving the glory of heaven to come to earth… to die for us, forgiving us of all our sins. If He coveted His rightful place in glory, we’d be condemned to you-know-where. ‘The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted'(Matthew 23: 11-12). Let’s not have a tussle over the tassel! Pray for ways this week to lift someone else up. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Is it?
Prayer: Lord, we get on our knees today to thank you for coming to earth to save us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.