Taking a Knee
John 13:4-5 “So he (Jesus) got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.”
I can't profess to be a football fan, but I sometimes take in snippets of a game as I plop down snacks in front of my family glued to the television. I do watch with semi-interest the Superbowl, but mostly due to the commercials and buffalo wings that accompany the game. And, I will attend our local Friday night home football games if the weather is decent. But, admittedly, I zone out as my husband evaluates every play on the field, because I am absolutely not fluent in the language of football.
There is, however, one component of football that demands my full attention. When one player is injured, all players, regardless of the jersey they don, drop to their knees and join their fellow man down. This is what they call Taking A Knee. It seems that in the game of football, when one is down, all are down.
I’m intrigued by this, because for 60 minutes of play time, these young men hunker down in opposing lines growling at each other through their facemasks. And, when the whistle blows, their goal is to knock down, plow through, and bowl over their opponent. But, if any one of them is injured, their respective love of the game dictates a comradery that trumps team allegiances. They immediately remove all barriers, find their commonality, and show their concern and respect for a fellow player by taking a knee. It matters not that the injured player is a third string rookie. All players, including the starting quarterback, take a knee. Because if one is hurting, all are equal, all are important, all are honored.
It was the final days of Jesus’ life on earth, and he knew his crucifixion was near. How would Jesus choose to spend his final moments with his disciples? Unexpectedly, Jesus, the King of the Universe, took a knee.
John 13 tells the sweet story of Jesus on his knees washing the feet of his disciples. Why would Jesus, in all his royalty, take a knee? For the same reason the football team does. By taking a knee, Jesus leveled the playing field and demonstrated his love and concern for his disciples. Through this action, he modeled for them a way to love others. Sadly, Jesus was aware that his disciples played on two separate teams. Some of them were on Jesus’ team. Others, like Judas, stood on the opposing team, ready to attack. But, just like the starting quarterback takes a knee for the third string rookie on the opposing team, Jesus took a knee for Judas, too.
Yes, Jesus took a knee for the disciples who would soon be hurting in the worst of ways. All would desert Jesus in his time of need and have to live with the guilt and pain over that decision. Jesus knew this. All would soon suffer persecution or death for his cause. Jesus knew this. When they hurt, Jesus hurt, so Jesus took a knee.
Although we are not football players, we can take a knee. Through serving others we can show the world the love of a Savior who took a knee for us. Taking a knee will break all barriers, allow us to find our commonality, and show our love for our fellowman.
I have to remind my husband it is alright if I am not a football fan, because neither was Jesus. But, although I cannot kick a field goal nor throw a beautiful spiral, I can choose to take a knee to others. And that’s about as close to being a player as I will ever be.
Father God, help me to take a knee for others, regardless of our differences.