Establishing Credibility (John 13:13-17)

Recently, I had a phone interview with a physician recruiter seeking to verify the credentials of one of my former dermatology residents seeking a position within the group for which she was hiring. The interview was cordial and polite, in spite of the fact that I was effusive in my praise of him. Somehow, she did not share my enthusiasm and I suspected the reason. Near the conclusion of the interview, she mentioned, “Thank you for your time. Being in Northern California, I don’t have many connections with physicians in Southern California so none of these names are familiar to me. I have to call three additional names on this list.”


Wishing to allay her concerns, I asked her the names. Not surprisingly, I knew the names of the other references. They were either former colleagues or professors of my former resident. I quickly assured her that these references knew the applicant very well. But I could still sense some hesitation on her part, because of her unfamiliarity with the names. Hoping to bridge a connection, I asked her, “I am familiar with the hospital where you are working. Many of my former pathology and dermatology residents work in your area. Perhaps you could name the pathologists in your hospital?”


“Sure. Let’s see, there is Dr. Mason, Dr. Lucas, and Dr. John Smith, he’s our dermatopathologist.”


I smiled and breathed a sigh of relief. “John Smith? I know John very well! We are both from Hawaii. He trained at San Francisco and even covered my practice here in Southern California!”


“Oh my!” she exclaimed. “John is great! He loves to teach and he is an excellent diagnostician! We love him!”


“Very good! Tell John and his wife, Carol, that I said, hello! We met over 20 years ago but we still keep in touch.” We were connecting, but I wanted to address her deeper concerns. “I know you don’t know me but I encourage you to speak to John about me. He knows my personality, my teaching style, and can verify my credentials as a Professor. I want to reassure you that I have overseen every aspect of the dermatology training of your applicant. There are no red flags. You will be very happy if you hire him.”


The ice was broken and she expressed her relief. “Thank you, Dr. Shitabata, for taking the time to find a connection with me. We have only hired dermatologists from our immediate area so we usually know all of the references that they provide. Because you know John Smith so well, it really sets my mind at ease. Thank you!”


This physician recruiter was attempting to verify the credentials of my former resident who was applying to her dermatology practice. Instead, it became as much an interview for myself, establishing my credentials with her. It was only when we made a strong personal connection that her concerns were resolved.


My relationship with Jesus Christ is similar. When I have spoken to strangers about Jesus, I am sometimes received with polite indifference. But when I make a personal connection, the situation may sometimes dramatically change. This has happened when I have shared my background from Hawaii or a physician. Making a personal connection often establishes credibility with a stranger.


You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.s dramatically change.

John 13:13-17 (ESV)


No one made a personal connection with those He met, better than Jesus Christ. In one of the most poignant examples, He washed the feet of His disciples a few hours before He would be tortured and crucified. The Lord of the Universe, their Master who lived and led them for three years, stooped down and took on the role of a humble servant to wash the feet of His disciples. By the doing the most menial of tasks, Jesus established His credibility with His disciples and all believers who place their trust in Him as their Lord and Savior.


Establishing credibility. Jesus does this by making a personal connection with all who confess and repent of their sins and place their trust in Him as their Lord and Savior.


Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.