If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. John 13: 14-15
Do you remember the small bit of hell that breaks out the night of Jesus’ arrest? We have Judas’ kiss of betrayal, Peter cutting off the ear of the soldier, Jesus healing said soldier as he is being arrested, and the rest of the disciples running scared. By morning even Peter had denied Jesus three times. But that crazy night actually started with a quiet meal with the 12 disciples.
Jesus spent 3 years doing life with these men. He loved them to death (literally) and he used his last few hours of freedom showing them the way of love. It is at this Passover meal that Jesus institutes The Lord’s Supper as a way to remember what he was about to do for them. But he also got really practical. He took a towel and some water and began to wash his disciples’ feet. His friends were shocked. The disciples had their sandals on all day, their feet were dirty and hot, and Jesus was washing their feet. This was a nasty job typically assigned to a lowly servant. What was Jesus doing?
Peter misses the point altogether. At first he doesn’t want Jesus to wash any part of him, then as Jesus tries to explain, Peter decides he would like Jesus to not only wash his feet, but his hands and head as well. Peter wasn’t getting it.
Hopefully we won’t miss the point. Earlier this week we talked about the fact that our relationship with God must be primary because all other relationships in our lives will be impacted and directed by it. In our verses for today we see that truth come to life.
Jesus shows us the way of humility and love.
By washing his disciples’ feet Jesus taught us humility. There is no room in the life of a Christian for a holier-than-thou attitude. Jesus, Creator and Ruler of all did not think it beneath him to serve his friends (and even his enemy – Judas). Humility leads a person to see that all people are equally valuable and in need of kindness. Humility is the heart of one who considers others to be worthy of more honor than herself .
If you want to know how to really love someone then look carefully as Jesus washes his disciples feet. Jesus’ love for his friends is seen in both big sacrifice as well as practical service. His love is uncomfortable in that he does for us what we do not deserve. Jesus wasn’t simply teaching his disciples a lesson by washing their feet. He was washing their feet because he loved them.
We too should be willing to show kindness and goodness in small and big ways to those whom God places in our lives. Love for one another will move us to sacrifice and serve; it will lead us to lower ourselves and to exalt another.
Our Lord would have us love others so much that we should delight to do anything which can promote their happiness.
For some of us this may be easy to do with our families, but we may struggle when it comes to those outside of our home. Pray for compassion as well as opportunity to demonstrate it. Some of us find loving people outside our families to be easy and fun, while showing radical love within the home to be much more challenging. Pray for kindness and extra patience.
We look to Jesus as the only one who can save us. But do not forget that the path of salvation Jesus walked for us included sacrifice and service, love and humility. When we find eternal life in him, we find the power to love others as well.
Looking To Jesus,