Scripture: John 13:1-17 (NRSV)
Jesus does something incredibly curious as he’s sitting with his friends the night he’s arrested. He acts, as Jesus often does, in a way that causes us to pause. In John’s highly narrated account of Jesus’ last supper with his disciples, we read an explanation of Jesus’ thought process.
In verse 3, “Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands,” does what any of us would do when given ultimate understanding of life … he takes off his robe and begins to wash feet. Wait. What?
Everything has been put into his hands; he’s come from God and he’s going back to God. And his response to this understanding is to kneel and become like a servant to his disciples? Does that make any sense at all?
Growing up, a constant part of my family’s Holy Week traditions included attending our church’s Maundy Thursday service. At this service, we often re-enacted Jesus washing the feet of his disciples by washing the feet of those gathered with us. There’s something captivating about foot washing. It’s abnormal for us; it’s outside of the ordinary. Frankly, it’s humbling and uncomfortable. Yet Jesus sets this as an example before us all.
So, how do we respond to Jesus’ offer to wash our feet? What about his call to wash the feet of others?
If you stretch this to apply to serving daily, it gets hard. Do you need to wash someone’s feet today? Or maybe there’s someone who you haven’t let wash your feet?
Scripture: John 13:1-17 (NRSV)
Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper 3Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, 4got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. 5Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. 6He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, Lord, are you going to wash my feet? 7Jesus answered, You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand. 8Peter said to him, You will never wash my feet. Jesus answered, Unless I wash you, you have no share with me. 9Simon Peter said to him, Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head! 10Jesus said to him, One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you. 11For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, Not all of you are clean. 12After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, Do you know what I have done to you? 13You call me Teacher and Lordand you are right, for that is what I am. 14So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one anothers feet. 15For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. 16Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. 17If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.