Before the Passover Festival, Jesus knew that His hour had come to depart from this world to the Father. Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. Now by the time of supper, the Devil had already put it into the heart of Judas, Simon Iscariot’s son, to betray Him. Jesus knew that the Father had given everything into His hands, that He had come from God, and that He was going back to God. So He got up from supper, laid aside His robe, took a towel, and tied it around Himself. Next, He poured water into a basin and began to wash His disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel tied around Him. He came to Simon Peter, who asked Him, “Lord, are You going to wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I’m doing you don’t understand now, but afterwards you will know.” “You will never wash my feet-ever!” Peter said. Jesus replied, “If I don’t wash you, you have no part with Me.” Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.” “One who has bathed,” Jesus told him, “doesn’t need to wash anything except his feet, but he is completely clean. You are clean, but not all of you.” For He knew who would betray Him. This is why He said, “You are not all clean.”
When I was a kid I remember attending a “foot-washing” service at a small church. I knew the story from the above passage, but I just thought that service was weird. I don’t recall many details from the service, but I do remember feet being washed with some cold water and what became a rather dirty towel.
Of course now I understand the significance of what Jesus did. I am amazed, however, at when He did this. Jesus and the disciples are in Jerusalem preparing for the Passover meal. Scripture tells us Jesus knew that he was about to die. Yet, here He is taking on the role of servant and teaching His disciples a valuable lesson. He was teaching them, and us, how we should treat others. In the face of death, Christ was still teaching and loving His followers. If you continue reading John 13 you see this is where Jesus issues a new commandment ~~ “I give you a new commandment: love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Jesus gave us two very clear messages in John 13 ~~ serve and love one another. I know I can confess that I often find that difficult to do. How about you? Far to often we focus inward and don’t see the needs of those around us. We would rather be served than serve others. I know I’m guilty. But Jesus told us, no He commanded us, to love others. So, when I’m not showing love and serving others I’m disobeying Christ’s commandment. When you look at it that way it really takes on a whole new meaning.
As I continue through my readings for Holy Week I am listening for what God is trying to speak into my life. Today’s message is loud and clear ~~ love and serve others. Will you join me?