Read John 13:1-20
1It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.
2The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. 3Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
6He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?"
7Jesus replied, "You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand."
8"No," said Peter, "you shall never wash my feet."
Jesus answered, "Unless I wash you, you have no part with me."
9"Then, Lord," Simon Peter replied, "not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!"
10Jesus answered, "A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you." 11For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.
12When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. "Do you understand what I have done for you?" he asked them. 13"You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. 15I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
18"I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill the scripture: 'He who shares my bread has lifted up his heel against me.'
19"I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am He. 20I tell you the truth, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me." (NIV)
Here is one of the great acts and teaching of Jesus. It is a lesson that we either forget about or do not want to be a part of. It is as lesson that the disciple and the church must learn or sink into ineffectiveness. It is a lesson that is at the heart of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the lesson of both humility and assuredness. It is this because only a person who is sure of who they are can serve in this humility.
As I look at our country today, it is a lesson that we have forgotten because one cannot act like Jesus acted and still be offended in life. We live in times where it seems like everyone is offended and everyone seems to be taking themselves too seriously. And so, we have forgotten how to serve one another and love one another.
This was a problem even the disciples had been slipping into. Luke tells us about this night that the disciples were arguing about who was the greatest and this was not the first time this argument arose. Over my time, I have seen many in the church and other organizations quit because they did not get selected for this position or that honor. I still remember the sadness I had with one church. I used to give out a little white bear with a Methodist cross and flame on it to thank someone who had done things for the church. After about a year and a half, a retired pastor in the congregation became offended because he had not been given a bear. He began to sow seeds of discourse by telling everyone his displeasure that I had not done this. I stopped giving out bears to fix the problem. I was greatly saddened that we as the church could not honor someone doing wonderful things because someone was offended.
When we look at Jesus washing the feet of the disciples, right away, we are told without words that no one has done this common task of hospitality. Granted, the task was always done by the lowest member in the household, but it was a task that should have been done. Not one disciple lowered themselves to serve their fellow disciple, so Jesus got up and did it. And he did it before Judas left. Jesus washed the feet of the one who would betray him.
Jesus said he gave them an example of what they are to do. They are to humbly serve one another. One of the consistent themes in Scripture is that we need one another. None of us has everything given them that they don’t need someone else. And if we honestly look around, there are people who cannot give and need the help of others to survive. When we withhold serving one another, we make the whole suffer.
We can live life being offended at everything. Or we can live life knowing that we belong to God and with that comes the assurance that nothing can separate us from God’s love and therefore, we can humbly serve one another, even in the most mundane and simple ways.
Are there times in your life that you helped someone without a thought of reward or acknowledgement? Are there other times where you didn’t help because you thought it was beneath you? Do you look for ways to be used each day? How do you see this teaching affecting your life?
Blessings and Peace