We studied the chapter “The Hour of Darkness” in The Story last night in Bible study, which covered Jesus’ last night with His disciples through His death on the cross. After our study, we washed each other’s feet and prayed over each other. Afterwards we had the Lord’s supper.
“Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under His power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so He got up from the meal, took off His outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around His waist. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash His disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around Him.” (John 13:3-5)
Try to imagine how you would feel if the Lord was washing your feet, as He did to the disciples. Close your eyes and picture this in your mind. Feel the soothing warmth of the water, the strength of His strong hands massaging your feet and toes. The texture and smell of the soap is rejuvenating. You felt so weary and tired, but now your feet are tingling. You are refreshed and humbled by His touch. Your soul feels restored by His service of love to you.
How shocked the disciples must have been to see their Master coming to them girded with a towel and carrying a basin. He was their Master yet He was doing the work of a servant. “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this, (John 13:7)” was Jesus’ answer when Peter questioned Him. Still not completely understanding what Jesus was telling them, Peter said “’No, you shall never wash my feet.’ Jesus answered, ‘Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.’ ‘Then, Lord,’ Simon Peter replied, ‘not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!’ Jesus answered, ‘Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.’ For He knew who was going to betray Him, and that was why He said not every one was clean.” (John 13:8-11)
Judas and his dirty feet and unclean heart were still there when Jesus donned servant garb and knelt before His disciples. Imagine what that must have been like. Jesus knew and knelt before His betrayer and washed his dirty feet. Not only was Jesus teaching His disciples humility and service, but also showing love for all. He did not wash the feet of all but His betrayer. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)
“So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 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 ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example that you should do as I have done to you.” (John 13:12-15) He showed us how strong true humility is. Let’s embrace Jesus’ example. Following Jesus’ example, we must humble ourselves and serve—which is an ultimate act of strength. Jesus said, “…what you do for the least of these, you do for Me.”
Lord God, renew my mind. Give me a clear understanding of humility, as modeled by my Lord and Teacher, Jesus Christ. Jesus restrained His power, and as an ultimate act of strength, He humbled Himself and served. I admit it, Lord—that’s hard for me. Help me to understand Jesus’ lesson for me, and help me to do it. If Jesus could get low and serve, so should I. I humble myself before You and pray in the name of Your Son, Jesus, amen.