It was time for supper, and the devil had already prompted Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him. (John 13:2-5)
Relate: I can’t say that I’ve ever been a part of a foot washing ceremony. Knowing my background, I am pretty sure I have. I just don’t remember. Clearly it wasn’t a big deal to me. I’m of the opinion that when Jesus said, “Just as I have washed your feet, so you must wash each other’s feet.” He wasn’t talking literally. For those that do believe so, I respect that. I appreciate your obedience. For me the issue is more what Jesus did and why did He do it.
What Jesus did was serve. In a very real, very visual way, Jesus took on the role of a servant. Because they were in a smaller, more intimate environment, there was no host of the house who would normally perform (or assign someone to perform) this task. By removing his clothes, wrapping himself in a towel, then using that towel to wash the others feet Jesus debased Himself. He humiliated Himself so that the others would be honored. (By the way, if I’m ever at a foot washing ceremony where someone starts stripping… I’m outta there)
React: Why would Jesus do that? Fortunately, John gave us the answer to that in verse 3. Actually, he gave us 3 answers: 1) Jesus knew who He was, 2) He knew where He was from, 3) He knew where He was going. Because Jesus was confident in these things, He served. Jesus had authority, He didn’t feel a compulsion to exorcise it. He knew where He was from, He didn’t need to take on airs. Jesus knew where He was going, He didn’t need to jostle for position.
Who am I? If I have accepted what Jesus did for me, I am a child of the living God. I have the Creator of the universe living in me. I am a friend, son, and heir of the King of Kings.
Where am I from? My past has been wiped away. My sins have been removed from me. I have been born again which means my life began at the moment of the resurrection where Jesus had plundered hell, kicking down its gates, and securing my victory.
Where am I going? He has prepared a place for me in heaven. There will be a moment when he will wipe the last tear from my eye. I will ride with Him when He returns as the conquering king after enjoying the marriage supper of the Lamb.
If this is true, if I truly believe what He has spoken and what He has promised, then I have a responsibility to obey. I have a duty to serve.
God, help me to live and to walk in humility. Help me to have the heart and mind of a servant. Give me the confidence to know… to really know who I am in You. Don’t let me grasp for power and position, striving for unearned authority because of my insecurity. Let me serve because I know You have called me to lead.