Scripture: John 13:3-17 (NLT)
3 Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. 4 So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, 5 and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him.6 When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” 7 Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.” 8 “No,” Peter protested, “you will never ever wash my feet!” Jesus replied, “Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me.” 9 Simon Peter exclaimed, “Then wash my hands and head as well, Lord, not just my feet!” 10 Jesus replied, “A person who has bathed all over does not need to wash, except for the feet, to be entirely clean. And you disciples are clean, but not all of you.” 11 For Jesus knew who would betray him. That is what he meant when he said, “Not all of you are clean.” 12 After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? 13 You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. 14 And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. 15 I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. 16 I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. Nor is the messenger more important than the one who sends the message. 17 Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them.
In this world we live in, our social status is very important to us. We want to be looked upon as successful. We want to be admired for our accomplishments and the things we have acquired to prove our abilities.
Once again, I see Jesus doing something so different that His disciples are in a place where they are wondering what He is doing to them. Jesus is teaching them something so important that He knows they will not grasp the full implication of what is done until after He is gone. Jesus is teaching them to really serve one another, yet I believe something more. He was teaching them to help them stay clean from the world and pass on His servant leadership style to them. Jesus was making them responsible to continue leading by serving.
I see that Jesus washed the feet, the part of the body that had been in touch with the dirt, dust, and grime of the world. Peter felt that it was far beneath Jesus to wash another man’s feet. He was embarrassed for Jesus when he saw Him washing the feet of other men. Peter felt that they should be washing Jesus’s feet. Jesus pointed out that unless Peter let Him wash his feet, he was not one of His.
Jesus was saying this is not about social status. It is about serving and cleansing. Peter wanted so much to be a part of Jesus’s group that he said “wash my head and hands also.” Jesus said that Peter was already clean, and he just needed his feet washed – the part of the body in touch with the dirt and grime of the world.
Jesus said we have been given an example to follow and do as He has done to us.
My real observation is that there are a lot of people who do not understand what ministry and service really are. Jesus did not tell them to lead the people by heroic acts, by showing great miracles, or by lengthy religious arguments. Jesus made them responsible to lead by washing their feet, helping them keep clean off the dust and grime of the world, and by serving them. Only a person who really understands who they are in Christ can lead by serving others. If they do not know this, they will be too embarrassed to do it and lead by whatever means that come to hand.
I must not look at people’s social status or their accomplishments to determine if I will serve them. As a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ I am responsible to serve all. I must take that responsibility seriously.
Father, again I come to you with a heart of repentance. I ask you to forgive me for missing the opportunities you have given me to serve. I ask you to forgive me for not acting until the time was passed. I ask that you will help me see the opportunities I have to serve and to take them as you would. Help me to serve the people you have placed in my path, and especially those you have placed in my care, with joy. Help me to have a servant’s heart and a mind to follow the powerful example you have given us just before your suffering. In these days to come help me to show forth your love, your care, and your grace. Amen.