As I continue my journey through the book of John and the events that led Jesus to Calvary’s cross, today I set my focus on chapter 13. In this chapter, Jesus knew what was coming. He knew in just a few short hours he would be nailed to a cross to give his live in exchange for ours. Yet, there he was in the upper room, teaching the disciples the most important lesson of all; servanthood.
Gathered around the table with his disciples for the evening meal, Jesus knew there was still one more lesson he to teach before leaving. He got up from the table and wrapped a towel around his waist and reached for an empty bowl. Do you think the disciples were watching or wondering what was going on? Do you think they questioned why Jesus had gotten up from the table?
Jesus reached for some water and filled the bowl and took on the job of the lowest servant in the house. He began washing the disciple’s feet. At that moment what do you think is going through their minds? Peter’s boldness breaks through the silence “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
Jesus responded to Peter’s bold statement. “Peter, you don’t understand what I am doing now, but you will later.” (John 13:7)
Jesus was right, Peter didn’t get it. “No Lord you will never wash my feet.”
“Peter, if I don’t wash your feet you’re not one of my people.”
I can just see Peter standing there with his arms open wide “Wash all of me, Lord!” (John 13:9) I just love Peter.
The disciples didn’t yet understand what was happening but they would soon find out. Jesus was about to wash them all clean on Calvary’s cross. “After a person has had a bath,” Jesus said “his whole body is clean. He needs only to wash his feet.” (John 13:10)
That night, before Jesus ever got up to wash the first foot, he knew that one of his disciples would deny him and one would betray him; yet he washed all of their feet. He cleansed their sin. He forgave them. By morning, Judas betrayed him for thirty pieces of silver and Peter denied even knowing him…not just once, but three times.
I think it’s important for us to remember who was present in the upper room that night. Knowing who they were and what they were about to do, Jesus humbled himself and served ALL of them. I say that to lead to this question: Have you ever thought that Jesus couldn’t possibly forgive you for the “horrible things” you’ve done? Think again. The men in the upper room that night had walked with Jesus for three years – and He forgave them all…he didn’t just pick and choose.
This display of service in the upper room should also be a huge example for us. Jesus died for all of us not just the perfect and loveable. Take some time to search within yourself. Are there people you don’t want to be around because you feel you are better than they? What about when it comes to acts of service? Are there people you won’t help because you feel like they are capable of helping themselves? Remember, Jesus served all – even the men he knew were going to betray him.