John 13:14 – 17 (NCV) “If I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash each other’s feet. I did this as an example so that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, a servant is not greater than his master. A messenger is not greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”
Today’s reading: John 13: 1- 17
Jesus is our example to follow. He gave up the perfection of heaven to come to an imperfect world and show us the way to live, love, and serve. The biggest example of serving others is displayed in the verses of John 13:3-17. As we read, we see Jesus and his disciples gathered around the table for the evening meal. Jesus was fully aware of the circumstances he would face. In fact, the things he would walk through wouldn’t be easy…but in a few short hours, he would be back with the Father in heaven. Knowing this, he still continued to teach – there was still an example to set and a lesson to be taught.
John 13:4 (NIV) “so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist.”
Have you ever wondered what the disciples may have been thinking when they saw Jesus with a towel wrapped around his waist reaching for the empty bowl? Sometimes I wonder if they even questioned why he had gotten up from the table.
Jesus reached for a pitcher of water and filled the bowl then began to take on the job of the lowest servant in the house…foot washer. Whoa… can you imagine what is going through their minds? Peter’s boldness breaks through the silence “You will never wash my feet—ever!” I love Peter’s zeal! Jesus replied, “Peter, you don’t understand what I am doing now, but you will later.” (v.7)
Jesus is right Peter doesn’t get it. “No Lord you will never wash my feet.” He must have been confused about what he saw. Why would Jesus take on the job of a servant?
“Peter, if I don’t wash your feet you’re not one of my people.” There is an immediate change in Peter. Can you just imagine him standing there with his arms open wide “Wash all of me, Lord!” The disciples didn’t yet understand what was happening but they would soon find out. Jesus responded “After a person has had a bath, his whole body is clean. He needs only to wash his feet.” (v.10)
That night, before he ever washed the first foot, Jesus knew one of the twelve would betray him and one would deny him before morning, yet he still washed all of their feet. He cleansed their sin. He forgave them. By morning, Judas would hand Jesus over for thirty pieces of silver and Peter would reject him three times.
It is so important to remember the fact that all twelve of his disciples were present in the upper room that night. Have you ever let that little detail sink in? Perhaps you feel as if you’ve done something so horrible, so detestable, that Jesus will never forgive you or even love you. Think again. Knowing his disciples and what they were about to do, Jesus still humbled himself and served every one of them.
This display of service in the upper room should be a huge example for us, as Christians. Jesus died for all of us – not just the lovable. He died for the broken, the angry, the thief, the poor, the peculiar, the adulterer, the liar, the murderer…and yes, even the most difficult to love. 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 are? 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 and he wants us to follow that example. “For I have given you an example that you also should do just as I have done for you.” John 13:17 (HCSB)