If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet – John 13:14
What a shocking scene this is! Even the disciples, who had watched Jesus touch lepers and heal cripples and eat with sinners, were unprepared for this parting command and example.
The night before Jesus’ horrible trial and crucifixion, he took time to eat supper with his disciples and instruct them one final time. But after supper, he got up from the table, took a towel, poured water in a basin, and began to wash his own disciples’ feet!
Peter was so taken back at the sight that he insisted Jesus would never wash his feet. The idea of his Lord and Master bowing in front of him and performing this menial service was unthinkable.
When Jesus had completed the task, in spite of their protestations, he then commanded that they in the future do the same for one another: “if I, who am your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, there is no pride or repulsion that should keep you from the same service.”
What about you? Are you too good to do what Jesus did? Are you too proud to bow and serve like Jesus?
This service of washing one another’s feet is clearly, Jesus intimates, symbolizing more than just kind words or pats on the back. It means a willingness to exhort and encourage and admonish one another toward a holy life — and to receive such exhortations ourselves. It means a willingness to get our hands dirty, if need be, in order to help one another.
Are you shocked and offended at the idea of your Lord rolling up his sleeves and bowing down to serve others? Or are you inspired by it, as Jesus means for us to be?