When I think of Jesus and I think of all that He did during His time on Earth, I am overwhelmed by His power, His majesty, and His divine authority. He did things that we as humans can only marvel at and dream about. Jesus walked on water, healed the blind, fed multitudes with a child’s lunch, and raised the dead back to life. Jesus did these things and leaves us in awe of the incredible miracles that He performed. Despite these Earth-shattering and physics-bending miracles, to me, one of the greatest acts that Jesus performed occurs in John chapter 13. Before you continue, I encourage you to read John 13:1-17.
This is the story of Jesus washing His disciples’ feet. What is happening at this time is Jesus is at dinner with His disciples shortly before He will be betrayed in the garden of Gethsemane. After they finish eating, Jesus begins to wash His disciples’ feet. This may not seem like much to us with our well-manicured and protected feet but in those days, they did not have tennis shoes or daily washing. They wore sandals so their feet were exposed to the elements; they walked everywhere through the dirt, mud, and droppings from the various beasts of burden that would have been common in those days. Needless to say, peoples’ feet would have been disgusting at those times. To wash someone’s feet was a form of submission to them, it was to place yourself below them. This job was not one meant for the Creator and Savior of the universe. Yet, Jesus kneels down and begins to scrub the grime and filth off of the feet of His disciples.
Jesus is conveying to these men a very important message. It is one that applies to us still today. Starting in verse 13, He says, “You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” What Jesus is saying here is that if He, the Creator of the world and Son of God, is willing to place Himself below the disciples, they must be willing to do the same thing. He is saying that no person is greater than another and that we have to be willing to lower ourselves to serve others. We have to have a servant’s heart. Think about the implication of this; Jesus is so much greater, so much more perfect than even the disciples, so much more than you or I and yet He still had a heart of service, He still lowered Himself below us to love us.
Think about the fact that Jesus washed Judas’ feet, the very man that would betray Jesus hours later. Jesus knew full well what was coming, He knew without a doubt that Judas was the man responsible for the coming pain that He would endure, and yet even then He chose to serve and love Judas. While we may not be able to perform miracles and we may not walk on water or heal the sick, we can serve others. We can humble ourselves, we can lower ourselves, and we can put others before ourselves. In so doing, we demonstrate the love of Jesus. There may be Judases in your life, people who have hurt you, and people that you want nothing to do with, but Jesus gave us a clear example of how to love. We all must adopt this servant’s heart and we must be willing to place others before ourselves and serve them for the good of the Kingdom.
Who in your life “washed your feet?” Who was it that placed your need for a Savior before themselves and was willing to love on you? Think about how that person impacted your life and led you to Jesus. That person may not have impacted thousands of people, they may not have touched the hearts of multitudes, but they did impact you. With that in mind, who is someone in your life that needs to be reached? Who in your life needs someone to place their needs before your own? How will you serve them and show them the love of Jesus?