Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded himself. After that He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. John 13:3-5
So many things happened on this day. Jesus and His disciples celebrated the Passover meal together, which we know as the Last Supper. During that time Jesus reinterpreted the bread and the wine of this meal as pertaining to His body and blood in light of the sacrifice He was about to make.
That same evening after the meal, Judas left to betray Him. If you’ve ever suffered through a friend’s betrayal, you know how heart wrenching that is. Still later in the evening, Jesus goes to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray and asks His friends to pray for Him–but they all fall asleep.And, of course, we have the harrowing scene of Jesus’ arrest.
What I want to focus on today is what happened after the supper before they went to the garden. Jesus gathered all his friends together to wash their feet. I think it’s easy to gloss over this part of the story and not see the significance of the example Jesus was setting for believers today.
You see, footwashing was not a part of the Passover Meal. In Bible times, even a Jewish slave could not be made to wash his master’s feet. The only person who could be forced to do this was a non-Jewish slave. So when Jesus stooped to do this service for His friends, it was an extreme humbling of Himself–no wonder Peter objected to it!
Jesus was introducing a new order of things here–that people should serve each other and not consider themselves better than others. It was a way of life that He expected His followers to copy.
I know that I need to evaluate my actions in light of Jesus’ example. Am I living out a life of service, or am I letting a “better than thou” attitude creep into my life? I need to pray that I will have a humble spirit and one that is quick to serve, rather than waiting for someone else to come along and pick up my slack.
Tomorrow we will look at the events of Good Friday–until then, pray on!