The Last Supper is finished; Jesus rises from the table and wraps Himself with a towel and bends to wash the feet of His disciples.
He know that Judas has decided to betray Him,
He knows that Peter will deny Him… three times
He knows this motley crew will have their faith in Him shaken before the week is over.
He knows that this will be His final time with them.
What can He say or do to help them through the upcoming days?
The Last Supper… serving the bread and wine as symbols of His sacrifice. Before they see it happen, Jesus breaks bread to signify His broken body, offers them the cup to represent His blood shed for their sins, for yours, for mine… for the sins of the world.
And asks them to do this often… to Remember Him.
the cost of our salvation.
Jesus will lay down His life for theirs.
He knows what is coming…
washing another’s fee is a sign of humility and knowing what is to come, the king of Kings, showered on Sunday with Hosannas…
bends down, kneels in utter humility to serve His followers…
Washing of feet was a common practice in a world of sandals and dust. Roads littered with animal defecation, carts having sprayed it across the road.
Feet were dirty, smelly…gross!
A good host would provide water and a servant to wash the feet of His guest. Feet were the dirtiest part of the body, unclean… a job relegated to lowly servants.
Imagine Jesus, having just offered up the symbols of His death and resurrection to the displaces, getting up from the table, taking off His robes , wrapping a towel around His waist and kneeling with a basin of water to wash the disciples feet.
- What did they think?
- How did they react? We know Peter resisted, thinking this was beneath Jesus, claiming that Peter should wash Jesus feet.
This had to be confusing, odd, inexplicable to them. How could they let their LORD and Master wash their feet?
The world turned upside down.
Jesus does that…
…turns our world upside down.
…upends our expectation, social norms and customs for a purpose.
To teach them, to serve them, to love them.
Washing their feet was a step on the journey this week of His life being poured out for theirs, for ours…
It was a symbolic act of the washing away of our dirtiest, grossest parts- our sin.
When Peter resists, Jesus tells Him, “unless I was you, you have no part in Me.”
Wash ALL of me! Peter exclaims!
This is to be our response to the LORD. Wash all of me, see the ugliest, dirtiest, sinful parts of me that I try to hide, to pretend are not “that bad.”
Jesus bends down, humbly… taking the position of a lowly servant…
looks into the disciples eyes and washes the dirt of the road away.
knowing that Peter will deny Him… Jesus washes Peter’s feet
knowing Judas will betray Him.. Jesus washes Judas’ feet.
Jesus does this for us.
He died that we might be washed clean by Him and Wear His robe of righteousness.
We don’t need to hide anything from him..
- Will you let Him wash you… cleanse you?
- Will you open up to Him the darkest, dirtiest, smelliest parts of you?
- Do you believe He will wash you clean as snow?
When Jesus is done, He puts on His clothes and return to His place at the table. His example of humbling Himself, doing the work of a servant is to be an example to them.
This is a new paradigm…
Serve others as the Lord has served and humbled Himself for you.
the King of Kings, holy, perfect, without sin, Creator of the Universe, God Incarnate – humbly did the lowliest of tasks as He washed their feet… even as He was preparing to die.
They have watched Jesus love, serve as well as teach others for three years. His final act with them is to serve them in a way that is so outside their comfort zone, so far from the norm, and contrary to the customs and mores of the time… there is no doubt that He is making a specific point.
Sacrificial love begins the evening of the last supper and ends on a cross on Calvary.
- Can you imagine yourself in the Upper room with Jesus that night… every time we come before him we are there… exposing our need for being cleansed by Him, washed white as snow. do you resist like Peter did?
- Do you keep things hidden and hope Jesus doesn’t see or know like Judas did?
- How do you allow Jesus to wash you clean?
- How do you live out the example of His being a servant in your relationships, ministry and work?
- Have you ever participated in a foot washing? What was the impact of the experience?
Read this commentary of these verses.
How does it enhance their meaning?
Read “Foot washing: A Tradition of Service” for greater understanding of this practice.
Daily Lectionary Readings:
Isiah 49:1-6; Psalm 711-6, 15-17; John 13: 21-38
If you want to read through the New Testament during Lent (about 1/2 hour a day)
Read on Day 42: Read 1 Peter & 2 Peter