The evening meal was in progress. The devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. The end was near, and Jesus wanted nothing more than to share this meal together with his disciples. But the disciples were in a sort of bewildered state, not truly grasping what was going on, yet aware that it wasn’t good. Jesus was the only one who knew what was going on, and He was full of anticipation mixed with apprehension that the time had finally come. This night began a string of events that would define why He had come to earth. This was the defining moment in human history.
Knowing this, He chose to surprise them all, and pushing back from the table, He took off his outer garment, wrapped a towel around His waist, got down on His hands and knees and started washing the disciples’ feet.
Feet are dirty from the road. Feet are smelly. Feet are not the most attractive part of our bodies. And yet there was Jesus, getting down and dirty with the disciples’ ugly, smelly feet. Imagine their reaction. They were humiliated by the place Jesus put Himself in relation to them. This was wrong. They should be washing His feet, yet who thought of that? Peter echoed everyone’s feelings when he said, “No, you shall never wash my feet.”
That’s when Jesus said, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” To which Peter replied, “Then Lord, not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”
This was Jesus, the one God put in power over everything in the universe — the one who knew where He had come from and where He was going, taking on the form of an indentured servant and literally embarrassing the disciples by washing their dirty feet.
After He was done, He returned to His place at the table and said, “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.”
There you have it. If it was not too low for their Lord and Master to wash their feet, it was certainly not too low for them to do the same for each other.
So put yourself at that table. We all belong there. Imagine Jesus washing your feet. You too are a disciple, so the example was for you as well as them. And of course it isn’t just about washing each other’s feet; it’s about serving one another. It’s about making others more important than ourselves. It’s about realizing that it’s not about you; it’s about everybody but you.
Think about what you can do to wash someone’s feet today, and then do it.