One of the most scandalous events leading up to the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Christ is the washing of the disciples feet. Okay, as if it wasn’t enough for the Son of God to die on a cross, but washing feet? Com’on! Isn’t that getting a little personal? A little too intimate? A bit too close?
What sets Jesus apart from any other religious leader is not his death and resurrection (though that is key), but his willingness and humility to wash others feet. Who else does that?!*%
In our modern, shoe-covered society, we don’t really understand the enormity of foot-washing, do we? That is, the caked-on mud, dirt, grime and smell of walking along dusty roads. It was a servant’s job. Not the work of kings, royalty, or a suffering savior.
What was Christ thinking when He washed His friends feet? It’s a story worth exploring this Holy Week…
It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
“Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”
Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.
When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “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. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
I have no bold, insightful or powerful commentary to add. This story makes me a bit speechless. Jesus’ words speak for themselves. I only have questions I need to ask myself. I hope these questions draw you into a deeper love and walk with Christ today.
- Imagine Jesus sitting before you right now, ready to wash your feet. What would you say? What would you do?
- I am so like Peter. There’s so many parts of my life I don’t want or allow the Lord to touch…why?
- “You also should wash one another’s feet.” Whose feet is the Lord asking you to wash today?
How would you answer these questions? I’d love your comments and feedback.
Lord, by your grace and mercy, wash us from head to toe today. Show us whose feet we need to wash with love and tenderness, in Your Name, today.
Read Lead like Jesus: Lessons from the Greatest Leadership Role Model of All by Ken Blanchard & Phil Hodges.
Click here to visit Wayne Forte’s website.