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.
Jesus was intentional about teaching and helping his disciples to grow right up to the end of his life. During their last meal together, Jesus stood up and wrapped a towel around his waist to wash the disciples’ feet. I am sure you could have heard a pin drop in the room. This was not the job of a Messiah. This is something a slave or lowly servant did. This job was the lowest of the low. But Jesus did this to teach the disciples, and us, a lesson. He calls us to serve. Not because we will get praised or affirmed for it, but because seeing and meeting the needs of others is what God would have us do.
Here’s the thing. Most of us would agree with the idea that, without too much convincing, we should serve others. But what if the people we are called to serve don’t deserve it? What if serving those people means taking a position of complete humility. Well…Jesus washed all of the disciples’ feet. Even Judas’. Judas would only hours later betray Jesus. He hardly deserved Jesus humbling himself and serving him in that way. Jesus knew he would be betrayed and yet He still washed Judas’ feet as well. Jesus did not show partiality to any disciple. He just loved them, served them, and led them all well.
Jesus explained that he had washed his friends’ feet to set an example for them in how they are called to serve others. That example is fitting for us, too. Whom can you serve today who may not expect it? If you are in a place of authority over others, how can you turn the tables and find a way to serve them today?