1It 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.
2 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 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.
6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
8 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
9 “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”
10 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.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.
12 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. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” – John 13: 1-17
Today is Maundy Thursday for the Christian church. We remember Jesus as he ate his last meal at Passover with his disciples. This is where our ritual of communion comes from, as we partake of the bread and wine (or grape juice), we remember the sacrifice Jesus made of his broken body and poured out blood.
We also remember how Jesus lived a life of service, demonstrated in a powerful way on his last night with his closest friends. Jesus, who had already taken on human form, humbled himself even more and took on the form of a servant. He washed his disciples’ feet. He lovingly took the dirty and weary feet of his friends, cleaned them with his hands and water, and gently dried them with a towel he had tied to his waist.
Imagine a king stooping down to wash the feet of his court advisers, or even the pheasants he is entrusted with. This is the act of Jesus. A King of Kings, bowed down in service to all of humanity, from the strong and rich to the poor and weak. He loves and serves them the same. His sacrifice is for all.
As I reflect on these final acts of love and service that Jesus performed, I can’t help but wonder if I am really taking on the mind of Christ in my own life. Do I have a mind and a heart to serve? Do I put myself aside enough so I can see those who need the love of Christ poured into their lives?
I hope I do. I strive to live a life of letting God love through me, but I know I often fail. I guess all I can do is continually wrap the towel of loving service around my waist again and again, and help bathe others in Jesus’ grace and love.
In what ways are you being called to lovingly serve someone else?