It’s about everybody but you

foot-washing

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 anothers 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.

This entry was posted in discipleship, service and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to It’s about everybody but you

  1. Tom F. says:

    With restrictions being slowly lifted and we are more able to connect face to face may we can once again be of selfless service to God and our fellows. When I ask God for direction . that direction always has to do with being of help and support to somebody else. When I read the Catch, I had to smile. I have been under a doctors care for a vascular condition with my legs for over a year. I have my legs and feet wrapped in medicated and compression bandages. Every week when I go to be treated they wash my legs and feet. The most joyful people I know are those that are involved being of service to others and whose esteem comes from their relationship with God. LOVE to all TOM F.

  2. An interesting thought to me is what was NOT written in the feet-washing account.
    While the actions of Jesus and the reactions of His disciples (and others) are recorded as precisely as probably could be, we lose a little something in translation because of how brief and easily-readable the story is written.
    In just a few verses Jesus washed feet, a verbal exchange occurred, a lesson taught, and then we move on to the next series of events.

    But imagine if we were in that room that evening….
    There’s at least twelve pairs of feet to be scrubbed – and probably more because of the others in the room: the women, the servants, and others whom I’m sure Jesus did not neglect or overlook.
    Clean water and dry towels probably had to be gotten for every second or third person at least.
    What must have been the mood in the room while everyone was waiting for their feet to be washed by God Himself?
    What sort of conversations or whispers or conveyances of deep understanding transpired during this sacred, maybe even awkward, time?
    After having watched Jesus wash a couple pairs of feet, did something “click” for a couple of His disciples and did they decide to follow His example and do the same for others in the room?
    What must have the ambience been like?
    How much time actually passed for this demonstration to take place?

    Through His very humble example Jesus was truly embodying the message He was trying to get across to the future leaders of His Church (and ourselves as well); and I suspect a good portion of that evening went toward this model of service that Jesus performed.
    With each individual He knelt before, the reality of Jesus’ direction to His disciples must have become more understandably clear and sunk more deeply into their hearts as that Holy evening progressed.

    And it’s those unwritten details which fascinate me.
    It’s easy enough to scan over a few brief sentences written in any part of Scripture and believe you’ve learned something… then go your way.
    It’s entirely something more meaningful and memorable when you really read.
    You stop, you pause, you ponder. You search between the lines opening up your imagination to what it must have been like. You place yourself inside the story; you flesh out the unwritten nuances. You allow yourself to transition from a two-dimensional perspective to a four-dimensional understanding because you take the time to watch Jesus wash not only your feet but the feet of all the others in the room… and in the world.
    You really learn to truly serve through His humble example and forthright teaching.
    You “get” what He is trying to tell you… and then you go His way.

    Be a blessing. Be blessed. Be of good will. Be cheerful. Be courageous. Be encouraged.

    Shalom, Peace…

    • jwfisch says:

      Bob, you are looking through the eyes of a novelist. There is so much more to see that way. Thanks for turning us on to a deeper perspective.

  3. Sandie says:

    Larry Crabbe posed another facet to Jesus’ actions that night; a thought I’ve mulled over ever since reading it so many years ago. It is this: Jesus gave up his own right to have His feet washed…a reflection of Paul’s writing in Phillipians.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.