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. John 13:12-17
Since today is Maundy Thursday, it seemed like the right time to post about washing one another’s feet. Have you ever, literally, washed someone else’s feet? Well, if you’re a parent you probably have. I did. Also, when my mother was elderly, I would go to her house once a week to help her shower, and yes, I would wash her feet. Washing feet is a humbling job, and one we’re not usually willing to do unless we love someone who cannot take care of that chore themselves. In Bible times, feet got really dirty (walking on dusty roads in sandals) and foot washing was a job for servants. Any way you look at it, washing feet is nobody’s favorite task. It can be messy and unpleasant, something to avoid if possible.
But guess what? Jesus not only washed the feet of our disciples, he washed our feet!the Are you asking how? Well, here’s what happened….
“… being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Philippians 4:8
In other words, Jesus chose to do what we could not do for ourselves — He made us clean, or righteous, in the eyes of God. He couldn’t do this job without getting dirty. He had to become human. He had to live with all the aches and pains and sorrows that go with human life. Then he had to die — and a peaceful death surrounded by friends, either. He was beaten, tortured, deserted and held up to ridicule. He died the death of a common criminal. There’s only one reason why God would do that. Can you guess? He loved us! He loved us that much. More than we love our children or parents or spouse, when we willingly wash their feet! Washing our feet cost Him so much more.
If He did this for us, how can we refuse to follow His example and sacrifice for others? Many times, it just means giving our time, risking some rejection or loss of dignity. Is this so important when people are dying without knowing Christ? Shouldn’t we love others enough to wash their feet?