Monday, June 4, 2007


I was listening today in John 13 to the story of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples. To wash feet that have been in shoes all day can be unpleasant. These were feet that hadn't been enclosed in shoes, which would help, except that they were in sandals, and were walking paths with animal dung and other such waste. To wash feet was the task of a servant. The disciples would not wash each other's feet; they certainly wouldn't expect such labor to be done by their master!

John 13 opens with the note that it was just before the Passover Feast. We find out soon enough that it was just before the Last Supper of Jesus -- the meal at which he presented the bread and wine as his body and blood, with which his followers would remember his death. Jesus was about to die for this roomful of people, and for the rest of humanity. It would be the ultimate act of love. He was about to sacrifice himself in ways that nobody else in the room could even fathom. It would have been easy for Jesus to figure he needed a rest, that he deserved the rest, that he was the master. It would have been easy for Jesus to tell one of the disciples to wash his feet, and even the feet of the others.

That's not what Jesus did. What was he thinking? I think John 13:3-4 gives us a hint:
"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...." [emphasis added]

Jesus did not serve his disciples in spite of being God in the flesh, but because he was God in the flesh. He had no need to demand glory. He knew who he was, and he knew his purpose. And so he served.

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