Being a mom that has just sent her first child to college, I know what it feels like to want to make sure she is prepared. We took evaluation of this 2 years before making a “to-do” list of talks, events, lessons, tips, etc. We wanted to make sure she was equipped for whatever is ahead.
John 13 talks about Jesus feeling the same thing.
Verse 1 says, “Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and to go to the Father.”
Jesus knew He was about to leave us, in his human form, on this earth. He knew he was leaving us to be in hunger, sickness, suffering, doubt, fear, shame, fame, lust, pride, anger, wealth, etc. Knowing that He knew this, I was intent on seeing what He would do in the next verses. What would be the last thing he wanted to prepare us with, to equip us to carry on, to keep our head up, to pursue?
Verse 2, “Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.”
He washed their feet.
Washing of feet is an act of selflessness. There is no glory for this or expectation of getting anything in return for a benefit. It is an act of service. It helps someone, encourages them, and cleans their feet. It is an act of dirty work. Cleaning weary feet that have taken a beating under the weight of a body in the dirt and sweat. (Yuck!) It’s giving with expecting nothing in return. It is giving up something for another person. It is getting in the mess when it was not yours, to begin with. This is the example Jesus gave us. This is the last piece of advice He gave us knowing He was about to leave us on this earth.
I think of the mom living in a rural village in Africa that wakes up knowing she can’t pay school fees for her kids and has barely enough food for a meal. I think of the father in Mathare Valley slum that can’t provide for his family and turns to anger and other destructive habits to mask his shame. Or the elderly widow in Uganda that sits alone in her hut sure her usefulness is done. How can we take Jesus’ example to “wash their feet” when we are so far away?
Every time we give to support a reliable ministry, we are “washing feet.”
It is a giving up of something I could have had, to give to someone that I will never meet, so they can be encouraged, helped, and given hope for a better tomorrow. This was the last example Jesus left us before his crucifixion. He showed the full extent of HIs Love and washed his disciples’ feet. I see why Jesus chose this act. It is something we can tangibly do and its impact could be far-reaching.
Jesus ended this time with verses 14-15.
“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.”
Will you follow His example and wash someone’s feet today?