Friday 30 January, 2015

John 13:1-11

13 It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world. It was time for him to go to the Father. Jesus loved his disciples who were in the world. So he now loved them to the very end. 2 They were having their evening meal. The devil had already tempted Judas, son of Simon Iscariot. He had urged Judas to hand Jesus over to his enemies. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put everything under his power. He also knew he had come from God and was returning to God. 4 So he got up from the meal and took off his outer clothes. He wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a large bowl. Then he began to wash his disciples’ feet. He dried them with the towel that was wrapped around him. 6 He came to Simon Peter. “Lord,” Peter said to him, “are you going to wash my feet?” 7 Jesus replied, “You don’t realize now what I am doing. But later you will understand.” 8 “No,” said Peter. “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you can’t share life with me.” 9 “Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet! Wash my hands and my head too!” 10 Jesus answered, “People who have had a bath need to wash only their feet. The rest of their body is clean. And you are clean. But not all of you are.” 11 Jesus knew who was going to hand him over to his enemies. That was why he said not every one was clean.

One of the last things Jesus did for his disciples prior to his death was to wash their feet. It must have been important. Peter was uncomfortable with Jesus washing his feet and initially wants no part of it until Jesus explains that only the washed belong to him. Peter instantly wants his whole body washed! Jesus also alludes to the fact that one of his disciples will betray him.

The picture of Jesus washing his disciples feet is a very moving one. He removes all signs of royalty by doing a servant’s job. Off comes the robe, on goes the towel around the waist and he gets on with both a personal and dirty job. Why was Jesus able to serve in this manner so readily?

Jesus knew who he was from his relationship with God and that he would soon return to his Heavenly Father. This so encourages me to know God better so that I’m comfortable doing whatever God asks of me.

I can relate to Peter, not sure I would want Jesus up so close and personal with my smelly feet. I do love how Jesus is prepared to get his hands dirty. He does not delegate this task and can’t really as it’s about being cleansed from sin and only a saviour can do that. We do need to allow Jesus to wash us from sin on an ongoing basis. None of the disciples said, “Oh I’m good Lord, my feet aren’t dirty.” No point, Jesus was right there and could see for himself and it’s no different for us.

Dear God, thank you for the servant hood of Jesus. Please help me to become more like him amen.

Written by Ainslie Woods

4 replies
  1. David Newton says:

    I always thought washing a person’s car was the modern equivalent but it does not have that intimate aspect to it!

    • Justin Ware says:

      There are 2 things about foot washing that would probably have been very different in Jesus’ day as I understand it.
      1) the dirtyness: people always wore sandals, nobody apart from royalty had anything other than dirt floor in their homes, there was no sewerage system to take human waste away from the street etc etc. Yuk!
      2) Culture: to this day, in many middle eastern cultures, to show someone the bottom of your feet is a highly offensive act that says “you are so far beneath me my dirty feet are higher than your head.”
      Lord may I humble myself fully as I seek to lead.

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