John 13: 6-8 “He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.”
Are you kidding? Imagine any world leader doing this today. Think of the president removing the patent leather shoes and moist dress socks of congressional subcommittee members and washing the lint and jam from between their toes. Or, maybe he is washing the feet of other presidential hopefuls, those whose very campaigns grind out hostile press releases against him.
The humility of Christ is what stuns us. The King of Kings chose the lowest servant’s role as an object lesson. In those days, foot washing was practical. Dusty, muddy and manure-strewn roads made sandaled feet a mess. The lowest household slave would get the foot-washing task as it was one of the most demeaning and filthy tasks in their culture.
This event of service inspires us. In some churches, this account is the foundation for foot-washing ceremonies. The idea is to experience and depict the true power of this humility and servitude. We distance ourselves from comfort for our community. But the repetition of this Christ-act does not need to be foot washing. That was the best first-century model, but what about the 21st-century equivalent?
Hear the teaching of Christ: “A new commandment I give to you. Love one another. As I have loved you, so you are to love one another.” Maybe we can begin by speaking and showing it to one person and then another. During this week, try reaching out to twelve different people in love, as Jesus did.
Let us pray: Lord Christ, our Servant and Savior, on earth you washed the feet of your disciples, and now through your cross and resurrection you always live to make intercession for us: Give us grace to be your faithful disciples and servants to our lives’ end. For your name’s sake. Amen.
Pastor Tim Maybee