(originally published February 10, 2011)
Dirty. Filthy. Covered with the dust from the streets, the feet of the disciples were left black and sore with cuts as they entered the room for the last supper. It was a servant’s job to wash the feet of those entering the house, but no servant was to be found. Reclining next to each other as they ate at the dinner table, Jesus laid aside his outer garments, took up a towel, and carried the basin of water over to Simon Peter. One by one Jesus, the Son of God, humbled himself to wash the grime and dirt off of the feet of each man.
Can you imagine sitting there at the dinner table as God washed the mud off of your feet? The task, however disagreeable, had to be done and only Jesus took the initiative to see it accomplished. It was out of love that he performed the service of a slave.
Later on in the evening, Jesus continued his ministry and proclaimed, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love another,” (John. 13.34).
How did Jesus love? He had just given an example of his love at dinner by washing the disciple’s feet. If you have any doubt that it was an example of love, go back to verse 15, “For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.”
Jesus is calling all people to have this same kind of love...
A love that initiates when others sit back.
A love that humbles you to face what may seem unlovely and serve position underneath you.
A love that acts in the knowledge of another’s impure motives or betrayal.
A love that cleanses.
Among a group of men who quarreled over greatness, Jesus set the example of service instead of strife.
Loving a person isn’t always easy. If any person has a reason to withhold love, it is Jesus. He see’s the unlovely in a person and nothing is hidden from his sight, yet he loves unconditionally. This love served others by putting a person before himself. Men and women, that is the love that God is calling us to show. It won’t always be easy, but it is always worth it. And when you do, God is glorified. Verse 35 says, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
In a self-serve world, service stands out. Love for other people is a witness to the ungodly. In this season of “love,” set the example to others. With those around you, whether friends or strangers, show love by taking the initiative to humble yourself and cleanse people. Put others before yourself and let God shine!