Wednesday 23rd January
Today we are carrying on with the theme of humble adoration towards a God who delights not only in our worshipful daily living but also in our intimate moments with Him. Sitting at the feet of Jesus, as shown by Mary in yesterday’s passage, indicates a submissive and grateful heart. In today’s passage the significance of feet comes into the spotlight again, yet with a different perspective. We take today’s reading from John 13.
John describes this scene wonderfully as starts off with Jesus’ heart for His disciples. Verse 1 paints a picture of the love that Jesus had for them during His ministry and now as His time on Earth neared its end, He would show (continue to show) them the full extent of His love by laying down His life for them and ultimately the whole world. Keep that thought in your mind as we explore the following verses.
Jesus in verse 3 knew who He was. He knew His identity as the Son of God and He knew His mission, to return to the Father. He knew that all authority was given to Him whilst He was on the Earth. Then, in act of complete shock to the disciples, Jesus who had just had His feet anointed with an expensive fragrant perfume, takes off His robe, wraps a towel around His waist and fills a bowl of water to proceed in the washing of the disciple’s feet. Hold on a minute…. This is Jesus, the Son of God. This is the Christ, the Messiah and He wants to wash the feet of His disciples? In Jesus’ time the tradition was, upon entering someone’s house for dinner, to remove your sandals and have your feet washed by their servant to remove the dust from the roads and paths. This significant act was mostly reserved for the servant of the house yet we see Jesus, the King of Kings, take the role of a servant and start washing their feet.
Notice that Jesus got up from the table to wash their feet. This has significance because it means that they were about to or had already starting eating together if they were all sat around the table. So the question to ask here is why did they not wash each other’s feet as soon as they entered the house? Most probably, without reading too much in the text, because simply it was not a common practice to wash the feet of your peers. This was reserved for the servant of the house. Since there was no servant, Jesus took that role on and humbled Himself and starting washing their feet. What an amazing picture of a servant hearted humble God. Philippians chapter 2 also tells us of Jesus’ servant heartedness when it says that “He emptied Himself, made Himself of no reputation and took on the form a servant/slave.”
If that is not enough to convince you of Jesus’ humility look at who was in the midst of their company; Judas, the betrayer, who had already been prompted to plan Jesus’ betrayal. Jesus washed all the disciple’s feet (verse 13) and it is most probable that Judas was included in this. What grace it took to wash the feet of His betrayer, knowing in a few hours He would be hanging on the cross because of him.
Jesus’ love for us was at the very root of His mission. Jesus’ mission was orientated around humility. For in humility He served the world by giving His life for all. However Jesus’ washing of His disciple’s feet has more significance that just being a humble act of kindness from the Creator of the universe. We will explore the next few verses in tomorrows study.
This is our God, the Servant King