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John 13:1-17 – Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.”
When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
Sometimes I try to imagine what it would be like to be in the room with Jesus during this moment. What would it be like to have Jesus Christ kneel in front of me, take my embarrassingly sweaty foot in His hand, and start washing it like a servant? I imagine the sniffles and suppressed sobs from others in the room, who like me have spent weeks arguing about who is the greatest and jockeying for positions of honor. I imagine the feeling of surrender when Jesus says, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me,” and the feeling of conviction when Jesus says, “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.” I imagine the roller-coaster of emotions these guys felt in that Upper Room.
This morning, as I sit to write this devotion, my mind goes back to that scene again, but this time I realize, that scene is not so distant in my life. Jesus is present with me, just as surely as He was present with those Disciples. And Jesus has lavished Grace on me that washes even cleaner than that water-basin. In the greatest act of love imaginable, He laid down His life and cleansed me from all unrighteousness. Me – a sinner who deserves no such kindness. Me – covered in enough dirt and grime to gag the cleaning rag. Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, laid down His life for me.
That’s not all. Jesus also asks me to wash His feet. How? Well, Jesus once said, “If you do it for the least of these, you do it for me.” In this case, that means I am to take the grace I have been given and pass it along to others. I do that every time I forgive someone who has wronged me. I do it every time I serve someone in His name. I do it every time I take on the nature of a servant, just like Jesus did for me.
Father, help me today to have the mindset of Christ Jesus, and to serve in Your name.