(Image courtesy of printeryhouse.org)
Nothing was hidden from Jesus. He knew exactly who he was, what he was going to do, and what had to been done. Knowing all this, Jesus would eat one last supper with his disciples. He got up from the table and began to wash their feet. Jesus humbled himself to a lowly servant, cleaning the filthiest part of his followers, the feet which had walked all the way from Galilee to Jerusalem. When it was Simon Peter’s turn, he asked if his feet were to be washed. Jesus assured him that it would all be understood later, but Simon Peter objected. It did not sit right with him that Jesus, the Messiah, should wash his feet. Jesus plainly stated that unless he did, Simon Peter would not have any share of him (13:8). It was then that Simon Peter wanted not only his feet washed by Jesus, but also his hands and head. This was not necessary; according to Jesus, they were all clean, except the one who was going to betray him. Jesus’ act of washing the feet was symbolic, yet it also conveyed the literal truth about leadership in Christ. If we are to be leaders, we must first be servants of those entrusted into our care by God. Jesus told the disciples that he had set an example for his disciples. At the root of this example is a lesson on humility. How often are we too proud to allow someone to do something for us? Our pride threatens to undermine the work of Christ in others if we cannot allow ourselves to be served. Jesus himself let others do things for him, like the woman with the alabaster jar of oil. It can be so difficult to allow another to do something for us, often because we do not feel worthy. Can you relate to Simon Peter not wishing for his master to lower himself in order to wash Simon Peter’s feet? The next time we are approached by someone who wants to do something for us, let us remember Jesus and his example of allowing another person to do what they are called by God to do. It can be a practice in humility for both parties.
Lord of all,
In your great power and unfathomable knowledge,
You came to us in Jesus the Christ, not just to lead your people,
But to serve, even the least of us.
Open our hearts to the possibility that we need to be served,
While pushing us through the Holy Spirit to serve others.
Grant us the ability to humble ourselves before you,
So that those who come to us with kindness in their hearts are able to accomplish your will.
When we follow the example of Christ,
We, like Simon Peter, shall discover the gift of receiving.
Thanks be to God for all our blessings, and the opportunity to grow in discipleship.
All honor and glory are yours.