Washing Feet

As followers of Jesus Christ, we are his ambassadors everywhere we go and with everything that we do. As an ambassador, we are his representatives. Another way to say it is this: everything we do, we do in his name. That’s a big deal. We represent Jesus. Wow.

On earth, Jesus served others. In one of the most powerful displays of his love, Jesus served the disciples by washing their feet. Read the story in John 13:1-20.

First century roads were dirt or cobble stone, walked upon by people and animals. People wore sandals, and of course the dirt from the roads and the waste from the animals (no matter how hard you tried to avoid stepping in it) inevitably ended up on your sandals. When you entered a house, you removed your sandals and the “low man on the totem pole” in the house washed your feet. Shoes were left outside or at the door.

On the night before he was betrayed, Jesus gathered in an upper room for a Passover Meal, a dinner that became known as the Last Supper. It was at this meal that he revealed that one of his disciples would betray him. It was at this meal that he explained the full meaning of the bread and the cup, representing his body and blood.

As Jesus and the disciples entered the upper room, the disciples were amazed as their leader/rabbi/teacher took up a basin of water and a towel and began to wash their feet. They did not know how to react. They were humbled by the fact that their Lord would do this for them. Peter as the spokesmen for the group tried to persuade Jesus to not wash his feet. But Jesus insisted.

There were some important reasons that Jesus washed their feet. I’ve written about some of those reasons HERE. He showed humility and love. He met a need that they had. He showed himself to be committed 100% to fulfilling God’s plan.

12 When Jesus had washed their feet and put on his outer clothing, he reclined again and said to them, “Do you know what I have done for you? 13  You call me Teacher and Lord — and you are speaking rightly, since that is what I am. 14  So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15  For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done for you. (John 13:12-15)

How do we follow in Jesus’ example? You may take his example literally if there are circumstances that demand foot washing. But his example is broad. Here are four principles to guide each of us:

  1. Notice the specific needs around you.
  2. Be willing to do the jobs that nobody wants to do.
  3. Experience the blessing of serving others.
  4. By serving in Jesus’ name, you follow his example and glorify him.

Perhaps it is driving a friend to his doctor’s appointment or taking a meal to someone who recently lost a loved one. Perhaps it is cleaning the house of an elderly neighbor or helping a student with a homework assignment. The needs are big and small. The list could go on and on and on. Let us pray that God will guide us, open our eyes to needs around us, and give us the love, humility and willingness to serve people in Jesus’ name.

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