Summary: Jesus’ humble love that stooped to wash his disciples feet has stooped to the cross to wash us clean from the dirt of our daily sins in the fountain filled with his blood, so that our attitude is changed to apologize and serve others in humble love.
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. The Word of God through which the Holy Spirit touches our hearts are the words of Jesus, recorded in John 13
[Jesus] began to was the disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel that was tied around Him.
He came to Simon Peter. “Lord,” Peter asked Him, “Are You going to wash my feet?”
Jesus answered him, “You do not know what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
“No! Peter told Him, “You will never wash my feet.”
“If I do not wash you,” Jesus answered him, “you have no share with Me.”
After He had washed their feet and put on His outer garment, He reclined at the table again. He asked them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me ’Teacher’ and ’Lord,’ and you are right because I am. Now if I, the Lord and the Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example so that you also will do as I did to you. I tell you the absolute truth, a slave is no greater than his master, and one who is sent is no greater than the One who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. (John 13:5-8, 12-17 NET) – This is the the word of our Lord.
Dear followers of Jesus in his passion,
How often do you think about Jesus as a servant? We call him Savior, Redeemer, Messiah. We call him the Son of God, the King of glory, Christ the Lord. To call him a servant may at first sound strange to us. If he is God and Lord, how can he be a servant? To our human thinking, lord and servant are opposites. Would a lord or king or president help wash the dishes after an official state banquet? That’s not his work; that’s a servant’s work!
But God Word not only calls Jesus God and Lord; it also calls him the Servant. For example, through the Prophet Isaiah the Lord God refers to the coming Savior as my Servant. Jesus, himself, describes his mission as as a mission of service. He says, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28 NIV). In the Passion History for tonight, you heard how Jesus did the servant’s work of washing feet.
What does this action teach us about his work as our Savior from sin? How does our attitude change, because of the work he did as the Servant? Let’s think about those two questions as we walk with the Servant tonight.
1) Remember his humble love that washes you.
What does his action of washing feet teach us about his work as our Savior from sin? To answer this question we first of all need to realize what led Jesus to do this servant-work. It wasn ’t a sense of duty. It wasn’t frustration, seeing that no one else had done it. What was the motive that led him to do it? Love. Humble love.
The divine words that introduce this section of Holy Scripture point us to Jesus’ love. As you heard in the Passion History: “Jesus knew the time had come for Him to leave this world and go to the Father. He had loved His own who were in the world, and He loved them to the end” (John 13:1 NET). Even on that night, when Jesus knew that Judas would betray him and the Romans would crucify him, his heart focused on loving his disciples to the very end.
His humble love would stop at nothing to bring God’s blessings to his disciples, no matter how far down he had to stoop. On that night the disciples had shown an attitude that cut them off from God’s blessing – the attitude of pride. They had argued about which of them was the greatest. None of them would stoop to wash each other’s feet. That was a job of a servant, not a disciple.
Now the whole idea of foot washing, may seem foreign to us. But remember that in Jesus day people wore sandals. The roads were dusty and dirty. People usually walked to most places. Feet became dirty and smelly. It was common courtesy to have the servants wash the feet of dinner guests. But since Jesus watned to have this last supper privately with his disciples, there wasn’t a servant around to do it. So Jesus in humble love takes the job of a lowly servant. He washes the disciples’ feet.
However, Jesus’ humble love was about to stoop even lower. He wasn’t going to wash just dusty feet but guilty souls. He was going to wash them not with water but with his blood. He was going to do this not only for those twelve in the upper room, but for all sinners, including you and me. That’s the washing he was referring to when he told Peter, “If I do not wash you . . . you have no share with me.”. Notice Jesus does not say, “If I do not wash your feet. . .” These words to Peter do not refer to foot washing, but to spiritual washing.