Summary: Why should we humble ourselves to do menial and low level jobs for others? Because Jesus humbled himself to wash the disciles feet.
Why Should I Do It?
Have you ever been in a situation in which somebody asked you to do something that you really didn’t want to do it, and you even thought it was unfair for them to ask you to do it. You may have said verbally or inside your head, “Why Should I Do It.” You may have felt, you already did your part or maybe, you didn’t cause the situation, so you shouldn’t have to fix it, or even you didn’t make the mess, so why should you have to clean it up.
In the first century, they didn’t have the kind of shoes we have today. People feet got pretty dirty. It was hot and feet could get smelly. How many of you have taken a whiff of your own socks and quickly regretted it? Feet can smell pretty badly.
In Jesus’s day, when a person entered a house, a slave or a servant would come and wash the person’s feet. This was a very humbling act. When you washed someone’s feet, you knew you were at the bottom of the hierarchy in terms of status. You were at the low of the low. You were at the bottom of the slaves and the servants in that house.
Now I want you to go back to just before Jesus and the disciples have their last meal together before he is arrested and crucified. Jesus knows that in less than 24 hours, he will have undergone a severe beating that should have killed him, he will undergo humiliation and rejection, and he will experience a crucifixion that would end his life. Yet he comes to this house with the disciples. There is no servant there to wash their feet before the meal. Then Jesus does something very surprising.
He takes off his outer clothes, and wraps a towel around himself. If you had of passed by at that moment, and didn’t know the group, you would have immediately thought, that Jesus was the slave about to wash a group of men’s dirty feet. You might have felt sorry for him if you had counted all twelve men who were present. That was a lot of feet.
Now Jesus could have thought, “I am the Son of God, Why Should I Do It” when all of these guys here will do what I tell them to do. I could just order a foot washing by everybody to a partner.
Jesus could have said, “Look, we’re getting ready for a big meal, and I don’t want any funny smells so everybody wash your own feet.
There are three reasons Jesus washes these twelve pairs of smelly feet. The first one is something that many Christians spend years ignoring before they understand it. It is serving.
Jesus said, “I did not come to be served, but to serve and to give my life as a ransom for many.” We like the titles I am a child of God. I am a child of the king. I’m a king’s kid. But what we are to be in the core of our being is a servant. Yell it out, I am called to be a servant.
A servant recognizes, they are not called to look down upon anyone or any task, if it can be done to help somebody or some community. You know the disciples had jealousy issues in their lives as to who was going to be the greatest, and one of them was not only stealing money, he would betray Jesus
. Yet Jesus did not look at them for who they were. He looked at them as people he would die for in order to bring them home to God. When we look at people today, no matter how they are dressed or what they look like, see them as people for whom Jesus died and wants to bring back to God. See them as future ushers, choir members, deacons, elders, and greeters in the life of our church. See them as somebody who could enrich your own life.
The second reason Jesus washed their feet was because he wanted to be an example to them of what it means to love another person. He stooped mighty low to say I love you by picking up those dirty smelley feet with no gloves on his hands. Jesus said, I have done this for you as an example. If I your Lord and Master could do this for you, then you should do it for each other.
Why Should I do it? Because Jesus has done so much more for us. Why should I pick up your paper, your liquor bottle, or your dirty diaper? It is because Jesus humbled himself for us. Jesus reminded himself, I did not come to be served, I came to serve and to give my life. What are you giving and what are you receiving when you pick up someone else’s trash. You are giving service and you are giving grace. What are you receiving? The chance to follow in the footsteps of Jesus.