It was time for the Last Supper. Jesus and His disciples arrived at the room that was prepared for them. In those days, the chief footwear was sandals. After walking along dusty or muddy roads, someone who entered a house would need to have his feet washed.
The normal hospitality would be that (1) the host would provide water so that the visitor can wash his feet, (2) the host would be the one to wash the visitor’s feet, or (3) the host would instruct a servant to wash the visitor’s feet. It is said that for option (3), it was the lowliest servant in the household who would do the washing.
Now let’s eavesdrop on the Last Supper. When the apostles all arrived at the dining room, surely they saw that all of their footsies needed washing. But each one played dumb and waited for the other guy to offer to wash his feet.
I can even imagine Peter harrumphing, “Ain’t no way I am gonna clean up Thomas’ toes. In fact, he should be washing mine!” Nobody volunteered, so they went on to their dinner with appalling disregard of courtesy, let alone hygiene.
We are further told that the apostles were arguing who among themselves was the greatest. Think about that for a moment. Jesus was about to die an excruciating, horrible death. And here are these guys bickering who would be Top Banana of the bunch.
Then, to their amazement, Jesus — their Teacher who cast out demons, healed the sick, multiplied fish and loaves and even raised dead people — took off His outer garments, wrapped a towel around His waist, stooped down and began to wash each of their smelly, dirty feet.
Why did Jesus do that? Well, the very first verse of John 13 said it all: “Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.”
What can we learn? A lover does not ignore the beloved’s need. Jesus saw the need for the disciples’ feet to be washed. The disciples ignored it and expected the other guy to do the washing. But Jesus didn’t just let it pass. He took action.
A lover finds no task beneath him. But here's what's even more mind-blowing: Jesus loves us to the end, too. But this time He didn't use water...
Photo credit: Payton Minzenmeyer
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