What would you think if your boss got on his/her knees and started polishing your shoes without warning?
OK, now that you’ve picked yourself off the floor from laughing hysterically at the thought, take this in – it really happened. Jesus did it.
It’s only recounted in the Gospel of John – John 13:1-17 – but the meaning of the humble task is immense.
They were in the Upper Room ready to celebrate the Passover meal when Jesus surprises His 12 apostles with His actions.
First He takes a towel and wraps it around His waist – much like a waiter would and like the servants of His day did.
Then He takes a pitcher and basin and starts washing the disciples’ feet.
Living in Phoenix, you can understand how dusty your feet can get if you wear sandals. Imagine back then when there were no paved roads or sidewalks. The feet were the dirtiest part of the body.
Peter protested. Then Peter said, “Then, Lord, not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” (John 13:9)
To which Jesus responded, “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” (John 13:10)
Jesus knew that Judas was going to betray Him.
Why did Jesus wash their feet?
- To show that those who believe in Him will be cleansed from sin
- To show the fulfillment of one of the Prophet Isaiah’s prophecies:
Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. ~Isaiah 40:4
- To reiterate what He taught in other occasions:
For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. (Matthew 23:12)“I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”(Mark 10:15)
- To show instill in them to Love one another as they love themselves. (Matthew 22:29)
God likes humility. God hates pride.
If Jesus, the King of kings, can get on His knees and wash His friends’ feet, then we should be able to do the same.
And the ultimate humiliation is still to come.
Next time: The Last Supper