I love the story of Jesus washing the feet of His disciples. There are so many amazing elements to it and such depth. The fact that he was moved to do this mid meal. The fact that he tied the towel around his waist so that the filth he removed from them was attached to himself. The fact that even Judas received the blessing (and the offer of forgiveness inherent in it).
I’ve seen great leaders emulate the washing of feet. I’ve seen church leaders do it. I recognize it is the beginning of a business and civic mindset called servant leadership.
But in all of those things and all those reenactments or applications, it is easy to miss the most important part. Look hard at the last sentence in John 13:1, “Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.”
This act wasn’t just a teaching moment. It wasn’t just a foreshadowing. It wasn’t just a living parable. More than any of those things, it was an act of love. He didn’t have to wash their feet, they had already come in and gone through all of the normal preparations before beginning a meal. He was moved to do it out of love.
When we emulate this activity and serve others, do we do it to show others that we are “like Jesus”? If so, are we truly like Jesus, doing it in pure love for the person?
It is an act like caring for an elderly dying parent. It is an act like sacrificing your life for another. It is a total giving of self, of letting go, to flow out to others. There is nothing Jesus gains from this act, but He is moved to it purely in love. Love to the end!
He demonstrated servant leadership. He, the Lord, was willing to wash the feet of each of the disciples at the table (even the one He knew was going to betray Him). He didn’t have to do this, but chose to – in the same way He chose to die for us.
Those who have accepted Christ are clean (saved), but still need to repent of daily sins. All but Judas had accepted Christ into them, but he had chosen Satan instead. I am cleaned by the blood of the lamb who died on the cross for my sins, but I still commit sins in both the things I do and say and the things I fail to do or say. Of those I need daily (hourly) cleaning through confession and repentance.