It’s now Thursday of Passion Week and it’s going to be a busy last day for Jesus before He goes to the cross. Jesus gives His disciples instructions on the preparation for the Passover Meal. He has to settle a fight between His disciples as to which one is the greatest. (In a few hours they were going to find out how un-great they really were as they run and hide in fear when Jesus is arrested.)
Probably the most familiar event to us of that last day before Jesus’ crucifixion was what we know as The Last Supper. Out of that meal came a visual picture to His disciples that night of what He was about to do for them. It’s a visual reminder to His disciples today of what He did for us.
The Apostle John tells us that Jesus even took time that night to have a final teaching time with His disciples. But there was one lesson that Jesus taught that last night that involved very few words, but was as important as anything He ever taught them or us.
“Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God, got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself. Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. So He came to Simon Peter. He said to Him, ‘Lord, do You wash my feet?’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter.’ Peter said to Him, ‘Never shall You wash my feet!’ Jesus answered him, ‘If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.’ Simon Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.’ Jesus said to him, ‘He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.’ For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, ‘Not all of you are clean.’ So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, ‘Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.’” (John 13:1-17)
Foot washing was customary and necessary in that day. People were either barefooted or wore open sandals. Their feet would get hot, dusty, dirty, and probably pretty smelly. Normally one of the servants of the house would be assigned this not so glamorous task. The idea of the honored guest for the meal being the one to do the washing was, well, it was unthinkable, and yet there was Jesus, basin of water in his hands, towel wrapped around Him, kneeling before His disciples, doing the task that none of them would have ever thought to do or been willing to do.
It’s easy to see, although tough to comprehend, the great humility the Son of God demonstrated that night. What’s hard for us is to follow His example, and yet, that’s exactly what He wants us to do. That is the whole point of the lesson.
Humility is a hard pill for prideful men and women to swallow. I know we don’t like to think of ourselves as prideful, but when I choose what I want over what Cindi needs, or I race around a parking lot to beat somebody else to a better spot, or I let someone else do the work because I don’t want to, I’m putting myself ahead of the other person, and that’s exactly the opposite of what Jesus was teaching.
Imagine how different our lives, our families, our marriages, and our churches would look if we always strove to put the other person before ourselves. That’s really the lesson Jesus was teaching that night.
Of course our fear is that if we do that someone will take advantage of us. Someone will get ahead of us. We’ll have to do more than our share. The other person will “win.” That may be true, but our heavenly Father is pleased when we humbly put the other person ahead of ourselves. That seems like a pretty good trade off to me.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.