Jesus knew that the Father had given Him authority over everything and that He had come from God and would return to God. So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around His waist and poured water into a basin. Then He began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel He had around Him. John 17.3-5
Jesus knew who he was. He knew where He had come from and where He was going. This was God, the Creator of the universe, King Eternal, Yahweh washing the feet of the one’s He had created.
For the disciples, this was a “shock and awe” moment! No Rabbi or any person of significant status had ever washed another’s feet. It just wasn’t done. The job of foot washing was always relegated to the lowest of the low, the refuse of society.
But Jesus never let society dictate His behavior, He never let it deviate Him from His mission. He had come to serve. Just hours from this moment, Jesus would demonstrate His greatest act of service, His coup d'état, the cross! Overthrowing the norms, the status-quo and turning this self-driven, people pleasing society on its head.
After Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, He told them, “Since, I your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.” (John 13.12-14)
Do what I do. Serve each other.
Having the heart of a servant was a way of living for Jesus and it should be for those of us who are His followers. It wasn’t one act of service, followed by a myriad of self-driven deeds. It was a lifestyle of service. Unconditional service. No expectations. Service born from a heart that loves.
Jesus’ greatest act of service, the cross, came from a heart propelled by love. And so should our service derive from a heart of love for those He created.
Unconditional service is never easy. Unconditional service always has a cost but it is a way of life for those who choose to follow. It marks us as true followers of the One who first demonstrated His love for us!
Lord, we confess in this every-man-for himself world, we have lost sight of this servant way of living. We have allowed the world and its ways to color our perspective and justify our self-centered choices. Teach us to have the heart of a servant and to live each day, following the example you set for us. Amen