November 9, 2015
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had
come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved
His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. And supper
being ended, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot,
Simon’s son, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all
things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to
The first three verses of our scripture – John 13:1 through 5 – have built up through seven phrases to a great climax – so one might think! But instead, it leads to a great anticlimax! As stated in Friday’s blog, you might expect Jesus to manifest His glory for all to see! He did so on the mountain in Matthew 17:2 before the eyes of Peter, James and John: “And [He] was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.”
But what did Jesus – the Lord of all – do? It says in John 13:4 and 5:
He…rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded
Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the
disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.
This was the job of a lowly house servant! Back in Bible times, walking the dusty roads meant dirty feet. When one came into a house, he would sit and call for the servant who was ready with a basin of water and a towel to come and wash the dust and dirt off his feet. Such an act was beneath any homeowner if he was wealthy enough to have servants! Jesus Christ – The Son of God, God the Son, Diety manifested in the flesh, destined to be “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS” (Revelation 19:16) – was humbly taking the position of a house servant! Why?
It was more than teaching humility to His disciples, although they needed to learn to be humble. Remember in Luke 22:24, “…there was also rivalry among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest.” What was Jesus’ answer? Luke 22:26: “…he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves.” Apparently, this was an ongoing problem among the disciple! (See Matthew 18:1; Mark 9:33, 34; Luke 9:46). And Jesus told them plainly in John 13:14, “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet.”
But what the Lord was further portraying is also evident from His interaction with Peter in John 13:6 through 10:
Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, “Lord, are You
washing my feet?” Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing
you do not understand now, but you will know after this.” Peter said to
Him, “You shall never wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not
wash you, you have no part with Me.” Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord,
not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him,
“He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean….”
The idea is that we are cleansed totally by the blood of Christ when we come to Him initially in faith believing. (See Psalm 103:12; Isaiah 1:18; I John 1:7). But as we ‘walk’ through this old world, we get our feet ‘dirty’ by the daily sins we fall into. That’s why we need to continually practice what it says in I John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Take this idea back to what Jesus said in John 13:14, mentioned above: “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet.” We are to help keep one another’s feet clean! We are to encourage each other to confess our sins – in some cases to each other, as it says in James 5:16. This is also part of our instruction implied in Hebrews 10:24 and 25:
And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and to good
works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the
manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more
as you see the Day approaching.
It is included too in what Paul is writing in Galatians 6:1 and 2:
Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual,
restore such a one in the spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest
you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law
of Christ. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is
nothing, he deceives himself.
Yes, we are called to be our “brother’s keeper” (Genesis 4:9). We are to heed Jesus’ example – A Humbling Example – and serve one another, helping to keep each other clean!