13:1 Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end. 2 And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him; 3 Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God;
Make no mistake about it – Jesus knew who He was. He knew He was chosen for this moment, and that He was the only one who could bring redemption to all of mankind. He knew the suffering that lay ahead, the torture that He would have to face, the public humiliation, the pain and anguish, the betrayal. He knew it all. And He never backed away. That kind of courage is hard to find. It is even hard to explain. He could have called a legion of angels at any time to escape this travesty. His power is unlimited – He could have backed out at any time.
But because of His great love for us, He did not. He went through the plan laid out for Him from the beginning of time. The plan that was foretold by hundreds of prophecies, every one of which He fulfilled. The plan that the Father, in all His love, designed for His only Son. Jesus knew He would be back with His Father when all this was done. That was the reward that drove Him forward – being reunited with His Heavenly father. That should be the drive that keep us about our Father’s business – that one day we will see Him and He will say “Well done!”
4 He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. 5 After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.
Have you ever been to a foot washing ceremony? I have, and it is a very humbling experience. I have never been the washer of the feet, but I have been the recipient. There was a sense of intimacy there that you rarely find in church. A sense of caring and concern for one another. Allowing your Pastor, or someone in authority, to bow before you, take your feet in their hands and wash them is a somber thing.
I t is also not a pretty job. Today, we protect our feet pretty good. They stink a lot from sweat, but most people ave fairly clean feet. But in Jesus day, they all wore sandals.. They could go days, maybe even weeks, without a good foot washing. Their feet would be crusted with dirt, and the task of washing them would be a dirty job. It’s intriguing to me that we hear nothing about the disciples wondering why Jesus is doing this (except Peter, coming up next). Perhaps it is because typically the host of a feast would have their servants wash the guests feet as they arrived at the house, and the disciples just thought this was Jesus taking care of that task.
I would imagine they were all looking at each other, amazed that Jesus was actually washing their feet. I can see them just astonished that Jesus, their teacher and Rabbi, the man they had devoted their lives to for the last three years, was now stooping before them doing such a menial task. I can see them looking around the room at each other trying to make sense of it all, yet submitting to His tender hands as He came to each one of them with the basin. That is, until He came to Peter.
6 Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? 7 Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. 8 Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. 9 Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. 10 Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all. 11 For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean.
We can always depend on Peter for some drama. I guess that’s why I identify so much with him. He is inquisitive, cocky and is not afraid to be bold when others are quiet. Jesus had washed everyone else’s feet, and now He comes too Peter. No one else had a problem, but Peter was beside himself. He could not let Jesus stoop so low as to wash his feet! That would be so far beneath him. Peter loved Jesus, and did not want to see him bowing down and cleaning his stinky feet. Jesus tells Peter that He must wash him, otherwise he would be an outcast. So Peter, as always, goes overboard and asks Jesus to just give him a bath! But Jesus assures him the feet are enough.
Have you allowed Jesus to wash your feet? Have you really gotten a glimpse of the suffering servant who gave His life for you? We have pictures in our house of Jesus, looking like a model straight out of Hollywood. He’s handsome and desirable. But we need to see Him as He was on the cross. We needs to see the crown of thorns piercing His brow, blood dripping down His face. We need to see the shredded flesh on his torso, wounds open wide and oozing blood. We need to see the nails in his feet and hands, piercing through to the wooden tree He as hanging on. We need to see the bruises on His face from the beatings the Roman guards out Him through. We need to see Him struggling for breath as he hung there in our place.
Until we see that Jesus, the suffering servant, we do not understand the price He paid for us. I can still remember the night that was looking up at the cross at Pure Life Ministry and God gave me a glimpse of what Jesus looked like when he was on that cross. I will never forget that vision that brought me to my knees in tears and thanksgiving for what He went through to purchase my salvation. The sight is gruesome, but it needs to be seen by all who claim to call Him Lord. Ask God for a glimpse of Jesus on the cross today.
12 So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? 13 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. 16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. 17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.
The lesson here is very clear to both the disciples and to us. We are here to serve, not to be served. We are here to love, not to be loved. We are here to give out mercy and grace, not to receive it. We are here to be servants of our fellow man, and do what ever we can to help them along life’s journey. When we get this attitude, Jesus says we will be happy.