Think about someone who has betrayed or abandoned you, someone who has hurt you deeply. Do you have that person in your mind? No? Ok, I’ll wait…… Ok, do you have them in your mind now? Ok, now imagine kneeling before that person and washing their feet. Go ahead – imagine it. Could you wash their feet? Could you do it with a positive attitude?
That’s the question the Holy Spirit presented to me when I read the story of Jesus washing His disciples’ feet in John 13. The story blessed me by making me be honest with myself regarding my attitude toward disagreeable people or people who’ve hurt me. Quite frankly I would not wash the feet of someone who’s hurt me.
Washing someone’s feet who would hurt him was what Jesus did. Although all the disciples were present for the foot washing, it was Judas’ and Peter’s presence that stopped me and made me take notice. You see, Jesus knew Judas would betray Him, and Peter would deny knowing Him, but He still kneeled before them to wash their feet.
Jesus teaches us valuable lessons in this simple act:
- It shows Jesus’ humility, compassion, love, and willingness to serve His disciples.
- The story serves as an example to us about our relationship with one another as well as our true positions, regardless of our titles, in the body of Christ.
- The story demonstrates love.
Service to Others Isn’t Based on Feelings
Jesus served all the disciples, regardless of His feelings. Jesus knew the fate that awaited Him the next day. He knew how everyone would abandon Him. As I stated earlier, Jesus knew Judas was going to betray Him. He still washed their feet.
This story has always made me see my weaknesses in serving others. When I thought about Christ including Judas and Peter in His service, I realized my tendency to only want to serve those who love me and do things for me in return for my service. This realization humbled me and I saw that I have quite some ways to go in becoming more like Christ, in living out His examples to us.
Christ should serve as an example for us, His followers. Despite our feelings, we need to stay faithful in service to God and His people.
Position Over Title
Jesus is the second person of the Trinity. He is the Word of God wrapped in flesh. He is the Messiah. Jesus humbled Himself. In this simple act, Jesus teaches us our position in the body of Christ. Our position is one of humility. Our position esteems others higher than ourselves. Jesus told His disciples that he didn’t come to be served but to serve (see Matthew 20:28, Mark 10:45).
If you carry a title in the church and think that title exempts you from service, let John 13:14-15 be your example. If Jesus the Christ can serve others then so can you.
Love Is Demonstrated
Jesus teaches us in Matthew 5:44 to “…love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…”. Washing Peter’s and Judas’ feet, knowing what they were going to do to Him, was one of the most compassionate acts of love recorded in the bible.
We can’t show love and acts of kindness only to those we love. We have to show love to everyone, just like God does. We have to serve everyone just like Jesus did. It’s through our love and service to others that they will come to know Christ. It’s through our love and service to them that they will accept the gift of salvation that comes only through Jesus Christ.
It is our Christian duty and responsibility to show Christ to a dark and dying world. How can we show Him to Unbelievers? Through His love that He shed on us. You see, when we demonstrate Christ’s love, we’re demonstrating Him.
God is calling His people to DEMONSTRATE His love to the world. Demonstrating His love isn’t an easy task, but we must obey His voice. As you go throughout your day, find practical ways to demonstrate Christ’s love to everyone with whom you come into contact.
Your act of service and obedience may lead someone to salvation. And really, isn’t that was LOVE is all about (see John 3:16)?