Has He Washed Your Feet?

Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” John 13:8 ESV

Peter was shocked that Jesus would kneel and wash his dirty feet. This was unheard of. How could Jesus their master and teacher be willing to wash their feet? But Jesus made it very clear that unless Peter allowed Him to wash his feet; he would not belong to him. The hardest part for some of us is that, like Peter, we don’t mind serving, but if we want to serve in the kingdom of God then He demands that we first humble ourselves and allow Him to wash our feet.

Some years ago I felt led to teach on this passage in a very practical way. Only my wife knew what was planned. So after I closed had finished the message that morning, II stepped out the side door and picked up the wash basins, warm water and towels which we had secretly hidden. “Now we have a chance to do this” I said as our small congregation sat in stunned silence. First I washed my wife’s feet, then she mine and then we split the church in two. The women went to her side and the men to mine. Nancy began washing the first woman’s feet, and then handed a towel to her and then the roles reversed. Now that woman washed the next in line. On the men’s side we did the same. One pair of feet at a time we discovered that doing the washing was pretty easy but allowing someone else to wash our feet was tough and humbling. Many tears flowed at our church that day. Relationships were deepened and in some cases restored. Jesus has promised us a blessing when we wash each other’s feet. But to be a foot washer we must admit that we first need Him to wash our feet. Has Jesus washed your feet? He is waiting with the basin and towel for your response today.

Foot Washing Lessons

Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. John 13:5 ESV

If you search for leadership training programs you can find 389 millions results in under a second; but not so many on learning to be a servant. But looking at the teachings of Jesus; we see Him stressing the exact opposite.  Most stunning among His lessons was the night Jesus became the foot washer for His disciples. On the evening that Jesus instituted what we celebrate as communion, He concluded the supper with a simple act of service and left us an example to follow.

close up photography of hands and feet

Photo by Min An on Pexels.com

First Jesus did some planning. His foot washing wasn’t just some spur of the moment action. Jesus had everything prepared ahead of time so that when the moment came He was ready. For us to be a good servant we need to invest time and effort and do so with excellence. Secondly, Jesus shows us is that He served unexpectedly. When He stepped out to get the basin and the towel and then reentered the room His disciples were shocked. Most of us treat service as if it were just an option that we might consider until our pastor or some other church leader asks us repeatedly to help out. Last; Jesus chose the lowest job of all to express His love. As He began to wash and dry their dirty feet he was showing us that there was nothing He would not do to wash us and prepare us to follow Him. Then God asks us three questions. How can we get ready to serve: What unexpected blessing could we give: And what job is needed that no one else wants to do?

The Crazy Extravagant Love of God!

He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” John 13:6 ESV

Though foot washing was a common everyday practice in the time when Jesus lived, it was the job of a servant to do that. So without one present the disciples came in and sat down at the banquet table with dirty smelly feet. Why should they be willing to take on the humbling responsibility they each thought to themselves? Luke’s gospel tells us that they were busy arguing about which of them was the most important. Then Jesus got up and walked out of the room. A silence ensued as they wondered where He had gone. Then He appeared in the doorway, with a wash basin in his hands and wearing a towel around his waist.

India and Nepal 115

I once went to India on a short term mission trip. We were visiting a village there and during a meeting they called us to sit at the front. Then the pastor’s daughter thanked us for coming and began to wash our feet. It was humbling to receive such an expression of their love.

That is how the disciples felt as Jesus began to wash their feet. We don’t know what was going through Peter’s mind at that moment but maybe embarrassment just suddenly overwhelmed him. Receiving such a crazy expression of love was more than he knew how to accept.  Jesus had taken the job that he had refused.

person plowing soil

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But the truth of the matter is that what Jesus did for Peter He has also done for all of us. He took on the job no one else wanted – He allowed Himself to be nailed to a cross to wash us from our sins. What kind of crazy extravagant love is that? That is the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord!