On that last Thursday evening, during the last Passover meal of Jesus’ life on earth, He told the Apostles that they were to “do what He did”. My guess is they were hoping for the ‘walking on water’ thing… maybe multiply some loaves and fishes… definitely turn some water into a nice merlot… healing the sick, raising the dead… cast out a demon or two. Jesus did so much in His three year public ministry.
How surprised where they when Christ, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Messiah, the Anointed One, the Word made flesh, Son of the Most High God, Creator of the Universe… grabbed a towel and a bowl and starting washing their feet.
Their feet? Not a nice hand washing, or maybe helping to set the table for dinner, or how about anointing with some of that really expensive oil that Jesus’ friends had donated. Nope. Their feet. Dirty, dusty, stinky and well… feet.
But isn’t that a servants job? At the very least shouldn’t they wash their own feet? Yes, and yes. But they didn’t. This gave Jesus an opportunity to impart one of the greatest lessons in Christianity.
He had spent the last three years leading this small band of Jesus followers from town to town, across the Sea of Galilee and back, down to Jerusalem, into and out of the great Temple, teaching, ministering and working miracles. They had been given the greatest truths ever spoken by the Author of Truth Himself. Yet, there was more. Jesus was getting ready to depart this world and take up His place at the right hand of the Father. How would the church survive? He promised to send them the “Helper”, i.e. the Holy Spirit. But as we have seen even today, there are a lot of folks that claim to have the Holy Spirit that have lives that suggest otherwise.
Jesus needed to give them some final words that would lay the foundation of what we now know as the Church, the Body of Christ on earth. So He washed their feet. Which by the way was no more appealing in that time period than it is today.
Jesus knew that true power, true authority, true Christianity was found in being a servant. There is a biblically inspired song that says, “If you want to be great in God’s Kingdom, learn to be the servant of all”. That is the message Jesus wanted to impart to His friends as one of His last requests before He died.
Like the Apostles, we are Christians, but sometimes we pick up some ‘dirt’ from the world we live in. It may not steal our salvation, but it could weaken us. It might steal our joy, our convictions, our love, our hope, and even our sense of purpose. We need help. We need brothers and sisters who will humble themselves and wash off the dirt we have stepped in. We especially need it from those that are leaders in the Church.
We are all called by God to have some kind spiritual authority, to serve, to walk in humility and to love one another. We have all been called to wash one another’s feet. We have all been called to be great in God’s kingdom by being the servant of all.
God has given us the power of the Holy Spirit, the power of His Word, the power of His Blood and the power of prayer. His desire is that we use these gifts through the power of humility.