|1 It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love. 2 The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. John 13:1-5 (NIV)
I am struck with the wording in the very first verse–that as Jesus was about to wash his disciples’ feet, John remembers this as the time when Jesus showed his disciples the full extent of his love. Not when he died on the cross, but when Jesus washed their feet.
I believe there are a few reasons for that. Here was the master-teacher humbling himself to the position of the lowest of servants to serve to his followers. Or that the God of the universe was stooping to wash the very feet he created. However, as powerful as those images are, the most impactful one for me is that Jesus served his disciples when he himself was in a place of deep need, knowing that each of them would in some way, before the night was over, betray him, deny him, abandon him.
In my thinking, it would seem perfectly okay if the story went like this. . . and Jesus looking around the table said, “Look guys–I’m really not doing really well tonight. This is going to be the worst night of my life–I have served you, cared for you, provided for you for 3 years now–I think it would be nice for someone to think of my needs for a change–so would a couple of you please look after the washing of the feet? How about you, Judas? you should be one to do this. Peter, you can help.”
But no–while knowing what was ahead for him, Jesus took time to carefully wash each of the disciples’ feet. The feet of John, James and Peter–who would not be able to stay awake and pray with him when he most needed them. Peter–the one who would deny that he even knew him. Judas–the man who would betray him. The feet of every man there–all of whom would abandon him.
Have you ever wondered about Jesus’ love for you?
- Read for yourself the story of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet in John 13:1-17.
Read it over a few times, allowing the story to sink in.
- Now take time in prayerful reflection to come to Jesus. Come as you are, being very aware of your sinful tendencies, the ways you let Jesus down, the way you mess up. As you are there with your sins and failures, allow Jesus to come to you and wash your feet.
- Notice what is going on inside of you as your Saviour stoops to wash your feet.
- What do you notice about Jesus? How does he look at you? What does he say?
- What is your response to him?
- If you journal, take time to journal your experience.
Father God, as I come to you, I am very aware of my sin and the ways in which I continually turn away from you and resist trusting you. Today, as I allow you to wash my feet, I realize that you love me as I am, and I am overwhelmed by your limitless love, grace, mercy and forgiveness. Thank you for taking my place on the cross, delivering me from the prison of guilt, shame and fear. Jesus, I love you. Amen
Contributed by Ruth-Anne Gilbertson
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