“For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.” -John 13:15
This is a very famous group of verses that many people are familiar with. This is the
story of Jesus washing the disciples feet. They had finished supper and Jesus got up, girded
himself with a towel, filled a basin with water, and began to wash the disciples feet one at a
time. When Jesus says words like in verse 15, it really gets my attention. I feel like part of our
job as believers is to follow Jesus example. With that in mind, a discussion comes about of what
did Jesus do exactly? That will be a topic for another time. Let’s really focus on just this story.
What example does Jesus give us in this story? Well, first he does a very lowly job. Something
that most of us today would not even think about doing. I mean think about it, would you want
to really wash someone else’s feet? What if their feet stink? What if they have “ugly” feet?
What if they have a fungus or something? Now, think about the disciples, who wore sandals all
day and walked in dirt and mud. How nasty do you think their feet were? I would bet they were
pretty bad. I believe Jesus did this to show us what it really means to be humble. He humbled himself to the lowest of jobs to serve his friends. If you read the beginning of chapter 13 you
will see that it says, “…when Jesus knew that His hour had come that he should depart from this
world to the Father…” -verse 1. So this shows us all that Jesus did this knowing he was about to
really serve them with his life’s blood. I also believe that he did this to show us that we can
never serve too much. Jesus spent his life as a servant to ALL. So many of us put in our time or
give our money and feel like we have done enough. Jesus was giving his life and still he didn’t
think he had done enough. Wow!
Another thing that comes to light in this story is how Jesus taught his disciples this example.
He didn’t speak the words that they should humble themselves to the lowliest of low to serve
others. He didn’t ask them what they would think if he was to go around and wash their feet.
No, he SHOWED them this example by actually doing it himself! There have been so many times
in my life when I have lived the do as I say, not as I do example. How about you? I am a good
advice giver as well as good at telling others what they should do. This makes a huge impression
on me that Jesus went to the fullest extent to show his disciples and us how we are supposed to
The final thing that I would like to discuss here about this story comes from verse 11,
“For He knew who would betray Him; therefore he said,’You are not all clean'”;. You mean to tell
me that he washed Judas’ feet knowing that he was going to betray him? YES!!! He also knew
that many would flee when they came to arrest him. He also knew that Peter was going to deny
him 3 times. So, knowing all of this he went ahead and washed their feet. This says many things
to me. He didn’t serve us because we were worthy, or because we do everything right, or
because we go to church. No, he served all because he loves all. Even the ones that will do him
wrong by not doing right (all of us Romans 3:23). So his example tells us that we are to love all
people and serve all people, no matter race, sex, spiritual belief, social status, rich or poor, or
nationality. Even those that have done us wrong! Ouch! I feel like someone just punched me in
the gut. In this time, it is important for us to remember that we are to serve, humbly, without
an expectation of service in return. Many people need to be served today. Remember, they
don’t need to hear how we want to serve them, they need to see us serving, humbly , and