Jesus Washes the Feet of His Disciples
1It was before Passover, and Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and to return to the Father. He had always loved his followers in this world, and he loved them to the very end.
2Even before the evening meal started, the devil had made Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, decide to betray Jesus. 3Jesus knew that he had come from God and would go back to God. He also knew that the Father had given him complete power. 4So during the meal Jesus got up, removed his outer garment, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5He put some water into a large bowl. Then he began washing his disciples’ feet and drying them with the towel he was wearing.
6But when he came to Simon Peter, that disciple asked, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
7Jesus answered, “You don’t really know what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
8“You will never wash my feet!” Peter replied.
“If I don’t wash you,” Jesus told him, “you don’t really belong to me.”
9Peter said, “Lord, don’t wash just my feet. Wash my hands and my head.”
10Jesus answered, “People who have bathed and are clean all over need to wash just their feet. And you, my disciples, are clean, except for one of you.” 11Jesus knew who would betray him. That is why he said, “except for one of you.”
12After Jesus had washed his disciples’ feet and had put his outer garment back on, he sat down again. Then he said: Do you understand what I have done? 13You call me your teacher and Lord, and you should, because that is who I am. 14And if your Lord and teacher has washed your feet, you should do the same for each other. 15I have set the example, and you should do for each other exactly what I have done for you. 16I tell you for certain that servants are not greater than their master, and messengers are not greater than the one who sent them. 17You know these things, and God will bless you, if you do them.
So what’s this all about then?
There we are, gathered for our evening meal, and Jesus gets up and starts washing our feet!
Our feet were filthy – and smelly! We had gathered the dust of our journey, the sweat of our days. And Jesus kneels and tenderly washes them.
Jesus is washing me clean.
I don’t get it.
Peter, being Peter, had something to say about it! ‘What are you doing Jesus? You shouldn’t be washing my feet! I don’t want you to do that menial and dirty task for me. I’ll deal with my own cleansing thanks.’
I think we’d missed the point…
Thank you Lord
that you are willing
to wash not just our feet,
but our hands
and our heads –
and our hearts.
Thank you that
in that momentous week
you gave your all,
to make us free,
to give us a clean slate –
and even today
you wash us
and gently dry us,
that we may learn to do the same for others.