The Why’s and How’s of Foot-washing:

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John 13:1-5, 12-17
It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 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.
1When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.


In Jesus’ time, it was customary for people to have their feet washed by servants of the house when they eat together. They wore sandals and their feet get dusty walking from place to place. It was a hospitable gesture for the host to prepare that his guests would have clean feet before dining.

When Jesus had the last supper with his disciples before going to the the cross, they had no servant to wash their feet. So Jesus took off his outer garment, put on a towel around his waist to wash and dry his disciples’ feet – 24 of them. He was their Master. They called him Teacher. Yet, the teacher washed the students’ feet.

Jesus knows who he is. He is the Son of God sent to earth with a mission. He is secure in his identity, his power and purpose (vv. 1, 3). A person of esteemed status who knows his worth does not mind doing the job of the lowly. The Master became the servant because He loved his disciples. He wanted to teach them to love one another. Humility and servitude are essentials to authentic love.

Application:
It’s been more than a year that we are without a maid at home. Hubby, our kids and I share house chores. We serve one another in love – taking out the trash, washing dishes, cleaning the toilet, doing laundry. There is one job I do not relish – disposing of dead cockroaches or lizards. 😃 But I love my family. I realized, practice makes perfect. The more I love, the more I get better at serving my family.

In the pandemic, we (our neighbors) decided to take turns giving food to our guards to keep them safe from Covid. And so this gives us (my children and I) opportunities to serve our security guards by preparing and bringing them food.

Today, I might be a mom, an elder sister, an employer or someone in higher authority and status than others. I can imitate Jesus – serve others in love. Feet-washing is humbling. What lowly acts of love do I offer to people around me? How can I brighten a face with a smile and lighten a load from the heart of someone who needs love?

Feet-washing is more than a physical act of service. It comes from a heart of love – love of the Father and love for others. May the love of God and man compel me to serve in humility. I pray the same for you, my friend. Let Jesus inspire you to wash the feet of another today.

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