Pleasing God, Making Disciples of Jesus Christ

Washing Undeserving Feet

JOHN 13:1-5, 12-15 – Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2 During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4 rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. 12 When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.


THEME OF THE DAY:  WASHING UNDESERVING FEET.  Let’s put ourselves in today’s scripture.  It is the Last Supper. The end for Jesus is near but not yet.  There is to be a time of close intimacy with His disciples.  The scene is solemn, serious, intimate, and a great display from our Lord of humble, loving, and self-denying service.  And oh, how He loves His disciples!  Jesus knows what is about to unfold for Him, and His focus is on them, not Himself – a clear sign of love.  In this setting, He is about to give them a powerful lesson on how their lives are to be lived, not some of the time, but all the time.


Now the scene.  Without a word, Jesus gets up from the table, takes off His outer garments, grabs a towel, ties it around His waist, pours water into a basin and one by one goes around the table picking up, gently and purposefully, the dirty feet of each disciple and washes them.  Don’t move on too quickly.  Think hard what is happening.  The Creator washes the creature’s feet, undeserving feet; feet belonging to sinful creatures, fearful creatures, selfish creatures, and too often disobedient creatures.  Yet, Jesus washes them all, even as He knows them as they are – undeserving sinners.


Lessons for us? Well, there are many. The obvious ones are growth in humility, humble service, and following Jesus’ example, but here is the one for today.


Our service for the Lord is not to be partial (Judas got his feet washed by Jesus as well) and not based on the worthiness of those we serve.  Basically, the Christian life is all about self-denying service to everyone, even those who rub us wrong, hurt, and betray us.  And that isn’t easy.  We will know how Jesus-like we are in our service for Him by the willingness and active pursuit of serving those people I just mentioned; the ones who hurt, betray, and rub us wrong.


Should we find ourselves being selective in our service, we are a long way from being like Jesus in our service.  I mean, really, it isn’t difficult to serve those who like us, we like them, are always upbeat, affirming, and never cause conflict or tension.  In fact, it is so easy, we can do it, and often do, in the strength of our flesh and anything in the flesh is unacceptable to the Lord.


So, washing undeserving feet.  That is our call as Christ’s people.  And who are those with undeserving feet we are to serve?  Everyone.  Yes, every person in our spheres of influence.


PRAYER: “Father, help me to embrace the servanthood of Jesus with a glad and submissive heart.”


QUOTE: “If the Creator washes the feet of sinners, even His enemy, how can we refuse any humble service?”


Because of Him,


Pastor Jim