Today is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week. It was filled with crowds and shouts of “Hosanna!” as Jesus made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. However, I would like to look ahead to a quieter, more intimate gathering later in the week as Jesus and the crew were preparing to celebrate the Passover meal.
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. The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, 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. John 13:1-4
Now, if you were one of the disciples, would you be thinking, “What is going on here?”
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 13:5
Imagine walking around dirty and dusty city streets in sandals; your feet would be filthy and you would need to wash them. This was a task typically performed by a servant, but no one had provided a way for them to clean away the muck they brought in with them. So, Jesus stepped in.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” John 13:6
Finally! Someone realizes what is going on…sort of.
Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” John 13:7-9
Oh Simon Peter! His heart seems to be in the right place, but he is so over the top.
When 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. John 13:12
Did they get it? They know who Jesus is but do they understand what just happened? Do we?
“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. I tell you the truth, 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.” John 13:13-17
Jesus is the Son of God, yet he was willing to perform a menial act of service. If anyone would be considered too important for such a thing, I would think it would be Jesus. Yet, there he is washing his friends’ dirty feet. What a beautiful example he has set for us to humbly serve one another but it’s so much more. As we enter into this week, let’s think about what Jesus has done for us. After that dinner with his friends, there was an even greater sacrifice ahead for Jesus. One for all of us, given with love, to clean away our muck.
Friday is dark but Sunday is coming!