Footwashing“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.” John 13:3-5

The natural question is… why would Jesus wash his disciple’s feet? That seems odd. I wash my own feet. But I wouldn’t wash my friends feet. And I certainly wouldn’t my friends feet just before dinner at the dining room table.

Let’s understand the cultural context. There are no cars or bikes. So people walk everywhere they go. The landscape is sandy. The roads are unpaved and dusty. Donkeys, horses, and other cattle, used in the transportation of goods, are relieving themselves on the road and sidewalks that everyone walks on. The street is the sewer system. After walking a mile or two to get to dinner, the guests feet are a dirty, dusty, disgusting mess. With all sorts of crud squished between their toes.

It would be like throwing a house party and each of your guests stepping in a pile dog poop while walking to your front door. Are you going to let them in with their shoes on?

In Jesus’ day, a servant would wash the feet of each guest as they entered the home to remove the dirt and crap.

The first part of this verse says… “Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God”

Catch this! The entire world – all of creation – is under the authority and power of Jesus. He is the President – King – Prime Minister – CEO – Lord over every government, civic group, business, and society in the world.

He has every right to be honored, revered, feared, and served. Jesus didn’t have to lift a finger to do anything for us. Instead, we should be asking, “What can I do for you?”

But Jesus striped down to his undergarment and picked up a towel, to help us clean up the mess we’ve made in life. He set aside his rights and privileges as God to become a servant to you and to me – to the people he created that should be serving him.

We don’t know why a servant wasn’t there to wash the guests’ feet. But regardless no one offered. No one was willing to sacrifice their greatness and play the role of a servant except for the guest of honor.

Jesus did at the dinner table what no one else in the room was willing to do.

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