Feet are gross.
I know some people have weird foot fetishes, but let’s be honest, human feet are disgusting. I don’t even like touching my own feet, let alone someone else’s feet. Yet what was the last thing Jesus did for his disciples before He went to the cross? He washed their feet. I have read the story many times, but the first verse stood out to me so profoundly this time around:
“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.” John 13:1 (NIV)
To the end – Even though Jesus knew the betrayal that was about to happen, he loved each one of them to the end. Through all of the ups and downs – from the miracles to the doubts, Jesus still loved them. And to demonstrate that love to them, he got low to serve them in the most humbling way a man could. In that time and culture, it was the responsibility of the servant of the lowest stature to wash the feet of those who came into the home after being out all day. Yet the King of Kings and Lord of Lords took that position by choice to show not only His love, but also the power of what He was about to do on the cross – cleansing us all from the stain of sin for eternity.
Do you realize that Jesus washed Judas’ feet, too?
“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.” John 13:2-5 (NIV)
The word choice in this passage is so important. Jesus knew who he was. He knew that God the Father had put all things under his power, and that everything he was doing was by choice. Not only that, everything that was going to happen to him was meant to happen because Jesus was fulfilling every prophesy spoken in the Old Testament. And because he knew his time on earth was coming to an end, he chose to get low, humble himself, and serve. Even the one he knew would betray him that very night. Can you imagine washing someone’s feet knowing that they were going to betray you right after you showed them that kind of sacrificial love? This is the kind of servant leadership that is not of this world. And this is the kind of love Jesus calls us as His followers to demonstrate to those around us.
Jesus loved Judas to the very end.
“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” John 13:8 (NIV)
Peter’s response is pretty natural I would say for all of us – “Jesus there’s no way I’m letting you wash my feet! I should be the one washing your feet!” As much as this gesture seems to be warranted and even encouraged, Peter has almost unintentionally robbed himself of the blessing Jesus wants to give to him. Peter had not yet understood that in order for Him to be fully loved by God, he also has to allow Jesus to fully love him.
Do you feel unworthy of Jesus’ love?
Friend, none of us are worthy in and of ourselves to be close to God. That’s why we must allow Jesus into every part of our lives. It is only by His righteousness that we are made right with God! If you don’t fully accept the love of Jesus, as uncomfortable as it might feel, you will never experience the fullness of living in right and close relationship with the Father. Your identity is not in what you do or who you were. Your identity is who God says you are. Your true identity is in Christ – nothing else. Let go. Surrender it all. Allow Jesus to overwhelm you with His perfect, sacrificial love. Only then will you be able to fully and truly love those around you with the love of Christ.
No matter what you do, Jesus will love you to the very end. But it’s our response to His love that will change everything – our relationship with Him, our relationship with others, and how we fulfill the call of God on our lives. Will you let Him wash your feet? Will you allow Him to cleanse you from the inside out? He died so that you could experience the fullness of His love and the fullness of living in close relationship with Him. Receive His love, and then give it to others. This is how we are to live, and this is how we are to bring people to salvation. There is no greater purpose than this!
Love God. Love People. Lead in Life.
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