This Day in History: 0000-04-17
April 17 – John 13:1-15
Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that His hour had come to leave this world and return to His Father. He had loved his disciples during His ministry on earth, and now He loved them to the very end. It was time for supper… Jesus knew that the Father had given Him authority over everything and that He had come from God and would return to God. So He got up from the table, took off His robe, wrapped a towel around His waist, and poured water into a basin. Then He began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel He had around Him… After washing their feet, He put on His robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.
There are four Gospels. Four accounts of Jesus’s life and ministry here on earth. As we spend this day contemplating the last supper, it would serve us well to take the time at some point during the day today to read each of those four accounts. Matthew 26:17-35, Mark 14: 12-31, Luke 22:7-38, and John 13-17. (If you don’t have time for all of them, chose any one of the first three as they are more or less the same and then read the 5 chapters from John which give much more detail.)
It is in these 5 chapters of John that we get the most intimate look into those last precious hours that Jesus shared with His disciples. We have been given a detailed account of the words of Christ as He taught these 11 men, who would be the pillars on which He would build His church, one last time. Do you find it significant, as I do, that He chose to start this special evening off by humbling Himself before these men?
The passage begins by saying He knew His time had come, and He loved His disciples. It says He knew His position – that He had been given authority over EVERYTHING from His Father. Then it says, “SO, He got up from the table… then He began to wash His disciples feet.” After He finished serving these men that He loved so much, He exhorts them all (and us too) to follow His example.
What can we learn from our Lord here? I believe it is one of the most important lessons for a true child of God to understand. We learn that humility is the key to genuine love. And that the higher our position in Christ, the more necessary it becomes for us to serve.
Friends, our position is secure. We belong to Him. We’re royals in the Kingdom of Heaven! Surely there is no higher calling we could ever hope to achieve. So let’s allow that noble standing to drive us to our knees. Let’s humble ourselves before God and man just as our Lord and Savior did that night. Let’s serve the world around us. Especially those we love most. Let’s strip off the superficial garments of perfectionism that are meant to convince others we’ve got it all together and tie the towel of humble authenticity around our waists. Let’s kneel before those we love and serve wholeheartedly as we plunge their feet into the cleansing water. Let’s love them to the very end, just as Jesus did.
Let’s look to His example and do as He has done. Let’s wash each other’s feet!